Being a Full-Time Homemaker Without Children

Being a Full-Time Homemaker Without Children

Written by Megan E. Saben

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27).

While eagerly anticipating marriage after four years as a children’s librarian, I was repeatedly informed that although my intentions to be a homemaker from the beginning were admirable, I was sure to be bored before long.

Now, months after the wedding, I haven’t had time to read the help wanted ads nor felt any inclination to do so. Caring for my husband, I find numerous ways to improve our home and form better habits that will enhance my abilities as the seasons of life change.

Recently, as I ironed a pile of linen napkins, I began to wonder why I insist on making more work for myself. Paper napkins are cheap, they can be pretty, and it is really not essential to use cloth for every day. There may come a season when clean diapers and burping cloths take precedence over keeping up with napkins, but for now, cloth napkins represent creativity, personal taste, and an investment of time and love in making the table attractive. Someone else might design an interesting centerpiece or add garnishes to a simple meal, but my cloth napkins are part of my pursuit of orderly domestic beauty.

In the past, I felt that I needed an excuse for keeping at home while many of my friends felt it necessary to work post-wedding pre-family. Can I justify being at home full time before becoming a mother? I can if my time is well spent. If I want to maintain an orderly routine in the future, now is the time to learn habits that will be valuable in later seasons of life. If I want to try a new recipe or keep the freezer stocked with homemade bread and berries picked in season, now is the time to experiment and practice. If I hope to encourage and establish friendships with other young mothers, now is the time to visit them and help with their children or with housework.

I am still in training in my new, full-time position. The things I admire when I visit other homes are the things I have the opportunity to learn right now. Adjusting to married life and a new home is a radical change. Add writing thank you notes and unpacking to regular responsibilities and you can become overwhelmed in your new role. Can your full energies be offered equally to work outside the home, maintenance in the home, and the care of your worthy husband, who is your priority?

To a woman who is willing to sacrifice extra income and who desires to develop skills that will make her home a warm, welcoming haven, I offer the following suggestions:

Serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2). The best investment in a new marriage is establishing a routine that includes regular Scripture reading and prayer. With so many changes in a woman’s life, this habit may not appear as urgent as having clean clothes or dinner on the table, but your relationship with God is a priority. It has been a great comfort to me in a new home and a new life to remember that God has not changed. I enjoy Him in remarkable new ways as a bride that I never knew as a single woman.

A wife without children or career may falter in her resolve, wondering if she has a sufficiently notable calling. To gain practical advice on how to grow closer to God, love your husband, and care for your home, learn from older women. Invite them for tea or visit their homes. Bring handwork, listen, and even take notes. These wise, spiritual mothers can encourage and teach you so that you can be available to teach other young women what you learn.

Look for opportunities to provide a meal for someone else. Attend Bible studies. Get to know your neighbors to have a fruitful witness. Be available to minister and your time will not go unfilled! But beware of filling your calendar with too many extra things that devour your time. Choose carefully and prayerfully with your husband’s guidance.

Serve your husband. I am glad to do the things that I know will please my husband, because I appreciate his faithful love and care for me. I am thankful that my mother taught me to make bread and to enjoy being comfortable and creative in the kitchen, but if she had not, this would not be an excuse for not learning. I demonstrate love to my husband when I make his breakfast, pack his lunch, straighten the bed, iron his shirts, tidy the house, pursue creative activities, prepare an attractive and nutritious dinner, and after all that, have the energy to enjoy his return home. My tasks vary, but faithfulness in the details is as important as the accomplishment of larger works. The specific demands on my hours will change, but the wise use of my time now will establish habits, improve skills, and richly bless my relationship with my husband.

Care for your home. If you have the desire but not the skills to make your house a home, I recommend “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” by Edith Schaeffer. You don’t have to be Martha Steward with unlimited funds and a team of artist-consultants in order to enhance your home.

Begin by pursuing the regular maintenance of order. Choose one small area, determine a practical solution to the clutter, and stick with it. Then add another small area. There are excellent books with practical suggestions if you were not born organized. If there are certain tasks you find tedious, focus on learning to enjoy them by doing them better and more efficiently so that the visible results are gratifying.

