I love the recent viral commercial for an Indian detergent company that depicts a father feeling sorrowful that he and his generation modeled the idea that men get to sit on the couch and watch TV while women do all the housework and parenting. The commercial and #ShareTheLoad movement attempts to break down cycles of such established roles. If you’ve ever read my blog before you know that I am not a feminist, but I liked the commercial a lot.
I really think men should get off the couch and in the kitchen.
I think they should put their kids to bed and help with homework and brushing teeth.
I think they should care about their wives enough to say "You're so good at ____ and I know you really enjoy it. How can I help you have the time and resources to do that sometimes?”
But I will not credit modernism/feminism/progressive thinking for coming up with this idea that men should be serving their wives and families.
Sorry, but it's not very novel. Jesus started it.
This might sound disagreeable to some who think Christianity is bad for women. Men are to be the head of the family. Wives are to submit to their husbands. Women can't be elders in a church. Best case scenario is that women get the short end of the stick; others like to use words like misogynyistic, patriarchal, etc.
As a strong-willed woman, wife, and Christian who affirms and treasures the Bible, I can honestly say that Christianity is very, very good for women. I can imagine no other belief system that offers us as much dignity, security, and community.
Modern women tend to revile the biblical command that wives should submit to their husbands, but if they read the very next verse (Ephesians 5:25) they'll see that husbands are supposed to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. That's a huuuuge call for men and, if Christian men are seeking to obey the Bible, then leaving all the work to the wife is not an option. Jesus charges men to be plotting for her joy, seeking every opportunity to nourish her as best he can. Over and over again He calls men to care for widows, to run far away from thoughts and activities that would objectify or devalue women.
Do I personally believe that women are best suited for the role of homemaker and as the primary nurturer of children? Biblically, biologically, historically, and from personal experience I would say YES. I do not think my husband---as amazing as he is---could do my job nearly as well as I can. I'm better at multitasking and, well, breastfeeding, for example.
Come visit my church family (Which, by the way, largely affirms complementarian values) and you will see husbands doing the dishes and putting the kids to bed and sending their wives off for beach trips or Starbucks afternoon getaways. It's not uncommon at all. You will see single men treating single women with respect. You will see them care for the older women who are alone. This is not as a result of modern thinking. This is because the people in my church love Jesus and Jesus says true greatness is achieved through serving others.
Most of the time these men aren't doing the dishes because of practicality. I'm a stay at home mom and my husband is a business owner with a lot on his plate. We agreed beforehand on our responsibilities. So when he sits down next to me to fold the laundry, he's doing it because that's exactly the type of thing Jesus would do and Jesus has taught us both how we can love each other best.
If men are treating women like they are not worth as much, they're not doing it because of the Bible but because they must clearly not be reading their Bibles.
So yes, #ShareTheLoad, men; do not expect women to do all the work while you pursue your own interests to your heart's delight. Women, encourage your men to know the difference between macho chauvinism and genuine, noble manhood.
But know that all this good stuff about servanthood is not only not antithetical to the Bible but actually starts from the Bible.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 5, 3, 1, and not-yet-born. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today