Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Preparing to be a Helpmeet

I had read a few excerpts from Debi Pearl's previous work, 'Created to be his Help Meet', but this was the first book I read all the way through. I could spend a lot of time nit-picking, but I'll try to be as objective as possible.

'Preparing to be a Help Meet' by Debi Pearl

My book review:

The first chapter talks about Mrs. Pearl's own love story, how she knew from age 13 who would be her husband (that's a leeetle creepy), while the second shares the story of another girl who chose to believe God and the godly advice of her parents and begin courting a man she had barely met, and certainly did not have strong feelings for. Both stories ended in a happy marriage, testimony to the importance of trusting God with your life and listening to Him above all other voices.

Chapters 3-7 describes the three dominant characteristics that define men, and what these 'softened' characteristics look like in women. Prophet, Priest and King are echoed by Dreamer, Servant and Go-to Gal. The purpose of this is to help ladies who are strong in a certain area to learn how these roles will either help or hinder their husband once they marry - i.e., if you are a dominant Go-to Gal, you will definitely need to work on submission, especially if paired with a King-type guy. These steriotypes are very helpful, but life is not usually so cut-and-dry.

The following chapters share a lot of random stories, all to teach various lessons, but a few are so weird I didn't know what to make of them. Pearl seems to contradict herself in several areas:

1. According to the author, we single ladies are to somehow subtly let the guys know of our interest - hidden 'wallflowers' tend to get overlooked - yet don't give anyone but the guy you will marry the time of day or e-mail guys??? (Texting with guys is of the devil, after all...). Unlike Mrs. Pearl who just knew from God from an early age exactly who her intended was, most of us simply don't know for sure whom we will marry until that day comes. We can't live our life avoiding guys until God drops a man in our lap and thunder booms as we hear a voice say, "this is the one!".

2. Women who do not get married are somehow 'less than a woman' and not able to 'fulfill our God-given purpose'. This in contradiction to later chapters where she seems to be saying that it is perfectly okay to be single and serving the Lord.

3. There is a chapter about 'Fleas': Mrs. Pearl and another lady are described as examples where they were not submitting to their husbands, and God sent 'plagues' on them (spiders and fleas) each time they sinned. She uses this to threaten all of us ladies if we don't repent of our rebellion and wickedness that God will use these methods to punish us... hmm.

4. Debi Pearl tells single ladies that if they are just good enough (become Miss Right), God will send them Mr. Right in due time. I'm not foolish enough to believe that I will ever become so godly that I will reach the level where I 'deserve' marriage, or have all my ducks in a row. That is not the pattern of this fallen world. I will seek after righteousness and reach perfection in heaven, because of Christ's saving work in my life, not because of anything I do on my own merit. It is also too easy to try to be 'good' so that God will just have to give me what I want. How wrong that is. We seek after holiness because God is holy, and we desire with everything that is in us to be more like Him!

The book is worth reading, however, for the chapters entitled 'The Power of Stinking Thinking' and 'What say the Men?'. It is far too easy after marriage to sink into wrong thinking about our situation and husband, and sin against God by our critical spirit. Great warning to all of us as we look ahead and seek to prepare our hearts for battle. 'What say the Men?' tells ladies what men look for in a wife. Thankfulness and appreciation of her man. A woman who does not keep score making sure her husband does his equal duty. A hard-working lady to walk along side him. Respectful. Joyful. Affirmative (positive - the opposite of critical).

All-in-all, a very strange mixture of ultra-conservative and surprisingly charismatic views. Lots of scripture is used, but a couple times it is taken out of context, so be discerning as you read it. I totally agreed with her chapter on girls gathering knowledge of health and life skills. Very applicable.


gretchen said...

Wow, you finished it already! Must have been gripping. :)

I appreciate the points that you brought up and for the most part agree with the principles. The point where Pearl says you just have to be good enough to get a husband is definitely not Biblical, as you said. If we were to wait for a Perfect man, then we would never be married, much less waiting for ourselves to be perfect this side of heaven.

I would also clarify that people ought to be more concerned with following the Lord and being wrapped up in Him as our True Love, then basing everything in our lives around a future husband that may or may not show up. I think a wiser approach would be to put one's relationship with God first and foremost. When He comes first, then our relationships with others can only improve as we are conformed to the image of His Son.

gretchen said...

i wanted to clarify my comment. I meant to say that I agree with the principles you mentioned, not necessarily Pearl's. :)

TulipGirl said...

Michael and Debi Pearl have a long history of writing books and articles that are sometimes folksy and encouraging, and sometimes just so Biblicaly off-base that you have to wonder why any Christian reads them.

Keep looking to the Lord!

Grace and hope,