I work hard to support our family, the rest is on you.

November 9, 2010

in Marriage Killer, Understanding Her

A post I did a couple of months back had a string of comments, and included in that was this:

“Also, in my experience pulling the ‘I work so hard to provide for you’ card is an absolute smoke screen for men to avoid accepting responsibility for their own actions, (I know, I have done it).”

I could not agree more. Even among guys who never say something like this, I suspect many feel that way from time to time.

I think several things play into this:

First, it’s easy to see “bringing in the money” (or the majority of it if she works but you make more) as somehow more important than anything else; without the money, none of the rest of it can happen. However, let’s face it, without what she is doing, things would be a mess (literally and figuratively). What’s more, if you had to do all the things she does, you would have less time to work, and/or less time to play. How she spends her time does directly affects your time, even if you don’t see it.

Second, I don’t think most husbands have a clue what their bride does day in and day out. They think they do, but most really do not. You come home and something is messy – but that does not mean it was that way half an hour ago. Especially with small children, cleaning up is an ongoing, never-ending task. She may well have cleaned what is now messy several times during the day. Beyond this, doing what’s needed to keep a home looking nice and running smoothly is a series of interruptions. Doing one thing, finishing it, then moving on, is not a luxury at home wives know.

Third – the old saying “A man works from sun to sun, a woman’s work is never done” is still accurate for many. No matter how much she does during the day, there are usually things that must be done after you get home and are done for the day. She may not work the whole time you are at work, but she almost certainly works over a larger range of hours. Again, this is especially true for moms of small children.

8 comments
WorkingMom
WorkingMom

I went from single mom to stay at home mom of 4 in about 2 years. For 8 years, my husband has worked 40 hours a week and spent time on his hobbies. Everything else is left to me & the kids with chores. I began working a full time job and the roles have only barely changed. The weight on my shoulders is crippling. You would never know this if you met me, because I am a very strong & capable person who is full of joy. And, yes, I've tried counseling and everything else. He does what he wants because "he works & he provides".

Khrys
Khrys

Excellent response and article. I'd also like to add that 'traditional roles' for women are largely determined by culture, not the Bible. Native American, Nordic & other cultures were matriarchal with women being chiefs, warriors, etc. English cultures viewed women as property. No where in the Bible does it assign specific tasks for either gender; only roles. Also, most women in the Bible had servants. They did not run a household by themselves. The Prov. 31 woman had her own money, land, business, etc in addition to being a wife. Deborah was Judge/Prophet/Warrior. Yet both were married godly women. The Bible can be read historically, culturally, and spiritually. It's when we take a cultural or historical fact & misinterpret it as biblical truth, that 'problems' come up. Eve was created comparable to Adam (not less than) which means she had the same capability as he did. There were no children to babysit, nor any leaves to 'dust' so whatever Adam was doing, Eve was doing also.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Take Two - I was not looking at the roles so much as the need for men to understand what is involved in what a typical "at-home" mom does. I know it runs both ways, but I see a lot of guys in "traditional" marriages who are pigs - just no other way to say it. Yeah, they bring home the money, but if they had to pay for what their wife does it would cost more than they make. They work their 40 hours a week, or even 50, while their bride puts in far more hours. Realise that until fairly recently, a man's work was seven days a week and far more than eight hours a day most of the time. In general men's "work week" has shortened far more than the average at-home-mom's work week, And in general a man works fewer hours a week than an at-home mother. Do some women do what they want, to the determent of the family? Absolutely. Do some men do the same? You bet. If I had to say which gender does it more, I’d say men, but regardless it’s far too many of both who put their selfish desires ahead of doing what is right. Society has made it easier for both men and women to be selfish. As to men being “forced” I’d say it’s more an issue of abdication. Yes, things have changed a great deal in the last half a century, but it’s still more a man’s world than a woman’s. I would say the changes have made it far easier for women to be selfish – maybe that’s “equality”, they are as free to be selfish as men have traditionally been. Even with that, women are, based on how God made them, more family oriented. They are less prone to abandoning their family, or their family responsibilities. If a woman fails to do what she should for her family, I think you can usually trace her wrong choices back to her being treated wrongly by one or more men. Usually her husband is one of those men, although sometimes she is so damaged coming into marriage that he is not really an issue. Before you tell me we are all responsible for our own actions (which we are) the Bible is clear that we can tempt others to sin, and that we will be held responsible for actions that cause others to stumble. If you add to that the biblical understanding of headship, I think it’s necessary to look at how the men in a woman’s life have contributed to her sinful choices. You say most men are at home doing things their bride should do. I frankly doubt it’s most, or even close to most. Some men do almost nothing at home. Others choose to do things not because they have no choice, or because their bride will not do those things, but rather because they see how hard she works and feel a responsibility to help. Others have figured out that she will do it all, but will be left to tired to have quality time (or quality sex) with them. Then you have the women who have stopped doing “what they should” because they did it for years with no help and no hint of appreciation (a wrong but understandable reaction to being treated like a servant). You also have a great many homes where the wife is working outside the home to bring in part of the family’s income, but is still “expected” to do all the things an at-home housewife would do. If she is helping to do what was traditionally his role, shouldn’t he help with what is traditionally her role? As to the leadership issue, I agree with you – there is a frightening lack of male leadership in homes and churches. But what I see is far too many men who won’t step up. The active church goers are 60% female in the USofA. That is because more women than men CHOOSE to go to church. They did not “take over”, they were left to do it as more and more men failed to show up. My guess is the same has happened in a lot of homes – she is leading because he won’t. Sure, that’s not the case in every home, but it’s a significant issue. Other men are doing something that is not biblical leading, and a woman who is not forced by her culture to put up with that is likely to reject it. For a very long time a great many men abused the leadership God gave them, and there is most certainly a backlash to that now. It’s a wrong reaction to a very real sin on the part of many men. Finally, as is the case for all of us, your view is no doubt coloured by your own life and what you see in those close to you. From what you have said, you have a difficult situation, and I am sorry for that. I’d like to give you some advice that would cause your bride to change, but I can’t. The best I can do is offer those who are reading, men, ways to be better husbands. In general people respond to being treated better by doing the same in return. If the person had been deeply injured, especially if that injury comes from their spouse, it will take a long time of consistently being treated better to result in a change. The only people who don’t eventually reciprocate nice treatment are those with borderline personalities, those who are inherently very selfish, those with mental issues that need to be addressed, and those who have been so broken they no longer care.

