Egalitarian Marriages Cause Contention

Egalitarian Marriages Cause Contention

Most couples have had arguments about their roles in marriage. Most wives want their husbands to help with the home and children. Some husbands want their wives to make money and contribute financially to the home. This usually causes a lot of conflict, especially for women who want to have careers and aren’t interested in being full-time mothers or homemakers and husbands who see dollars signs instead of the value of having a mother home full time with his children.

As believers, we know that God has ordained men as head over their wives. We know that He has ordained that women be keepers at home and look well to the ways of their household. Wives are to be submissive and obedient to their husbands. Men are ordained to make a living for their families. These are God’s perfect ways. We always get in trouble when we depart from His ways. Lindsay Harold gives a great illustration of this.

“Egalitarianism (mutual submission) is like having a shared lawn with your neighbor while complementarianism (wives live in submission to their husbands) is like having separate lawns.

“If you share a lawn with your neighbor, you might have an expectation that he do half of the work to maintain it, and if he does nothing or very little to maintain the lawn, you are likely to feel anger towards him for not doing his share of the shared work. But if you have your own lawn and your neighbor has his, then you work on your own lawn and he does his. And if he ever comes over to mow your lawn for you, you feel grateful for his help and it builds goodwill between you. Why? Because he did something for you that he didn’t have to do.

“In a marriage, it works much the same way. If you feel that all work should be shared equally, and none of it is solely any one person’s job, then you’ll be checking to see if the other person is doing their fair share and you’ll get angry if they don’t. But if you have separate chores for him and for her, then not only is there less strife over who is doing enough of the work, but when you get help from the other person, you feel gratitude. It’s not just grudgingly accepting that they did what they should have done, but actual gratitude and goodwill. And that makes a huge difference.”

As a wise pastor once taught, “Expectations are resentment waiting to happen.” Don’t allow expectations to destroy your relationship with your husband. The Lord has made him head over your and He has called you to submit to his leadership. When this is followed, there is peace.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Ephesians 5:22, 23

24 thoughts on “Egalitarian Marriages Cause Contention

  1. “Expectations are resentment waiting to happen.” So true!

    I heard a wise woman from our church say about marriage once, “Keep your expectations waaaay low, and your gratitude waaaay high.”

  2. I have many women friends who feel this way. They stay home all day and then expect their husbands to come home and do “50%” of the housework…what?! But you didn’t do “50%” of HIS work, so why should he do yours? That is so crazy!

    The biggest blessing to my sweet husband is to be able to ‘come home’ and relax, unload his thoughts. Not come home from a mentally stressful job and now be bombarded with chores that I can 100% do while I’m home all day. Women, get it together! You are hurting your men!

    1. …forgot to add…these women wonder why they are always on the brink of divorce and constantly unhappy. And then use sex as a bargain. Drives me mad!

  3. “We always get in trouble when we depart from His {God’s}ways.”

    This is so very, very true, whether the departure is willful rebellion or out of ignorance. That is why it is SO important to know the Bible.

    Thank you, Lori, for once again speaking truth.

  4. Is there anyway you can post what Harold Lindsay wrote on your article as I cannot view it as I’m not on Facebook.

  5. Lori, I have a question… if the wife homeschools is she considered working? Would it be fair to ask her husband to help with some of the housework since technically they both have jobs?

    1. If a wife homeschools, she is doing what the Lord has called her to do; be a keeper at home (working hard at home) and raising her children. It is the Lord’s work for you! Train your children to help you around the home as they grow up. This will make your job easier. Your husband’s job is to provide and if he’s providing, you’re blessed!

      1. You have helped me through the years to see this truth and it has been very beneficial to my marriage. My husband never requires me go out and work to help out with the finances so I think it would be wrong of me to ask that he help out around the house. Even though he doesn’t clean up after himself I do it and have stopped the grumbling. He always “cleans up after me” financially. There are many times I have made unwise purchases with homeschool curriculum or groceries or frivolities etc. and he has never required that I “help out” because I made the “mess”.

        I have also gotten the kids to start helping out more. I ordered a children’s cleaning program called flip and clean. It came with a DVD for the kids to watch. I then went to the Dollar Tree and bought 8 pop-up laundry baskets (4 for each) and they use these as their sorting baskets for cleaning. My kids are 9 and 6 and have taken well to this program. When my kids were younger I found purging a lot of stuff was helpful in keeping the house under control. Also I have the philosophy that if the house takes too long to clean it is probably to big for you. That may come into play with some ladies.

