Wives Who Work Outside of the Home

Photo by Stockimages, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo: Stockimages, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Few subjects in Christianity are more controversial than that of working wives. Many Christians feel that it is wrong for married women to be employed full time outside of the home, especially if children are involved. However, for many families, especially low-to-middle income families, the alternatives are few. Many mothers are required to work because they are single parents, but this article deals exclusively with mothers and wives of families in which both parents/spouses are living at home.

Our society
It is commonly accepted in our current American society that in most households the cost of maintaining and operating a home requires that both spouses work. It doesn’t take much arithmetic to determine that the costs of new homes, cars, food, private school, and clothing are beyond the income ability of the average one-income family. Currently, the housing expenses on the average new home would require almost 70% of the average husband’s income. So, logic dictates that two incomes are needed to maintain the average American family lifestyle.

More and more married women are beginning to accept the pressures of a job as normal. That is unfortunate, because wives provide a good family balance for their husbands, who generally have a tendency to work too much and too long. If wives begin to adjust similarly, then ultimately the family will suffer. Since many women are the primary organizers and planners in the home, these gifts may be lost to their families if they become burdened by the daily work routine.

Loyalties and priorities
When wives shift their need for approval from the home to their work, problems generally follow. There is often a mixed loyalty between the demands at work and at home. On one hand, a wife may sense a lack of closeness to her family as a result of the time spent away from home and the normal mental fatigue of work stress. On the other hand, she may recognize the need to dedicate even more time to the job in order to succeed.

Just as many Christian husbands/fathers abandon the important priorities —God and family —because they believe they must be a success for their families, many wives/mothers rationalize in the same way.

Because there are negative side effects of working wives/mothers does not mean that it is scripturally wrong for them to work outside of the home. The fact that many women choose to work outside the home is not the problem. The fact that so many women have to work outside of the home to maintain the family’s finances is the real problem. If the family is so overextended that the wife/mother has to work, then the family has too much debt and changes have to be made.

Biblical priorities
There are 4 priorities that should be prerequisite with regard to wives/mothers working outside of the home:

1. Desire. Nowhere in God’s Word does it say or imply that wives/mothers should not work outside the home. But the lack of prohibition does not necessarily mean that it is best for families. The first prerequisite of a working wife/mother is a desire on her part to work. When a wife is compelled to work by design or circumstance, resentment often will develop.

2. Husband’s approval. Many working wives are able to gain approval from their husbands by pressuring them. Although some husbands don’t actually agree with their wives working, they relent under pressure. This is not the approval that a wife should seek or desire. Pressured approval will eventually undermine the marriage relationship.

3. Disciplined children. The role of the mother as the teacher of her children is incontestable. The father usually provides the policy decisions, but it is his wife who establishes discipline and direction on a day-to-day basis. The successes or failures of children as individuals will, in great part, depend on the mother’s success or failure as their guide. The greater the trend toward women’s fulfilling their emotional needs outside the home, the more children seem to become undisciplined.

4. Confused authority. God’s Word establishes the husband as the head of the household. For the working wife/mother, the loyalties between job and family may get confused.

Possible dangers
If both husband and wife feel the need for the wife to work and both agree that she should work, some very specific goals should be established for the wife’s income; otherwise, additional debt will result. At least once a year every working couple should reevaluate their goals and objectives, particularly the purpose of the wife’s income. A young couple would be well advised not to merge the wife’s income into their budget. To do so invites future disaster in the event of the birth of children, illness, or the husband’s job change.

They should learn to live on the husband’s income and use the wife’s for one-time purchases (car, furniture, or down payment on a home), debt reduction, or comfort and special occasion purchases (presents and gifts, vacation, or private school).

God’s Word describes the wife’s role as equal spiritually and dependent materially. She is her husband’s helpmate —supporter and companion. The husband is commanded to love his wife, care for her needs, and accept the responsibility for the family. If a wife’s working outside of the home doesn’t interfere with these biblical priorities, then the decision should be one of mutual consent. But if it does, then the marriage continuity must come first.

This article is an adaptation of Larry Burkett’s book, Using Your Money Wisely: Biblical Principles Under Scrutiny, published by Moody Publishers. This and many other wonderful financial concepts are found on the web site for Crown Financial Ministries at www.crown.org. We can’t recommend this ministry enough to obtain straight-forward, Biblical financial help and resources.


