Friday, August 17, 2007

Silly little women?

An unpublished comment (edited by me into a more civilized form):

"Aren't you afraid your husbands, at some point, will get tired of your dependence and lack of personal responsibility?"

Since it might not sound specific enough to understand, I'll add that this was received in reply to a post I published some time ago. It was called 'Yes, I want to be a housewife'.

Having said this, we can translate the question I started with. Obviously, 'dependence and lack of personal responsibility' means 'leaning on your husbands and trusting them to provide for the family needs'. The original question was worded in such an ugly way that I thought I should just delete it and forget about it, but after looking beyond rudeness, I realized this is something important enough to address.

So let's take a thorough look at the following: dependence and personal responsibility, which is intertwined with the forlorn and forgotten value of duty.

Let's begin with dependence. In our culture, this word has a negative meaning and is treated like some sort of disorder. Everyone is urged to get 'independence' from anyone and anything. Yet this is an illusion. If you think you're strong, free and independent, you're fooling yourself. We are all small and weak in front of our Creator. We all depend on Him, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or deny it. And truer, higher freedom can only come from opening your heart to Him and leaning on Him. In a similar way, a wife's relying on her husband, or a daughter's on her father, is not something restrictive and humiliating, but a source to true freedom and peace of heart.

And then we continue to the second point of this question. A godly man knows it is his God-given duty to provide for his family. Rather than feel this is an annoying load he wants to get off his back, a real man is built up by responsibility. When he knows his wife trusts him to lead, protect and provide for their family, it fills him with joy and pride. It makes him feel like a real man. And just so you don't think I'm living in some sort of fairy tale, allow me to add: yes, there are trials. Yes, there are hard days. Yes, sometimes we feel worn out and tired, and our men might feel tired too. This is precisely when we are measured for what we are. Do we take the easy way out, or do we continue doing what we should be doing?

Similarly, the wife has her own duties. Seeking her husband's counsel and allowing him to lead her does not make her in any way less responsible, mature and intelligent – just like it doesn't make us weaker when we pour our hearts out in prayer before God. She, too, has burdens on her shoulders. She must be a helpmeet and build up her man, in seasons of challenges as well as in easy periods of their life together; she must be available for her husband when he needs her, and take deep and sincere interest in his affairs at work; she must take care of the home and turn it into a sweet, welcoming place for her husband; if she has children, it is her duty to watch over their spiritual lives and their education. It all sounds like a beautiful vision, but this, too, can become tiresome after the tenth load of laundry and the hundredth dirty diaper of the week. And during rough moments, what keeps us going is not the pleasantness of what we must do right now, but knowing this is what we must do, and knowing why it is our duty.

Proverbs 31, a beautiful model for a virtuous woman to follow, doesn't describe some sort of whining weakling either. That woman is strong and valiant – but not what you'd call 'independent'.

We can't become independent, as much as we like to think that. We only choose what we want to depend on: God's ways, our husbands, and everything that will be meaningful for eternity; or superficial, worldly things: our paychecks, our boss, our material possessions, and self-gratification at any cost. Sadly, it seems our culture is leaning towards the second option. I, however, am opting for the first.

Earning money doesn't equal being responsible. If you have personal responsibility, you will not abandon your duties in favor of a glamorous and superficial lifestyle. Your husband's needs will not go unattended, your home will not be neglected and your children will know they have a mother who cares for them and is available for them during many sweet, long hours during the day, for studying and playing, learning and growing.

Again, since this is the real world, not all men are responsible, and some men, especially those 'educated' by the feminist movement, feel that leading, providing and taking care of their families is 'too much' for them. Therefore, we must be very careful about whom we choose to marry, and we must discuss our vision with our future husbands. But many men would be happy and delighted to finally have the opportunity to feel like real, strong men, empowered by their wives' confidence and trust.

47 comments:

Leigh said...

Well said!!!!

Leigh

Kathleen said...

