Following an article and a response a while back, I decided to construct my own reply.
Biblical Gender Roles began with “7 Steps to Dealing with a Lazy Wife”.
7 Steps to dealing with a lazy wife
Step 1 – Know beforehand that this will hurt her
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” – Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)
Very few women if any will take it well when their husband tells them he believes they have been lazy and neglectful in their duties to their home. But it must be said. This is the sacrifice of discipline that you must make as a husband.
Step 2 – Speak the truth in love
“14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” – Ephesians 4:14-15 (KJV)
The “L” word is not a swear word. In some Christian circles a man saying his wife is acting “lazy” is akin to him calling her a cuss word. The KJV uses two words for laziness – one is “slothfulness” and the other is “idleness”:
“By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” – Ecclesiastes 10:18 (KJV)
So yes speak the truth in love – but speak the truth. If it walks like a duck and acts likes duck – it’s a duck. In fact the Bible says that a godly wife is NOT a lazy wife:
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27 (KJV)
There is no sugar coating this gentlemen – if a wife is not keeping up with duties of her household she is being lazy and she must be called out on this.
I think that initially you should try and handle this in private with your wife away from your children and with most other issues. But at a future point if she continues in this sin of laziness it will become evident to the children that mom is doing something wrong. I will talk about this more later.
Step 3 – Make the consequences for her laziness clear
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” – Revelation 3:19 (KJV)
At first give her a warning. But let her know that if you come home and see the house is a mess, laundry is not done, the home is not clean or dinners are not being prepared there will be consequences for her laziness.
I have talked in more detail about how men can discipline their wives in my post “7 Ways to Discipline your wife”.
Step 4 – Follow through on disciplinary consequences if she fails to change her ways
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews 12:11 (KJV)
If you thought confronting your wife about her laziness was the hardest part you would be wrong. Following through on the consequences you promised will be the most difficult part. But remember why Christ sacrificed himself? It was to make his bride holy and so to you must do this to try and yield the fruit of righteousness in your wife’s life.
Step 5 – Attempt private discipline first
Once you have examined “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” you will notice that most of these methods could be instituted in a way that does not draw attention to your wife from your children. I would suggest you try these kinds of private discipline first.
One method of private discipline that I added as an update to “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” is using your time as a husband as a method of discipline. This is especially important to men in Tom’s situation where finances are tight. Many women value their husband’s time more than almost anything else. A man can use discretion with how much of his free time that he allocates to his wife as one method of discipline.
Step 6- Move to more public discipline if private discipline does not work
An example of public discipline would be turning off the internet or cable in your home. Perhaps you might lock these things out with a code only you know. If you need the internet for work or children need it for school you could put the new code only in your computer and theirs and not your wives so she will have no access while others can still use it. If you have to do this to shake your wife from her laziness this will get the attention of your children as it affects them.
Contrary to what some Christian teachers may teach – you do not have shield your children from your correction and discipline of your wife especially if she puts you in the position to have to do things that are more publicly visible to the rest of the family.
Some might say that this type of discipline undermines a mother’s authority in the eyes of her children and dishonors her before them in direct contradiction to I Peter 3:7’s admonition for men to honor their wives. But this could not be further from the truth.
The mother has dishonored herself by placing her husband in the position to have to elevate his discipline of her from private to public. Matthew 18:15-17 teaches us this principle that first correction is to be attempted privately but if the person remains in unrepentance their sin is to be made public. Wives and mothers are not an exception to principle.
Step 7 – If she spurns your discipline then bring her before the Church
“…How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;” Proverbs 5:12 (KJV)
An now we come to the most public form of discipline a man might have to bring against his wife.
As husbands we have a duty to discipline our wives for sinful behavior. But whether it comes to our wives or our children there is only so much that we can do to discipline them and try and get them on the right path. If they despise our discipline and rebel then we must leave them in the Lord’s hands.
It is only when we have exhausted what we can do and if they continue in steadfast rebellion against our attempts to discipline them that we then should bring them before the church (Matthew 18:15-17).
But again they may not even listen to the church.
We must face the fact that discipline does not always yield the results that we want for those we love that are under our authority and spiritual care. But discipline requires two active parties for it to be successful. It requires the authority to perform the discipline and it requires the one under authority to learn from the discipline and change their way.
However, even if the wife does not learn from the discipline and change her ways this does not mean removing the disciplinary measures. Once all measures have been taken those measures should stay in place until repentance is made.
VioletWisp then followed up with “7 Steps to dealing with a Sexist Partner”:
1. Insist from the start of a relationship that everything is split equally, don’t fall for nonsense notions of men choosing, paying or opening doors.
2. Once co-habiting, ensure household chores are evenly split, so outdated roles aren’t assumed without thought, and the joy of maintaining a well-kept, shared space is appreciated fully by all.
3. Always stay in some form of employment if possible, or at least keep skills up to date, so that a finance card can never be used against you.
4. Let sex fall within a natural rhythm when both of you want it. Never feel the need to go at it for the sake fulfilling an unwritten quota, and risk it becoming something you don’t look forward to.
5. If your partner ever mentions disciplining you, as if you are a child and he is a terrible parent from previous centuries, run a mile.
6. If your partner ever suggests that the egalitarian teachings of the character Jesus can be used to force you to submit to him, tell him you’re joining the Quakers and kick him out.
7. If your partner suggests you are lazy, get pens and paper out and each write down all the shortcomings you see in each other and discuss if either of you are willing or able to change. If you can’t come to agreement and feel the shortcomings are a deal breaker, go your separate ways.
My own reply was a comment at Violet Wisp’s page, but I felt it might be a breath of fresh air among so much… confrontation.
Seven steps to dealing with a relationship as adults:
1. Observe your capabilities from the start of the relationship and give freely and happily. Do not expect returns on investment other than when you invest love and do not keep score. You know, as though you love them.
2. Once co-habiting, ensure all household chores are DONE, whoever the hell does them. Who cares if you slip into traditional or nontraditional gender roles, the dishes need washing.
3. Stay busy earning or saving, but try and get one of you to work part time or from home, just so someone’s there for money saving tasks, animals, children and general conveniences. Plus, being at home all day is a luxury that the recipient will not leave unappreciated.
4. Talk about sex openly and honestly. Have sex when you both want to. Agree to masturbate or compensate sexually for each other when you’re not quite in the mood for proper intercourse. Hangups and frustration suck.
5. If your partner ever mentions disciplining you, first see if you are being unbearable in your demands or denials. There are very few people who will even threaten discipline without feeling sorely hurt. If they are not hurt, you’re dating a nonempath.
6. Work constantly to move towards a better future as a couple, rather than worry about who is or is not in charge. Disagreements are fine. Final decisions can be made by anyone. But when the argument is one vs the other, it will end in disaster.
7. If your partner finds shortcomings in you, talk about them and see if you can see the same issues and whether they bother you. If they do, change them. If they do not, offer your partner an out. Bringing up lists of negatives about each other, mulling them over and going on about them all the time is a great way to stop loving someone. Slight idealizing results in longer, happier relationships. Besides, what sort of a person are you if you can only bring up problems as a response to someone else’s complaints? Why not deal with every problem as they arrive?
Because there is no formula, Biblical, feminist or otherwise, that will make your relationship work, that will get you the “results” you want out of the independent agent that is your partner, that will make everything awesome all the time. There is only the two of you and your own agency. Your partner is not a puzzle piece in your life, nor a project. Cut loose and work on yourself and your relationship. There is only so much you can control.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!