Filed under: Finances in Marriage

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34 responses to “Wives Who Work Outside of the Home

  1. (US) Possible Dangers The above article illustrates certain pitfalls of a couple becoming financially dependent on a planed income which is based on both spouses being able to provide a sustained income, 100 percent of the time. This type of financial planning or “financial burden” is commonplace today, and simply unrealistic. The proposed solution cautions couples to avoid merging the income of the husband and wife. This financial approach may work for some, but for others this can lead to yet another financial and marital pitfall. By not merging the income of husband and wife, then by following an accepted budget, the result can be “your money and my money”. The “your money and my money” approach does not generally work well in marriage because it is far too easy for one spouse to view their own income as the “extra money” in the marriage. A husband’s and wife’s income should be merged and shared.

    1. (USA) Nick, I realize this comment was posted over 5 years ago, but I feel the need to respond. The author was not suggesting that a couple should have separate accounts or separate money; what he was saying was that a married couple should budget their fixed expenses on the husband’s income and save the wife’s income for retirement or big purchases. That way, they don’t feel that the wife HAS to continue working if she doesn’t want to anymore.

  2. (NIGERIA)  Hmmm, is my reaction to this article. I need help, which is what brought me to this site. My husband runs his own business which is not bringing in much. I have been responsible for 80% of the family up keep and our children’s school fees for some years now. He sometimes gets himself into debt and on one or two occasions I have had to bail him out.

    I once told him to let us combine our income and work out of one pocket, that we will be able to budget better and may be even have savings, my husband rejected this idea. When he has money he is generous just that those times aren’t nearly often enough!

    My challenge now is that I go without so that the family can have; he buys more stuff for himself than I can afford to buy for myself because of the responsibilities. I still did not mind, but recently I discovered he has been having an affair and I am struggling big time to continue the way I have been doing.

    My salary was late last month for about a week, though it has been paid but he has the impression it hasn’t and I don’t want to disclose it has been paid. I am so confused because I really want to conceal that I have money, I don’t want to cater for the house at this moment. I’m angry that he feels he doesn’t eat much at home, so whatever I do I’m doing for my kids and those who help me look after them when I’m at work. We have two kids, his mother and cousin also live with us, I want him to take up his responsibility and leave me out of it.

    I already hate that I have to work this hard to make ends meet for the family, I miss my kids and I honestly feel like quitting work to spend more time with them and be there for them. I’m at home weekends and even then I am quite tired to really be there for them.

    I have been warming up to him trying to make peace and apologizing because he says it’s my fault that he’s having an affair; that I denied him sexually, that he is hurt and has suffered. He says he can’t trust that my apology is sincere because this is not the first time I’ll apologize for not being as sexually motivated as he would have liked. He won’t say if he is still seeing the lady, if he wants us to work out this marriage or just not sure if he wants the marriage or the other relationship. He says I’m demanding too much by asking these questions and am not in a position to be demanding answers.

    I have let him be, but the challenge still is I don’t want to spend my money! What is the right thing to do? I can’t hide forever and when he discovers that I’m hoarding my money it’s sure to cause another emotional outbreak.

    This is Africa, should we separate I’ll be the one to move out of our home. Shouldn’t I save to get myself an apartment and to make a life in case the marriage comes to an end?

  3. (USA)  Jemila, I too have a husaband who has relied on me to help keep his butt out of bankruptcy. I recently went through it myself due to lack of emergency fund on my part, friends who reneged on purchasing my mobile home, and a 10% paycut. However, my husband continued to spend his money on himself while I had to do without. I had thought for about 3 years that we would move to a house he and his father had purchased that was already paid for, and then we could work on getting his debt paid down. He decided, without talking to me, that we would not move, AFTER half of my stuff had been moved and none of his. I have recently found that he has AGAIN quit paying on a credit card and hit has gone to collections. We do have options, however, not my paycheck as I am now unemployed. I cut him off and passed back two of the bills I felt he should have been paying all along. All I was doing was keeping him afloat. So I can totally understand where you are coming from. If you do not stop his lack of concern for how he thinks about finances then you are enabling him to keep up his idea of how much of a success he is. What you have to ask yourself if:

    1. Can you live with a man who has confirmed an affair and yet blamed it on you? That is like a child who wants to move out but have his parents pay for the rent, electricity, heat, food etc. If you withheld yourself physically from him that is still no excuse for the affair.