Cloth napkins can be made easily as soon as  you can sew a hem, or they can be purchased reasonably. Planting flowers provides a supply of centerpieces. Even if you live in an apartment, grow a few simple, fresh herbs, cultivate in pots outside the door. Basil and thyme are good to experiment with and require minimal attention.

If you already know how to cook and make bread, indulge in creative arts such as sewing, quilting, or knitting. If you use the opportunity to develop your skills, it will be much easier to implement them or build on them later when you have less time to devote to learning the basics.

Personal Development. The most important task you can undertake that will improve your success in the other three areas is to learn personal self-discipline and establish a household routine. When will you exercise your body and your soul? How quickly will you put the dishes away? How often will you clean the bathroom, change the sheets, and vacuum the carpet? When will you go to the grocery store? If you set goals and standards for yourself now, it will be easier to return to them later.

Whether you have completed a formal degree or not, what you know and what you have experienced makes you an interesting person. What have you read that you can contribute to the conversation when you have guests? Consider taking classes in areas of interest: literature, history, cooking, music. If the cost is prohibitive, get a library card and exhaust the shelves! [This was written before we had free access to the Internet to learn these things!]

In the early months of our marriage, I discovered many valuable reasons for staying home, although finding employment was an option. When my husband is called away on travel, I am free to accompany him. The home is a beautiful place to be when I am content to make it so, and when I rejoice in my calling as a homemaker I am available spontaneously to serve the needs of others. During a holiday season, I am available to make our home a festive place for family, friends, and guests. I am able to meet my husband at the door with warm smells emanating from the oven behind me. No second income can compare to discovering how many ways I can express my love to him and to seeing his pleasure in the results.

It is never too soon nor too late to begin.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
Colossians 3:23

18 thoughts on “Being a Full-Time Homemaker Without Children

  1. Excellent post as always Lori! (long time lurker on your site) I was wondering about a thing in the article though, the suggestion that a new wife take classes/read library books to gain knowledge about random topics. I’m honestly curious, how does this benefit marriage?

    I think that to my future husband, the most important things are if I stay attractive and fulfills my duties as a wife and mother at home. My husband probably won’t need me to be ‘interesting’ or informed. I don’t think he’d want an intellectual equal or conversational partner, I think he’d want someone who’d calmly listen to him after a long day of work. If my future husband wants an intellectually compatible conversation, he would have male friends and coworkers to provide that.

    I don’t see the point in learning about something like literature or history. I did not learn much about those subjects while being home schooled growing up, so I feel it is quite late for me to learn about them anyway. I am American, so how would knowing about something like the world wars or revolutions be useful? I even don’t know much about past US presidents or historical events off the top of my head, if someone asked me on the spot what US president was in charge, say in the early 1990s before I was born, I could not tell you.

    I don’t believe that women are inherently stupid or should try to lessen their intelligence. But a wise woman does not equate to an educated woman. Just look at any woman at a college campus, versus an old woman. My grandmother was born in the 1920s and she had little formal education, not past grade school. She was, according to my father, one of the wisest people he knew! And my father pursued a demanding, very academic career! He still considered my grandmother aka his mother to be wiser than him! I just don’t understand why knowing random facts about something like history is beneficial for a woman.

    1. The author wrote to pursue and study and interest. So, an interest would be something you like to do or may even be passionate about. I love science. I love physics and the math that goes with it. (Did you know that cooking is science? It’s time, temperature and chemical reactions.) I enjoy literature and I love to read – EVERYTHING. I enjoy natural sciences, gardening. To do it well, managing soil pH is very important, and I believe natural pest control is also. I like woodworking, and home improvement projects. I can quilt and sew, but I don’t find it as enjoyable as refinishing furniture, or re-crafting useful pieces. I enjoy listening to some music, but I have no interest to attend concerts, or learn to play an instrument – and I never did. I have a good eye for choosing colors and patterns and decorating, but I prefer architectural and functional design to fine art. Still, I can read music and know the scales. I have also been to the Prado, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Louvre, the National Museum of Art, and others. Develop your interests and be useful and interesting. As far as a husband wanting an intellectual equal, some men prefer smart women and some men prefer dumb ones. As far as maintaining attractiveness; beauty becomes familiar and all fades eventually. You should know basic history, but that doesn’t mean you must become a professor of subjects that hold little interest for you.

