When a Husband is Unwilling to Work
Could a man be so wrapped up in his hobby that he refuses to work and provide for his family? Yep, it’s possible and sadly, it’s happening in our society today.
Here’s one woman’s story…
My husband and I just recently found out that we are expecting our first child. I am having concerns that we will not be able to provide for the baby, because I’m the only one working and I only make $9000 (with government assistance) a year while attending college. My husband has expressed that he is going to stay home with the baby and take care of the house, so that I can work all because he believes that he will be able to play video games all day, (his words). I told him that it is better for me to stay home for the first year and that I would appreciate it if he finds a job. All our talk leads to intense arguments. I have asked nicely, but sadly, I have also nagged about my concerns. And then he says I don’t show him respect. I want to do this the Godly way, but I do not know how to handle this situation. What would you do?
Click below to hear my response.
Jolene: Oh yes, this is a difficult situation for a new wife to be in, especially carrying their first child. There’s lots of fears and anxiety there, and on top of the hormones that you’re going through in that – just in having your body make a baby. I don’t know if this husband is a believer. I don’t know if this husband was not working before marriage, if they got saved after they got married? But the Bible is very clear.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 says, “Even while we were with you we gave you this command: Those unwilling to work will not get to eat. Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and we urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.”
So the husband in this one – he’s just living the party life, right, Love? How wonderful is that to just get up whenever you want, eat whenever you want, and play video games all day long. Unfortunately this wife married what sounds like a boy instead of a man. So what can you do? I, honestly, I would probably, when the baby comes, I’d quit working, ya know? That’s my thought because this man is commanded by God to work.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, “ But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
He is commanded by God to work! Not play video games. So if life becomes increasingly difficult and the electricity is turned off and he no longer has his bag of chips that he can eat while he’s playing his video games this might cause this man to stand up and decide that – “Yeah, it’s now time to start providing for my family.”
Eric: Right, and the Bible – whether he’s a believer or not, the Bible is still true…
Eric: …and it still applies even if he’s not a believer he’s still to provide for his family. Bottom line. This society has propagated this idea that men can act like women and women can act like men, which is the problem we see here. He wants her to work and he wants to stay home and what he thinks will be a free ride.
Frankly, if he does the job right it’s a harder job to stay home and take care of the home and the family, I believe, than it is to go out and get a job and finish that work and come home at the end of the day.
Jolene: Right, right. And as you said, whether he’s a believer or not. The reason why I asked if he’s a believer is because this man might not have the Bible as his authority so that’s why he might kind of pitch his fit, but when I read on here that “I don’t show him respect” that says, well maybe he is a believer because he uses that word. So this wife says “I didn’t handle it correctly. I’ve been a nag before.”
Obviously you don’t want to be a nag and you want to do this the godly way. The godly way is: iron sharpens iron. You rebuke him. You go to the Matthew 18 principle. Turn to Matthew 18 about halfway down and it will teach you how to deal with a believer, one who is in sin, and clearly this man is in sin. I know society won’t address that because it’s like, “Oh I can’t believe that you’re saying that a man who wants to stay home is in sin.” Well, the Bible is clear. He’s to toil the field. That’s the curse that God gave him.
Let’s switch the emotions to the wife because the wife is freaking out. No money, I’m pregnant and he’s not working. The last thing a wife wants to do is fully rely on the Lord for an income.
Eric: Here’s what she’s really got to do: She’s got to hunker down and look down the road for several years and think, ok, the worst case scenario is that it might be tough, but she and her child will be provided for.
Jolene: Yes. The Lord will take care of her.
Eric: They will be taken care of but she’s got to understand that if she does not stay within her role then she’s going to facilitate his worthlessness.
Jolene: Right! She’s enabling his sin and that’s really the key right here. How convenient for him to cry out disrespect, but if a woman were to cry out “you’re not working” then all of a sudden the man’s really quick to say, “Oh you’re not respecting me!”
Eric: Right. So what’s he gonna feel like when the electricity gets turned off or the water gets turned off and his family and friends and the church and whoever else knows it and she’s just like, “Well, you know, we bathe with cold water or (if we can find water) or we use candles to light the house.” If she sticks by her guns he will have to step up. He’ll have to.
Jolene: Right. So the Matthew 18 principles are really important. I pray that you have a home church that you can go to. The Bible talks about, obviously going to your brother or sister in the Lord, and in this case it would be your brother in the Lord, and say, “Hey, this is what the Word says. I’m not here to nag you about it. I’m not here to condemn or criticize you for it. But I need you to do your part as a man of God.”
Now he may be kind of like, “Well that’s nice for you and I’m not going to listen. I’m just going to play my video games.” Then you can go to another brother or sister in the Lord and they come back you speak to him together. If he still doesn’t listen then you go to the church.
So that is the principle that you take in rebuking a brother or sister in the Lord. Yeah! He’s not gonna like it. He will claim disrespect all day long. He will say that you’re throwing him under the bus but in all reality he’s not doing his part. It’s one thing if he’s having a difficult time finding a job, but that’s not his case. His case is, “I don’t want to grow up and be a man.”
Eric: Her standard is God’s standard, not her husband’s standard.
Eric: Obviously the video games are going to be short lived if he doesn’t work because there’s not going to be any electricity for that to happen.
Jolene: Right! In this case you’ve just got to tell him, this is how it is, and you don’t even have to have a nasty tone. You can just come to him with humility and say, “I’m sorry that I nagged in the past. I nagged before because I was fearful! I nagged before because of the anxiety with bringing in this new life, and so forth.”
I would certainly stand firm on the Word of God and still be loving and kind as you bring it to him and try and encourage him. “Hey, I’ll help you find a job, and so forth.” So you’re not coming at him as you’re parenting. You’re not parenting him. You’re not his enemy in any of this.
One way to look at it is that you’re his sister in the Lord and the two of you are moving forward in your marriage and trying to honor the Lord in this. Obviously if he’s not a believer, or if he claims to be a believer and he’s not wanting to follow what the Word has to say, I’d still kind of squat. I’d give birth to my child and I’d stay home and the Lord will still take care of you. It will be hard but He will still take care of you. At that point, your husband will have to decide: Will I continue to remain like a child or will I become a man at that point?
A lot of times as a wife, we went through the times my husband – he’s self employed – so there were times when there was no money and I would get fearful as a wife. We want that financial security, but I knew that that was my husband’s role. And I also knew that if I wanted to step forward and try to help him financially it would be really hard for him and his sense of self worth in being the provider for the family. I just really had to have that faith and know that I’m God’s daughter and he is going to provide for me. So that’s my take on it. Do what God has called you to do. Do it in a loving way and don’t be afraid to rebuke him in love if he is a believer.
Eric: This is where the rubber meets the road, because for those of us who are believers and followers of Jesus. That’s all great when everything is going wonderfully but really our faith is defined when we actually have to rely on Him and we have to take this stand. That’s really when the world looks at us and says, “Yeah, you’re a Christian when everything’s good, you’re fine, but when it’s not, where’s your faith?”
Jolene: Right. I’m sorry that she’s even had to go through this…
Eric: Of course!
Jolene: …being married to a man who is not emotionally mature enough to be a man.
Eric: Of course but this could really, really strengthen her faith, number one, and number two, strengthen her witness to other believers or unbelievers.
Jolene: Yeah, or unbelievers, yes. And as well to her husband. She could come in a very humble, gracious way but still very strong on the Word of God. “Hey, I’m here to help you but this is the path that is God honoring.”
So those are my thoughts.
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