Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marriage and Dancing

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;  I will make him a help meet for him.”  Genesis 2:18 (KJ).
In other versions of the Bible we read that God made woman as a “suitable helper” or “companion” for her husband.  I like the King James wording ‘help meet’ because it comes from two Hebrew words:  ezer  and neged.  Ezer means “help” or “helper” and neged means “corresponding to” or “fit for”.     Now when we think of helper, we commonly think of someone below the other – the helper has lower status, like an assistant.  But this is not what ‘help meet’ means.  In the Old Testament “ezer” never means a subordinate helper.  When the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 121:1-2 ‘I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?  My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth’ he used the same term ‘ezer’.  Someone who helps us is not necessarily beneath us.  The help meet God designed in a wife is someone who complements and completes her husband.  A wife is meant to be a person uniquely crafted to be a companion and teammate for her husband. 

Marriage reminds me of jitterbug dancing.  Dancing is a great partnership.  There are moves that only the man makes and steps where the woman responds, but then when the music heats up they move together as a dynamic team.  Two are needed – two make the dance come alive.   But make no mistake about it, the man is designed to be the leader of the two in marriage.  Unfortunetly there are special problems that interrupt that design at times.  When there is abuse or extreme selfishness of any kind ,God's beautiful design for relationships is disrupted and things have to be dealt with differently.  However, in the design for a healthy marriage there has to be a 'working with' a 'give and take' and there is certainly room for a great variety of communication and personality style in both husband and wife.  Some people by nature are direct and outspoken while others are more gentle or quiet or reserved - and both men and women share these personality types.  It is not a matter of personality but a  recognizition of what the Bible refers to as 'headship.'  I Corinthians 11:3: But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ". This "headship" is where the wife, as an act of her will and her trust in God, recognizes that the Lord has put her husband in leadership and our position as the wife is to respect him and honor him, even when we disagree.  Neither partner is more important than the other and the leadership our husbands have also carries with it great responsibility. 
The best marriage team will be one in which both partners are thoughtfully considerate of the others needs, and unselfishly work together to accomplish what neither one could on their own.  I know a husband who explained that his views his leadership in such a way that he deems it his duty as the family leader to see that his wife fully blossoms into all she can be for Christ.  That is called being unselfish.  And his wife responds with gratefulness.  As a seasoned saint once said, "it's easy to be submissive to someone who loves me like Christ loved the church."  

…“Lovers who are thoughtful have a beautiful relationship.  Partners who are selfish tear a marriage to shreds.  Thoughtfulness carries its own splendor.
Selfishness is an ugly as an oyster,
No matter what other strengths we have going,
None will cover the stench of selfishness.
Thoughtfulness carries a beauty that begins
Inside and pushes to the surface”.

                                                       -William Coleman, Knit Together 


Special thanks – Ronald E. Hawkins  Strengthening Marital Intimacy

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