    2. How committed is he to you and the children if you suddenly quit financing his affair? I am sure that the payments you have made have allowed him to get hotel rooms, gifts, presents etc for his other interest.

    3. Now that you know about the affair, how committed are you to the marriage, knowing that he has sinned against what no man or woman shall put asunder?

    4. How much do his relatives know about what is going on? Not that I am saying you should start talking to them about everything but perhaps you should gently remind them that you are the only bread winner in the family and would appreciate any financial contibution they could make to the health and well being of the home they also live in.

    Here is what I did in my situation:

    1. I quit paying bills (electricity and heat) that he should be responsible for. Yes, I feel guilty but I am also tired of enabling behaviour that does not seem to change or that he seems oblivious too. By the way, I still pay for insurance on everything and groceries. With my pay cut to 25% of what I was getting (unemployment) for a year that is all I can afford.

    2. I am going to move back to Canada, so that I can attend school for a registered nurse. This will force him to face his financial straits and fix them one way or another. The computer industry is done here and I can see only further decimation of the rank and file for jobs here due to the ease of hiring overseas.

    3. He does not wish to take up his repsonsibility to be a good provider and feels that me making the short fall while he spends his money indiscriminantly is the way to go.

    4. Now, because he is directly involved in the financial mess he helped create he is suddenly eager to move to the other house. Good for him; it is too bad that it had to come to use spearating before he saw the sense of this decision.

    5. I take responsility for my own contribution to this situation because I did not say no, because I did not insist on us creating an obligation to each other by combing incomes and making payments, that way discrepancies and spending on things that are not necesssary was not checked.

    5. I have come to realize that the separation we are about to go through may mean the end of my marriage if he AND I do not change the way in which we spend our money. I am sick and tired of being stressed out about phone calls, or letters, he gets knowing that people want money.

    6. When and if we get back together in my corner there will be new rules in the house about finances: a) an emergency fund will be established, b) retirement will be taken care of, c) finances will be pooled, d) each expense will be discussed if it is a major expense, e) each will be allowed so much money to spend on what he or she wishes without having to be accountable, if the spending goes above that then reasons have to be made, f) we will more openly discuss finances. If any of these is not met then the marriage will be dissolved.

    In my opinion issues with finances are just as important as one or both spouses carrying on extramarital affairs. It means that you are lying to each other and when you lie how can you trust each other.

    This is probably a very harsh criticism but I feel that you cannot be a good person to yourself or to anyone else if you cannot take care of yourself. If you cannot rely on your spouse then who are you to rely on? I have prayed to God for the last 5 years about these issues and this year, after being laid off. I have felt peace and contentment about the decisions that I have made and discussed with my spouse. I feel these are right for me. I have asked and answered every question that I have put forth to you. The only thing I have not discussed is my terms for us getting back together. As I feel that would be too much of a blow to this relationship. However, when I am done school they will be put forth and discussed.

    There are several parts of the Bible that can be applied here: 1. adultery, 2. good provider, 3. honesty, 4. faithfulness and probably several others that I cannot fathom right now.

    I can only suggest that you pray and listen to God for your answers. For now he has answered mine, whether my husband and I will come back together after school I can only wait and see and pray and listen.

  4. (USA)  This is from the same Cindy in the comment above. We do have an option of rewriting the mortgage in which he could pay off his credit cards and his truck, however he does not seem interested in that option. He recently received a large sum of money from his parents in which I suggested he take $500 out (the amout it would cost us to rewrite the mortgage but as yet he has not done that). I do not know what he has done with the money. The money he got was because his brother was in financial straits as well so what they gave him they gave my husband. the offer was made to me as well befor the bankruptcy but I chose not to take advantage of it as it has been my experience that too many strings go along with such a generous offer, especially from in-laws if not my own parents.

    I hope this helps clarify the direction I am coming from. It seems in this day and age that there is to much I in the word team and not enough our. I am learning that, I hope my husband learns it sooner rather then later.

