What does it mean to be a helpmate in the Bible? I think jobs around the house should be divided in a 50/50 manner. What do you think?
When God created Adam and gave him the task of naming the animals and stewarding the resources of the earth, He acknowledged that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. Adam needed a cohort and a companion, a soulmate and a partner. I’ve always loved this quote by Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible): “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” Husband and wife are a team, working side-by-side to accomplish their life’s mission, called by God.
This term “helpmate” is used in the biblical account of the beginning of life on earth (Genesis 2). Of all the conversations regarding the meaning of “helpmate”, my favorite includes the particular usage of the Hebrew word “ezra” which has been used as “helper” in the context of a military operation. Imagine soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder for the purpose of working together to defend their cause. Whatever it is that God has called us to do, giving us a partner to work with side-by-side is of unspeakable value.
Consider these questions: What does a 50/50 division of labor around the house look like? Does it include outside chores (snow removal, lawn/garden, home maintenance/repairs) and remodeling projects? Car washing and maintenance? Do you both work comparable hours outside the home? I know that some people buck at that question, feeling that since both husband and wife live in the house they should both be invested at an equal level in keeping it clean.
Here’s the point. Who-does-what should include all facets of home/yard/car maintenance and repair in order to be fair in the distribution of duties. Your stage of life should also be factored in. Who has the most time to devote to daily chores?
Don’t think of being a helpmate as a demeaning position. God helps us all the time, and he is not subservient to us! Consider being a helpmate a privilege. Coming alongside your husband, standing shoulder to shoulder against the challenges of life, lightening his load – these are all ways to honor him, which should be more important to us than dwelling on what feels fair.
The Lord God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (CEV)