Nicole: In tough financial times, there are women who, out of necessity, must assist their husband in his role as provider of the family. A husband may have lost his job, or his current job doesn’t adequately provide, or he has gone back to school full-time. How is a wife supposed to juggle both her home and work responsibilities in a situation like this?
Carolyn: Yes, we know women in all of these situations and more besides. I have a friend who decided, together with her husband, that it would best serve her family for her to work as a teacher at a particular school so they could send their children there. I have another friend whose husband can no longer work because of a debilitating illness.
When, in difficult financial seasons, a wife needs to help her husband in his role as provider, he may need to assist her in the home during that time (assuming he is not ill or injured, of course). Although it may require more effort to maintain the distinctive roles, here are a few suggestions for walking wisely through such a season:
1. Get counsel first. “In an abundance of counselors there is safety” it says in Proverbs 11:14. So before making a decision of this nature, pursue godly friends for their thoughts and ideas. Often our friends can provide perspective and wisdom we may not have otherwise considered. Their thoughts can help us evaluate objectively and decide biblically.
2. Regularly re-evaluate. Don’t assume that because it is the right thing for now, it will always be the right thing. Set up regular times to consider how things are going—is it bearing godly fruit in your souls, your marriage and your parenting? Is it time for this season to come to a close?
3. Keep it simple. Don’t imagine you can run the home in the same manner as before. Certain things will have to be put on hold so you can focus on the essentials. Think food and clothing.
4. Watch your heart. If you need to devote time and energy to a job outside of the home, it may be harder to maintain a heart for the home. This challenge may be heightened if your job yields more immediate encouragement, fulfillment and rewards. In such cases, you must be diligent to maintain a biblical perspective of the importance of your role in the home, and cultivate your love for that most significant calling from God.
5. Trust God. If you and your husband are committed to biblical roles in marriage, and if you believe this is the best way to help your husband, then you can have confidence that you are bringing glory to God. Do not compare yourself with other women who may be able to stay home full-time or assume they are somehow more pleasing to God. Not true! And while this season—whether long or short—certainly presents greater challenges, you can rest assured that God will provide all the grace you need to walk in the good works He has prepared for you.