That is so true about the men! If we are more feminine, often they will be more gentlemanly.

Mrs.B said...

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

I'm so glad you took the time to answer the rude comment.--Anna this post is one of my favorites you have written and I will be linking to it.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

BonnieBee said...

Great post! I agree! :) I choose the first option too!

Christian Homekeeper said...

Great post Anna!! =)

Candy said...

Another great post Anna :)

Tina said...

Wow..such wisdom for your age. This post was a blessing and I am going to pass it on to my 16 yr old daughter to read also.
Blessings to you,
Tina

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Bravo, Anna! Very well said and written, I know many will be encouraged by this.

Many blessings...

Dawn said...

*applauding*
Your post also got me thinking, if more Christian women would take their role as helpmeet seriously and take the Bible at face value, there would be less men under the leadership of women (women pastors). More men would feel more confident if they were called by God to preach if their wife stood behind him and supported him and prayed for him.
When I see church websites with women pastors, nornally there is nothing mentioned of their husband's or their husbands pretty much hang in the shadows while their preacher wife goes out to 'minister to the congregation'.
Because the church has embraced the world, everything is all backwards. What used to be sin isn't sin anymore. Scriptures are twisted to meet the world's way of doing things. It's just all messed up.
I'm sorry I got off subject here, I don't even know why I started rambling about this in the 1st place...LOL.

Mom-E said...

Very well said! :) One of my husband's greatest feelings of pride and accomplishment is in the fact that he can and does provide for his family and can allow me to be home with our children. He's told me many times that he feels that it is his job and his joy to be able to provide for us. I think that many men would *like* to do the same, but they've been trained by society to feel it's not possible and unnecessary. They feel useless. I think there are alot of dissatisfied men out there because of that teaching who would like to feel that sense of pride and accomplishment but who think it's just not do-able, and that women don't want it even if it were...

Regarding dependance... Everything in moderation IMO. There is healthy dependance and there is unhealthy dependance. There is nothing at all wrong with a healthy level of dependance (such as you describe.) I think the term 'codependance' got very popular in psychology at one point and the masses took it, ran with it, and started using it to mean dependance on anyone to any degree was 'bad'.

Another great post, thank you Anna! :) (Btw- I love Proverbs 31 :)

Mrs. Brigham said...

Wonderful insights Anna! People are not meant to "independent", but were meant to be interdependent on each other! Many times lie involves a huge heaping amount of self-sacrificing love. Be it between husband or wife, parents and child, or even strangers, there are times when we must look out for others instead of ourselves.

This question and the logic behind it are silly. A paycheck is easily replaceable and is often used irresponsibly in the acquisition of more, more, more. A woman who makes career their goal, or even idol, and lets their home fall apart is choosing not to live up to her responsibilities. This woman is also defendant on her company to give her a paycheck and not go bankrupt or lay her off tomorrow, her husband to pay his half of the bills, and, if there are children, the daycare provider to be available each and every day to raise their children. If this woman chooses to use domestic services, she relies on housecleaning services, restaurants & meal services, and landscaping services to take care of her home. And, of course, all of these things rely on money, so we are right back to where we began in this little circle. (Also, relying on two incomes is risky and leaves people without any sort of safety net. The book The Two Income Trap explains this problem well.) Nobody is independent in this life and nobody can make sure all of their supposed "responsibilities" are met effectively.

JME said...

Excellent response!!

Robert said...

You make some good points.The people who make those comments don't seem to realize that the husband wants his wife to be a keeper of the home.She does have responsibility- for the home and children.

Anna S said...

Thank you, dear ladies, for your kind support!

PaulaB52 said...

Mrs. Brigham, I read the Two Income Trap, and I recommend it to any woman who wants to stay home but is afraid of losing her income, etc.

