Friday, November 03, 2006

The Honor of Working at Home

When I think of being a homemaker, or as Titus says, "working at home", I usually go directly to the role of "housekeeper". But a better definition or description of this verse would be "Home Manager". In her book Feminine Appeal , Carolyn Mahaney brings clarity and simplicity to this role.
"Scripture has provided a job description for us as managers of our homes, and it is surprisingly simple, We are to be our husband's helper (Gen. 1:26-31; 2:7-25; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). As Douglas Wilson elaborates:
'The man needs the help; the woman needs to help. Marriage was created by God to provide companionship in the labor of dominion. The cultural mandate, the requirement to fill and subdue the earth, is still in force, and a husband cannot fulfill this portion of the task in isolation. He needs a companion suitable for him in the work to which God has called him. He is called to the work and must receive help from her. She is called to the work through ministering to him. He is oriented to the task and she is oriented to him.' (emphasis mine)
Douglas Wilson, Reforming Marriage
(Moscow, Ida.: Canon Press, 1995),
p. 16
When we understand that our main objective as home managers is to be oriented to our husbands, this clarifies our responsibilities. We can easily determine what we should do and how we should do it by asking ourselves, 'What will most help my husband?' The answer to this question is usually obvious and uncomplicated...
Orienting our lives to our husbands not only helps them, but it helps us as well. When we adapt our lifestyles to serve our husbands, it helps to keep our schedules manageable. Oftentimes we feel pulled in multiple directions by the demands of family, friends, church, school, and community--not to mention our own desires. We try to please everyone, only to feel frustrated and frazzled at the end of the day. However, when we build our lives around helping our husbands, all other 'needs' have to assume their proper place on our calendars--that is, if they even belong there at all.
So why don't we ask our husbands today how we can best help them? And let's not assume that we can ascertain their preferences through this one-time inquiry. Rather, we ought to frequently solicit their thoughts and opinions so we can manage the home to their liking."
I once observed a husband ask his wife to join him as he ate his dinner. She abruptly said, "No, I need to finish the baking for an upcoming bake sale." I watched as he continued to plead with her about sitting down with him. I think he was often left to eat alone due to the time he arrived home from work, while she went on with her household chores. She continued to list out all the things she was needing to finish. I happen to know she ran a tight ship in her home. It was very orderly and clean. The meals were always prepared, the laundry done, and the kids taken care of. I admired her domestic skills. But what I remember most is the look on her husband's face. I also remember the day my husband called me to say that our dear friend had unexpectedly died while at work. She was now a widow with no one to sit and eat dinner with.
I recently asked my husband what he would like when he arrives home. How could I best serve him? His answer was not what you would expect. It had nothing to do with cleaning or cooking, but rather he wanted the family to be engaged in something together. So at least 2-3 times per week I try and have everyone doing something together when my husband arrives home. I plan ahead what that might be and I am ready when he gets home. For example it may be preparing the meal together which he loves to join in and help ( I usually plan something he likes to cook hint hint), playing a game, reading, even watching a movie. (he will join us and than allow me to go and finish preparing dinner if need be). These make for the most peaceful and productive evenings in our home. My day becomes focused and has a purpose. My husband feels honored, my kids feel loved, and I am completely satisfied as the manager of my home.

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