  5. (SA)  Unfortunately this article is very worrying for me because we live in a day and age where money is needed. Men no longer want women who aren’t working. I personally feel that it is very, very important for a women to have her own job.

  6. (ZAR) Personally I agree with KK,I feel that we as women don’t have to feel limited to be staying at home moms, after all we are individuals within the family and as like all other family members we are allowed to have our own dreams and ambitions and try to reach them. God has not limited us to be housewives he has given us the task of making sure that everything happens and is in order in the house but he didn’t say we have to be stay at home moms. He left that to us to decide how we individually want to handle this. God has not said we are not allowed to hire helpers to help us manage our homes.

    2. I believe that if your husband truly loves you he will accept you as you are. Just like we women are told we shouldn’t try to change our husbands. The same rule can be used here. He should not try change you. If you are a women and you enjoy working, he should be able to accept that. After all, even though you are married, you still are an individual within that marriage.

    I’m not going to go into the kids. One, because we all know both parents are responsible for the kids. Both fathers and mothers failure from any side, could still lead to undisciplined kids. You can be a stay at home mom with a busy husband who doesn’t have time for the family, you will still have undiscplined kids because daddy isn’t doing his part.

    1 Corithians 12:4-11 “It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have” Proverbs 18:16 says that your gift will make room for you.

    I’m a working wife and mother because it’s what makes me happy for this. I only need God’s approval because he has given me the passion to do what I am doing and I do it all for God in God’s name.

    It’s not all women that have the calling of being stay at home moms. Some of us don’t get any fullfilment from this and as it’s said if you don’t get any fulfillment, it means you are not pursuing your destiny.

  7. (USA)  Maybe I didn’t read the article correctly but I don’t remember the article saying that women should not work. The point of the article was that the marriage has top priority and if working threatens that priority then changes should be made. My wife is a police officer and it is creating HUGE problems in my marriage. She chose this profession against my wishes and she did it at the age of 39. Now she spends more time at work or defending her decision to be at work. I am having a problem with this. As far as I’m concerned she has made a decision that her job is more important to her than her family. This is what the article was warning against. I don’t think the issues of working women is always the fact that they work.

  8. (ZAR)  Once again, thank you for the article. I have to be really honest and say that I would never be a housewife. I pray for my job everyday and I ask God to protect my job and always make sure that I do have one, cause He says it in the scripture that whatever we ask for from the bottom of our hearts shall be given to us. I have my reasons one of them being that my husband always shouts and screams when I run short or run out of money.

    Secondly when He does something like pay the rent he makes very, very sure that I feel what he has done. Every argument we have he will say yes, I pay the rent, I do this and that. For that reason I cannot ever depend on him financially because I do honestly believe that if I stop earning my own check then I would be putting myself in a state of abuse.

    My other most important reason was, I have a child out of wedlock whose father ran off and now the little one is financially dependent on me and me alone. My husband doesn’t show any interest in supporting her at all. Just wanted to find out if am I doing something biblically incorrect?

    1. Akhona, You sound wise in keeping a job. You need to make sure that you and your child are supported financially. May God bless you in your work and in raising this child.

  9. (USA)  I am struggling because I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom and can’t because my husband is disabled and has struggled to find a job niche. He has a 4 year degree which doesn’t seem to matter in this economy. I feel anger and resentment towards him often, even though I’m good at my job.

    How do I process this? We both agree it is his job to be the main financial provider. We both agreed I’d be an at home mom when we got married and had our first son. How do I stop bitterness from continuing to pop up? Our son can sense my sadness and frustration.

  10. (ZAR) Hi Cindy & Steve, may God continue to reveal His wisdom to you in this important ministry you are in.

    We are 2.5 yrs into marriage I can say that it is with God as the cornerstone that ANY marriage can stand. We seem to have started off on a good note. I honestly believe that the 4 yrs we dated have made our start a great one. Even before we got married we discussed and prayed about finances (separate/joint), sex (before/aftermarriage), children (how many/discipline/day to day caring for them), jobs, house chores, in-laws (bridging the gap for each other, he knows me/his family better so he’s the best person to bridge the gap & help me/his family understand why I/they do things in a certain way).

