I Now Pronounce You House Cleaner & Lawn Mower


#1

The roles of husband and wives have been debated fervently over the past 40 years that I would venture to say that it ranks right up there with religion & politics as one of the taboo topics to discuss over coffee. There are major roles and minor roles. The minor roles are not in question here as I realize just about anybody can be the family expert at scrubbing potties or pulling weeds. What I want to hear is what you believe the major roles of husbands and wives are as designed by God, that is, in order for a marriage to function ideally.


#2

Well whatever works for your family and situation.
I cut the grass - because when DH does it he is sneezing for the rest of the day ( some sort of allergy )
DH does help with house hold work and cleaning - time permitting - most days.:wink:


#3

In a word, Yes. This doesn’t fit for every case because God calls all of us differently, but in general women tend to be more nurturing and men have a natural drive to protect and provide for their families.

I just find it very telling that this “new” research about men desiring respect and women desiring love in their relationship matches pretty much word for word with scripture:

“Wives, respect your husband… Husbands, love your wife.”

Often you’ll see submit instead of respect, but when you don’t think about it in the sense that feminists like to portray the passage, it just makes perfect sense!


#4

[quote=vluvski] I just find it very telling that this “new” research about men desiring respect and women desiring love in their relationship matches pretty much word for word with scripture:

“Wives, respect your husband… Husbands, love your wife.”

Often you’ll see submit instead of respect, but when you don’t think about it in the sense that feminists like to portray the passage, it just makes perfect sense!
[/quote]

And what exactly does “respect” refer to? How is it that a wife shows respect for her husband?


#5

This is a good topic. I really think mowing lawns and house cleaning and the like are not what the thread originator is really looking for despite the title of the thread. I suspect it has much more to do vluvski’s comment.

Everyone should read Ephesians 5. Submit means support. The husband submits by loving his wife so much that he gives his life for his bride just as Christ does for His bride. The wife submits by respecting her husband just as the Church does for Christ.

That usually works out functionally so that the husband is the primary bread winner and the wife cares for the children and sings her husband’s praise. But this isn’t always the case.

The woman’s body is built for reception. She receives the care of her husband.

The man’s body is built for defense and thrusting. He moves to defend and protect her.

The old feminist movement which I pray dies a quick death has been so damaging to both men and women as to nearly destroy the family. They have promoted the idea that women’s liberation is to be as much like a man as possible while at the same time has conditioned all of us to think that men are by nature the scum of the earth. Neither men nor women should ever have put up with it. Even the Church often acted as if the old feminists were somehow correct.

Women’s liberation comes only when women become fully women. Men’s liberation comes only when men are fully men. God’s imprint is upon our bodies. Incarnational theology gives us enough clues about our nature so that we know the Scriptures and Pope John Paul II are correct about the Theology of the Body.

Dan L


#6

The roles of husband and wife don’t rest with who physically does what job but the attitude of the spouses about doing them and how the particulars of deciding who does what and when and how differences, failings, and faults are dealt with. Since both have equal dignity and since there is dignity in all useful work, it follows that no work is beneath anyone or is the sole domain of one spouse, based on gender. Only the true necessities of biology trump that… and changing diapers at 2 am is not by necessity a mother’s job.

The ground rules of mutual service, love, and respect, of a life as “one body”, require that you are grateful for whatever the other person does for you, you are willing to do any job, if it is necessary, you don’t keep score as to who does the most, you back the other person up, you keep differences as private as possible, you make accomodations for the needs and current abilities of your spouse to the greatest extent of your ability, you listen with openness to what the other person wants and to their opinion, and you always work for what will be the best for them, even when it is not pleasant in the short term. If you choose your spouse wisely, that resolves the vast majority of issues. Leaving that venue of decision by mutual respect should be a rare happening.

If push came to shove, an absolute stalemate, only the necessity of avoiding immorality in my own actions would keep me from giving my husband the deciding vote. I’d challenge him to see what I thought was right under the circumstances, but in the end, he would have the deciding vote. To use an Old Testament metaphor, I would be in the position of prophet, he in the position of king. I would not be compelled to keep quiet once the decision was “made”, but would be compelled to leave it alone, once repented.

I hope it is clear from this that if he wanted a purple house and I didn’t, we’d paint it purple and I’d be thankful that we never had anything more serious to deal with than that. The thing is, he’d do the same for me. That’s what marriage is all about.


