Roles of men and women in marriage

The “traditional” roles of woman in the home and man in the workplace are not actually something that comes from Catholic tradition per se, but actually from the upper class during the Elizabethan era through to the early 20th century. Upper-class families could afford to survive on a single income but the working class families had to work out of necessity, in order to survive. Actual traditional women’s roles, for the “average” family would be Nurse, Maid, Nanny, Wet Nurse, Schoolmistress, Tutor etc as opposed to SAHM.

Assuming the above is true, Catholics, wile recognising that it is beneficial for one parent to look after kids full-time, should avoid rigidity about so-called traditional gender roles.


Right. And it’s not even “traditional” per se either.

Also included membership in guilds in the pre-industrial age, and primarily farming alongside her husband and children outside of cities. Post-industrial age, women also worked in factories in addition to the occupations you mentioned.

You are talking about occupations, not roles.

Roles would be inside the marital relationship.

I’m talking about “roles” in terms of both the roles in marriage (carer, provider etc.) and the occupation outside the home that a woman might have had.

My main point is that, for most of Christian history, the only women who could be SAHM’s were rich ones. The rest of them had to work. And actually work much harder than they would have to now.
It’s only recently that some working class families have been able to afford to survive on one income. And while modern feminism might not have helped, it’s not solely responsible for the state of the family unit in the 21st century.

I don’t know about historical roles, but raising a nursing newborn is very difficult. Raising lots of little ones is very physically demanding. I personally feel that it is a full time job having done it myself. A man can do much of this, except the nursing part obviously, but I hear it can lead to a more difficult internal struggle and often, feelings of loneliness for him. And I think a motherly instinct is naturally the way it was meant to be, a beneficial instinct for devotion to young children. I don’t think anyone can raise young kids and work more than 30 hrs at the same time, and not feel guilty or lacking in one or both of those areas God knows I do. But I do think it depends on the job. Then, there is the marriage statistic to consider: wife who brings in more money than hub tend to have higher divorce rates.

Ive linked these studies to start, but plenty more available.
God bless you, I know the financial situation is difficult these days, especially for people in Europe. You are no less of a man if your wife must work, too. And I’m sure women must have had very demanding lives hundreds of years ago. Children do not need very much to be happy, and at the same time, I don’t think they need astringent constant helicopter hovering either, which seems to be the parental belief these days. A constant presence, yes.

No thank you…:slight_smile:
I prefer a calm peaceful day today lol…:hypno:

Yet plenty of men do it and do it well. HD is one example. I have an uncle who is a SAHD. It just made more sense for his wife to stay working as she had the higher paying job.
For me personally, I know that I wouldn’t like to stay at home while my wife worked. She wouldn’t like it either. But my career is one that will allow her to stay at home with kids when they come along.

As for statistics, how many of the couples in that stat are practicing and committed Catholics who have a decent grasp of the meaning of marriage and Church teaching…very few I’d wager.

I’m aware that I’m no less of a man if my wife works. My masculinity isn’t so fragile that it’s going to fall apart if my wife earns more than me. But the idea that a man is emasculated or lazy because his wife is in the workplace irritates me because it’s just not based in either Catholic teaching or in any kind of real-world experience.

I actually believe that in general, women, or one parent at least, should try to stay at home with children, and society should promote that. But it’s not the case, society tries to get everyone to be in “paid employment”. Thus, we have to deal with the world as it is not how we would like it to be. It’s not a black and white issue.
I think that’s the problem with some traditionalists, they approach the world as if everything is black and white and there is no other way. Unfortunately, this puts people off and stops people from engaging with more genuinely traditional approaches.

You could invite us to discuss this issue with a question. You could tell us you’d be interested in hearing what our thoughts are.

But commanding us to discuss? :confused:

Lol!! I know. It’s such an emotional topic

I’ve found that my peers were much more entrenched in these types of beliefs when we were younger. Things have relaxed. Life hits you hard. The judgement lessons, and pretty soon ya just don’t care… you’re tired, and people need to eat :joy:

You have the freedom to ignore it.

It is a rude way to propose your topic. I would encourage you to take the advice and think about it.

This is not a secular board. Perhaps on secular boards, people make declaration of a controversial nature followed by “discuss” followed by sitting back and watching fur fly, but that isn’t really the purpose of these boards or the way things work around here.