    We try and talk about everthing in ‘plain’ language. He is the better communicator who prefers to address issues as they come. I’m learning from him not to hold in issues and let them simmer into episodes of silence or moodiness. I now try to lovingly speak out and have made progress but I have relapses here & there. It helps that we have agreed to gently request a re-phrase of a rude/curt statement before a response can be given. Oh and I have a nasty habit of processing a part of a conversation in my mind then I give him the other bit, then I guess I look suprised when he doesn’t understand. I’m really making a conscious effort to deal with this. Wherever did I get this one!

    We are both Christians, attended different churches before we came together and our biggest hurdle was with which church to attend. (His seemed to have sooo many restrictions on dress/what to eat etc. Now I have read scripture on some of these restrictions and although I don’t agree with everything, I realise that it’s not all man-made restrictions but God’s word. He hasn’t forced the doctrines on me so that helps too. I’ve since joined his church and we try and ensure that every evening as soon as we get home everyone in the house at that time comes together for the family prayer time. We miss a day or two every other week but we have agreed that each one of us has the responsibility to encourage/remind the other of the need to pray together and for each other individually. Our friends are not so suprised now when we start to sing and then kneel. We are struggling to get into a regular Bible study routine. So have decided to start with the Sunday School activity-memory verses.

    At the back of my mind I have some sort of fear (is my marriage toooo perfect, it seems that way to me sometimes). I remember what most people say that ‘men/women will change’, that every relationship will suffer infidelity etc.

    I know our marriage is still young and there’s more coming but I always pray that God gives us wisdom and direction to make our marriage witness to the fact that He is there to build good and lasting marriages. And now we draw on lessons from the Bible and Marriage Missions. Great tools I believe.

  11. (NIGERIA) Well, I will be 26 in a few months, but sincerely speaking, when I hear issues that ensue in marriage I really don’t feel like marrying at all even though I am engaged. God help marriages and help me make up my mind too cos I have been postponing it, not only because of issues like this but because I have to work. Getting a job as a priority before marriage isn’t against the will of God. I would change my priorities once I start working and get married.

  12. (USA) I’m a Christian mom who has been the primary “breadwinner” for my family for 12 years-this is not by choice, but by “default” since my husband was self-employed and his business failed while I was pregnant with our first child. I desperately want to be “the keeper of my home” as the Bible instructs, but my job is physically and mentally demanding and I do my best but am exhausted all the time. I’ve expressed this need frequently, but our role reversal is apparently not as much of a problem for my husband and since he didn’t make serious attempts to change the situation in the past, it only seems more hopeless as the economy gets worse. My son was diagnosed with a serious medical condition last year and this has created even more stress as I try to juggle being there for him with FMLA and the fear of losing our home and medical benefits. I pray and look for encouragement on these sites but too often people assume a woman is working because she is selfish and needs fulfillment elsewhere-not the case at all. Requesting prayer and Godly wisdom.

    1. (USA) I feel the same way Robin. I too, HAVE to work, and am not given a choice because my husband is not able to provide financially for us either. He recently lost his job and has been earnestly looking everyday, but I never wanted to be the “breadwinner” of the family. And as my two young children grow (a 2 year old and a 9 month old), I am wishing I could home school them and instill God’s values in them and teach them and discipline them because I know they would come out better that way.

      Yeah I agree with you that too often people assume that just because a woman is working it is because she is selfish and is seeking some kind of self-worth. That is not it at all for me. I work a full time job everyday and still have to go home and do my “night job” at home to keep the house in order. And as far as I’m concerned, my house is never in order because I can’t seem to have enough energy to clean the house, cook dinner, wash dishes, and bathe the kids and put the kids to bed and make lunches and then, wake up in the morning, and go to work and come home and do it all over again EVERY single day! I feel like it is not fair that women have to carry so much and it is now “acceptable” to balance it all…it’s just not fair for women.

      1. (USA) Dear Michelle and Robin, I can somewhat understand your situation as I am also working in research field with a full time job. I want to tell you both that you are an encouragement to me and many women here. For the last three days I was feeling so overwhelmed that I became bitter, irritated and frustrated. I am praying to the Lord Jesus that He will bring a loving atmosphere into your homes and will give wisdom to your husbands to get more involved at home with kids, chores and other stuff. Love and encouragement to you both ladies. FPB.