#7

[quote=BLB_Oregon]The roles of husband and wife don’t rest with who physically does what job but the attitude of the spouses about doing them and how the particulars of deciding who does what and when and how differences, failings, and faults are dealt with. Since both have equal dignity and since there is dignity in all useful work, it follows that no work is beneath anyone or is the sole domain of one spouse, based on gender. Only the true necessities of biology trump that… and changing diapers at 2 am is not by necessity a mother’s job.

The ground rules of mutual service, love, and respect, of a life as “one body”, require that you are grateful for whatever the other person does for you, you are willing to do any job, if it is necessary, you don’t keep score as to who does the most, you back the other person up, you keep differences as private as possible, you make accomodations for the needs and current abilities of your spouse to the greatest extent of your ability, you listen with openness to what the other person wants and to their opinion, and you always work for what will be the best for them, even when it is not pleasant in the short term. If you choose your spouse wisely, that resolves the vast majority of issues. Leaving that venue of decision by mutual respect should be a rare happening.

If push came to shove, an absolute stalemate, only the necessity of avoiding immorality in my own actions would keep me from giving my husband the deciding vote. I’d challenge him to see what I thought was right under the circumstances, but in the end, he would have the deciding vote. To use an Old Testament metaphor, I would be in the position of prophet, he in the position of king. I would not be compelled to keep quiet once the decision was “made”, but would be compelled to leave it alone, once repented.

I hope it is clear from this that if he wanted a purple house and I didn’t, we’d paint it purple and I’d be thankful that we never had anything more serious to deal with than that. The thing is, he’d do the same for me. That’s what marriage is all about.
[/quote]

:clapping: Very well said! I often give my dh the deciding vote in situations much like you say - not because I’m submissive or any of that - but simply because it is so very rare for me to find something worth arguing over and he feels the same way.


#8

My hubby & I have always struggled with marital roles. I was already head of household (single parent) when we met, and I’ve always had the higher paying, steadier job with benefits. His work was more sporadic, with several periods of temporary disability - he has had 8 surgeries - not all covered by workman’ s comp. My mother has also lived with us for most of the marriage. We divided up the duties - mom did most of the house keeping, hubby did the outside work, and I was in charge of kids’ education & activities. The roles have shifted over the years, kids are grown and now hubby & I divide up much of the duties that mom once did. I still avoid the outside work, but found I actually like taking care of the home and cooking - but have much difficulty keeping up with it after working a f/t & a p/t job. I have a hard time deferring to him in decisions. We are dysfunctional.


#9

[quote=Quaere Verum]And what exactly does “respect” refer to? How is it that a wife shows respect for her husband?
[/quote]

I don’t have a good general answer for this question, but I can tell you how I intend to respect my future husband.

In my case, respect for my future husband will involve my becoming a stay at home mom. I am happy in this role, and it is not being forced on me. We wouldn’t be getting married otherwise. My fiance has a strong drive to be a provider for our family. I can respect him by giving him confidence and security in this role. I can respect him by keeping the house and raising the kids. I can respect him by not questioning his motives when he wants to have a night with the guys. I can respect him by not rubbing in his face how I am always right :thumbsup: . I can respect him by disconnecting his sensitivity from the notion that it is not manly.

I won’t claim that there are other ways for a wife to respect her husband. Sometimes a wife must work while the husband stays at home. She can respect him by not making him feel emasculated for being “Mr. Mom.” Sometimes a family’s financial situation requires both spouses to work. The wife can respect her husband by making the most of their time as a fmaily rather than grumble about having to work. For a couple struggling with fertility, the woman can respect her husband by accepting infertility as a couple rather than pin it on her husband (if that is the case).

I have a very traditional view of the family. A believe that God’s design makes it more appropriate for the woman to be the one at home nurturing the children and for the man to be the provider and protector. Our own failings can sometimes cause a specific situation to necessitate different arrangements to create the best possible circumstances, but the general ideal situation, IMO, is for the mother to be the one at home.


