Helpmeet by Lola Babalola
The question is, are marriages made in heaven?
When you pick up the papers to read, you are fed with stories and pictures of marriages that have broken down. Some have been marries for a while, some for far much longer. It is those long marriages of twenty plus years that sadden me. A friend of mine who had been married for twenty four years walked away and I felt really bad. If you had stuck with for that long, why walk now? Then you read about the wife killing the husband, do you stick an association where mutual respect has been downgraded to zero? I know a young woman who says she really does not think marriage is meant for her, because she could not be sure the gentleman of today might not turn out a monster later. Why do people get married and picking from my guest today, what role is the woman to play? I do remember that the Lord is reputed to have said he He was creating a helpmeet for the man. HELPMEET. That was the word that struck me when I saw the book. It resonated with me. It is not a book for Christians alone but for women of all ages, creed and race. That was what I found comforting. I did not have to be of a particular faith. I could read it as a manual, a guide, letit be my friend on a lonely confused night.
One hundred and forty five pages of inspirational and intuitive sensing of the role of the woman in this wonderful creation.
The cover art was also interesting as it spokes volumes, the deep roots of life together on a journey holding hands and connecting.
It is a fairly long read, but I am sure you will not notice as I had to restrain myself from asking endless questions.
1. Let’s get to know you
My name is Oluwafunmilola Babalola. I am an intercessor and the wife of Olajide Babalola, an Architect and generational reformer. We are both ordained Pastors and family counselors. We are blessed with six beautiful children. My professional background is strategic communications and I have quite a few years of experience from both the private and development sectors, so I consult across both sectors but my job title these days is Mum.
2. Is this your first book?
I have been writing for many years and have published my poetry on the world wide web. I am also the Founder of a pure play company called Feelnubia.com, where I have been writing for about 6 years. HELPMEET is however, my first published work.
3. Why did you write this book?
I must make a quick clarification. I will say I was the Editor but I cannot claim to be the Author of this book.
Back to the why:
Although I shared some of my personal testimonies in it, HELPMEET was written on the instruction and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to encourage women to contend for marriage of their dreams by equipping themselves with the knowledge of God’s original plan for a wife in the life of her husband. That knowledge liberated me as I wrote and read over the manuscript. It continues to take me closer to God’s heart for my marriage as I read it and I am blessed by the numerous testimonies of both single and married women who have read both the manuscript and the published work.
4. Do you think marriages are made in heaven?
I believe that each one of us is created as a unique expression of a multifaceted and gloriously complex God who is as real to us as we allow Him to be. If you invite Him, He will guide you through pretty much every aspect of your life the least of which is not marriage. In fact, I venture to say that marriage is the most important individual decision you will ever make in your life, second only to the decision to stop blindly driving one’s own life and hand it over to the direction of the only Person competent to navigate one through life’s journey. So, my answer to your question is not a simple refutation or affirmation. If you invite God into the preparation, selection and martial process, your marriage could very well be made in heaven!
5. In your view, what would be grounds to seek divorce?
This answer would depend on the worldview to which you subscribe. These days, I live my life for Jesus Christ and the Bible, which is my Standard Operating Manual (if you will) prescribes adultery as grounds for divorce. In practise however, there are many reasons why a person might seek or welcome divorce. The Bible also shows us that Jesus is big on love and forgiveness, while clearly stating that God hates divorce and for good reason too. Some of the reasons a couple might find themselves at the brink of divorce are logical outcomes of the foundation of that marriage in the first place. When we rush through our preparations and decision to marry, it is inevitable that some signs we ignored or trivialized would come back to haunt us. Furthermore, many of us do not appreciate the gravity of the covenant of marriage so these days, you hear married persons say casually: ‘I will walk’ over seemingly trivial issues.
Divorce can solve some problems but it is not always the magic pill that our fast-food convenience culture presents it to be. Many marital or relationship problems persist beyond the divorce, as couples that have children continue to deal with one another nonetheless. Divorce does not take away my poor decisions, immature management or reaction to a problem. It does not wipe out my own mistakes. It passes the buck somewhat but it oftentimes compounds the problem. My encouragement to anyone considering divorce is that each person should honestly examine their reasons. Is this situation remediable, forgivable? If not, why?
