Some months ago, I was speaking on the phone with a family member who lived far away and I hadn't spoken with for a long time. As we were catching up, he asked if I had a job. Thinking he must have forgotten, I laughed and said, "No, I'm pregnant!" He scoffed and said, "Don't give me that! Don't be one of those pregnant people that uses it as an excuse!"
I realized he had missed my point. I didn't mean I was pregnant, and thus physically incapable of working. What I meant was, I was pregnant with a child. A child that I was going to raise. In person. With my own two hands!
My husband and I have a covenant agreement between us. Commonly, it is called a marriage. A marriage is intended to be an image of the redemptive work of Christ and the Church - Christ loving the Church, the Church loving Christ in return and both operating in their separate, dynamic roles to bring forth fruit.
As a part of our covenant, my husband and I have mutually agreed to carry out separate and distinct roles in the marriage. We each do what we're best at. Since we don't have farmland to sustain us, he works for somebody who will in exchange give him money to buy what we would in another day raise on our own. He is skillful in his work, and his achievements and hard labor bring him more profit for his time spent, and more satisfaction. He brings into our home sustenance from the outside, and weaves a web of spiritual and physical protection around me and our child and our home.
My role is not the same as his. I don't work for another man outside the home, bringing in sustenance from outside; I work from within the home. I take my job at home seriously, and dedicate myself to it in the same way that some women can dedicate themselves to their job outside the home. I spend my hours working to improve and protect our home from the inside out. My role as a spiritual nurturer expands as children join us; I will tutor and train them in skills that will make them producing, pleasant members of society. And I pour my hours into maximizing and stretching the dollars that my husband brings home. I hunt for deals, I preserve good food when it is in season and well-priced, I plan balanced meals and I clean, wash, sew, and nourish us daily from within the home.
I don't consider my role inferior to my husbands' role. I find my role complex, challenging, and in fact incredibly ill-suited for him. I could never take on his job - physically, it would be too demanding, mentally, it would exhaust and drain me. And he could never take on my job! I enjoy canning, washing laundry, scrubbing counters and dishes and making laundry soap. Those aren't things he necessarily enjoys - for him, it would be a drain, a bore, as mentally exhausting to him as his job would be to me.
I challenge any feminist who thinks a keeper at home has an inferior role to try to achieve the efficiency and production that I can in one day! That same woman might be begging for a soft office chair and a little collateral carpal tunnel syndrome just so she can relax.
The fact that we carry these different roles are what makes our marriage so inviting for the fruit of children. I am home, prepared to provide, to teach them the skills they will need. My husband is protecting and providing, the dollar amount hardly mattering because with my full-time job assignment being to figure out how to creatively stretch and spend that dollar, we have no need of want.
My emotions and energies are not expended outside the home, and so full capacity is available to pour into my children and husband. I have not already exhausted my resources and social drive working for somebody else. Our home is safe, spiritually covered, we know what comes in and out of it and we have control of what enters both our home, and our children's minds and bodies - from media to high fructose corn syrup.
My husband trusts me with his paycheck, and I trust him with the task of finding, acquiring, and keeping jobs outside the home. I trust him to manage his own time, his resources, and I don't need to manage him.
We are equal, separate, and both vitally necessary to the longevity of our family in our respective roles. How could life be more perfect than this?
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As seen on Encourage One Another, Marriage Monday