The current trend in our society is that more and more wives and mothers are reentering the workplace. Different families have different needs. And many have decided this is what best serves them.
Yet at the same time, some families are bucking this societal trend. They’ve decided it’s not in their family’s best interest to have mom working outside the home. And while this is a great decision for many families, it’s not a decision that comes free from difficulties.
Anytime you buck a societal trend, there’s a price to pay. For mothers who stay home to raise their children, one price they pay is a drop in social status. This is sad because stay-at-home moms work so hard and sacrifice so much. Current characterizations of stay-at-home moms tend to be patronizing at best, and at worst, downright derogatory.
As a result, guys, the choice to stay home with the kids can be hard on your wife’s self-esteem’even if it’s a decision she believes in and is thrilled about.
So if you and your wife have chosen to buck the trend, I encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions:
- What can I do to lighten her load?
- How can I encourage her and affirm the great value of what she’s doing?
- What practical steps can I take to make staying home with our children less physically and emotionally draining on my wife?
In Proverbs 31:29-31, the husband grants his wife her proper prestige with these words:
‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’
Men, we’ll not only draw prestige from the success of our marriage relationship, but we must also be sure to build up the prestige of our wife. Of course, this begins in the home.
‘Building up’ begins with words, but must be verified and reinforced with actions. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3, ‘Husbands’be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as’heirs with you.’ Acknowledging that your wife is your fellow heir establishes that she’s entitled to the same honor and respect as you. By contrast, you have no right to rob her of what you ought to give, and what God promised she’d have. Oneness isn’t merely a feeling; it’s built on actions.
Moreover, building up the prestige of our wives doesn’t end in the home. What begins there must be carried out into the community. Here again, actions speak louder than words.
Gentlemen, can we justify placing our wives anywhere but in the highest place of prestige in our lives? We must set ourselves to the task of building up our wives’both inside and outside our homes.
When you were courting your wife, she was worthy of speaking to yous on any topic at every level, wasn’t she? Think back to those heady days of dating. You couldn’t drink in enough conversation from the young woman you knew you were going to marry. You loved hearing every thought, every hope, and all her deepest dreams. You were learning her, and it was a thrilling, rewarding experience. Every opinion was a lovely thread in the tapestry she wove around your heart. But that was then; this is now. Somehow, somewhere, and at some nebulous point in time, things changed’
No guy would ever envision tuning out his lover before the wedding day. But in marriages all across the fruited plain, countless men snuff out the voices of their wives seeking to express themselves.
What this does to marital oneness isn’t pretty. Snuffing out your wife’s voice is a sin against her. It’s also a sin against God, because it discards and hinders His purposes for her voice in His kingdom.
Relationships, like people, go through stages of development. Therefore, I’d no sooner suggest that you recreate the first months of dating than I would for you to try becoming a teenager again. I’m simply suggesting that, somewhere along the way, most of us have lost sight of something wonderful’something worthy of being reclaimed: an eager excitement to learn our wives. Men, our wives are precious jewels ‘ don’t overlook and fail to appreciate them!