    2. (USA) 1 Timothy 5:8 says that a man who does not provide for (support) his family, is worse than an unbeliever. Do you think it would help for him to read this in God’s word?

      God doesn’t want women to work outside the home but I know many have to for the sake of the family and you ladies are heroes. So many come through my husband’s company and do just what this one did. Set her sights on an engineer and keep spreading around until she gets one to leave his wife but all she got was used. Much damage to my family and a few others though. One associate did leave his family for one of them. All Christians as usual!

      Within a year or two this adulteress became so ill they had to set up a hospital room at home for her and he takes her to DC several times a week to see specialists. She cannot walk. He sleeps on a chair downstairs and cares for her around the clock but for a couple of days of work just to keep the insurance. None are really sure what’s wrong with her but I have a good guess. God is not mocked and each will reap what they sow.

  13. (CANADA) This subject always reminds me of this poem, written by Elinor Wylie (1885-1928):

    Now Let No Charitable Hope

    Now let no charitable hope
    Confuse my mind with images
    Of eagle and of antelope;
    I am in nature none of these.

    I was, being human, born alone;
    I am, being woman, hard beset;
    I live by squeezing from a stone
    The little nourishment I get.

    In masks outrageous and austere
    The years go by in single file;
    But none has merited my fear,
    And none has quite escaped my smile.

  14. (USA) I need help too, which is why I have come to this site. My husband and I are both Christians, have been married for 5 years and do not have children yet. My dilemma is that my husband ‘wants’ me to work and I have no desire to. :( Before being married at 21, I worked since I was 16. I loved working and didn’t expect to stop except when we had children. However, within 6 months of being married I became so depressed -all I wanted to do was to take care of the house and my husband.

    My depression shocked me because I didn’t understand my feelings. I thought they were selfish and I would berate myself over it thinking how unfair it would be to have my husband carry all the weight of providing for us when we had debt and living expenses to pay. He also picked up college again and graduated three years later. I started jumping from job to job in an attempt to be happy and often I would leave to take lunch and I would seriously entertain the idea of not returning. My husband would always tell me that I had to keep working so I did, until our marriage almost ended before our 5th anniversary. At that time we decided to see if me being home would make things better, now that my husband had a good paying job and could support us.

    The only problem with this is that my husband hates being what he calls “poor” and has a lifestyle he prefers to keep up (i.e.: eating out whenever, buying when wanted, traveling when wanted). If he can’t do these things then he feels trapped and as though we can’t move up in our financial situation. However, we are hoping for more raises at his job and are praying for more opportunity in his career -he’s very smart so I pray he will succeed well and fast. We just bought our first house and a new car, and this year we have to start paying my husband’s university debt.

    In my opinion, this desire to be home is so strong that I feel I should be now. But as you can imagine, I still battle feeling guilty and selfish for these desires. I feel like I need to do what my husband wants in order for there to be peace in the marriage. But when I was working, our schedules were so crazy and the house was never clean, food wasn’t always made, and our relationship suffered terribly. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

    In arguments my husband has brought up his feelings saying that “I am holding him back”. Is it so wrong for me to want to be home? Is my husband looking at more material things than he should be? I believe God will provide and God already provided me with a part time teaching job (teaching english) that was very unexpected but it brings in only $200 extra a month and when we had to travel to Brazil to visit my husband’s father when he had cancer the church surprised us by paying for half of our plane tickets, so God provided again there. My husband wants to buy businesses and other property now while we are young so we have more financial freedom later in life. And while all those things make sense he never saves his money the way I think it should be saved. What should I do?

  15. (ZIMBABWE) I don’t agree with this idea that women should not work. In my case I earn much more than my husband and am responsible for almost 95% of our expenses. He insisted on joint accounts but I am not happy with this as I feel he is not responsible with money and I worry about him using my money to betray me, for example. How can this situation be dealt with? Is it bad if I start a private safety net account? What is the biblical thing to do here?

    When we got married I was under the impression he was going somewhere with his career and now I feel cheated coz it doesn’t seem he is making any progress. I feel so resentful each time he refers to the money I earn as “his” money. I really need help. I feel like I’m fast losing respect for him.

