Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What can homemakers offer their husbands?

Question:
"What can housewives offer their husbands as intelligent human beings, apart from cleaning their homes and raising their children?"

This question was a part of another comment I didn't publish; however, instead of ignoring it, I decided to phrase it in a more civilized and less aggressive way, and refer to it in a separate post, since I think it's important.

First, let me say that I don't think home management and child-rearing are inferior tasks that can be swept aside and ignored when a woman's contribution is discussed. On the contrary, this is noble and important work that has been a woman's 'career' for many centuries, and no one dared to call women 'parasites' because they 'only' managed the home and family. It was clear that a woman's presence at home has great benefits for the family.

Allow me to express my puzzlement about the thought homemakers have the intellect of a guinea pig. I've heard this many times, and this argument is based on the feeble 'logic' that if a woman doesn't pursue a career, this means she is incapable of doing that, and therefore she must be unintelligent. This opinion lacks solid ground. If a woman chooses not to pursue college education or career, this doesn't mean she can't. I wrote poetry, read classic literature, spoke 4 languages and could discuss the different periods of Goya's painting long before I went to college. Now I'm about to graduate, but I don't think college made me one bit more accomplished as an intelligent human being.

Women were created to be their husband's helpmeets. Read again: not mindless slaves or brainless doormats, but helpmeets. Can a woman be a true helpmeet if she doesn't understand what's on her husband's mind, can't have an intelligent conversation with him, is incapable of discussing important decisions and doesn't know even a bit about his ventures at work? Can a woman teach her children if her brain is never stimulated by anything new and is as dull and dry as the Sahara? I don't think so! How can a woman help her husband and educate the next generation if she's so intellectually inferior?

When you're on a long and difficult journey – and life is definitely such a journey –would you rather have a slave who obeys every word you say, but has no intelligent input of his own; or an assistant who doesn't simply submit to your authority, but is ready to give counsel, support and encouragement?

Don't doubt God's wisdom. He gave Adam a helpmeet and not a slave because he knew Adam needs a shoulder-to-shoulder partner, not someone with banana mush instead of brain.

We helpmeets aren't stupid – it just doesn't fit with our God-given role.

19 comments:

Valerie B said...

What can homemakers offer their husbands? Many things besides simply cleaning the home. As a wife, mother, and full-time homemaker, I can tell you many things I offer my husband.
1. A best friend he can trust.
2. A confidant he can share his feelings and struggles with.
3. A secretary - I am able to fit tasks into my day that he cannot do himself due to his work schedule.
4. An advisor who will tell him the truth even when it's hard.
5. A counsellor who will exhort him when he's spiritually struggling.
6. A lover who will keep him fulfilled and happy, who will meet his needs so he won't be tempted by other women in the world around him.
7. A nurse who is able to stay home and care for him when he's sick and can't go to work.
The list goes on and on. Since I am at home and he is in the workforce, we complement each other. I can soothe his stresses and give him a break from them, and he can do the same for me and my stresses. We have much to offer one another. It is a partnership of the most beautiful, tener kind. I don't know that it would be quite so lovely if I were working full time too - then there would be the inevitable bickering about who gets to do what chores, and dealing with kids who need more parental attention than they are getting.

Thanks for your post, it was good!

Anna S said...

Valerie,

Thank you for your thoughtful input. This is precisely what I meant.

PandaBean said...

Hear hear! Amen!
The conversation between my husband and myself are one of the reasons we got together and got married. We're alike enough to get along and different enough to keep it interesting. Our first "date" was us meeting for the first time at a play, 7pm, then spending the next 36 hours together, awake, simply talking! We still talk quite a bit, even after 5 1/2 years of marriage.
This is also how we can say that we've really only had 1 argument in that whole time, because when an issue pops up, we talk about it right away and not let it fester. This is still hard for me to do, because I'm a non-confrontational person, but if I don't, he always seems to get it out of me anyway. :) I love that man, and I praise God everyday that He brought him into my life, even tho' neither of us were Christian at the time, and even rejected and denounced God and all things Christian. (But that's another long story.)

I love your blog Anna, it's nice to hear from another young person (I'm only 25) who is trying to live such a holy and Godly life.

Karen said...

Anna, thanks for your comment on my "whiny" post. I agree, we need to give ourselves a good shake at times like this! Thanks for the shake:)

PandaBean said...

