Thursday, June 16, 2005

Created to be His Help Meet

Like a few other women around the planet, I've been reading this book by Debi Pearl. The first 3-4 chapters I felt she was right on. The emphasis was on Joy, and how to attain and keep it and I felt she gave very wise counsel. Then she got a bit prideful and that... well... jaws a bit. She scoffs at those who, after a couple of years of Greek in Seminary, think they are experts on the fallibility of the King James Version... while her husband, who has read four Greek translations every day for the past 30 years *knows* the KJV is the most accurate. Never mind that several hundred Greek translators with several decades of knowledge and expertise in the Greek language concur that the New American Standard is the most literal word-for-word translation available today (apart from an Interlinear Bible, of course). But... perhaps this is part of being a help meet. Swearing your husband is right, even when he is not.

Which brings me to the next thing that niggled me wrong... Somewhere in the chapter on "types of husbands" there is a cute little story about a couple biking on their honeymoon. The husband had no sense of direction, the wife did, she argued a direction he wished to take, they went his way, they became lost. This continued to play out throughout the day, until the bride realized where they were going wasn't important, just cheerfully biking around the countryside with her new husband on their anniversary was the important thing... and to this day, she lets him lead, even when he's wrong.

Early on in our marriage Steadfast and I had a similar situation arise. It arose several times. Once while biking around Dutch polders, another while walking in the woods... after a while Steadfast realized I was indeed the one gifted with a sense of direction, and to this day he always expects me to expertly navigate our family through road trips. He wants to steer and be able to say "where do I go?" and have me confidently state "right" or "left" or "straight ahead" or "exit 53a"... I'm his onboard computer. I enjoy this task, because I always like to know exactly where we're at. AND... Steadfast is always boasting about me at gatherings. He's very proud of my sense of direction and the places it has brought us.

I handled our misguided adventures quite differently than the bride in the book. But was I wrong? Steadfast is not a man who likes to get lost. He would not like to be in a dangerous unfamiliar neighborhood late at night with our five daughters in the car, and feel embarrassed, ashamed, and angry that he had brought them there and put them in danger. He is not one who likes to feel foolish because he made a wrong turn and drove 100 miles north when he meant to go south. Hasn't my pushing to prove *I* was right been more of a help to him than letting him lead us wrong?

I think we need to pursue wisdom and wisely choose our battles. We shouldn't always win... a man's ego can't take a woman always winning. Perhaps we should mostly let them win. But I don't think it's always wise or prudent to let them win every single time... or... let them win every time, but be wise as to what manner of winning they need. With the navigating issue, I feel both Steadfast and I have won, and if I had let him win the first or second time, neither one of us would be winners today. Choose the path that would make your husband feel less foolish. If your husband doesn't feel foolish lost, by all means, let him get y'all lost.

Just today I found some important missing mail in Steadfast's desk. He is sure I or one of the girls misplaced it. I am not so sure it was a female. It's hard for me to swallow my pride and allow him to think "silly womenfolk, they should be more careful", but in this case, we won't get lost if I let him win, and driving my point home would not win me any admiration from him... it would only make him feel foolish, and all men hate to feel that. It does not matter who lost the letters. What matters is that they have now been found.


Amy said...

Very well put. I wonder, how would you react if Steadfast did NOT finally realize you had the "navigation smarts" in the family. I think you are blessed in having a husband who loves, honors, and respects you (at least it seems so from this one example), making you FREE to have the role of navigator. But what if he didn't?

I'm not trying to be argumentative (I haven't read the book yet, either)...but I often think about this and how it plays out in my own marriage, where dh hold tightly to leadership in some areas and lets me help in others. :)

How are your move preparations coming??

Amy said...

I wanted to add - it sounds like your dh is not prideful (again, at least in this one area of navigation - he's willing to swallow his pride and ask for help). That is great. I think the DHs that have too much pride (think they know it all) don't allow the wives freedom to be *partners* in the marriage - but it's not the fault of the woman "allowing" her dh to be like that, it's the DHs problem. I think the feminist viewpoint we hear too much of in this country is "how can you let your husband BE like that"...but really, what can WE as women do? It is up to each individual person to change their sinful habits, such as pride (i.e. insisiting you know everything even when you have no idea WHAT to do). Hmmm, this is making little, maybe I'll try to blog on it someday. :)

Hind's Feet said...


Steadfast does hold tightly to leadership in a lot of areas... but early in our marriage he did not. He went straight from his parents' home, where his dad's word was the only word and it was final... to our home where he didn't know how to lead, at first, because his dad always did. That may have made the difference in our early navigational adventures... at that time he wanted and expected someone else to take the lead. Nowadays it probably would not go over as well as it did back then. ;o) He has grown and changed a lot in the past 16 years and he does take the leadership role. (Mainly, I think, because I started refusing to make the decisions and began leaving things to him.)

Moving preparations are going well... there seems to be a myriad of little things that need doing (prescriptions refilled, van serviced, utilities stopped here and started there, packing of things we don't want on the moving truck, defrosting freezers, getting the laundry caught up, etc) so my mind gets a little boggled with it all, but I keep making "to do" lists and I think it's all getting done. ;o)

Hind's Feet said...

Another thought... perhaps part of it is, that Steadfast does not really have to ask "where do I go?" -- that probably would affect his pride. We have gotten to the point of our navigational relationship where I can just say "stay on this highway for about 21.5 miles, then take exit 64 north (or "towards Dayton")" and then he silently zeros out his mileage counter and after 20 or so miles he quietly asks "Dayton north?" and I answer "correct" (never answer "right" when navigating, if you don't mean turn "right" LOL) --- It's just something we've worked out after nearly 16 years of marriage... It's my job to read all the road signs and look ahead and give fair warning, so he doesn't find himself in the place of having to ask. I've learned what he expects of me, and I've learned to think ahead to accomodate his expectations.