Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
In many of the marriage books and articles that I have read, there was often an emphasis on the second half of Genesis 2:18. Wives were given lots of ways to be a help to their husbands. But what I don’t remember seeing much emphasis on was the first half of the verse. It was usually passed over very quickly. That might have been because it’s obviously true. If Adam had been alone on planet earth without someone suitable for him, he would have been a very lonely guy who didn’t have the kind of help he needed.
For a long time, this was as much as I saw in the first part of verse 18. That all changed in recent years when I was hearing from more than one wife at the same time that her husband wanted her to spend more time with him and pay more attention to him. I noticed how this comes up in my marriage too. My husband likes my attention and spending time with me. With these things in mind I couldn’t help but think about Genesis 2:18 and wonder if it held meaning beyond Adam’s immediate need. Was it more than the obvious? Couldn’t the first half of the verse apply to husbands today like the last half does?
I don’t know if the Lord meant Genesis 2:18 to have a bigger meaning, but it is easy to see that it is not good for a husband to be alone, at least not when he doesn’t want be alone. (I am referring to an ongoing problem, not an afternoon when he’s going to miss you because you are going to a baby shower.) Sometimes he might want or need to be alone and there is no harm done. There are all sorts of good and necessary reasons that couples do things apart from each other. That’s normal and ok. There are also circumstances beyond control that might separate them for a time. But if a husband is alone on a regular basis without understandable cause and feels lonely, then there can be problems. Left unchecked, it could damage his relationship with his wife. A husband who is repeatedly not receiving time or attention from his wife could feel neglected, feel that he comes last, or feel like he doesn’t matter. You know, all the things any of us would feel if this was happening to us. He might slip into anger, resentment, depression, or apathy. That will lead nowhere good for either of them. It’s possible that a husband could feel lonely and not even tell his wife. Communication in marriage is so important for so many reasons. Nipping things like this in the bud is on one of them.
Do you think about this much? Do you know how your husband would answer if you asked him if he thinks that you give him the time and attention he desires? It’s worth evaluating. A fundamental way to love your husband is to be there for him. There is much that can be done to give our time and attention and keep our men from feeling alone. Some are small things. Some are big. Here are seven things that could help. Do something else? Please share in the comments so others can benefit by it.
1 Make your husband your main priority Life is busy and it is all too easy for our husbands to get what’s left over of us at the end of the day. Sometimes that is little or even nothing. There are a lot of demands and responsibilities that we must respond to including things like work, the house, and the kids. It can be draining. We can also give lots of time to personal pursuits and interests. Even serving at church or other ministry work can take a big chunk of time. It may not be our heart’s intention, but these circumstances can create too much emotional and physical space between us and our husbands. Sometime we don’t even realize it’s happening till the damage is done. Taking a moment to evaluate how things are going can be revealing. If honest reflection reveals that your husband has been neglected of late, I would like to suggest that you shake things up and make him your main priority. After the Lord and following Him, seek to put your husband first. You might want to reevaluate your schedule together daily or weekly to make sure he is cared for properly. Keep revisiting this too. You could lose site of it. It happens to me. Too many times I have needed to shift my focus back.
2Give your husband your undivided attention When you are together with your husband, does he have your undivided attention, or are you preoccupied with checking messages on your phone or with other things? This can range from annoying to truly damaging to you marriage. For an example of the latter, one wife shared with me how her excessive phone use was seriously jeopardizing her marriage. Thankfully she came to see the damage it was doing, and got it under control. Giving your undivided attention does not mean that you only need to look out for excessive distractions. A while back, my husband and I both noticed that I was occasionally distracted by my laptop when we were talking. As a result, I determined that as soon as my husband came in the room to talk I would put my laptop lid down. It was a matter of respect. He deserves my full attention and shouldn’t have to compete with a screen. When your husband is near, try to put the phone or any other distraction down and focus on him. This can be challenging if you have a strong habit, but it does get easier. Certainly, almost anything on that screen can wait.
3Pay attention to your husband’s interests Another way that our husbands can be alone is when we do not pay attention to their interests. Does your husband have a hobby or enjoy talking about sports or politics? Do you graciously listen when he is excited and wants to talk? If so, wonderful! I’m sure it’s a real blessing to him. If instead, you’re at the point of being tired of hearing about it or not interested, I encourage you to pray that your heart be changed about this. Make room for his joys and listen with love. Share every part of his life with him as much as possible. Let him enjoy fully the benefit of being one.
4Listen to your husband’s work woes and encourage him Do you make time to listen to and encourage your husband when he comes home and there is something stressful going on at work, or do you cause him to work things out alone? If he wants an ear, lend it. Knowing you are on his team and that he has your support can be a huge encouragement for him. My husband used to quote a line in a song that said, “She will take me from this world, then she’ll gently take the world away from me.” I took those words to heart and worked at doing that for him. Being there for your husband after he’s had a hard day at work can sooth him and make his life better and happier.
5Care for your husband’s heart Don’t let him be alone when anything is troubling his heart if he doesn’t want to be alone. Offer him your time to talk about it. For example, if there is stress with the extended family or issues with a friend, listen and offer him all the support that you can. He will be stronger with you by his side. If you think his position is wrong, you can respectfully offer alternatives while still encouraging him. Of course, he may not be wrong; so it is important to have humility.