Thank you anna sfor visiting my blog. I read all the wonderful posts on other blogs, like yours, and they really get me thinking all through my day. I'm still trying to get used to posting coherant thoughts, so stop back again sometime!

Alexandra said...

When I worked outside the home, I was still responsible for the children, meals, scheduling and organizing, nursing the sick, etc. I wanted this responsibility, and dh was gone a lot with his job, so I had to take it. So for me this question seems illogical. As a stay-at-home mom, I am the same person as I was when I worked outside the home. I've been married to the same man, so I'm offering him the same. Nothing has changed. My job, be it at home, or outside the home changes nothing. As a wife, I am offering him nothing different.

As a stay at home mom, I am however offering my family something different, but that wasn't the question. What's good for the children is good for him, so in a round about way I guess I am offering him something in this arena: peace of mind. He is much happier knowing the children are not in fulltime daycare, and he likes them being homeschooled.

Lean Not said...

Good post, Anna. I definitely agree!

I can give you a vote of confidence from someone who can see both sides of the issue -- I have a master's degree, and I am a professional with a good career. I am not married, but even though I have "accomplished" these good intellectual things (only by God's generosity!) I would give all that up in a second to be a homemaker, and I would NOT consider it a step down intellectually at all!

In fact, being a keeper at home is what I dream of more than anything. Remember, what is our purpose on this earth? To serve our Savior! He has given me a good ministry with my job right now, as a single woman; but a woman's highest calling is to serve Him through serving her family.

With a job, you can only direct your abilities toward one area: whatever the job requires. As a homemaker, a woman can be quite the "renaissance man" (forgive the mixed metaphor!) :) and can exercise her intellect in countless directions. Which is harder: to do one thing well, or to do tons of things well?

Just last week, I was at the home of a woman who is an excellent example of a brilliant lady who applies her God-given abilities to her home. Her husband is a highly-respected, extremely smart professional whom I work with, and she stays at home and homeschools their adorable, sweet, well-behaved, boys.

My friend and I babysat her children for just a few hours, and I was simply blown away by the evidence of that incredible woman's touch.

First of all, there was not even a HINT of a discipline problem, even with three boys under the age of 10. That includes no problems during play time, dinner, cleanup afterward (which the boys mainly did!), story time, bath time, bed time, etc. How many people can say that they have trained their children that well?

Second, those boys could converse so intelligently that their mother obviously has taught them well in her homeschool lessons as well as engaging their minds in good conversation throughout the day. One of the boys even had a very intelligent discussion with me about a recent local news story. He knew all about it and had formed mature opinions about it, whereas most children his age would not even be aware of the story at all. As I said above, I am an educated professional -- but I actually found this little child's conversation quite stimulating. That only could come from constant attention and training from his amazing parents, particularly his mother, who spends all day with him.

Another impressive thing was the way her home was arranged. It was decorated very tastefully, many times with exquisite crafts that she had made, and it was organized in an amazing way. She has some organization ideas that I surely never would have thought of -- very innovative!

There is so much more that I could say about this homemaker, but I have to go to work! :) But I will point out one thing: There is no question that her extremely educated husband is very stimulated by his intelligent stay-at-home wife. There could not be a more suitable helpmeet for this man than a woman he can count on to keep his household in such extraordinary order.

Anonymous said...

So beautifully put, Anna. And I would also have to give a big thumbs-up to valerie b for her reply. It sounds as though she truly "gets it" and is giving the best of her talents and intellect to be a blessing to her husband & children.

Brenda

Bethanie said...

Well put.

Candy said...

Valerie summed it up pretty well too.
Homemakers can offer SOOO much to their husbands.
First of all, I actually believe that for a large majority (not all husbands I know, but I feel MOST) LOVE having their wife at home, and not working for "another man".
Alot (again not all but alot) of guys grew up with seeing their own Mom's stay at home, always there for them as a child and for their Dad.
My husband is a traditionalist, he loves the feeling that he is the provider and Im the homemaker.
He loves coming home after being gone to see a client, and know that when he enters our home, I actually greet him at the door with a big smile on my face (this is true, Im always happy to see him walk in the door!) and the smell of supper cooking and clean home. That alone is PRICELESS!!!
Dont underestimate how nuturing and critical a warm home is.
When MY husband walks into our home, I have often heard him say "Im so glad Im home now" or "its so good to be home" or "theres nowhere like home"...thats the biggest compliment I could get :) He LOVES his home, and what I created and coming home and guess what...Im here, waiting for HIM. Waiting to spoil him a little and give him a bit of attention ;) He just loves it to pieces. He is spoiled rotten :) and he knows it and loves it. I bet ALOT of guys would love it. I love spoiling him, its fun for me! :) He spoils me too :)
Im also showing my son that its ok for his future wife to be a homemaker!
My husband, Rob, works mainly from home and only goes to visit clients a couple hours a day so he is home alot thankfully. SO it wouldnt make sense for me to work anyways. This way I get to see him.
And instead of "paid work" I can always VOLUNTEER at my sons school, our Church, or at our local hospital with newborn babies (getting my baby fix :) so homemakers actually HAVE the choices and opportunites to do GREAT work, far and above the regular working woman.