    2. Hi Priscilla, I found your question very interesting. I hope you don’t mind if I try to answer it for you.
      There are several reasons why I believe it is important for women to read about these things. Number One, most men (at least that I’ve known) are attracted to women they believe to be intelligent. This is whether or not they believe in biblical womanhood, in my experience. There is definitely a time and place for listening calmly, and I don’t mean to minimize that at all. But men also like to have someone they can discuss the things that are important to them. And so much the better if their wives understand what they are talking about. Men shouldn’t have to go outside the home for an invigorating conversation. It really makes a man’s day if his wife asks him about his work and how it is all going. It shows that
      she cares enough about him to educate herself on the things that are important to him. Number Two, women are created to be the helpmeet to the man. This does not only mean in matters of housework, important as that is. Every man is different, and so their wives will be also. A woman does not know what sorts of skills her husband will need, and it is therefore important for her to prepare as best as she can (listening to the Lord’s leading) so that she will be capable. Some husbands called by God to start a business may need wives who are business savvy to help them out. Some husbands called by God to be scientists may need wives who are informed on these subjects. It’s about being able to truly help them and lift burdens off of them. There are a few other reasons outside marriage also. For example, homeschooling in the future would obviously require you to be well read on a variety of subjects. Also, those subjects are just so interesting! I know not everyone is a nerd like I am, but I love to learn and teach myself new skills and subjects. It is truly fascinating. Anyway, hope this is helpful to you! Blessings.

    3. While I agree that higher education does not equal intelligence or wisdom, complete ignorance of past events will not help you become a wise woman. Your grandmother was wise because she lived through the events she lived through (the history you say you and other women have no interest in learning about) and I believe we are fortunate to learn about such events by the recorded literature. People who don’t know their history are in danger of repeating it.

      As a side note, what on Earth would I talk about to someone who has no interest in anything academic or educational? This is just my personal preference but I relate more to people I can discuss current events with and relate them to past situations in History.

    4. Learning is interesting and exciting! My husband loves to chat with me about history, politics, science and literature. He’d be bored if I just listened.

    5. My husband absolutely enjoys stimulating conversation with me. Not all the time, but sometimes. I guess all men are different, but if you will be accompanying him places and interacting with a wide range of people with him, being able to talk about anything is helpful.

    6. I actually can’t tell if this is a troll comment. Look at how difficult an 8th grade literature book was in the early 1900s. So if someone made it to 8th grade, they were very educated at that time, often much moreso than a college grad of today. Why in the world wouldn’t you want to be an interesting person? Marriage is a life-long conversation, it isn’t just about doing tasks.

    7. The huge thing is you never know who you will marry and what they will require. Its best to be well rounded so you can be the best help meet possible. Plus it helps if you guys home school.

  2. “No(thing) can compare to discovering how many ways I can express my love to him and to seeing his pleasure in the results. It is never too soon nor too late to begin.”

    This is something that every wife (young and old) should understand and take to heart. Just as we all should be seeking daily in how we can better serve and please our Lord Jesus Christ, wives should be daily looking for ways in how they can better serve and please their husbands. The primary way a wife is able to show their love, gratitude and devotion to Christ is in how they show their love, gratitude and devotion to their husbands. And it’s never too soon nor too late to begin.

    The more ways that a wife shows her love, gratitude and devotion (and takes delight in pleasing) her husband, the more he cherishes her. It is just a natural response for a man to cherish something that he highly values and he will most certainly highly value a wife that is constantly showing her love and gratitude by putting in efforts to please him.

    And ladies, if you don’t know what will please your husband, open your ears and listen. Start with the things that are displeasing him. Has he expressed displeasure or concern over something? Has something you have done (or not done) made him angry? Has something you have done (or are doing) or not doing caused him disappointment? Ding ding ding.

