Wednesday, October 18, 2006
There are many good homemaking sites around that encourage women to return to the home and to dedicate themselves to being wives and homemakers. A problem arises when the wife, though confident in the decision to quit work and become a keeper at home, has to battle the doubts and fears of her husband, who may not understand a woman's role. In cases such as these, it is always good to point out to him that you are not trying to rebel against him personally, and that is not your purpose to create strife between you, but to do what is good and right to do. Then, suggest that you both give it a grace period to work out the problems of adjustment, and show him what you can do.
Many young husbands have not grown up with mothers and grandmothers who were truly keepers of the home, and nuturers of the family. They see only women in the workplace. Their own mothers and sisters always worked, and they cannot remember a time when women stayed home. Therefore, they find it difficult to understand the need for it or the reason for it. They may conclude that "taking care" of a family means making money. The wife may say she wants to stay home and take care of the house, but he may think that making money is the same as taking care of something. We are entering a generation that is trying to emulate and restore the Biblical pattern and the model of women before us; the women of the 1800's, before so many women went to work outside the home, but we also have to deal with several generations of people who have never seen this style of life in action. The "show me" method is always the best way to prove that something can be done.
Husbands whose mothers and grandmothers worked, and who are surrounded by working women, may conclude that being a stay at home wife is nothing but laying around all day. One woman I know, had to take care of her husband once when he got sick and had to stay home from work. After she got him some soup and brought it to him, he wanted her to sit with him and talk or watch television. She said she could not do so because she had to get her work done. She very busy that day washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the floor, going to the grocery store, and fixing meals. She said, "After that day, he never asked me what I did all day."
While I do not condemn any woman who works, I would ask that both the husband and the wife take a good, hard look at what the fruits of this really is, and compare it to the wife being at home. Years ago, a prominent author did some hands-on research, in which she interviewed many young men and women in prison. She discovered that none of them had mothers at home, and that both parents were very busy outside the home. She then interviewed those who had made success in their lives and gone on to become responsible husbands or wives, and were raising a family of their own. She discovered that their mothers had been keepers at home, waiting for them guarding them, and watching after their souls. She interviewed men whose wives were at home, and men whose wives were away. The ones whose wives were at home, were confident, healthy and happy. The ones whose wives were away, were rushed and worried.
Begin your new life at home by keeping the laundry caught up. Most marriages suffer when the wife cannot spend any enjoyable time relaxing with her husband because, after work, she has urgent housework to do. She finally lands in bed exhausted, after doing all the things that she could have been doing during the daylight hours when she was, instead, at work outside the home. The simple act of opening a drawer and finding a pair of matching socks, or a folded tee shirt, can take a lot of worry and tension off home living.
Next, learn to iron properly, a man's shirt. Have a look at people in jobs at airports and other places where there is an official dress code, and see where the creases are and and pressed areas. For instructions on how to iron a shirt, click here http://www.napsnet.com/fashion/68355.html Having a pressed shirt and pressed pants each day is one way of showing how your being at home is a help. Some people think that ironing is no longer necessary or important, but even if some kinds of jobs do not require it, pressed clothing is a part of good grooming and sends the message that you take pride in yourself and your work. He will feel differently in a pressed shirt, and be more motivated to do his best. In Victorian times, men would no sooner think of going in public in torn, wrinkled clothing, than they would attend a state dinner in a pair of shorts.
Showing results of your homemaking is a way of providing evidence that the role of women is a successful and necessary one. Thoughtfully prepared meals, a clean kitchen, well arranged rooms and good decorating, are an advantage to your husband. If you work, you cannot pay attention to these details.
Being at home takes part of his tiredness away, for when he gets up in the morning, he does not have to find clean clothes or put any in the washer, fish things out of the dryer, iron his own shirt, make his own breakfast, pack his own lunch. While he is at work, the wife can take care of his mail, pay his bills, and look after his property. She notices when she washes a shirt that it needs a button. She checks to see that she has everything in stock for preparing dinner. She may even plan a quiet evening at home with him, and his favorite interests or hobbies.
Making a list that shows the things that need to be done at home, is very helpful in informing the husband of the many needs of the home and family. Showing him what you accomplished while at home during the day can impress on him the importance and the necessity of the woman being at home.
The other day a package came to my door. I was outside and the delivery person did not notice that I was at home, so left it there. I was glad I was able to get in inside the house to protect it from the rain. Little things like this are very important, as it keeps you and your husband self-sufficient, instead of depending on others to look after your things.
If a husband comes home and smells something good cooking, it relaxes him almost immediately. If the house is orderly and it looks relaxing and comfortable, he will be glad that his wife is a homemaker.
Showing a savings of money is a plus, in being a stay at home wife. Consider that each time you take the car and leave the house, it probably costs you up to twenty dollars, taking into account the cost of fuel and the places you would stop. Instead of getting a $3.00 drink in a paper cup, you can make a pot of tea and drink it in a porcelin cup at home. The cost per cup is just a few cents. Staying home saves the family expense, because you can spot unnecessary expenses. For example, I found I could monitor the use of electricity and keep lights off when not in certain rooms, and use an electric heater rather than heat up the entire house with expensive propane. Not everyone can do this, but this is just an example of how staying home can save you money.
Still, even if the wife cannot manage all these things, her being at home does not have to be justified by cleaning and cooking, but because her very presence is the main factor in home living. Just being there, even if she is not well and can only lay down upon the couch, is doing what she is supposed to do: guard the home.