So, maybe instead of saying “you don’t have to participate” you should consider there might have been a better way to begin this topic.

I’m all for avoiding rigidity in every area where I’m not required to be rigid due to doctrinal teachings of the Church.

My husband and I have worked out what works for us and other couples are free to work out what works for them, as long as any children in the home are well cared for, the couple agree on the arrangement, and no one is committing a mortal sin.

I am not sure what more to add to the discussion since each couple will probably come to a different, personalized balance on this, so there is no “right answer”.

Have you never seen Coffee Talk? Sheesh. Lighten up. It wasn’t a “command.” But what you’re saying here is a command.

I wouldn’t consider it a rude way to propose a topic. In academia this is the way essay questions are posed. I’m not a member of any secular boards so I wouldn’t know. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to propose a topic in this manner. I think there’s a general understanding the nobody is obliged to post on any particular thread. In any case do we really have to have a debate about the manner in which the question is couched? If grown adults are offended by the “tone” of a question then there’s nothing I can do about that really.

The vast majority of men I have known in my adult life have had wives that were in the workplace at some time or another. Obviously the majority of men aren’t emasculated or lazy. A man who is secure in himself, such as my husband, laughs at this idea.

Emasculated and lazy men exist because they allow themselves to be that way. Some of them do prey on women with money because they are lazy or insecure. Women need to watch out for that type. It doesn’t mean that every man who makes less than his wife or stays home with the kids while she works is “that type”. .

I’ve been married for nearly 25 years. I’ve had years when I made less than my husband. I’ve had years when I made zero income and he made all the money to take care of our needs. I’ve had years when I was out of work for months and he had to cover the bills. I also took seriously paying, myself, for any debts I ran up, primarily some pretty big school loans from when I changed careers after our marriage and expenses for significant items I needed for work, so he wouldn’t be stuck with those bills. So if I happen to make more than my husband now, it’s partly payback for all those years when I wasn’t. It means we can do things like loan his family money when they get in a jam, or buy out somebody’s interest if that would make estate planning easier. He’s fine with it. Money is just a tool for practical use. I’ve worked hard my whole life not to emotionalize money because that’s when you start getting into trouble with it both spiritually and in your family life, and sometimes even financially if you make emotional purchases.

This is very cultural and there is no one correct way to go about making a family work. There also is no one point in history or class of people that set a precedent for one way of life or another. Throughout history, women have worked. Usually they work from the home or near the home in order to simultaneously nurse infants and toddlers. The very rural families tended to be extremely poor yet the wives/moms rarely held outside employment. People in indigenous societies follow the men leave to hunt, women stay and raise crops and kids. That isn’t something new from the early 20th century. Urban (mostly European) societies had a different culture and way of life. That does not discount the rest of human society throughout history.

I think the biggest harm and misconception comes from people believing that women who stay home don’t work. That is very wrong. That is very offensive.

I think people also underestimate how things have changed.

Time is money, we all know that. In our modern society, we buy a lot more things from the store. That means we spend a lot less time producing things that directly meet our own basic needs and more time getting the money to pay for other people to produce those things.

If you read a lot of older literature, particularly about rural or pioneer families, you’ll see that they were expecting to produce most of their goods at home. They bought cloth, but they sewed their own clothes, stuffed their own mattresses, butchered their own animals, made their own bread and butter, preserved their harvest and slaughter for storage, and so forth. The true stay-at-home housewife had a million things to manufacture that we would now buy at the store. Just like her husband, especially if they were a farming family - he raised and milked and slaughtered their own animals, sowed and reaped their own corn, picked the rocks out of their own field, built their own furniture. He almost certainly didn’t go out to a job for 8 hours a day and then come home and kick up his feet.

That of course has to be balanced with how much other things have changed, particularly regarding children. We’re expecting children now to be in formal education up to age 18, and that they leave the house soon after. Whereas in those pioneer days those children might have been working out in the field or soothing infants or darning socks.

That SNL bit was the first thing i thought of when i read the discuss “command”

Yeah, it’s a pretty common forum post styling in a lot of areas. It’s really not meant as a command, more as a statement of the purpose of the thread.

This is my take on it too. My wife and i decided what we wanted for our family and went with it. We made the right choice for us. My brother-in-law/sister-in-law made the “opposite” decision for their faimily but it was still the right choice for them.

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