The Thinking 

When Men Ask Their Wives to Work

April 28, 2011


AT HER blog Home Living, Lydia Sherman argues that it is is wrong for a man to ask his wife to work. She writes:

There was a time when most people on the earth, even those not religious at all, would not argue about the women being allowed to stay home and be in charge of the inner workings of the household. Most people thought it was as natural as breathing the air. If anyone asked a woman, “Why do you stay home?” or “What do you do all day?” they would have been treated as though they were a dunce, and given a scathing glare. You simply did not ask questions like that of the dedicated, hard-working makers of homes.

Little by little, through modernist thinking and teachings in women’s studies classes, the freedom of women to be home as caregivers to their husbands and guides of their children, has been eroded, until now, even Christian preachers have been heard to say, “I think it is okay for women to be home, unless the family needs a second income,” “Women should be home unless there are no children,” or “Christian women should be full time homemakers, when possible.”

The “when possible” phrase becomes the exception clause that is added to Titus 2. I can’t imagine these men using the “when possible” phrase regarding really important doctrinal matters, but when it comes to money, the fake exception clause comes in handy. Imagine adding this fake exception to the verse commanding a man to provide for his own. I do not see such exceptions in the verses of the Bible which command men to provide for their families and women to be keepers of the home.


                              — Comments —

Dana writes:

This post really strikes a chord with me, for reasons you will understand fully as you read the story here. I am still struggling to have complete peace with our current situation, as I wholeheartedly agree with Mrs. Sherman and her exegesis of God’s Word pertaining to the situation of dual-income families. 

My husband and I have been married for almost four years: for more than half of our marriage, my husband has struggled with unemployment. It is an honorable thing – he was terminated from both of his jobs for standing up for his integrity, and I admire his character very much in these situations.  

After the initial shock of the loss of income, my husband began to express his desire that I do some kind of part-time work to help us stay afloat. The unemployment benefit coming from the loss of the second job was hardly enough to sustain one person; we had become a family of three with the birth of our daughter. I revolted, at first, and I must say violently: we almost divorced over this! Ultimately, I was able to find a strange kind of employment that fits our situation as best as possible under the circumstances, and I am able to take our daughter to work with me two or three days per week while I care for the children of another woman (a professional career-minded gal) while she works outside of her home. 

I think I have come to some measure of peace about this (as it does rub against the very grain of my deepest convictions about God’s design for man and woman), and I strongly believe that I should lay down my insistent will and submit and obey my husband in all things, and God will honor that.  

That being said, even this part-time “job” with our daughter in my presence (and not in daycare) has its effect upon our household, with consequences that my husband has to deal with due to his choice. On the evenings when I get home from work after five, there is no hot meal as there was when I was a full-time homemaker and he was working. Last night, I was not feeling well from the workday and he was the one responsible for bathing our daughter. Although he does not mind these things (he is an excellent father), it does diminish his masculinity when he becomes responsible for the meals and housekeeping and childcare. He may not say it, but he senses it. 

I am not sure what it is about the female mind which causes me to think and think about these things until I feel as though I am on a merry-go-round, but sometimes I imagine a world in which there was no option for this job I have. For instance, in a world where women were truly valued as keepers of the home, the woman I work for would likely be at home with her children instead of paying me to keep them part-time. There would be no option for me to seek employment like this, and we would just have to find a way to manage on my husband’s unemployment until such time as he found a suitable paying job! 

Now, I do not wish to be misunderstood. There is no element of self-pity in me; I am quite thankful that I have a husband who is thoughtful enough to realize that no amount of income is worth leaving our daughter in the care of other people and I am able to take her with me. There are many blessings tucked within the situation, albeit it flawed. I am simply saying that any work a woman does away from her home (even if it’s in another home) comes with a cost to the family, and that is what should be considered by any man who asks his wife to work.

 I will leave you with a little poem I wrote from the perspective of a mother working outside of her home (in one of my more passionate moments) pertaining to the subject at hand. May it provoke thought in husbands and wives alike.

 Three chapters of Genesis and Titus two?
Why, that’s Testament Old AND Testament New!
Those words aren’t for us, Babe, the times-they have changed…
Women and men, our roles re-arranged.
So, stop asking for sexy, ‘cause I’ve got to rest…
I’ve no energy left, my JOB gets my best!
You say you want chicken with Mac and with cheese?
No time for that, Love, I’ve a Boss to appease.
Do the dishes real tidy now, won’t you my Honey?
I’ll be home quite late, why, I’ve got to earn money!
Yes, I earned quite a bit and how I’d love to share,
But this morning I gave every bit to Day Care!
One income won’t do in our cities today;
The God of the Bible we have cast away…
After all, He can’t possibly do what He said,
And provide & make sure that our families are fed
Through the hard work & discipline of good, humble men
Who follow Him, wanting to cast aside sin.
What folly to think that somehow He faltered –
The plans for our genders, somehow He altered –
I’m making a plea and I hope you do read,
If you want dual incomes, it’ll cost you indeed…
But if it’s a helpmeet you want as your Bride,
I’ll be right there with you, standing firm by your side.


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