        1. I love this, M…thank you! And thank you, Lori, for putting things into perspective for me. I’m going to march forward with a glad heart!

  6. I stay at home and homeschool most of our 10 children. I also run the day to day stuff and do light maintenance on the house. My husband works outside the home, does heavier maintenance on the home and does the design and upkeep of our yard. Neither of us like getting dirt on our hands and i certainly dont like gardening. So we made a deal, he wont ask me to do gardening if i dont ask him to help with housework. We agreed we have several little hamds that God gave us to help. And so they do. And they love it! There are times when we do help each other with things but its pretty rare.

  7. I don’t know how many churches insist on premarital counseling with a godly older couple any more, but mine did. It was the best thing we ever did for our marriage. We definitely knew where our trouble areas were going to be.

    For example, his mom worked full time and had for years, so he expected me to work as well. My mom stayed home full time and never worked outside the home, so I balked at the idea of having to work and be away from my children. It’s a funny thing, though. I submitted to his will and worked after we were married. I worked full time for 2 years, had my first child, and cut down to part time hours while my husband stayed home with our son during my shift. I can honestly say that it was the Lord who got a hold of my husband’s heart on this matter because toward the end of my pregnancy with our second child, he was laid off. Now, I had been working part time for a year. I was expecting to go back to work part time after a 6 month leave. I offered to go back to work full time after 6 weeks as he did not have a job. He decided that I was not going back to work at all. He wanted me home with the children. No explanations, no fighting, he just decided that he wanted me home. I, of course, tried reasoning with him, citing our financial problems, no insurance, 2 small children, etc., but he stood firm. I quit my job.

    We had a challenging 6 months, but looking back, those were some of the best months of our (at the time) 6 year marriage. We relied on God for our needs, and He provided! I’ve been home ever since. There have been more financial struggles where I volunteered to pick up some work, but every time he has stood firm on my place being in the home.

    There’s many more stories of how I changed and how he changed from those two young people sitting in our marriage counseling sessions. I had many opinions on how I thought our marriage should run, and they definitely didn’t line up with his views, which led to many arguments. We are definitely not the same people we were when we first got married. (PTL!) The Lord used us to sharpen each other, so that we could give glory to Him and be used for Him.

    I just want to encourage those wives who have a desire to stay home but can’t, or who want to work and their husbands want them home. Be submissive to your husbands in this matter. Pray for yourself to not hold onto bitterness against your husband for not allowing you to do what you would like, and pray for your husband. His job is not an easy one. Change is an ongoing process, but when you are committed to doing what the Bible says, your marriage will be a beautiful thing 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing, R. Yes, no one can improve upon God’s perfect ways for us and we are promised that we will reap what we sow. If we want to reap God’s blessings, we sow obedience to Him as you have so beautifully done.

  8. A little late reply to the post, and I totally agree with the main point – the husband is the head of the household and his wife ought to Biblically submit.

    However, as a SAHM (and as a gardener) I look at it like a yard which has different aspects to it – a lawn, planting, watering, weeding, etc. A husband may be best suited to maintaining the lawn, while the wife suited to other tasks in the yard. I am not expected to take care of the lawn, nor do I expect him to do the weeding, but I am very very thankful when he does take care of the weeding so I can do watering or another task to maintain the yard. Afterall, a husband and wife are committed to taking care of their yard (family) whereas neighbors aren’t committed to anything together – they just happen to live near each other!

  9. I have a question. If your husband wants you to work outside the home, should he be obeyed and submitted to without question or complaints? My neighbor has been married for 17 years and her husband demands she work outside the home so she joyfully obeys him lest she upset him. She has been praying for years and he just won’t back down. She is conflicted as to how to handle this. It seems confusing to her whether she just submits to him while wanting to do what God planned for her. Any advice?

    1. Yes, she is to submit to her husband as she is doing, Barb. But I would encourage a woman in her position to daily give it to the Lord in prayer that He would convict and change her husband’s mind. Make a gentle appeal to him about living frugally within his income and also explain how much she could save by cooking food from scratch, shopping for deals, etc. Until the time her husband changes her mind, she must live in obedience to him as unto the Lord.

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