#10

[quote=DiZent]My hubby & I have always struggled with marital roles. I was already head of household (single parent) when we met, and I’ve always had the higher paying, steadier job with benefits. His work was more sporadic, with several periods of temporary disability - he has had 8 surgeries - not all covered by workman’ s comp. My mother has also lived with us for most of the marriage. We divided up the duties - mom did most of the house keeping, hubby did the outside work, and I was in charge of kids’ education & activities. The roles have shifted over the years, kids are grown and now hubby & I divide up much of the duties that mom once did. I still avoid the outside work, but found I actually like taking care of the home and cooking - but have much difficulty keeping up with it after working a f/t & a p/t job. I have a hard time deferring to him in decisions. We are dysfunctional.
[/quote]

You are describing a family in which domestic work was not given its proper dignity and in which sacrifice for the family was not a personal value. This is no way to run a marriage, no matter who’s bringing home the bacon.

I think your post lights up an important point: the problem with modern feminism is that it too often picks up the inappropriate and self-important attitudes that some men used to have and gives permission to women to take on those same attitudes. What was never good for the gander makes no improvement on the goose.

One’s dignity within one’s marriage has absolutely nothing to do with how much money one makes. A man should know in his gut that if he loses his job and is unable to work he will lose no dignity in his family. Likewise, a woman who never directly puts a dime in the family bank accounts should not differ in dignity from her sister who works outside the home. Though differing somewhat in kind, a husband’s role is not based on his ability to protect. His role, like his wife’s, his primarily sacrificial. Like hers, his dignity God-given. You cannot buy more dignity than God gave you. Leadership roles in the family are duties, not prizes you win by being bigger or richer or smarter. That is why these can be assigned to each spouse without regard to their natural gifts.


#11

We split up a lot of the work because we’re good at different things.

However, husband must kill all spiders. Non-negotiable.


#12

Here is an interesting dilema. I agree there are ideal roles for husbands and wives laid down by God. However, if one of the spouses does not take on the role which God designed for them, how does the other spouse respond? An example would be, if the husband does not take on the role as the spiritual head of the family; the wife cannot and should not, as I see it, wait for him to come around. Children grow and learn quickly; someone has to bring the faith to them. This is just one example.


#13

[quote=BLB_Oregon]You are describing a family in which domestic work was not given its proper dignity and in which sacrifice for the family was not a personal value. This is no way to run a marriage, no matter who’s bringing home the bacon.
[/quote]

Appreciation for domestic work did not “come natural” to me. However, I have never had the option to NOT be the one “bringing home the bacon”. It is what I was better at, and hubby was better at domestic chores, though he was often the one who got resentful about the role reversal.

I think your post lights up an important point: the problem with modern feminism is that it too often picks up the inappropriate and self-important attitudes that some men used to have and gives permission to women to take on those same attitudes. What was never good for the gander makes no improvement on the goose.

I sincerely hope you were not accusing me of having an inappropriate and self-important attitude. I’ve never thought of myself as either feminist or traditional, and my family is very important. I have expressed that I have difficulty with the roles, as does my hubby. We are not alone in this struggle.

One’s dignity within one’s marriage has absolutely nothing to do with how much money one makes. A man should know in his gut that if he loses his job and is unable to work he will lose no dignity in his family. Likewise, a woman who never directly puts a dime in the family bank accounts should not differ in dignity from her sister who works outside the home. Though differing somewhat in kind, a husband’s role is not based on his ability to protect. His role, like his wife’s, his primarily sacrificial. Like hers, his dignity God-given. You cannot buy more dignity than God gave you.

I agree with you here, though it sounds like you are a bit biased against ths sister who works.

Leadership roles in the family are duties, not prizes you win by being bigger or richer or smarter. That is why these can be assigned to each spouse without regard to their natural gifts.

This is where the problem lies. I was already head of household, with 2 kids. Hubby did not accept the mantle of leadership - not financially, not in parenting, not in our spiritual development (yes he is Catholic, but not practicing). We probably shouldn’t have married, yet we’ve made it work for 19 years.


#14

[quote=Quaere Verum]Here is an interesting dilema. I agree there are ideal roles for husbands and wives laid down by God. However, if one of the spouses does not take on the role which God designed for them, how does the other spouse respond? An example would be, if the husband does not take on the role as the spiritual head of the family; the wife cannot and should not, as I see it, wait for him to come around. Children grow and learn quickly; someone has to bring the faith to them. This is just one example.
[/quote]

You’ve pretty much identified my situation. I could not force him to accept the mantle of leadership. On the other hand, I may have some reluctance toward letting go of the leadership I had to assume. What I have learned here is that even unconventional roles need to ge given dignity.


