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When I was 6 months pregnant with our first child, I returned from a weekend away to find that my husband was convinced our marriage was over. The deterioration of our relationship didn’t happen that quickly, but the realization of where we were after numbing months of grad school, demanding jobs, constant travel, and separate lives, was a sudden shock.
In the weeks and months that followed, the things he said and did were so uncharacteristic of him that I literally thought he’d lost his mind. In his late thirties and on the cusp of being a father, I wondered if this was a mid-life crisis. As evil words and actions poured from him, I thought maybe this was some sort of demonic attachment like straight out of a Frank Peretti novel. Where had the man I had married gone?
What I did know was I was witnessing what can happen to a man who has lost his way; how the enemy can feed the seeds of bitterness in the fertile soil of a distant marriage until we are convinced of his lies.; and what can happen when a wife, consumed with things outside her home and marriage, loses sight of her #1 job, to be her husband’s divine helper.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper (ezer) suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18
“Helper” is such a limited English translation for the Hebrew word ‘ezer’. Helper has an implied inferiority that didn’t exist the original text. Some translations use “companion” which is still lacking.
To really understand it, you need to look at where else it was used. Let me give you a few examples…
“And this he said about Judah: “Hear, O LORD, the cry of Judah; bring him to his people. With his own hands he defends his cause. Oh, be his help against his foes!” – Deuteronomy 33:7
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33:20
“Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” – Psalm 70:5
Do you hear it ladies? Do you see the real call to us that was intended with our Ezer title?
Comrade. Ally. One who fights beside them.
Rescuer. Lifesaver. One who fights for them.
Perfect Compliment. One who they can’t win without.
The word is used to describe our God, our Great Ezer. And us as wives.
There will be a time when he needs us most. When he is undervalued or unfulfilled at a job he knows provides for his family. When he is feeling sorrow and grief that he doesn’t know how to express. When he is struggling in sin. When he is is fighting a battle within his own mind and heart and the odds seem to be against him.
And that is the place when it is so easy to pull away, because the words sting and the sin betrays and the man who stands before you now does not even resemble the one who stood before you as you said those vows.
But it is when he needs you most.
You can’t take responsibility for his actions and you certainly aren’t condoning his behavior, but you can realize that perhaps, like me, you left your post. You dropped your guard. You went AWOL on being his ezer.
On the brink of marital collapse, I realized I couldn’t change my husband or his behavior, but I could accept responsibility for my part and seek my Great Ezer to help me not retaliate and not retreat when my husband needed me to come alongside and fight with him, fight for him.
This was my chance to be Christ-like in my response to my husband and react with love, forgiveness, selflessness and grace. My husband saw my response and it helped him fully grasp the love and grace God had for him. It let him know that I was his wife, his divine ezer perfectly provided by God to walk this earth with and that I would be with him, by his side, helping him win these battles. His fight would be my fight. The victory would be ours together.
The truth is all of our marriages are in a battle. We have an enemy who seeks to steal and destroy. We are under the constant barrage of a culture that gives us an arsenal of justifications for waving the white flag of defeat. We need to stop fighting each other and realize we have a common enemy.
Fight the good fight for your man and your marriage, because this may just be when he needs you most.
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