“There are women who have turned marital challenges and betrayals such as domestic abuse, adultery, even homosexual confessions around and built strong happy marriages out of the ruins of such calamity, while others have understandably found it impossible to navigate past those deeply difficult and painful experiences”.
Also, from another section I quote:
” It Takes A Life-Time To Correct A Marital Misstep
Even after divorce, couples find that the scars of their previous marriage lingers, colouring every subsequent relationship and interaction for as long as they live. It becomes a condition many live with, learn to manage but never quite overcome. Perhaps that is why God hates divorce because it creates a wound in our spirits from which we hardly ever completely recover. Even after they are healed, these wounds tend to cause a mutation from the scarring such that we are no longer quite who we were before we got married to that person and can never return to being the person we would have been had we not been through the experience of a failed marriage. This sobering thought shshould make us unwaveringly determined to get marriage right the first and only time.”
6. How would you advise a battered wife or an abandoned one?
In life, we have little control over the things that happen to us. The only part of life’s experiences we control is how we react to the curve balls that might be thrown to us. Both men and women have experienced physical or emotional abuse as well as abandonment. Some abusers are psychologically handicapped and require intervention to amend their responses to stress. Some find that in different relationships or circumstances, they are not aggressive or predatory. Often times, abuse is accompanied by other behavioral problems but all marital problems have a cause and effect. The effect might be disproportional to the cause but it has a cause nonetheless.
Some abuse might be accompanied with signs apparently escalating towards resulting in or serious physical or emotional damage. If the victim seeks divorce or finds him/herself served divorce papers, the truth is that divorce (while greatly damaging) is not the unpardonable sin. With wisdom and divine guidance, people can move on from divorce beyond the conventional levels.
If you have problems in your marriage, you could choose to go it alone or turn to popular wisdom. An uncommon option is in the book HELPMEET and I quote: If you find yourself confronted with marital problems,
“…you need to return to the manufacturer and turn in your warranty. Go to the Lord, the author of marriage and… give Him a blank cheque and wait on Him for instructions, which you must follow to the letter however foolish they may sound. He is able to turn around for good what is meant for the trash cans but that wisdom and technology is not in any man’s possession. You must wait on Him though, for your own specific instructions, rather than following the instructions given to someone else who was in similar circumstances.”
I must add however, that if you consider your life to be in danger, you would be best advised to first put some physical distance between you and your assailant, while you await further instructions or seek godly counsel.
Should parents help in determining the helpmeet of their children
As a parent, your influence on your children’s decision about their marriage is not so much in talking them into or out of a choice but something that begins long before you the parent even get married. As soon as you become aware that you are to be married one day, you should begin to pray about your yet-to-be-unveiled spouse, your life together and your children (biological and spiritual). This perspective adds a weightiness to your own decision which will certainly not be lost on your children as you recount it over the years to come. Marriage makes or mars destinies: yours and that of your seed after you!
One piece of wisdom that I acquired through penning this book is the realization that each one of us is part of an intricate whole. Your story began long before you were born and continues long after you would have died. You are a unique, wonderfully unduplicable expression of God and the culmination of the dreams and hopes of many, many of your progenitors who came before you, as well as an ancestor to generations to come. Your decisions and choices will impact your children and their children either as examples and a blessing or lessons and a burden to them. That singular perspective will guide your children as well as it will do for you.
8. I am intrigued by your choice of the word helpmeet? Please explain.
It was not my choice, actually. Please remember that earlier on, I admitted that I wrote this book by instruction and inspiration. In that sense, I was simply the Messenger.
Having said that, I do know though that the book’s title is taken from the scripture in the exact form that it is recorded in the King James’ version at the point in scriptural reckoning when man’s need for a wife was articulated by God. The Lord said: ‘I will make [man] a help meet for him’ This means a help that is apt, just right, precise and commensurate with his need. Help meet in the original text of the Bible means ‘strength’, which is a paradigm shift from the way women are perceived; as the weaker vessel.