    I would think that the vast majority of husbands provide plenty of feedback, wives just don’t want to listen (too prideful) and too many of them just (in their minds) try and justify away what their husbands are communicating to them as invalid or not important enough to address. The problem with this is if you ignore them too long, many will just give up and quit communicating with you all together and this leads to a horrible marriage and a downward spiral (husband does not feel respected and the wife does not feel cherished) and often divorce to those that are not strong enough to just gut it out. The ones who do gut it out are miserable and make everyone around them miserable. Ladies the keys are in your hands.

    Megan (in her striving to be a true Proverbs 31 woman) is a wise woman who is clearly building her house and she (and everyone around her) will reap the blessings of her hard work and wise decisions for decades to come.

  3. This was very beneficial and inspiring, and I’ve been a stay at home mom for 11 years! My parents are amazing and raised us kiddos in a godly home, I’m so thankful!; but I wasn’t very prepared to be a keeper at home and it has caused much strife through the years. Fifteen years into marriage and I finally feel I’m somewhat proficient. I love the idea of being a homemaker at the beginning of marriage, before kids, as a time of training and growing in skills so that when children arrive, you’re already prepared and proficient!

    1. Yes!
      My mother stayed at home when we were young, but didn’t teach me much in the way of homemaking skills. She kept an immaculate home, but didn’t teach me how to.
      When I got married, I continued working, and then we had 3 children back-to-back. Our first baby was born exactly a year after our wedding.
      It was really challenging to learn the skills needed to keep a clean, organised home and cook good meals, while also juggling pregnancy illness, babies and toddlers. And part-time work as well.
      Home was sometimes chaos.
      If a woman is able to be at home before children and learn to keep herself busy looking after the home and her husband, her marriage will definitely be blessed.

  4. If a couple is entertaining, it’s good to be well-rounded so that you have something interesting to discuss beyond, shopping, the weather and pets! This is really important when attending your husband’s work functions. (Networking opportunities!)

    I knew a woman who’s husband opened his own law firm and her charm and interesting conversation made a good impression on clients and colleagues. Wives and husbands represent one another. A boring wife reflects badly on her husband even if he’s a brilliant employee.

  5. This was an interesting read!
    I quit my job a few weeks before I married and have been a “full-time wife since” as well. There was much for me to learn in this role and having a job outside the home would have been almost too much for me.But there were times I was able to accompany my husband “on the job” and possibly not every woman has that opportunity.
    Some husbands have neat and tidy schedules-leaving and returning at a certain time more less every day. Some of us have husbands with crazy schedules-especially at certain times of the year. Learning to work with this schedule-or rather lack of it, is a must.
    A farmer husband may need/want his wife to help him milk cows in the barn. A business man may need his wife to keep his books. Another husband might not need his wife’s help in these areas but maybe needs her to have meals ready at whatever time he can work it in to eat one.
    Yes! Gain knowledge! Men are different but those of us who have husbands who seek our help and advice in making decisions or those who leave decisions to us …we need to be able to make wise ones! Our husbands need to be able to trust us to do so.
    The coming of children adds to the mix of a busy life and decision making.
    I would imagine that Noah’s wife didn’t expect Noah to adapt to her schedule. I imagine she had decisions to make as to what they would take into the ark as to how much food, etc. and that Noah trusted her in this. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy but she followed Noah into the ark. What if she wouldn’t have?

  6. Some of it is good advice. The husband should decide what the home should be like. Can you imagine King David, or any of the other Kings, being told how he should run his palace, what and when he should eat, who he should invite, how his children should be raised? Unthinkable. The same with Jesus, you can’t imagine Jesus being told where and how to live, what his home should be like etc. It works best if we are submissive, loving, servants to our husbands. It takes years to learn that, I’m still learning. Women who have been in charge over anything, even their own brothers, have no problem with the idea of being in charge of a church congregation, that’s a large part of the reason we see that sin. If women were loving, trusting and submissive to their husbands, fathers, brothers etc, the thought of being in charge of a church would never enter their heads.

  7. Priscilla is correct. Most of the comments seem to relate to having a white collar husband. I can promise blue collar men do not want to come into air conditioning for the first time all day and listen to anything about literature. Men want women who are enjoyable to b around and that doesnt mean they are dumb. You dont need to lie about knowing what a man does at work. Sometimes its like doing double shifts talking about work at home.

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