I have always wanted the best for my family. I have worked (outside the home) even when I was pregnant. I have a good husband who is an excellent father, but I have always earned more money than he does and on occasion I have felt bad about that….

Lately he has worked part time taking care of the house and the children (we are in agreement about this), but I am afraid of making a mistake. I don’t want to displease God; I know that there is a role that each of us (men and women) must fill. Please help me discern what I should do.

Dear Friend,

Down through the centuries, the roles of men and women have not remained constant. In different civilizations, men and women have been expected to fulfill different responsibilities. So to know what God wants, we must search the Bible to see how He reacted to the actions of people in differing circumstances.

The apostle Paul taught that men should love and protect their wives, while women should respect their husbands.(1) However, neither Paul nor any other writer in the Bible said that men should always earn more money than their wives. Furthermore, there are no Biblical references to the kinds of work that are exclusive to men or to women. But there is a very long list of the kinds of work that an exemplary woman does.(2) Included in the list are tasks such as buying and selling property, making and selling clothing, and planting crops.

It is clear that God intends for the man to be the head of the household. However, this has to do with leadership, not earning power or responsibilities. In order to work efficiently, an ideal organization must have a president and a staff of people who work for the president. Each person may advise the president in matters having to do with the organization, and the president considers all their input before making final decisions. The president is not better than the others; he just fulfills a different role.

In the home, God wants the man to be the president. It’s not that he is better than the woman, but rather that he is responsible to God for being the spiritual leader of the home. He is responsible for being a good example to his wife and children. And they are responsible to respect him as their leader.

You say that your husband is a good husband and an excellent father. Your choice of words reveals that you have respect for him. And you say that the two of you agree about your work responsibilities. This implies that he is satisfied with the way things are. So we suggest that you continue to show him respect and to teach your children to respect him, and don’t worry about who makes the most money.

Most importantly, don’t pay attention to other people who would like to impose their beliefs upon you. Read the Bible, together with your husband, to find God’s will. Pray together and teach your children to pray. Having a personal relationship with God is much more important than the kind of work you do or the amount of money that you earn.

Your friends,

Linda and Charles
1 Eph 5; Col 3
2 Pr 31