Day By Day by The Great Chris Muir

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Vital Importance of a Wife and Mother at Home

From Lindsay's Logic: The Vital Importance of a Wife and Mother at Home .

Nice and simple:

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my views on marriage and family and women working outside the home and whether women are supposed to support their husbands rather than having their own goals and careers. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

In general, I think women are called to be a supporter to their husband's calling. But that does not mean that their contribution is less important. God sees a husband and wife as a team, a single unit. So a husband's calling is the wife’s calling because the two of them are one.

We live in a culture that sees us primarily as individuals who simply make associations with each other. Marriage is generally seen as just a partnership between two separate people. The Christian view of marriage, however, is radically different. The Bible says that the two become one. Not two that have a connection, but one. God doesn't give separate overall missions to each individual person. There is only one overall calling for that one marriage entity. A husband and wife are a family and have a calling together, but the husband bears the primary responsibility for fulfilling that mission while the wife bears the primary responsibility for supporting her husband's work toward the family’s calling.

That is what it means, for example, that the husband is the spiritual head or leader of the family. A husband will answer to God for the spiritual health of his family in a way that the wife will not because it is the man's primary responsibility. His calling, above all, is to lead his family to know and serve God. Other parts of his mission may involve outreach beyond his family such as missions work, serving in the church, witnessing to coworkers, etc., but his primary responsibility before God is to lead his own family and ensure their spiritual health. A wife's primary responsibility in this area is to support her husband's leadership to ensure that chaos does not derail their family's spiritual journey and that her husband has the time and energy to devote to spiritual leadership because he isn't distracted by other minor concerns.

The story comes to mind of Acts 6 and the choosing of deacons to take care of details like feeding the needy so that the apostles could concentrate on preaching and teaching. This kind of hierarchy is found throughout life, not just in marriage. It’s not about inferiority, it’s about efficiency in fulfilling a purpose. It was the deacons' role to handle logistics so that the apostles could spend their time pursuing the main mission of preaching the word and saving souls. In the same way, it is a wife's role to handle logistics of the home so that her husband can concentrate his energy on pursuing the family's main mission for God.

The other thing to consider is that the responsibility for providing for the family is given primarily to the man. It simply isn’t the wife’s responsibility in the same way it is for the husband. Not only are men given the responsibility of spiritual leadership, but they also must provide for their family’s economic needs. In both cases, men will answer to God for how they do so. Providing is a heavy burden given to a man. It requires much time and effort. It is a great support to the husband when the wife takes care of the logistical details of the household so that the husband can devote his efforts to providing and the spiritual training of the children and then, if energy is left, to outside endeavors to further the Kingdom of God.

Now, can a woman handle the logistics of the home, ensure her family is cared for, and still work outside the home? Perhaps, in some cases – especially if they do not yet have children. But no woman is Superwoman. We all have limitations. It's just not possible for any woman to adequately care for children and home while holding down a full time job. The care of children and the home is primarily a woman's responsibility in a way it isn't for her husband. If there are no children, it may be possible for her to care for the home and her husband and still keep a job outside the home, but she must keep the home and her husband as her priority.

Once children arrive, it becomes pretty much impossible for her to work outside the home and still fulfill her duties at home. The funny thing about children is that they need constant care. One cannot care for children and work outside the home too. The choice once children come along is whether to outsource the care of the children to someone else or to do it yourself. I firmly believe that God entrusts children to a husband and wife because he wants them to be the primary influences in their children's lives. That doesn’t happen if the children spend a majority of their waking hours in the care of someone else.

Children don’t just need food and shelter provided to them, they need love, teaching, discipline, a sense of security, and examples of how they are to live. All of those things are best done when the child spends time primarily with his or her parents. Daycare workers, school teachers, and even grandparents simply cannot provide them in the same way parents can. No one loves a child like his own parents do. No one has such a vested interest in ensuring that he grows up with the proper spiritual and moral training. Even if others care about the child, the responsibility for the training of a child belongs to his parents. Daycare workers and teachers and grandparents won’t answer to God for the soul of that child. His parents will.

So, given the needs of children, I am convinced that women are called to be with their children, training and caring for them as their primary caregiver. Does that mean a mother can’t have any job outside the home? In theory, no. In practice, yes. A woman’s priority must be her own family. If she can have her children with her or leave them for only a short time each day, she may still be able to provide the necessary training and care they need from their mother and earn some income. But in doing that, she needs to be sure she is not neglecting her husband’s needs either. Theoretically, a woman can have it all – keeping a job and caring for her family too. The problem is that it is a very rare woman who has the energy to keep up with the constant needs of her children for care, training, discipline, and love and those of her husband for companionship, sex, and a partner in life as well as the logistics of running a household and still have something left for even a part-time job.