6Live your lives in Christ together Have you ever considered whether or not your husband is alone spiritually? If you both know the Lord, do you live your lives in Christ together or apart? Do you pray together and discuss the word of God together? Do you support each other in struggles against sin? Is the joy of being loved by God shared openly? I understand there could be all sorts of reasons beyond your control that might prohibit these things from happening; but if your husband is alone in these areas and you know he prefers not to be, I encourage you to take any steps you can to change things. It is good to be one with him in this way. One thing you can surely do for him spiritually is pray for him. This is true whether your husband is a Christian or not. Praying for him can join you together in a special way. If your husband does not know the Lord, try not to create negativity between you and him because of it. That negativity forms distance that need not be. Love him, be with him in every way possible, and gently live and share your faith respectfully.
7Be there sexually There is one more area I will comment on. It’s sex. I am positive that this is an area that we should not cause our husbands to be alone. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5) How are things going in this department? Do you say not tonight more than yes? Being together with your husband is so important. Paul gives one reason. Depriving one another can leave us open to temptations. Those temptations could lead to thoughts and actions that can hurt a relationship and defile the marriage bed. (Hebrews 13:4) This danger does not just exist for the one being deprived. A wife who is not attending to her proper union could be tempted herself to look elsewhere for intimacy be it emotional or physical. Even before things get to that point, not being together for long periods of time without a mutually understood cause can weaken the bond between you and your husband. This is because sex has a way of being powerfully bonding. It is a fabulous perk of marriage that can nurture intimacy both in and out of the bedroom. It can satisfy physically and also put feelings into action. It communicates love, shows desire, and demonstrates that you care for your husband’s desires and happiness. Being available for him is respectful and that show of respect can have lingering affects well after being together. Each couple will experience these things differently; but safe to say, sex is important to maintain for many reasons.
When sex is withheld, emotional space between you and your husband can develop and get wider as the space between you physically remains. Things can spiral downward over time. No sex – frustration – hurt feelings – resentment – less Intimacy. No sex – frustration – hurt feelings – resentment – less Intimacy… Why let it get there? I am not saying that sex is the end all, but it is part of the equation of maintaining a healthy and happy relationship.
I understand it may take effort and maybe even some planning ahead; but hopefully, it is within your power to do so. Granted, sometimes things really can’t be changed and can interfere. But if things can be adjusted, they really should be. If you have been saying no all too often; hopefully, it has not been out of manipulation, anger, selfishness, or payback. If you have been causing your husband to be alone in this area, please pray about it. Is there a scheduling or energy problem or is it something deeper? This can be a sensitive matter with lots of feelings; but the sooner you can sort it out, the healthier your marriage will be. Additionally, submitting to his requests can help you fulfill your role as a Christian wife. Dare you go so far as to confess to him and let him know you will be there for him from now on baring any understandable obstruction? This can bring about some surprising changes in your relationship. I have seen this have a very positive affect for couples.
There are probably countless other ways for you to make sure that your husband is not alone. Keep watching for opportunities. And as the days go on, reevaluate. Sometimes we can fall back into old routines that cause our husbands to receive less from us or we can slip in the giving department. It happens unintentionally, but needs to be guarded against. When your husband has your time, attention, and support, it will be a real blessing to him; and you will truly be that helper suitable to him.
What if you are the one who feels alone?
If your marriage experience is the complete reversal and you feel alone, my heart goes out to you. Loneliness can be so hard to bear. If you are feeling this, have you talked to your husband about it? He may not even know. So many times I have heard wives pour out their hearts about a problem with their husbands only to find out they’ve never talked to them about it. I encourage you to pray and communicate with your husband. If you are not able to talk with him or have tried to no avail, it may be time to get help if possible. If your husband is a Christian, you may wish to consider prayerfully selecting a Christian man that you trust to intercede for you. Hopefully this man could encourage your husband from the Bible that part of his role as a husband is to love and cherish his wife. That would include making sure she does not feel lonely. If your husband is not a Christian, perhaps you know someone who could talk with your husband about it. If not, remember that our hope is in God. Trusting Him in this sadness can give you the strength to do what is right: to keep loving your husband and being good to him. And it’s ok to pray that the Lord softens your husband’s heart. Please don’t let a lot of time go by before trying to help things move in a better direction.
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This was really good Sharon, thanks!
Thank you, Jennifer. You’re welcome.
Wise words, Sharon. I think I might have my husband read it so we can talk about it.
I’m wondering how you are doing. We have lots of catching up to do!
Hi Susan, I think it’s a great idea to talk about these things with your husband.
I’m doing ok, but things have been harder in the health department lately. I’m writing an update that I hope to post very soon. Really, it will be a prayer request as we pursue a new treatment.
I hope things are going well with you. If you’d like to send an email, I’d like to read an update about your church situation. I might not be able to respond as I’d like, but I am wondering how things are going. I hope and pray things have gotten better.
Thank you, that was very well written. I am guilty with my phone use. I will be putting it away when my husband and I are together, reading that part was very convicting and I do not want him to feel he comes second over an electronic device!
God Bless You
Thank you, Christine. It’s wonderful that you will be making that change. I’m guessing the phone issue is common. It’s all too easy to get distracted. Your husband is blessed to have a wife who desires to make things better for him. God bless you too!
Great article, Sharon. You are wise beyond your years.
Thank you, Eleanore