#15

[quote=susie g.]We split up a lot of the work because we’re good at different things.

However, husband must kill all spiders. Non-negotiable.
[/quote]

:rotfl:

That was my late husband’s job also. Since he died, I have had to learn to execute the little critters all by myself. Let me tell you, it was NOT a fun expansion of my inner-strength and neat way to find myself. However, one must do what one must do when faced with such life decisions.:wink:


#16

Do you feel that when roles are not followed as per God’s design for whatever reason (single parenthood, spouse isn’t fulfulling their role, etc.) your family is at spiritual risk? Do you think that this can cause resentment from the spouse who is trying to live according to God’s plan?


#17

[quote=DiZent] Appreciation for domestic work did not “come natural” to me. However, I have never had the option to NOT be the one “bringing home the bacon”. It is what I was better at, and hubby was better at domestic chores, though he was often the one who got resentful about the role reversal.

I sincerely hope you were not accusing me of having an inappropriate and self-important attitude. I’ve never thought of myself as either feminist or traditional, and my family is very important. I have expressed that I have difficulty with the roles, as does my hubby. We are not alone in this struggle.
[/quote]

Let me clarify. It is our common lot to have a self-important attitude. We put ourselves first. I do it in different ways–or maybe not!–but I am no different than you in this, I am sure. So yes, I guess I’m accusing you, but I’m pointing at the mirror, too, if that helps.

My problem with feminism is that many feminists seem so thirsty for the sins long tolerated in men. Money is something you get from your labors, something you get in order to support your family, do charitable works, and enjoy some of the material things of this world. Likewise with advanced degrees or promotion to a position of authority. These don’t make you more of a person. They don’t make you more important in any ultimate sense, nor do they earn you a greater leadership role once you’re back home. You were as important as you were ever going to be when you sprang from the hand of God. Money doesn’t change that. If there is anything that makes you more worth listening to or more worthy of leadership, it is development of the virtues that will do that… which is another way of saying you have to become more of the person that God intended you to be, more of a saint. Humility, which is to say a realistic view of your own importance in the great scheme of things, is on that list.

Having a job outside the home, however, can make you bone-tired. A person who does the outside work is necessarily going to be doing less of the domestic work. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need. Gender roles don’t trump that basic rule.

[quote=DiZent] I agree with you here, though it sounds like you are a bit biased against ths sister who works.
[/quote]

That was not my intention. I think children benefit from having a consistent caregiver, preferably a parent, especially when they are very young. I don’t think it is ordained by God that that be their mother.

Why preferably a parent? Because parents are the most important people in the world to a child. Nothing impresses their own importance on them more than being the daily focus of a parent’s time and attention, and by that I mean impresses it on them in a healthy way. A parent who can’t give their child that impression in that way has to take special care that they get it, nonetheless. It can be done, but it is a difficult road to walk. Parents who are doing it need our particular support and care.

[quote=DiZent] This is where the problem lies. I was already head of household, with 2 kids. Hubby did not accept the mantle of leadership - not financially, not in parenting, not in our spiritual development (yes he is Catholic, but not practicing). We probably shouldn’t have married, yet we’ve made it work for 19 years.
[/quote]

Acedia (the sloth that comes from being unfocused or losing interest in one’s duties) is a common fault, and one I struggle with myself. The solution seems to come not just from being convinced to step up to my duties, but also from believing that I have something to offer. When both hit home with me, then it’s like igniting a spark. Stuff starts happening. But it’s like igniting wet wood… you have to keep at it again and again, because the energy doesn’t keep coming on its own. People like me are a trial for the more energetic to be around. We drive self-starters nuts, for obvious reasons.

You are probably the prophet to a king that in his heart of hearts doesn’t believe he belongs on the throne. I wish you the best, and don’t blame you for having had to do his job. The more you insist on his doing it, on his contribution being irreplaceable, the better, but you won’t find me condemning you for throwing your hands up in frustration. You’re in a tough spot, and my heart goes out to you.


#18

I have found a good book that I am using as a tool to help me in this struggle with the relationship roles:
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian

This is a Christian book, but not specifically Catholic - I’d like to find a Catholic book that adresses these issues in today’s families.


#19

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