In Part 1, I talked about some of the biblical basis for homemaking. In Part 2, I referred to the term of “home making internship” and the process of learning about home management. So once we think about women/ wives being in charge of the home the question can often be “Does it really mean my husband has no share of household duties? Does being a biblical homemaker mean I have to do it all alone?” Here is one of my favorite excerpts from Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney explaining this well:
“Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, once quipped about his wife: “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.” While facetious, Luther’s comment holds biblical credibility. As wives, we are to be in charge of domestic affairs.
The command in Titus 2 to be “working at home” is further illuminated by 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul says: “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander” (emphasis mine).
In the Greek, the phrase “manage their households” carries a strong connotation. It literally means to be the ruler, despot, or master of the house. So we see that “working at home” means we are to function as the home manager—taking full ownership for all the domestic duties of the household.
Once again the woman in Proverbs 31 is our example. She presided over the entire range of responsibilities in her home. She helped her husband; cared for her children; completed chores; supervised servants; oversaw land; invested money; bought, sold, and traded goods (just to name a few duties!). The Proverbs 31 wife maintained a broad sphere of rule in her household.
Imitating this woman’s model, Sarah Edwards, the wife of the eighteenth-century preacher Jonathan Edwards, managed her household with careful and thorough diligence. One day Dr. Edwards emerged from his studies and asked his wife: “Isn’t it about time for the hay to be cut?” To which Sarah was able to respond, “It’s been in the barn for two weeks.”
Sarah created a world where her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned for the domestic tasks of the home. We should aspire to do likewise.
Now, with the command to “rule” in our homes, I must provide two cautions. First of all, this is not license to usurp our husband’s authority. Our management in the home must be carried out in complete support of his leadership and direction.
But this mandate also precludes the currently popular “co-responsibility” approach to homemaking. As wives, it is our job to manage our homes, and we should not expect our husbands to contribute equally to this task.
This is not to say that our husbands shouldn’t help around the house. There are times when we legitimately need their assistance, and this is especially true for moms with small children. The point is not to excuse our husbands from service in the home, but rather to solidify our role as manager of the home. God has given that assignment to us.”
I hope that long quote encouraged and challenged you. Like Carolyn said, we are the manager of our home, but can definitely ask for help. We can’t do it all by ourselves! To be completely honest with you – I can’t think of a stage in life where there wouldn’t be appropriate times to ask for help.
And even after getting across that roadblock of thought, I know sometimes it can be daunting to read about the example of the proverbs 31 woman. It can be easy for us to think “I could never be that good! Why even try?” But we must fight against legalism and know that it’s not homemaking that gives us worth. It is Jesus’ blood on the cross ALONE that gives us value. It is for his Name and his glory that we seek to manage our homes well.
To be continued…