Anna, this is another good post. I'll never forget the day my husband came home from work. The house was a sty, the kids were young, still in diapers, and they were squalling and crying. There was no dinner and the laundry was piled up. He came in and smiled and said "you know, this just feels so right, you being home". LOL. It really made me feel that all my struggling was worth it.

The River House said...

Dear Ana,

I am impressed! What wisdom from someone so young.

This is an excellent response. I am printing it and putting it in my folder to keep.

I am a mother of 2 boys and this is the way, we as mothers, should raise our boys. To be providers of their home.

Many blessins!

Maria S.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I couldn't agree more. I especially appreciate your comment regarding that formidable housewife in Proverbs 31: Strong and valiant, but not independent. Funny,isn't it how we have come to link those concepts together?

In Him,
MR

JoAnn said...

Anna,

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and enjoying it very much. I have been awed at how much the Lord has changed you in your young life (according to your stories). It's a blessing to read. I haven't commented until now, sorry. But I had to comment on this entry. I think it was great. I'm sorry to hear you received such a rude comment before, but I'm glad you used it in such a positive way. It's nice to see a young person embracing what the Lord has called her too, instead of fighting it (unfortunately like I did for so long). Thank you for your constant honesty in what you say, it is very refreshing.

Sincerely,
JoAnn

Alexandra said...

Excellent summation of Christian marriage!

I'm much busier as a SAHM who homeschools than I was when I worked outside the home! If anything I have more responsibility. There's a lot of interdependence here. This team could not work without my singular focus here at home.

Rebekah S. said...

Anna, I can't thank you enough for all your wonderful posts! I'm 15, and it is such a comfort and encouragement to know that there are other girls out there that are also embracing the Biblical vision of Womanhood and Femininity. God bless you, Anna! You are such an encouragement to me!! Thank you!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Anonymous said...

Anna,somebody mentioned how glad they were that you took the time to respond to rude comments, & I'd like to second that. This isn't the first time you've pondered the real question behind all the fear & disdain.

I'd like to add that the fact many perceive a SAH woman is being childishly dependent on her husband has no basis in reality...either historically or present day. I know it is not in my own household!

I think people who make such remarks have a real fear that women will be nothing more than an ornament, all smiling & compliant to a stupid or cruel man's wishes, when she could be "out there" earning her own way, making a difference in the world.

Maybe folks should realize that women have always made a difference in the world...but that some of us just want to make another kind of "difference", & we know, firsthand, the benefits of this kind of life. There is nothing lazy about a SAH life...we put in very full days!!

Brenda

Anna S said...

Again, dear friends, thank you for your kind response! I'd love to reply to each comment in particular, but since time is so short these days, just allow me to say that I read and appreciate all you have to say, and feel you are contributing A LOT of personal insight. Thank you!!

Kathy Finfrock said...

I will share with you that my first marriage ended in divorce. The ex was depressed at my leaving and went to counseling where he was told that the problem was that I did not let him be the man of the house. If thinking that made him feel better, it was fine with me. The reality was that he needed to actually be the man of the house. I didn't think that was something I allowed or not.
I remarried and did value my independence. I brought in a paycheck and that offered security... or did it really? I knew what I wanted. I wanted a family and a home. Not just a place where I put my belongings and slept. I took a long look at my husband and took the plunge. I became "dependent" on him. It was so hard at first. Not because of him, but because of my own selfish reasons. I did do it though and I watched the difference in my husband grow. We've been married 26 years next month and our marriage is solid. He knows I adore him and vice versa. I tell him he is master of my universe and he tells me that I am Queen of his galaxy. We are dependent on each other because we both give so much to the other. It isn't a one way street and it makes the difference to know the other values you and vice versa.
Still being dependent does not mean being ignorant. Bad things happen and you must be prepared to take the role of head of house should those bad things happen to you. Proper planning can provide you that.
Excellent response. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat related: Fatherhood Material

Also check out other articles by the same author: Reality Check

Jessica said...

Hey Anna,

That was an excellent post!! I really enjoyed reading it, and I agree with you!!