  16. I am about to get married, and this topic confuses me greatly! I have always had the desire to be a wife and mom. I have always desired to take care of the home and my family. But now that I’m about to get married, I find myself in the position of needing to work full time even to be able to afford basics like rent and food. My husband-to-be is in ministry full time so a second income is really necessary. I know that his desire is to be able to provide for us fully so that I will be able to take on the management of the home and family, especially when we have children. I believe that God desires for wives to be busy about the home and to make the home their priority.

    But at what point, if ever, should we decide that keeping this job, which takes up so much time and is very draining, is not worth the strain it causes that will prevent me from truly taking care of the home? Will God provide for us if only He is working? Or does God provide through wives working? I don’t think that makes sense. Lord, teach me the truth.

    1. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

      “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

      “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:24-34)

      Your husband is a man of God and God will take care of those who is living for Christ and teaching others to live for Christ. We must truly get to know our Father and how much He loves us. Seek to get to know Him and you will learn to truly trust in Him and what He has said He will do for His children. Talk to your soon to be husband about how you feel and pray for God’s wisdom in the situation. Until then, support your husband until you have children.

  17. I am in the same situation like you ladies. I am providing 90% of our income and my husband does not have problem with that as he is working hard as he could until the Lord opens a door for him to be the major bread winner. But I had a problem. I used to feel that it is not fair that I should financially support our family because I would prefer to stay at home and take care of the familly but I have no option. I complained to God about it and this is what He told me and settled all my confusions “IT IS I WHO PROVIDES AND I CHOOSE THROUGH WHOM I SHOULD DO.” We have same account and we are all responsible for our expenses.

    So for any woman there who is the main provider for the family be grateful to God that He chose to use you, but your husband should not take you for granted and use you. Some men are just lazy without goals and focus and plans and those are the ones Paul talked about in 2 Thessalonians 3:9-11 “not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.…”

    For example Jemila’s case is very obvious, for how long will you continue to finance his extramaritual affairs?

    1. Thank you Flora, for sharing the insights the Lord has given you. They truly are profound! May He bless your marriage in every way you need Him to do so.

  18. (US) There are cases in the Bible that shows women working out the house. Marriage should be the first priority for both the wife and the husband. The husband needs to be home too. He can’t just be working all day just for money. That isn’t healthy. Same with the wife. Of course, motherhood is important but so is fatherhood.

    One thing we forget is that a father need to be home too. That’s why the wife should help and she doesn’t need approval from her husband. They can talk about it but that’s her choice. Also wive’s will have free time on their hands and a lot of it. Kids go to school and she’s the only one in the house with nothing to do. A lot of housewives end up depressed cause their kids don’t need her as much and her husband is busy. That isn’t fair to her. God didn’t create women just to be housewives but more. Women have so much to offer.

    I personally think if women work more it will make this a better world. Women are intelligent and everyone knows that. Her skills are far more than cleaning cooking and etc. Why not let her pursue that and have an identity of her own? We now live in society that women don’t have to be protected all the time. Now they have rights. But back then women were easily used degraded and insulted; that is why she is to stay home.

    People think a little. Does it seem fair for a wife to stay home while her husbands and kids go into the world? She has dreams, just as anyone. She went to school and college to build herself. Why let it go to waste? Now-a-days people have jobs built from what they love and dream. Whether the family needs her to work or not doesn’t matter. If there’s something she wants to do that she loves, her husband shouldn’t stand in front of her and say no, but encourage. Some wives on the other hand think that being a housewife is all they are, and that is who they are, but let’s face it most wives aren’t like that. If EITHER spouse’s job is effecting the family, it is wrong. The husband needs to be home, just as much as the wife.

  19. Males come into this world with more power than females. Females need incomes more than men to have any chance of eventually getting equal power with men.

    Spouses incomes should be equally important. Females often need more time to do their hair, etc. than males so males need to do more housework for this amount of time. Also males have more energy than females so males should do more than half the housework and childcare (everything else being equal).

