When the Roles are Reversed in a Godly Marriage (Part 1)…& a Link Up!
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!
<a href="http://joleneengle.com" title="The Alabaster Jar"><img src="http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l599/joleneengle/maritalonenessmondaysjarpinkbuttoncopy.png" alt="The Alabaster Jar" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Oh Jolene, isn’t it a good thing that God gives us wisdom and we don’t have to stay in our clueless state forever lol!?? Thanks for sharing your story!
Yes, Melinda, and He’ll give us wisdom if we just ask!
Oh my… I totally hear what you meant by leaving and he’s still in bed 🙂
As it is right now, I have to work, there are bills to be paid and he don’t make enough. I don’t mind it though. What I did mind was after we got married I was working 60 hrs a week and in the winter time he (landscaper) would get laid off and literally do nothing the whole entire day!
After about 3 years of that and some serious strain on our marriage, I quit a job I really enjoyed and began cleaning houses. That enabled me to cut my hours to 1/3 of what they had been and to still make the same amount. What a blessing that has been!
However, I was very adept at keeping a home when we got married, so there was none of the normal learning curve a new wife has in that area. 🙂
So blessed to hear that you figured out how to find a solution to your problem so your marriage wouldn’t suffer! To God be the glory.
I think that what eats at many women’s hearts is how women in the workfield are viewed today in our culture. It is a shame. So many women that I’ve come across express guilt that they want to be at home to raise their children or be a homemaker. Others feel guilt wanting to work outside the home. It can be a vicious circle. I think what we need to remember is that being a “home manager” (like that term?) IS a job and a very worthwhile job at that! I love reading over Proverbs 31 and letting it sink in how important that wife’s role was and how much she helped her husband by running the home. Thanks for sharing your story!!
You are so right about women feeling the guilt about not being able to stay home! Amen to being a ‘home manager’!
That’s awesome that you had the courage to become a wife and to change your work situation at the same time! thanks for the great post & for hosting & God bless!
All in the Lord’s strength, Laurie!
I had no idea that I had such a strong desire to stay at home until I got married. It was so bizarre to me that I was so good, and passionate, in my career and yet I was feeling such a strong pull away from it.
Mikah, isn’t interesting how we are so easily conditioned by the world, but God stirs in our hearts to want to pour into our husbands, children and homes?
My husband and I are both committed to our home but he’s the neat one so he washes the dishes and makes the bed.
Yep, some men will have a neat streak running through them more so than their wives!
Can you tell me where you read in the Bible that the husband is to provide for his family and that the wife is to help her husband, take care of the home and the children? Want to look at that for my own reflection. I have been the breadwinner in my home since our marriage 9 years ago. My husband works now but does not make enough for the four of us to live on, and before this job he was in college and the graduate school.
In Genesis 3:17- And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
1 Timothy 5:8- 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.
For the woman…
The older women are to admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:4,5
Proverbs 31:10-31 passage
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
But what if my fiance IS the one who likes to keep the house clean and makes the bed and does the dishes as soon as he eats? What if I WANT to work because I want to do something good in this life? Why does it have to be this odd thing that I want to be a Godly wife and make money for our family at the same time. I feel like you’re almost condemning wives who choose to work. Like this will always cause problems and staying at home never will. I can tell you right now, staying at home would create a very large amount of bitterness, resentment, and depression in my heart. I am not trying to be negative or argue. I am just trying so hard to follow God but I don’t feel like all these things that you say are “natural” for men and women to feel apply to me and it makes me feel so incredibly lost.
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