Who does what in the home matters! God has given husbands and wives unique roles that he wants us to joyfully fulfill. This truth is under intense attack from our worldly culture. So we must carefully consider God’s Word and strive to apply it in the nitty-gritty of daily life.
Of course there is not a one-size-fits-all method for application but there is one mandate for all. It will look different from home to home, but the principle is fixed.
We must seek to avoid two opposite errors:
Error #1: We expect our husband to be our helper.
Scripture is clear that the wife is to help the husband; he is not her assistant (Gen 2:18). The wife is the home manager (1 Tim 5:14); the husband does not share equally in this responsibility.
So how do we avoid this error?
As women, we must first cultivate a biblical conviction about our role in the home. Then, together with our husbands, we must ask some hard questions:
-Am I fulfilling my God-given role to manage my home?
-Do I think of myself (and therefore act) as my husband’s helper, or do I think of him as my assistant?
-Have I allowed laziness, selfishness or anxiety to become excuses for not fulfilling my role in the home?
-Do I take advantage of my husband’s servant’s attitude to the point where he has too much responsibility in the home?
-Does my husband’s help in the home hinder him from providing, leading, or serving in the ways that God has called him?
-What (if anything) needs to change so that I am fulfilling the role God has assigned to me?
These are hard questions about a hard job. But God is faithful to provide all the grace we need to fulfill the task to which He has called us.
We need God’s help to avoid the second error as well:
Error #2: We are resentful when our husband doesn’t help at all.
Laziness is never excusable. Because this is a blog for women, however, we won’t address the husband’s sin at length; but suffice it to say, Scripture has some rather scary things to say about the man (or woman) who does not work hard, or worse yet, a husband who refuses to provide for his family (Prov. 12:24, 27, 19:15, 1 Tim. 5:18).
If we honestly believe we our fulfilling our role as home manager, but our husband is lazy and unwilling to serve in the home when needed, what should we do? Here are a few cursory thoughts:
1. Stop looking at our husband. His laziness may be a genuine trial, but it should not be the determiner of our joy. If we are resentful or dissatisfied, that comes from the sin in our own hearts. It can reveal that we are not serving “as unto the Lord.” Our call to homemaking is from God and so is our reward. Because of this truth, we can have a joy in homemaking that is out of the reach of our husband’s behavior.
2. Look at our husband’s sin in light of the cross. The ground is level there. No matter the extent of our husband’s laziness, it pales in comparison to the sin we know that we have committed against God. As we look at the cross, where we have received extravagant mercy, we will desire to be merciful.
3. Consider if it is an opportunity to overlook. The 80/20 rule is helpful here.
4. Look for ways we can help our husband help. Maybe we simply have to humble ourselves and ask for help. We can’t expect our husband to always anticipate our needs. He may be happy to serve when graciously asked.
5. Look to others. If our husband is unresponsive to our appeals, it may be time to get help from a wise couple with a godly example of biblical roles in marriage.
6. Look to God in faith. Pray for God to change our husband’s heart. We can’t, no matter how hard we try. And even if there is no change, remember that God sees, He knows, and He himself has promised to be our Helper (Heb 13:6). What comfort and hope!
We leave you with these thoughts from Dorothy Patterson:
“I determined…to read through the Bible with a new purpose: to determine God’s message for me personally as a woman, a wife, and a mother….My life and goals and perspective were forever changed. In every single book of the Bible I found God’s word for me. That word was not always comforting; in fact, sometimes it was like a sword to my heart; but always I knew that it was authoritative and, if authoritative, true, regardless of culture, circumstances, or perceived relevance. I came to realize that God did not expect me to determine how to adapt His Word to my situation. Instead, He expected me to adapt myself to the consistently and clearly presented principles found in His Word. God did not expect me to interpret His principles in light of my gifts and intellect, but He admonished me “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29), including gifts and intellect and creativity…He was making clear throughout Scripture His demand for my absolute obedience.” (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, p. 365)