I’m closing up the Helping Your Husband to Lead series with this post about when the gender roles are reversed in marriage. What started this series was a letter from a dear wife that was struggling with this issue in her marriage. I know she’s not alone in this struggle because I’ve heard it and seen it displayed by countless husbands and wives, and I somewhat briefly experienced it in my own marriage, rather I should say, in my own contentious mind!
I think this is such an important topic that I felt it was best to split this post up into two parts. Today I’ll gave you my story and tomorrow I’ll follow up with some how-to’s regarding this concern.
Before I married my Beloved, I had plans to quit my job so I could I be a helpmate to him in his business. (I desired to be like the Titus 2 woman and the Proverbs 31 woman whether I knew a thing about running a home or not.) Helping my husband in his business was the ideal situation for us. He was an entrepreneur and I had strong business skills.
Once our honeymoon was over I headed back into my place of employment and gave my boss a 5 week notice that I would be leaving the company.
I must tell you that during those brief weeks of working and being married it was quite interesting! Since I was transitioning into my new role of Godly wife and homemaker (which I knew absolutely nothing about, btw!), along with learning to assist my husband in his business, and still working full-time for my current employer, things did not go so well for me. I felt like a fish out of water.
I remember one morning oh so well! It was about 3 weeks into our marriage. My alarm clock had gone off again around 5:30 a.m. I needed to be up, showered, dressed, and on the freeway so I could sit in the Los Angeles traffic in order to get to work on time. As I dragged my bum out of bed, I looked over at my new husband who was sleeping peacefully, again! I wasn’t too happy about that scenario because I was the one going to work and he was the one sleeping in. Something didn’t add up in my mind. (Being that my man was self-employed I had zero understanding of what that lifestyle looked like when we were newly married. I had no comprehension of the freedoms that he had nor the responsibilities!)
But what I did understand was the Bible. The husband was to provide for the family. The wife was to help her husband, keep the home, and raise the children. Our plans was for my husband to be the sole provider and I was going to assist him and take care of the home.
So that one morning I blurted out to my Beloved, “You need to get up!” Those words woke him up, alright. And thankfully he wasn’t annoyed with my tone because he just smiled. It helped that we were newly married; friends and lovers, because in many cases, those words with that tone wouldn’t have gone over so well! 🙂
I didn’t realize it at the time but what was taking place in my heart was that I was becoming resentful and bitter over our situation. I was bent out of shape that I had to get up early, sit in traffic, put in my hours at work, come home and make dinner, go grocery shopping, keep the home picked up, help him out in his business, and then do it all again the next day. He, on the other hand, looked like he was living on ‘Easy Street’. (Ridiculous, wasn’t it? Especially since I was the one who wanted to give my employer so much time to find my replacement! It was my own stupid fault I was in this situation, however, I wasn’t bright enough to realize it at that time.)
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:14,15
Of course not all marriages start off like ours. (And not all Christian brides are as clueless as I was on how to keep a home and cook for her husband!)
For some, the wife doesn’t enter into the workforce at all or she’ll stay home when they have children.
Other couples will not hold fast to the view of the husband and wife having distinct Biblical roles in marriage. Perhaps they are either new in Christ and they haven’t been taught the differing roles, or they may know God’s Word but don’t agree with the premise of it, or not every couple that gets married start off their marriage as Believers in Christ; some come to the Lord later in life or a spouse may not come to Christ at all.
Then there are others who have circumstances that might dictate otherwise…
I know a woman who would have loved to stay home when she married her man, but that was not a part of God’s plan. Her man fell ill and he couldn’t continue working so she had to become the bread-winner for the family.
Other women work because their husbands want them to.
Some wives work because their husbands are out of a job.
And of course you have some wives who choose to work. When you have both spouses working this can cause quite a bit of contention regarding who does what with the household chores. That would have been my scenario at the beginning of our marriage! 🙂
What was emulated in my home growing up is that my mom had several jobs all at once and she still kept the home. My dad had one job but he didn’t vacuum or dust or keep the place picked up (unless my mom went on a rant! 🙂 )
I once knew a gal who didn’t have to work outside of the home but she chose to before she had children. One day she confided in me telling me how she was annoyed with the fact that she left for work before her husband and when she came home she found that the bed wasn’t made and the dishes were left in the sink unwashed. I smiled. 🙂 I understood her situation. But what she didn’t understand was that women have more of a desire to nest; to create a nice home for their family. Now, this is coming from me, a woman who did not have any domestic skills before marriage! I’m self-taught or rather I should say, I’m self-failed and it’s because of this that I have learned! But here’s my point. As non-Martha Stewart that I am, I am more so than my husband (with the exception of his sewing skills.) My husband wasn’t going to make the bed while I was at work! It’s not something that would have crossed his mind, just like it wasn’t something that crossed my friend’s husband’s mind.
I have found that whatever the situation these women are in, generally speaking, they are the ones who still run the home.
Husbands are not nearly concerned about keeping the home like wives are.
But when a woman works outside of the home we have this tendency to think that our husband is cleaning the home while we’re away. Now maybe this takes place if the man has some serious OCD tendencies, but that’s not the norm. Or he might be cleaning if he knows his wife will get on his case when she walks through the door!
Tomorrow I’ll follow up on how to work through these issues.
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Now bloggers, it’s time to link up your posts! I’m looking for posts on any and all things related to being a wife, i.e. homemaking ideas, ways you minister to your husband, dating ideas, and/or hearing what the Lord is telling you about your most important earthly relationship!
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