I believe the title was chosen for that reason, to unveil the deeper and true meaning of a wife’s identity and purpose in her husband’s life. To quote from the book:
“While at first glance, the difference [between WIFE and HELPMEET] might appear to be nothing but a matter of semantics; it is actually a matter of perspective. This perspective is often what determines the failure or success of a union.”
9. What is your perspective of the true role of the wife to have a blissful marriage?
It came as a surprise to me as I read the manuscript that the true role of a wife is to live for another, to be a “life laid down”, laying down her strength and pouring out her life in obedience to God as a demonstration of God’s unconditional, unrelenting and unselfish love for her family. To quote from the book:
“It Is Not About You
Women have been sold a lie. That lie is the idea that happiness in life is about what we can get from other people, how much they love us, value us and give us. Nothing is further from the truth. A self-centred life is a very hollow life and the stuff that misery is made of. TrTrue happiness comes from service to others. Loving THEM, giving to THEM, valuing THEM and serving THEM. ‘Except a grain falls to the ground, it yet abides alone’
No fruit ever becomes a tree by sitting pretty in the fridge. It must be eaten and its seed thrown in the dirt, covered by earth, to all intents and purposes it must die: rot and decay first, before its essence is regenerated, then it germinates and begins to grow. If it wants to remain un-un-eaten, clean, pretty and comfortable, that fruit will not amount to much by itself. It will ultimately rot and be thrown away, not even fit to be eaten anymore. Yet, within that one fruit is a seed that has the potential to become a forest, if only it would let itself be thrown in the dirt and be covered by earth. When we learn to live for others, we discover that the beauty of love is buried deep within our sacrifice.”
10. Share your thoughts on the following as they affect a marriage
a) drunken husband
b) flirtatious wife
c) disrespectful children
The foundation of a marriage is a strong determinant of its outcome. The Bible tells us that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all”. The effect of problems on a marriage are determined long before those problems arise. What is your philosophy of life? Where do you get your compass, your navigational tool for marriage? Will you permit problems to derail your marriage or strengthen it? That perspective is one which we tend to choose before we embark on the voyage of marriage. Did my marriage vows include the words: “…For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health…”? Did I even hear them or did I just mumble them without any consideration for what I was saying or what the words mean? Some couples now leave those words out. That already says a lot about where that marriage is going. The Scriptures tell us about two houses: one build upon sand and another built upon a rock. We learn that WHEN the storms come, the one built on the rock would stand through the storm. Please note that the scriptures did not say IF the storms come, it said WHEN. Problems are inevitable. They just present in different forms.
Marriage is a covenant, a vow, an oath between you as an individual and God. Your spouse just happens to be a beneficiary of that covenant. What excuse will you give God for not delivering on your vows, which you made with your free will?
11. Who do you intend this book for?
This book is written for women who are married or for single ladies whom marriage is a desirous estate. As it says in the preface:
” This book is written for both Christians and non-Christians alike, in response to the call of the Lord to inspire hope and faith in the hearts of women all around the world. This is a call to women to understand that God wants a wonderful life for them and marriage does not need to be excluded from that life. Marriage is not a journey for the feeble-hearted nor the double-minded, but you do not need to give up on your ideal of marriage. This book is written to give you a clear vision of God’s purpose in designing marriage and will help you to understand that purpose in order to give focus to your desires and aspirations. It will help you to contend for the marriage that God intends for you to have, one in which you are fulfilling purpose and within that purpose, you will be able to enter into peace, all round prosperity and walk in your destiny.”
“More women than ever are opting to pursue [other] goals to the total exclusion of marriage. If that is you, this book might not be of any interest to you”.
12. Please give us links to how we can get a copy of the book
Please search for the book on Kaymu, Amazon (Book) worldwide or Waterstones Bookshops UK, using the search parameters: HELPMEET, LOLA BABALOLA
13. Will you be interested in answering questions on a counseling basis from readers of your book?
It will be my great privilege.
14. Give us a an address where we can send such questions
Kindly email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for honoring me and reviewing my work.