Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Great Marital Divide: Roles, Duties and Chores – Part #1

Hey Covenant Groupies,

This is part #1 of a 2 part series on roles, duties and chores in the marital relationship. To some of you this may seem elementary, but to our engaged, newly married and singles, we believe this is soooo very necessary. Be on the lookout for part #2 on Thursday.

When I lived alone, I had a certain way I did things like washing dishes, doing laundry, taking out the trash & recycling days were down pact, I cleaned, mopped and shopped on Saturdays, tidied each day I came in from work and I cooked very large dinners on Sundays. Little did I know that: 1) all of this would change when I got married and 2) by forcing or even suggesting these habits; my habits onto Kevin was actually me trying to control my new environment.

Oh, I said it was about order and organization, but it was about truly having it done MY way. And when it wasn’t done my way, there was an argument. My stance was always, “The home is my responsibility and this is how I’d like for it to be done.” All of this because I watched, in disdain, how comfortable Kevin was with things just lying around, and although he would eventually get to it; it just wasn’t in my preferred time.

We spent so much time fighting about chores, duties and roles in the beginning of our marriage, if we could calculate that time and it’s value, I’m quite sure we’d regret wasting it on such frivolousness.

As business picked up that meant my hours were longer and my work responsibilities were more urgent. However, I wanted to honor my share of the chores, my role of a wife along with my wifely duties all, while at the same time, trying to capture some semblance of perfection in the home. So, we had to, again define our roles in the home and that required going to the Bible.

Before the Bible, “OUR” definition of roles ALWAYS allowed us to point a finger at the other when they came up short. It put a check in my box and left his blank, it made me the winner and him the loser. This was certainly not our intent but negatively successful nonetheless.

Soon we realized we were legalizing, AGAIN, what God had ordained as spiritual, we were searching /fighting for our “rights” (double entendre) and not righteousness. Fighting for rights in marriage totally goes against God’s intent for unity and 2 becoming 1. James 4:1-4 says, “All war and fighting comes from the corruption of our own hearts.” Let’s not forget that earthly wisdom creates constant warfare in relationships. It ends up becoming fertile ground for the enemy. What Kevin and I failed to realize was that, in a Covenant Marriage, when it comes down to our roles at home it’s about “being” NOT “doing.” We were making everything about tasks; about what was fair or unfair. That’s not marriage, that’s sibling rivalry. Ultimately, I had to ask, “Who was I being in the home for Kevin?” “Was I striving for peace, being gentle, kind, loving and understanding?” Or was I doing it because that’s the only way anything will get done around here?
Ladies, lets not forget that the home is our “place” to care for, 9 to 5 and all. That certainly does not mean that husbands can’t or shouldn’t help. I love, need and desire Kevin’s help around the house simply because I work just as many, sometimes if not, more hours than he does. His help makes me feel loved, appreciated and valued.

Many women, including myself, work full-time hours each and everyday, however my role of wife comes first and employee, employer comes second. Even while working I’m always thinking of ways to make Kevin’s life, as his help meet, better. Ladies, it’s so easy for us to walk into our job’s as assistants, CEO’s CFO’s, financiers, accountants, teachers, researchers etc and seek to make everyone else’s life run smoothly, but we CANNOT forget about our husbands. And please, try as infrequently as possibly to ask him, “What about me?” The moment we do that, either verbally or non-verbally, we’ve just made our marriage about us INDIVIDUALLY and not us as a COUPLE; if we can’t think about our spouses first, in all matters, then maybe assessing our spiritual maturity is necessary.

Women, we’d never think to ask our husbands to come to our jobs and lighten the load there, but we’ll ask them to help lighten the load in the area God has designated as ours. Moreover, a man who truly honors his wife will certainly not expect her to work full-time, both at home and outside of the home. He will help out and lighten her load without her asking when he can.

Jesus didn’t ask God to come and lighten His ministry responsibilities, instead He declared that God’s Will be done and further He asked for more power to continue in the ministry given to Him. Ladies, let’s model after Jesus and ask for more power to take care of our husbands, families and homes.

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