I found your blog from another blog I was reading. I am 23 years old. And I am courting (and engaged to) a WONDERFUL man, and we hope to get married soon. (well, as soon as it is the Lord will). I too have had many people criticize things that we do (or don't do!). It seems that people just don't understand why we do the things that we do.

Well, I just wanted to say Hey! And let you know that post was a blessing to me!!

~Jessica

eliza said...

my respond to the uncivilized comment you received is pretty simple; if you marry a man who's responsible and godly, such problems as "husband being tired of your dependence" won't exist. the problem with feminists is that they equalize all men to be some chauvinistic, woman-degrading creatures. and they wonder why they can't execute a successful romantic relationship with men. anyway, as always, great post.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

I just love this post Anna, and others. Delurking to let you know i've qouted you on my Table Tales blog, hope that's okay : )

Paix,

Wendy

Mimi said...

Very well said Anna, I could not agree with you more... you are very wise for one so young... hang in there and stick by your beliefs... there will always be those who disagree with your decision to follow what you believe God wants you to do... but he is the one you are pleasing not the world's opinion
this is my first visit to your blog.. but I will be back for another visit

Lindsy said...

Beautiful post, Anna! I'm glad God has taught you what he has!

Katy-Anne said...

That was a very encouraging post. I'm 22 also and about to deliver (and I mean that literally, any moment now) a baby boy. My husband and I can't wait, and I so LOVE being a wife and home maker and because life is already conceived I'm already a mother also. I have no desire to go back to work, although I do try to work from home with my writing.

Brenda said...

Great post.
I do believe that people who think the way this commenter does--just do not know a godly man or woman. They haven't seen a godly marriage in action. Once you see it, you know it works!! Unfortunately, the world speaks much louder sometimes. Even Christians sometimes do not understand how it all can work.
I have heard Christian parents wonder, "I'm raising my child to believe this, but who will they find to marry?"

Amanda said...

Oh how I wish I could have had this wisdom at your age!!!! (Not that I'm that much older, but I was married for around 7 years before I submitted my life to God and His calling for me as a wife, and only by God's grace did my wonderful husband put up with my ugliness all those years!)

laariii said...

The other night i came home from work exhausted.
I didn't want to do housework or cook dinner.

I thought to myself that this is why men must feel like when they come home. no wonder they like sitting on the couch & having dinner cooked for them. Who wouldn't?

I've never understood the big deal about working for the sake of it. In my job i have to do a lot of sweeping. Is sweeping more empowering because i get paid?

Steve Fuentes said...

Excellent response to a very real dilemma amongst feminists; If I have everything I want, why am I so miserable?

You sound like a good girl!

You know, if you stop aging, my five sons (oldest 7) will keep going and....

Anyway, God Bless!!!

PS - My lovely wife thinks very highly of you! Continue your reliance upon the mighty hand of the Lord!!!

Ashley said...

LOL, my husband has told me that he would like to see his CEO multi-task like I do, bringing all the aspects of the home together into semi-harmony! :P

I might depend on my dh for money, but I think he would starve without me. ;)

My husband never had a 40hr a week job before we married. When I finally quit working, that is when he really began to take pride in his work and he loves having me home. I make all kinds of homemade things, which he greatly enjoys, and I wouldn't have time for if I worked outside my home.

Any time I have mentioned how much I could help out financially, he gently reminds me "Who would raise our children? You are right where you need to be."

Great post!

LisaM said...

I'm so glad you brought this up - it's sparked thoughts that I'd like to pass on to others as well. Very well said. :)

Emily said...

Well done Anna for standing up for your beliefs, and explaining why we do believe in these male and female roles.

I honestly think that women who are biblically submissive to their husbands and depend on them to provide for the family are much stronger than those who are "independent wives" - because the independent types are that way because of fear. They are afraid of trusting and depending upon anyone else for fear of those people failing them. But it takes a courageous woman to not give in to that fear but rather entrust herself to God, and then to her husband.

