Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for The Lord rather than for men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24
When Greg and I first met, I was just 15 – and not old enough to date yet. So, Greg used to come over to my house every Saturday. I would clean the entire house every Saturday morning before he came over. And I made supper for him and my family (My parents, my twin sister, our brother and my grandmother). I was excited to learn domestic skills and to show him that I could make delicious food. I wanted him to see that I could keep house well and that life with me would be wonderful.
I can recall how I could NOT WAIT to get to be Greg’s wife. I looked forward to ALL of it.
- I wanted to make a beautiful home for him.
- I wanted to be the one who got to wash and iron his clothes.
- I wanted to be the one who got to cook for him.
- I wanted to do the dishes for him.
I wanted to serve him and imagined that it would be the most amazing thing EVER to get to share my life with him, share my home with him, share my body with him, and care for him and our home.
Can you still remember those thoughts? 🙂
All those things are novel for awhile. But then, the dailiness of life and the stress of reality and pressure of jobs, responsibilities, financial setbacks, disagreements, unmet expectations, lack of sleep, illness, injuries, etc… can quench the joy we once had in serving our men.
I guess this is why that saying is so popular “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Eventually, we often lose our joy in doing chores and housework for our husbands – and we begin to want them to do “their fair share.” Especially if we are working outside the home, too. That is understandable that if both husband and wife are working full time, the wife may need some help around the house. Still, working women tend to feel the weight of the responsibility for the housework no matter how much we work outside the home. That can be pretty overwhelming. Especially when there are also children in the family.
WHAT ABOUT MARRIAGE BEING 50/50?
One of my favorite Bible teachers, Rev. Harold Weaver, at our church – said that in his 45 years or so of counseling married couples – one of the most destructive things he has seen in marriage is when a couple tries to measure everything and split it exactly 50/50. The problem is that each person has his/her own skewed scale of measuring contributions. The husband counts going to work as 1000 points towards the marriage each day. The wife counts him going to work as 20 points. The wife counts every chore she does as 100 points, but the husband only counts all the chores together as 50 points.
We do not judge fairly! That is probably why God instructs us not to judge others. We can sound like bickering children saying, “I took out the trash 3 times last month, you owe me!” And “I changed 13 poopy diapers last week and you only changed 1.” But we ignore what the other person does many times that we don’t do. I am a very unequitable judge of what exactly is 50/50 – it turns out!
Do you see what we are doing? We are turning marriage into a competition of “who has it worse.” Rev. Weaver said this attitude is extremely destructive. It destroys unity in the marriage. It destroys the concept of being a team. It creates huge resentment – which is toxic to relationships. It is “every man for himself.” When marriage is a competition – we both lose, our children lose, we malign the gospel and we grieve the heart of God. 🙁
A BETTER WAY
When I stop keeping score by my own biased standard and stop judging and condemning my husband, and begin to seek only to serve and honor Jesus Christ in my life and marriage – that is the way to peace, joy, unity and the vibrant, beautiful intimacy I so long for with Jesus and also probably with my husband.
It is not about giving 50/50 in the marriage. That does not work. It is a sure recipe for failure.
It is all about me giving 100% of myself to Jesus all the time and desiring to honor, please and obey Him in my marriage.
Ideally, my husband would do the same thing. That is REALLY BEAUTIFUL. But you know what? Even if he doesn’t change at all, or do “his part” that is ok. This is ultimately about my relationship with Jesus Christ, not about my husband. I trust God to work in my husband, and I seek only for God to change ME!
(Obviously if there are severe issues in the marriage, there can be times a wife may have to separate from her husband if there is physical abuse, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental disorders, substance abuse, etc. And there may have to be a rebuilding of trust and healthy boundaries erected until trust is re-established. Those issues go way beyond the scope of my blog – but they are not beyond the arm of God or the power of His Word. Please seek godly, experienced help if you are in such a situation!)
Marriage will not be a group grade!
If you have seen “American Idol” on tv – remember the group competitions? The people had to learn to work together and sing together and have unity – but they were judged individually no matter what the other people did in the group.
It will be a similar thing when God judges us. If I have Jesus as my Savior and live for Him as LORD of my life – I will not be condemned because His blood washes away my sins. But God will judge the quality of the work I have done in my life and grade it and reward me accordingly in front of all of heaven.
What I do in my marriage and how I treat my husband and others in my life is between God and me. He counts everything I think, do and say to others as if I do it to Him. (Matthew 25:31-46)
My husband is responsible to God for his life, his obedience, his sin, his behavior, his attitudes and his motives. He will also be held accountable for leading the family and for the decisions that were made in the family. God will judge him individually when he stands before Him in heaven. What he does or does not do is between him and God.
God uses my marriage and my husband to refine, mature, prune and teach me. He uses my marriage to train me in godliness. And He is watching how I respond. It is all a heavenly test. God is paying close attention.
- My actions toward my husband matter to Him
- My words toward my husband matter to God
- My attitudes and body language towards my husband matter to God
- My hidden motives about why I am doing and saying what I do and say matter to God and are laid bare before Him every moment.
The two main things God wants us to do on this earth are:
1. love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength
2. love others with the love of God
These are the motives that honor God. Doing things because I love God and want to please/honor Him and because I love others and want what is best for them in God’s sight.
GODLY MOTIVES AND CHORES????
Over time, many wives begin to resent housework. It is easy to fume about our husband creating more work for us and to think really hateful thoughts while we angrily do his dishes, wash his clothes, iron his clothes, clean up his mess in the bathroom, vacuum and scrub his muddy foot prints… etc.
I know I resented chores and childcare many times. Resentment is particularly easy when we are exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed, sick, hormonal, in pain, etc.
Thankfully, blessing, peace and even JOY can be ours when we do our chores and work for God’s praise and when we do it to bless others and don’t expect appreciation, help, validation or reward from others. If we get it, that is awesome! But if we don’t – we can be unshaken because we are serving our Audience of One.
DAY 22 DARE:
Nina Roesner challenges us in The Respect Dare today to evaluate our deepest motives and our expectations. She encourages us to pray that God might help us to desire a deeper connection with Him and to seek His praise instead of desiring human praise and approval – yes, even about doing the dishes, the laundry, getting up with the baby, changing diapers, cleaning bathrooms and all of those “menial” tasks that need to be done.
My goal is to find contentment in Jesus Christ alone!
IF YOU ARE WAY TOO OVERWHELMED
I would to encourage you to say something to your husband like, “Honey, I want to be the best wife, mom and homemaker I can be. I want to have energy to give to you and our children. I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed about trying to do all of the housework, my job and having time with the children and energy to give to you at night. I don’t want to give you the worst part of the, just the leftovers. What do you see that I could take off my plate? Or do you have suggestions how we could do things differently so that I am less stressed?”
He may need time, that is ok! If he does give suggestions, listen and thank him for his wisdom. Don’t defend yourself or criticize. See if his ideas might be what God desires you to do and pray about it, seeking God’s will.
By the way – as your husband feels increasingly respected and trusted by you – over time – he will probably start to care a lot more about your feelings. That is not to be the motive for respecting him – but sometimes it is a result.
Sometimes we do need to ask for help. But we need to be ok if our husband says yes or no. We can’t force them to help us. But we can ask in a more appealing way! IF our motives are right.
Asking your husband for things so he WANTS to say “yes” – Youtube video