I have been married for nineteen years. I am a professional, and eight years ago my husband quit his job so that he could dedicate himself to a personal project…. I leave for my office, and he stays at home, supposedly working. He always complains that I work a lot and that I don’t dedicate time to our home. But that doesn’t seem fair to me, and we argue about it a lot.

A month ago one of my female relatives… contacted me and showed me some very strong love messages she received from my husband. When I asked him what that was all about, he said that God had sent him this love because I was such a bad wife… and that God’s wrath was being vented against me because he… is a faithful follower of God and I am not. Now I don’t trust him or my relative. Is doing housework what it takes to be a good wife? Will God punish me for not being a good wife? Will God reward my husband for reading the Bible?

Dear Friend,

Thank you for writing to us. You have some very good questions.

When Jesus walked on the earth, He quoted a prophecy of Isaiah which seems to apply in your husband’s case: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”(1) Jesus was speaking to some religious men who thought it was more important to wash your hands before eating than it was to follow the commandment regarding giving honor to your parents. He made it clear that “man-made” rules such as the washing of hands and the cleaning of houses are not as important as God-made rules such as the Ten Commandments, one of which implies that a husband must be faithful to his wife.(2)

Some religious men in the Bible made a show of their piety by praying out loud so that everyone could hear them. Jesus called them hypocrites!(3) Of course it is very wise to pray and read the Bible to come to know God better, but Jesus taught that practicing the Ten Commandments and His other teachings is more important than following any religious traditions or rules.

We are sorry for the way that your husband is behaving. Even if poor housecleaning were a sin, it still would not justify your husband’s romantic pursuit of another woman. We believe that you have good reason to distrust him.

As for your questions, even though the Bible does not specifically address the subject of bad housecleaning, we don’t believe that it is a sin. The Bible does disapprove of laziness, but since you are working and earning the money to run your home, you are certainly not lazy.

Punishment for sin does not work the way that your husband seems to think. The truth is that we all deserve God’s wrath because we have all sinned. Jesus died on the cross in order to pay the punishment for us. So your husband depends on God’s forgiveness just like you do and just like I do. We recommend that the two of you seek marriage counseling with a professional who is also a follower of Christ.

We wish you well,

1 Mt 15: 8-9
2 Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
3 Mt 6:5