I always have to chuckle at the "must be a dumb woman being a housewife" saying....I think the housewifes are the smart onesm having the last laugh- ha!
:) Life is WONDERFUL for our our family!!!!

One last thing, it is Biblical too, for the wife to be a home maker.

LOVE this post!!!!
:)
Candy

Anna S said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone!! I enjoyed reading your thoughts so much! Thank you for sharing your experience.

Sheri said...

Oh Anna, I'm not going to add any lengthy comments because so much good stuff has been said already. This was an outstanding post my dear sister in the Lord... simply, a homemaker has EVERYTHING to offer her husband!

Emily said...

Fantastic post Anna! Wives have so much they can offer their husbands, and vice versa. Our society has so devalued the role of wife, mother and homemaker, so much so that a woman is not "enough" as just these things and without a career. But I'm sure, just ask any husband who has a loving, godly wife who joyfully serves him, how much she offers him and what an utter blessing she is to his life...!

Coffee Wife said...

"What can housewives offer their husbands as intelligent human beings, apart from cleaning their homes and raising their children?"

Wow...they ask this question as if raising children and keeping our homes is some kind of substandard low-life thing! As a housewife I can't help but point out that THE greatest things I offer my husband is my keeping of the home, my moral support for his work and hopefully in the future my raising of our children!

Anna S said...

Michelle,

I think that the person who asked this question had the following image in mind: a housewife that spends all day long in her bathrobe and slippers, too tired and harrassed to read anything intellectually stimulating or take care of her looks. She hasn't read a book in years and doesn't even know who's the president of her country at the moment.

It's only up to us to show that it doesn't have to - nor should it - be this way.

PS: Who said that a job outside the home is always intellectually stimulating?

UltraCrepidarian said...

I'm a divorced father of two boys.

I went out for dinner today, by myself, and thought that in all the world, I'd rather have a peanut-butter sandwich, made by my mom, or my sister, or any kind and caring woman in the world, who loves me, especially a spouse, than a steak dinner with the finest red wine in all the world.

What you've said, and what the commenters have said, is what is missing from the world. What is missing can't be bought at Costco, can't be given as advice in a Ladies magazine (at least not the secular kind), and can't be found in our modern world order.

The world is full of empty houses, and desperately short of loving, warm homes, places of hospitality and respite.

God bless every woman in the world who makes a safe place for others, who uses her feminine genius and who gives of herself, offering up her loving care for others, as unto the Lord.

Warren

Anna S said...

Hi Warren, thank you for visiting.

Indeed, we have too many things, too much emptiness, and too few genuine happy moments.

Mrs. Brigham said...

Your post is wonderful, as are all of the comments!

I have never understood the notion that women who do not pursue careers must be of inferior intelligence. Just from my own life experiences, I have had far more time to read, research, and partake in other learning opportunities since I gave up employment outside the home to become a wife and mother. Both types of work require skills, intelligence, and the drive to learn, but my former jobs were much more monotonous and required far less of my mind than being at home has. There are always news things to be learned at home and ways to develop, change, and grow. I would be willing to guess that this is not true in the vast majority of careers.

Staying at home has not only allowed me to learn what I might like to learn, but also to keep up on my husband's industry and interests, figure out new activities, cuisines, adventures, etc to try together, and the time to research current events and other issues that interest both of us. When I was working I did not have the ability to keep up on both of our interests in the way I do now, among many other areas I was lacking in, of course.

Anna S said...

Mrs. Brigham:

I agree with you so much. I had boring, unstimulating job; boring, unstimulating classes; but I was never bored at home. I wrote a post about it which I will publish soon.