This letter Lori received really gets right to the heart of the obsession it seems traditionalists have with roles rather than practicality. You can read the entire letter here. Some quotes from Jane:
“I have worked a job the entire time of our marriage. However, recently my thoughts on working outside the home have begun to change. I can only guess that it must be the Holy Spirit changing my thinking.”
Or she is feeling peer pressure put on by godly women about how things are suppose to be.
“I’ve tried to hint some of my discontent to my husband by asking him questions about his opinion on me working and not cooking, or did it bother him that the house wasn’t clean, etc. He just replied that I should do whatever makes me happy. However, when I suggest that I quit my job to focus on housework full time, he will really insist that I cannot do that and we need the money. His job frequently will let him off early, except it is without pay. My husband does almost ALL of the cooking, dishes, grocery shopping, and his own laundry. I can’t do it because I am at work and he is at home. I can’t stop him from leaving work and doing these things while I’m stuck at my job. He views it as helping me out and doesn’t understand my resentment and discontent. But I view it as he is taking over my job as the housewife (and neglecting his job of being provider). I try to be nice and appreciate his help, but sometimes I get so furious and frustrated because our roles are all reversed and twisted. He seems totally fine with it. And even though I do appreciate his help, and I understand what he is trying to do, he doesn’t make a good housewife! I can see so many ways he is not doing things (housework) efficiently. He wastes things; he doesn’t get them clean enough, he doesn’t organize things well, he can’t find things, etc. Plus with him waiting on me hand and foot, it makes me view him as less of a man. And I know he would never understand this because he sees it as his way of communicating love to me.”
My thoughts on this is take away the pressure to be godly, the pressure to keep up godly appearances, and then how would this woman feel about her day to day logistics and marriage? Its seems like this has only become a problem recently once she joined a very traditional baptist church. They are probably getting her to question and rethink the foundation of her marriage, that all along she hasn’t been doing it right. Gee, talk about the “whispers”.
This really gets at how damning the pressure can be to fulfill roles rather than what works best for a family. This woman has uncalled for resentment towards her husband simply because he is not letting her perform her role. Its crazy. He sounds like a good guy, but resentment still grows largely I believe because other women try to make her feel less of a woman if she is not at home all day cleaning and cooking. It doesn’t matter if the roles are reversed and twisted, what matters is if the marriage itself is twisted and roles should not define the health of a marriage.
This commenter puts it well:
Karen · 1 hour ago“I saw red flags when I read what “Jane” wrote.She has a husband who seems to love her. He has a job. He does more than half of the tasks at home. He sounds like he’s really trying to please her – and yet she’s furious and frustrated!Something is very wrong here.Lori, you have written in past about letting go of expectations. We need to love our husbands as they are and not try to change them.I’m not sure that message is coming through here. I get the sense that “Jane” may be in love with an image that has been created for her by some Christians, instead of the flesh and blood man that she married. Would she be more content if those around her weren’t filling her head with that image and making her discontent?Yes, prayer has its role, but if a wife is constantly praying for God to change her husband when he’s not a bad man, it can’t be good. It sounds like she’d just be constantly thinking about he needs to change and how unhappy she is with him. Maybe the prayer needed is one of thanksgiving, so she appreciates that she has a loving husband, that they are both able to work, and that he loves her so much that he’s willing to work hard to lift the burden on her.”
Exactly that, she is in love with an image and has made an idol out of the homemaker, putting aside her husband wishes or what might really work practically for their family for the sake of an image and to live up to the expectations of godly women.
In the secular or feminist world, the pressure and expectations of women are:
– have a career and climb the ladder (the role of career woman)
In the godly world, the pressure and expectations of women are:
– don’t work, stay home and be a homemaker, regardless of your family’s situation (the role of homemaker)
Within whichever camp you are in, If you fail at either you are seen as disappointment to woman kind. So, it is all very funny for those who write about letting go of expectations, somehow I don’t think letting go of the expectation that you will be a cookie-cutter housewife will be acceptable.