What usually happens when a woman has an outside job is that her family simply suffers the lack. Either her children spend a lot of time with other caregivers or teachers or her husband does without the companionship and marital intimacy he needs or some of the household chores descend on the husband, taking away some of his time and energy to train his children spiritually and impact the world for Christ. Often it’s a combination of these. A woman simply cannot meet all the needs of her family when she is spread that thin and, as a result, something important gets left undone.

Of course, there are circumstances where it is necessary for a family’s survival for the wife to work outside the home. That is not the ideal, but it sometimes happens. In that case, the goal should be to do whatever is necessary to make it a temporary situation so that the wife can return to the home and children and be available to meet her husband’s need as well. If that means downgrading the house, foregoing vacations, having the husband take a second job or a better paying job, having the wife work from home, or whatever, the goal should be to work towards having the wife available to fulfill her responsibilities at home. It is vital to the health of her family – both physically and spiritually. There is no replacement for a wife and mother. The family will never be as effective for the Kingdom of God as it could be if the wife is not at home, taking care of her family.

2 comments:

Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia said...

"So, ALL children in the public or private school system have parents who FARM them OUT? And if you don't think homeschooling is for you, then motherhood is NOT the answer?!? Really?"

Public school, for the christian, is contra God and a form of spiritual child abuse.

A good private, christian school is still farming the child out.

Nobody can tend to your children as good as you, unless you are a parent who does not want to be involved.

Truth and conviction, not denial and rationalisation.

Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia said...

Lindsay HaroldAugust 1, 2014 at 12:51 PM

It is possible to turn out good children while working outside the home, but it is very difficult and usually less effective because daycares and schools (even the vast majority of Christian schools) don't teach children the important spiritual lessons they need to know. And for children who attend government indoctrination centers (often erroneously known as public schools), the time a parent has with a child outside of school is often barely enough to counteract the poisonous teachings they will learn there, and then only if parents are intentional and diligent about it.

I think people have bought into the idea that the raising of children is mainly about feeding and clothing them and making sure they go to a good school so they can get a good job one day. And if they turn out to be decent people who go to church on top of that, you've succeeded. There is SO much more to it than that.

If that is all your goal – to keep them alive, healthy, “educated” according to the world’s standards, and going to church – then it is fairly simple and can be done by outsourcing much of the care to daycare workers and school teachers and even Sunday school teachers.

But if your goal is to produce responsible, hard-working, well-adjusted, highly-trained soldiers for the Kingdom of God – who know what they believe, why they believe it, and can eloquently articulate those reasons and evidences to others and work hard with the goal of spreading the gospel – it is a full-time job and can’t be done in a couple hours a day. No one can take the place of a child’s parents in doing this vital training.

There are so many wrong ideas out there and children need to be taught about them and how to answer them or they may fall prey to them. It’s not just a case of being in Sunday School and knowing all the major Bible stories. It’s not even just about learning to make Bible reading a habit (although that is good). It’s about critical thinking, evidence, and having a genuine, grounded, and reasonable faith of their own. They need the influence of someone they can see, day in and day out, living and sharing and teaching about the faith to understand it as thoroughly as they need to in order to immunize them against the world’s wrong ideas.

So many children grow up in a Christian home and go to church and then fall away when they enter the real world because they haven't been properly trained with the information to combat the lies of the competing worldviews out there. Taking them to church, even if it’s 3 times a week, is not nearly enough. If people would never think about feeding their children just 3 times a week, they shouldn’t think spiritual training 3 times a week is enough. It has to be a regular, on-going thing done by someone the child knows and can trust and whom they can see living it in daily life.

It has to include training, not just in what the Bible says, but in how we know we can trust the Bible with evidence from science, history, philosophy, and logic that builds a comprehensive and rigorous Christian worldview. There's nowhere that does that. No Christian school or college I ever heard of will do that kind of training. Only parents who have educated themselves and pass on the information to their children through day-in, day-out training can provide that. But that's what we need if we're going to ensure we produce the kind of children who do not fall away and who do great things for God.

Can this happen if we don't? Yes, in some cases children still turn out great, even without this training, thanks to the blessings of God. But we can't count on our child being one of the lucky few. It is our job to ensure it by doing everything we can to train them rigorously.