Sheila Dougal said...

WOW! Excellently put! I love reading your blogs and I share your vision and confidence in God's perfect and beautiful design for the wife.

Gothelittle Rose said...

To be 'devil's advocate', I've talked to women who don't do a very good job with their homemaking responsibilities. They'll go off clothes-shopping or doing their hobbies and then say, "Well, that tired me, I'll just have my husband make something for us to eat when he gets home." Or there's the woman who says, "The emissions testing needs to be done. I'll make my husband bring the car during the weekend." No no!

There are always things that a woman can't do. Some can't do certain household chores due to injury or illness, while some can't handle certain tasks due to a lack of understanding. But I consider my job as a housewife to involve removing as much burden from my husband as possible by doing whatever I can on my own. A long line on a hot day is not an excuse to make him do it. Neither is tedium or repetition. That's why I'm not taking up the burden of full-time work!

When I am done with my banking, handling the finances, filling the pantry, cooking the meals, keeping the house tidy, getting the oil changed in the cars, researching retirement plans to offer good advice, sending letters to congressmen, and staining/sealing the deck, my husband arrives home with no illusions whatsoever about my intelligence, competence, and independence. And the sheer labor, money, and time I have saved him makes me not dependent, but an equal partner in the goals of our family.

Seung said...

The last time I checked, dependence and lack of personal responsibility are characteristics of an individual, not part of the job description. Here in the hospital, I've seen men and women both -- single, married, it doesn't seem to matter -- displaying such dependence and such lack of personal responsibility that I wanted to grab them by the shoulders and shake them until they woke from their blissful dreams of unattached strings and unbroken hearts.

The original commenter would do well to remember two things: first, that to write such ugly comments is in and of itself a mark of a profound lack of personal responsibility; and second, that the choice you make isn't nearly as important as your execution of that choice. There are inappropriate ways to be a wife, just as there are inappropriate ways to be a husband, or a doctor, or an engineer, or any other job in the world. But to assert that it is always inappropriate to be a housewife fulfilling her God-ordained role -- that's just asinine.

Anna S said...

... what is even worse, some similar comments I get come from women who are about 20 years older than me. *Shakes head*. What a lack of maturity.

Anonymous said...

Anna, you have put into words exactly what I have been feeling! I am a 24 year old stay-at-home-wife. People assume I am lazy and that I must be bored out of my mind, or that I just have no life. Sadly, my own family and friends say these sorts of things to me all the time. They don't understand that just because I don't earn the money, doesn't mean that I don't work! Stay-at-home-wives DO have lives! The lives God meant for all wives to lead! I just wish women who work wouldn't look down on women who stay home. Most of us work just as hard.

Anna S said...

Dear anonymous lady,

I can definitely relate to what you feel!.. Sure, women who work probably have a *rough* deal. They try to carry a double load, and break down; who said we are designed to break down and be torn apart between our family and work?! God designed us for beautiful harmony!

Anonymous said...

Anna
This is the 'anonymous lady', the 24 year old housewife. I agree, women were not designed to work outside the home and then return home to do a day's worth of chores, just as men were not designed to stay home and take care of the house and then go out and work for the money needed to provide for their families! Yesterday, an acquaintance in the supermarket asked if i was working. I said 'no, im a housewife.' she just looked at me and said, 'Hmmph. Must be nice." As if we are rich and that's the reason I can stay home! My husband makes less than 20,000 a year. We are by no means rich with money, but we consider ourselves rich with love and laughter. We have our values, and the world has its values. If I had to choose between staying home and having less money but more love, or working and having more money and more material things, i would choose love. Love is what lasts. The Lord says not to store up treasures on earth. I wonder how many people realize that's exactly what they're doing???

Anna S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thats the way to go! hope you have a great life and happy marriage, as i do. :)

injunkayl said...

Very well said.