When taking the vow to have and to hold, how often did you see yourself clutching a broom? It’s inevitable. There are things to do around the house and someone’s gotta do it. While traditionally the responsibility of housekeeping has fallen to the wife, in this day and age with her often having to pitch in financially – is it still reasonable for all the chores to be her sole responsibility? Are chores becoming a source of tension in your home?
If you listen carefully, you’ll hear it… “Mhmmm,” “See,” “Listen to this!” It’s a chorus of wives all waiting for that affirmation, that justification that urges their husbands to pitch in. But if you listen even closer –there may be some husbands in there too! When we got married (if you can remember that far back), the man and the woman were given a set of responsibilities. The man’s job in its most primal form is to be the provider and the woman is the manager of the home. But depending on where you live, simple economics might dictate a slightly modified husband-wife arrangement.
Some countries around the world like Sweden celebrate and believe in fortifying their families. They get 16 months of paid leave after the birth of a newborn, tax credits to help out child-rearing and subsidized day care facilities open for twelve hours a day! At the other end of the spectrum, in the United States it’s not even close. The mother gets three months of paid leave and the father? Forget it. I know you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up as you’re packing your bag to Sweden, but I have a point I promise. Modern economics + where you are geographically often = both husband and wife working full time jobs.
Going back to our God given responsibilities, it should be clear that the husband is the provider, therefore he works, but does this mean that he should not do chores and fails as a husband just because the woman must work? Also, God holds the wife responsible as the house manager, but does this mean that she should not work–and if she does can it be in place of keeping the home in order? Ahhh you see where I’m going now. Sometimes we feel that it’s not so easy to fit in the clear-cut roles assigned to us and it becomes an additional stress when there are things left undone in the home, no matter how little the chore may seem. But although the roles that God holds the husband and wife responsible for are clear-cut and non-negotiable, He also commands that we help each other with love and respect. Therefore, if the wife is also working it should be understood that she is just “helping” her husband for he is the one that must answer to God. In the same way, if the husband is also doing household chores it should be understood that he is “helping” his wife for she is the one that will answer to God.
In this modern age, it’s not our God-given roles that must adjust, but instead we ourselves need to work harder in helping each other and proving our love. Understanding our responsibilities to one another and following God’s instructions in loving each other is truly the recipe for how to handle any marital conflict…even involving household chores.
There are many ways to approach chores and keeping your home in order: there’s her way, his way, and God’s way. Giving in to God’s way reduces misunderstandings that would eventually lead to fights. You’re both busy and you’re both tired–don’t compete. Have, hold and roll up your sleeves together! Find your groove with the chores so you can focus on other things… like how much money you need to save to move to Sweden!
Mariel Gutierrez is a staff writer for INCMEDIA.ORG and hosts the Faith and Family podcast Tired Moms. She does not enjoy chores, but loves her family dearly.