If the wife approaches her responsibility in a kind and loving way, expressing it as a way to not only make her husband comfortable and happy, but also to be able to be fulfilled as a woman, he will be more likely to concede.
post script: Your appearance does have something to do with the impression that is formed about homemaking. While it is not necessary to wear a power suit or the kind of thing you would wear in the workforce, you can use the opportunity to wear a nice skirt and a feminine top. Support hose and sensible shoes (sensible without being ugly, that is), will improve your own view of life at home and the perception that your husband has of you in that role. If he sees that it improves your appearance and your dignity, it will reinforce in his mind the importance of the wife at home. One old story written around 1930, called "When Queens Ride By," accessed online in several places. One is written in narrative, and easier to read, but at present I can't find the link to it. It tells about a woman whose husband wanted her to work outside the home, and how she refused to do so and why. A part of this play reads:
Saturday, January 07, 2006
When Queens Ride ByBy Olive White Fortenbacher[Note: This prize-winning short play was written in the 1930s, but it calls to us just as loudly today. What an influence one woman can have!]John and Jennie Mangrave had eager plans when they married and took over the old farm. But their great faith dwindled as the first years passed. John worked later and later in the evenings. Jennie took more and more of the heavy tasks upon her own shoulders and had no time for the home and children. They were no further on, and life had degenerated into a straining, hopeless struggle.One hot afternoon, Jennie was loading baskets of tomatoes to take to town when the children came running to tell her there was a dressed-up lady at the kitchen door. Wearily she followed the children back and saw a woman in a gray tweed coat that seemed somehow to be a part of her brownish hair. She was not young, but she was beautiful! An aura of eager youth clung to her, a clean and exquisite freshness. The stranger in turn saw a young woman, haggard and weary. Her eyes looked hard and haunted. Her calico dress was shapeless and begrimed from her work.Stranger (smiling): "How do you do? We ran our car into the shade of your lane to have our lunch and rest for a while. And I walked on up to buy a few apples, if you have them."Jennie (grudgingly): "Won't you go in and sit down? I'll go and pick the apples."Stranger: "May I go with you? I'd love to help pick them."Jennie: "Why, I s'pose so. If you can get out there through the dirt." (She led the way along the unkempt path toward the orchard. She had never been so acutely conscious of the disorder about her. She reached the orchard and began to drag a long ladder from the fence to the apple tree.)Stranger (crying out): "Oh, but you can't do that! It's too heavy. Please let me pick a few from the ground."Jennie: "Heavy? This ladder? I wish I didn't ever lift anything heavier than this. After hoistin' bushel baskets of tomatoes onto a wagon, this feels light to me."Stranger: "But do you think you should? Do you think it's right...? Why, that's a man's work!"Jennie (furiously): "Right! Who are you to be askin' me whether I'm right or not? A person like you don't know what work is!"Stranger (soothingly): "I'm sorry I annoyed you by saying that. If you were to tell me all about it--because I'm only a stranger--perhaps it would help. Why can't we sit down here and rest a minute?"Jennie: "Rest? Me sit down to rest, an' the wagon loaded to go to town? It'll hurry me now to get back before dark."Stranger: "Just take the time you would have spent picking the apples. I wish I could help you. Won't you tell me why you have to work so hard?"Jennie (half sullenly): "There ain't much to tell, only that we ain't gettin' ahead. Henry Davis is talkin' about foreclosin' on us if we don't soon pay some principal. The time of the mortgage is out this year, an' mebbe he won't renew it. And it ain't that I haven't done my part. I'm barely thirty, an' I might be fifty, I'm so weatherbeaten. That's the way I've worked."Stranger: "And you think that has helped your husband?"Jennie (sharply): "Helped him? Why wouldn't it help him?"Stranger: "Men are such queer things, husbands especially. For instance, they want us to be economical, and yet they love to see us in pretty clothes. They need our work, and yet they want us to keep our youth and beauty. And sometimes they don't know themselves which they really want most. So we have to choose. That's what makes it so hard. Just after we were married, my husband decided to have his own business, so he started a very tiny one. I helped my husband in the store, but we would both be tired and discouraged after a hard day at the office and we didn't seem to be having any great success. The house got run down and dinner was always a hasty affair, and soon we both started complaining and bickering with each other. Finally, we decided that maybe I should stay at home and let him take care of his work at the office as best he could. And then I worked in my house to make it a clean, shining, happy place. My husband would come home dead-tired and discouraged, ready to give up the whole thing. But after he had eaten and sat in our bright little living room, and I had told him all the funny things I could invent about my day, I could see him change. By bedtime, he had his courage back, and by morning, he was all ready to go out and fight again. And at last he won."
Thanks to a reader, Heidi, for providing that link to the entire story, that I had been looking for, here http://dana.lifewithchrist.org/permalink/26905
GUIDE, v.t. gide.
1. To lead or direct in a way; to conduct in a course or path; as, to guide an enemy or a traveler, who is not acquainted with the road or course.
The meek will he guide in judgment. Ps.25.
2. To direct; to order.
He will guide his affairs with discretion. Ps.112,
3. To influence; to give direction to. Men are guided by their interest, or supposed interest.
4. To instruct and direct. Let parents guide their children to virtue, dignity and happiness.
5. To direct; to regulate and manage; to superintend.
I will that the younger women marry, bear children, and guide the house. 1 Tim.5.