I’ve always heard how hard it is for a man to not work outside the home; that he gets his sense of value from making his mark on the world. My Dad didn’t have continuous employment and neither did my two former husbands. It was difficult for them to be unemployed when I went to work each day.
John Eldredge in Wild at Heart comments that for a man, the world cheers on the vain search for him to: “Make a million, run for office, get a promotion, or hit a home run…to be somebody.”
Recently, I’ve called into question whether a man has to work outside the home to fulfill God’s expectations. Is this a myth or a reality?
I have two close friends whose husbands no longer have “jobs”. We are all middle-aged and both men have “retired” from their careers. Their wives have great jobs, one full-time and the other as a consultant. The men do all the cooking, manage the household bills, get the computer repaired, mow the lawn, and for one couple, make sure the kids get to school on time. These are great marriages and everyone, including the men, talk about how they are doing God’s lifework, “the entire business of living out our entire existence in the presence of God.”
Work is good. God worked to create the world and then commanded Adam to care for it. God made us in His image so we are created to work, and that work is declared a royal activity (Psalm 8:3-6). But God also gave us all different spiritual gifts, to be used in different ways.
So now I am confused. Is this a new age phenomenon? Is it possible that a wife can work outside the home, her husband stay at home, and together their union as a couple can work to give God glory in all they do?
I’d like to invite both men and women to comment on this concept. Is it possible that a man can be a “stay-at-home” husband while his wife works, and they don’t compete for significance in God’s eyes? Can the work of their union taken together glorify God? Are there any characteristics that are needed to make this work, so that both people feel like they are doing God’s lifework?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Is it a myth or reality?