Take Two
Take Two

I think the question you are really looking at here is Biblical roles of the husband and wife. You are definitely not focusing in on this though. No role is more important than another. There are many necessary roles that need to be accomplished and everyone needs to do their best. The key here is to not complain and push your work off on others unnecessarily. Should men come home from a late night at the office and hand off their briefcase to their wife and tell them to make sure it is done by morning? Remember to look at things both ways. There is nothing particularly wrong with sharing in responsibilities, especially as parents. The problem is that the modern situation is unparalleled in any point in history we know of. Women think they can decide their own role, no matter the cost on the family. Men are then forced into roles that they are inherently bad at or possibly incapable of. This leaves a huge void in typical male responsibilities: namely leadership. One only has to look at the current religious and political landscape to realize that there are hardly any good Christian leaders left. The biggest “Christian” movement is now being led by a Mormon and a woman. It is hard to think of any real Christian leaders that are left and most of them have one foot in the grave. I think you are dealing with a subject much bigger than you think, with much more significance. I think the lack leadership is due to overworked men and nagging wives. This has led men to ignore the calling to lead and instead stay home and wash the dishes. Go ahead, ask men what they do with the gifts God has given them. Most men, I find, are at home doing the jobs the wives/mothers just couldn’t get up the strength to do. I’m just concerned that we won’t last another generation with this lack of leadership.

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

Love that picture! Looks like a ‘before’ picture of me! The hardest thing for me, ever, was learning to 'let go' of the things I thought were important- like being on time for church, a clean house, a well controlled budget that I used as an excuse for not doing things and that Protestant Work Ethic that I used to justify long hours away from my responsibilities at home- and choose to make the time for the things that really were important, the things that made my precious one glad to be married to me. Well, there was that, thing, yes, and that religious reward/punishment mentality that was inculcated into me - those were the two hardest things, ever, for me to let go of… Simply put, my precious one loves to spend time with me. So, guess what? The house goes messy until guests are coming over, church is a non-issue because we host a church in our home, I take advantage of opportunities to do things with her, as they come up and I’m deliberate about differentiating my needful work time from my personal time. And the reward? My precious one loves to spend time with me!! I do so love being both human and good, just as I was created to be!

Fightmedic
Fightmedic

I can honestly say that I have thought but never really spoken those words. The only difference is that I am also the one who takes care of most stuff around the house. Since I am in work in the public safety field I work a lot but I also have what seems to be more time off than my wife. I end up spending most of the morning with our kids without getting adequate sleep and try to clean as much as possible, make meals, and do a lot of other stuff that her 9-5 schedule does not allow her to do. This is getting a little too tiring especially since I think that I feel unappreciated and I feel like things are now expected to be done. I have tried talking to my wife about it but then she feels like I'm attacking her no matter how I try to say it. Anyway, this is turning into a rant vs. her so I'll just go chill for a bit and pray before the kids wake up!

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

WorkingMom - I'm so sorry, I've heard this before. Too often the guy does not get it until he is alone, and even them most blame their wife, yelling about how she had no right to leave them. You have my prayers.

Anna
Anna

Very well put. I am one of those women who's husband has forced leadership on me. He is here and I know deep down he cares, but in his lack of doing anything, and I literally mean anything, I had to step up so my children would have the things they need including God. It is all my responsibility now and it is hard to serve a husband that does not serve anyone but himself. It is also hard for a stay at home parent to work while watching the other one play especially when they both have been working hard all day. The guilt I am feeling now by reading this article and responding to it instead of cleaning that mess of dry cheerios my son just poured all over the couch is overwhelming, but I need to stop and breath sometimes too. *sigh* Well, back to it. ~Siskananamuk!~

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