    I’m an unemployed married female. I’ve always been willing to work overtime so I don’t have to do my share of housework and childcare. I will not be punished with extra housework just because I’m unemployed. In fact we’re able to have a live in household helper but my husband will not allow it. Therefore my husband and I will be living separately so I can have a live in helper to do most of my share of housework. I will need a reclining power chair in order to work because I have very limited sitting and standing time compared to the able-bodied. I do not know if I’ll be discriminated against, so I may have to rely on the proceeds from our current home, which my husband paid for 100%, to invest in real estate (in my name only ASAP) so I can have any chance to make a living.

  20. I have had difficulties with my husband as well; together 14 years. I opened a local cafe which has totally taken all my time. He has chosen not to help or be any part of it yet our plans going into this is he would help.

    We have 3 children, at times he feels like a babysitter he says. I also found he had been sexting and online chat with other women and he says its because I’m not with him…beside him. He has taken on an extreme jealous streak lately and I have also learned that he stalks me. He isn’t responsible with the financial stuff either. I have had to call police on him twice in the last month. I feel stuck and considered divorce but feel like that’s not fair to us as a couple or the children.

    advice please…I even had to get a church to help me with bills this past month due to his unwillingness.

  21. What about men who recent their wife for NOT working outside the home? My daughter wants to stay at home to raise the children but my son-in-law seems to be very resentful. He comes home after work everyday almost starting an argument about nonexistent stuff, like stuff she’s not doing around the house, pretty much implying she’s lazy.

    Also, if the woman works shouldn’t the man do housework and cook?

    1. I think so. I think a man who wants his wife to work outside the home should walk as a servant. Our Lord walked as a servant. It is not loving your wife as Christ loved the Church by giving his life for it to make your wife work 40 hours a week and come home and work another 20 hours on top of that. In my opinion, knowing the graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, this man might have a letter of the word interpretation of the Word and not a rhema – filled with the life of Christ’s spirit understanding. Christ is ever the servant. He who is a servant is the greatest of all.

  22. For some of you women who claim to be Christian, your responses and mindset about these issues seems to be very worldly. If they are not worldly, then they seem to be very selfishly motivated by personal gain or glory. We as women were designed to express the lives and will of our husbands. It’s the same as Christ being the head and we are his bride. We are expressing Him to bring him glory not ourselves. He is our protector, provider, and our Lord. That is why the name of the wife changes to the husband’s after we’re married. Wives submit to your husbands in everything and learn to keep your home. Learn to love your children and husband.

    1. I’m so sorry that you feel that way, Angelina. It is not worldly to want to dialogue. In fact, Christ opened up the dialogue between the Father and us. It grieves me when women point the judgmental finger at other women and are not willing to listen, pray, and find out what the Spirit of God is saying. It is not fair of you to point the finger at other Christian women. It is a very serious to do this. We are called to understand and to grow as believers.

  23. What I find so difficult about this article is the man who wrote it. While I respect Mr. Burkett his suggestions just are not practical. It is sincerely and from the bottom of my heart not my intent to disparage any of his advice, but his ideas simply shut down rather than encourage dialogue. Today’s young men and women are simply moving forward to define the working partnership wives and husbands are meant to have in their relationship.

    It has been my experience that whenever you give someone a title of authority, they have a tendency to use it as “lordship” over others. For instance, a husband can no more give his “approval” for a wife to work outside the home than a man can “not ask for his wife’s approval” to buy a new cadillac or sell the home. This is not a partnership this is despotic at best. It causes a lot of heartache in a marriage when a man does not treat his wife a co-laborer and partner. If he ignores her witness, he is destroying the marriage or he is destroying her internally – creating unseen emotional and ultimately health issues. I really like your column, but some of your advice is so religious, letter-of-the-word and the letter-of-the-word killeth and it has been killing marriages for centuries.

    1. No disrespect to you Susan but as Christians when we marry, we make a vow to our spouse. It’s very sad to see these Christian women on here speaking bad about their husbands. It sickens me. I’m sorry about these situations but could you imagine if Jesus gave up on us and said he doesn’t love us or divorces us because of our flaws? How would you feel? It’s sad that divorce would be considered. It hurts me to see this.

      A woman’s main focus should be the home. Working is fine but it should never override the authority of your husband. No wonder the divorce rate is so high here in America. There is no unconditional love. It pains me. Christians should not ever talk bad about their spouse or even let divorce roll off of their mouth. I see so much victim playing but not enough humility. I’m not judging; I’m calling what I am reading.