My Wife Does Work . . . In Our Home

In the past few years of schoolteaching, I’ve often been asked the backloaded question, “Does your wife work?” The mere posing of the question brings me half a laugh and half a gasp. I generally to answer pleasantly, “Yes, she does work, very hard, in our home, with our children.”

But the whole conversation goes deeper than two or three sentences can show. Like the well-written banter of a good drama, every phrase carries meaning:

Does your wife work?” The whole question assumes something, namely, that – lest they be left to gallivant around town on their husband’s money – every wife should be working outside the home. Let’s examine that biblically for a moment. Titus 2:3-5 says,

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

So Paul tells Titus to teach his church about their roles as older women, younger women, older men, and younger men. He tells the older women to disciple the younger, and in that discipleship to teach them to be the kind of family-first women that will honor “the word of God.” That’s a high calling.

So, the very question is at its essence anti-biblical: “Does your wife work (primarily outside the home)? Because she should.”

On the other hand, though, the “work” part of the assumption is a good thing. Proverbs 31 tells us that the excellent, hard-to-find wife is like an nocturnal ant-army:

She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens…
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

So, yes, my wife should be working, but not mainly in the way this question means it. The Proverbs 31 woman works hard, mainly for her own family.

“Yes, she does work . . .” Of course she works. If she didn’t, if I didn’t, and if anyone doesn’t, that person is a sloppy, sluggish worm burping, grazing, and floating through life. They don’t deserve even to eat. So that can’t be the question.

So I try to both agree and disagree with the question. First, I’m saying, “Yes, you’re right. She should be working.”

But then I’m disagreeing. . .

“very hard . . .” Before I state my exact disagreement, I want the questioner to know something: my wife works very hard. Whatever you think about what she does, you need to know that she works as hard or harder than your or I do. You need to know that working in the home is no joke.

“in our home . . .” Instead of making my disagreement sound disagreeable, I try to phrase it as a clarification. “My wife does work – just not where you think she should. She works in our home, on our family.” The questioner needs to know that this work I’m describing is the work of a home-maker, and it’s not easy.

“with our children.” The final phrase is meant to point out that God means wives to truly build the family, and not just “keep house.” The excellent wife is the earthly glue that holds a family together. She doesn’t just “cook, clean, and do laundry;” she thinks, plans, acts, and oversees the family while the husband is providing for the family.

She is his vice president of operations; he authorizes her to do everything necessary to care for the family while he is gone. She is her family’s main lover, laugher, counselor, schoolteacher, organizer, purchaser, tailor, caterer, interior decorator, and on the list goes.

Conclusion
While none of this is meant to be a slam on the questioners or wives who work mainly outside the home, we must acknowledge that God’s plan is for the wife to work mainly inside the home, loving her husband so he doesn’t have to do the wife’s job and caring for her family by wearing a million feminine hats. The excellent, home-making wife truly is a gift. I know mine is.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

One Response to My Wife Does Work . . . In Our Home

  1. Pingback: Son, Get Ready to Carry a Load « Your Cross on My Back

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