…clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4
What I am about to write may be very unpopular in society, and I already realize that many of us know it is unpopular in Church. Let me explain. As I was sitting amidst several small children this morning, in a home that doesn’t belong to my husband and me, I realized that this is Day 1 of my Last Nine Days of Work before we move our family well across the state. Honestly, I am relieved. Relieved that I will no longer have to pack what seems like everything but the kitchen sink for my own children’s daily lives into a vehicle three to four days a week. I am Relieved that I will no longer have to disrupt our children’s sleeping and waking, eating and comforting flow in our home in order to take care of the home of another man and his family. Extremely relieved that my loyalties to being a keeper of our home, a lover of my own husband and children – will no longer be placed upon a back burner for one half of the week (most weeks) in order to fill in a gap created by feminism in another woman’s family.
Ladies, if you are a Christian woman desiring to be obedient to Jesus by submitting to your husband, might I suggest that one of the largest, most obtrusive hindrances to cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit with your husband is this:
A job or career outside of the four walls of your home.
Before you quit reading upon the basis that I am some kind of Traditionalist Anti-Woman-Working Nazi, please know that I have tried this both ways, and six ways until Sunday in between. Before I met my husband, I was a professional woman and owned a business, which meant I was “married’ to the business 24/7. After meeting my husband, but before children, we both worked on the road – and not often together – meeting at home on a one or two-day weekend to recharge. Subsequently, God began to work on me in this area; I went to part-time work in an unrelated field of experience, but within weeks we found I was pregnant. Because of the physical demands of that job, I quit seven months pregnant and spent two years off of any type of paid work. Believe me, it got B-A-D financially for us; my husband was unemployed twice, I was terrified, and God really stretched and taught both of us. Eventually, it became “necessary” (literally – financially) that I get a part-time job. We both knew that it would have to be something unconventional; something where I could take our own children with me. This truly limits employment, because most places DO NOT WANT small children and nurslings in the workplace under your desk!
Since I had cared for other people’s children off and on for twenty or so years, we decided to try this avenue. Soon, I had a job as a Nanny at an average of thirty hours per week for a professional woman with two children under four. This more than doubled the children in my care, but we tried to think of the positives. Without going into all the gory details, I will say that it really doesn’t matter who you work for, ladies…you can have the most “feminine” job in the world (caring for little children all day in a home, teaching nursery school, nursing, Midwifery, cooking, etc.), and if you are employed by another human being OUTSIDE of your home for a significant period of time each week…it will affect you family, starting with your attitude, and ending with effects upon your husband, children and home environment itself.
If I am going to be brutally honest, so that women can think very hard about pursuing or keeping even a part-time job or career away from their own home, I will share my experience and what I have struggled with during this time. Before I go on, I realize that in this society we live in, not all of us are going to be able to blink our eyes, wiggle our noses, and be able to financially afford to NOT work at least part-time. I realize that there are widows, unemployed and disabled husbands, periods of severe financial hardship and the like.
What I am talking about is this: if you have any inkling of choice at all, you should be truly informed as to the hindrances to softness, gentleness and femininity that employment away from home will inevitably cause.
If you choose to willfully seek significant employment outside of your home, know that you will:
- Be very, very tired. Especially if you already have children, and even more so if they are preschoolers or infants.
- Not be able to easily emotionally handle leaving your children for nine or ten hours per day with another person to care for them.
- Neglect your home and your homemaking duties, even on your days off, as you are playing catch-up. You cannot “have it all” – something’s gotta’ give.
- Possibly resent your husband for you “having” to work, even if it is not his fault and beyond his control. This requires great amounts of prayer if you are in a difficult place financially, especially if you are obeying his command to go to work (been there, done that…let’s just be real here. It is HARD to obey your husband in all things – especially if one of the “all things” is something you do NOT want to do!)
- Begin to expect your husband to help you with house care and child care, meals and chores.
- Begin to expect your husband to understand that you are “too tired/too stressed/too whatever” for the same level of sex you had pre-wifely-employment.
- Get more bossy and controlling. Yes, it WILL happen.
- Want to “control” your own money (you know, the money you are earning that is supposed to be your family’s income? It will “feel” like it is YOURS, yours, yours and you are entitled to do with it what you will.) Yes, it does happen to the best working women.
- Feel a certain semblance of being able to “make it on your own”. This is really a frightening feeling. Having been a housewife, and totally and happily dependent upon my husband, going to a place of, “Well, he really CAN be a total jerk…if he left, we COULD make it…” really takes a toll on a woman’s softness and especially her trust and dependency upon her husband in the marriage. It’s a dangerous, slippery slope of thoughts. Again, much prayer.
- Want to make more decisions independent of your husband.
- Want to complain endlessly to your husband about the demands of your job – thus placing him in the position of ‘wife’ to you. Dangerous. Out of God’s created order, girls. You are supposed to be his soft place to land; not the other way around. This truly takes a toll on a man.
Much of this is part of being a daughter of Eve in the first place, and I believe these thoughts can and do happen to women who are full-time wives and mothers as well as working wives. Here’s the caveat: I believe you are INVITING this kind of thought process if you choose to place yourself under the submission of another person, besides your husband, as a wife. There is an order to authority in the Kingdom of God, and you have just put a kink in that order by choosing to split your submission between two people – again, you cannot be totally submitted to your husband and the needs of his home and his children, AND be totally submitted to another person (boss) and the needs of the job they are providing for you, their workplace or business or home, and their desires. Eventually, there will be a power struggle of sorts, and if something’s gotta’ give, will it be the needs of your husband, his home and his children? Or, will it be the needs of your boss, their job and their desires?
Kind of a tough spot, huh?
Think very diligently, married women of God. Communicate very well with your husband about this, preferably prior to marriage, but even so, within marriage in times of hardship and transition. It is possible to help your husband by earning an income during extreme periods of financial hardship, but even the best scenario comes with a high cost.