Saturday, April 16, 2011

An help meet.

The other day I was out looking at my in-laws' fruit trees, and naturally I started thinking about Adam and Eve (hahaha- non-sequitor much?). In Genesis 2 and Moses 3, we read that after Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, and before Eve was created, he received this instruction: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

I love the next part, and it's something I've never really heard anyone talk about. The Lord had Adam give names to all of the animals--the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air--"but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." I imagine this was somewhat poignant for Adam. All of the animals had their mates, but he was alone in the garden. So I can imagine the joy when at last God created Eve. He proclaimed, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." In other words, he finally had someone meant for him, and that was worth forsaking everything else.

And Adam did forsake everything else. When presented with the fruit, he refused to transgress God's commandment and would not eat. But when it came to choosing between cleaving to his wife or remaining in the garden's idyllic conditions, he chose to leave the presence of his Heavenly Father and cleave to his wife. 

Someone once pointed out to me that when we are sealed in the temple, the wife agrees to give herself to her husband, but the husband doesn't make the same agreement. They then pointed out that when we learn about the creation we see that the husband, Adam, had already done so. He gave everything in order to remain with and love and protect her. So Adam's example of how to do that is instructive not only for husbands, but for me as a wife. What kinds of things do I sometimes put before my husband? They usually aren't so obvious as a job or a hobby or time away from him. They are usually subtle things like the desire to be right or to do things my way or to let my bad mood run its course. Sometimes they involve lacking courtesy on the excuse that I'm tired or have had a bad day or am frustrated. And always they involve me thinking of my own feelings before his.

I recently read a couple of books by Dr. Laura about marriage. The main gist was that, although men certainly are at the root of plenty of marital problems, the more common culprit is the woman. Women have huge power to make a happy marriage. Because our moods and feelings tend to be more complex and ever-changing, we tend to set the tone for the home. A good man generally has pretty simple needs: he wants to feel like a man, which involves going out every day and "slaying dragons" for his family, then coming home and being treated like the knight in shining armor that he is. And, miraculously, if he is treated with that kind of courtesy and respect instead of with nagging exasperation, he'll be a lot more likely to do whatever it is we would have nagged him to do. I can attest that this is true. 

So for a while now I have been making more of an effort to put my husband's feelings ahead of my moods, show appreciation for everything he does to provide for us (which involves getting up at 4 in the morning to commute to a miserable job, spending more than a decade in school, and putting up with me! What a guy!), not dump my stress on him as soon as he walks through the door, not ask him to do things that are just as convenient for me to do myself, and let him do things his own way (recognizing that my way may be different, but isn't necessarily better). Admittedly, I am not great at this yet. But I remind myself that this is how I can give myself to him and be the kind of woman to whom he will want to cleave.


  1. In the sealing ceremony the wife gives herself to the husband, and the husband in turn receives the wife (rather than giving himself to the wife). Pondering on the word "receive" as it is used by the Lord in scripture and in our current prayers (such as "receive the Holy Ghost") help to expound on what this means also.

    Thanks for sharing your insights about it : )

    I'd love to know the titles of the books you read by Dr.Laura.

  2. I read a double edition of The Proper Care and Feeeding of Husbands and The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. I don't think you necessarily need to read both (lots of overlap), but there's lots of good common sense shared. We were just talking with A&L today,and they said they really liked some CDs by Dr. John L. Lund, who is a member, which made some similar points, but a bit more gospel-centered.

  3. This is a blessing to read. It's so easy for me to feel entitled to my bad moods and venting sessions when technically I am "slaying dragons" right now too. Adding to the challenge of being sweet and courteous, my husband is the only person I know who actually gets excited and thoroughly enjoys seeing me lose my cool and lash out. I'm so perplexed by this. At any rate, you are totally right. I have some work to do too :)