The wife at work

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Theognome

Burrito Bill
If she can work for her own business (or her husbands) from the home, fine. If she has to work for someone else outside of the home, I'm against it whether there are children or not.

Theognome
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
I'm all for it. If she has talents that can be rewarded through a full-time job, great!
 

Josiah

Puritan Board Senior
My Wife and I are married with no children yet and she is working full time. We have agreed that once we start having children that she will become a stay at home Mom taking care of the kids. She also has mulled around the possibility of working part time on Saturdays.
 

Craig

Puritan Board Senior
Only in extreme circumstances would I think it wrong to have a wife working outside of the home when there are no children.

If one's wife has a tendency toward building a "career"...then that man is marrying off his wife to another man (i.e. her employer).
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Biblically, I don't think there is a prohibition. There is an ordinary pattern that tends to flow even from the creation order but there are lots of exceptions of circumstances.

It would be unwise to try and biblically preclude all those circumstances. Many of us have been blessed by women who were working outside the home (e.g. nurses, school teachers, etc.).

Of one thing I am sure- a woman must not violate biblical priorities in seeking employment and if married, the responsibility for setting the tone for this rests with the man, including, by faith, setting a lifestyle before God that will not presume on debt or pursuing materialism.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
There is wisdom in Proverbs 31

13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
 

ReformedChapin

Puritan Board Freshman
I am all for it especially in this economy. Not to mention if there is no children in the picture it can be something that gives meaningful work to her rathern than just being a stay at home wife. I am certainly not saying that stay at home wives have meaningless work (especially with children in the picture) but I know that several woman want more and I respect that.
 

jpfrench81

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems like the answer to this question is the same as, "Can a man's unwed daughter work outside the home?"

Unless one believes that a woman should never work outside the home, I'm not sure what basis one would have for saying that a married woman shouldn't be able to work outside the home (assuming there is no are no children and that she can maintain the home) if an unwed woman is able to do so.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
 

historyb

Puritan Board Junior
What are your thoughts on a wife having a job (either part or full time) BEFORE the children are born?
My thoughts, sometimes with this economy it has to be done. Gone are the days of a one house wage unless you have a great wage, my wife worked until she was laid off.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
No problem.

I think that some people have placed a burden on women, that the scriptures do not require.

I do not agree at all with the "umbrella theory" of headship promoted by some fundamentalist cult leaders. And I consider it a great shame that many reformed men, out of a (no doubt) sincere desire to restor proper bibical sex roles have adopted it.

This view is NOT the historic view in the Presbyterian tradition of the role of women. I know that some of the more anti-social (seperatist?) Dutch Reformed traditions hold this view, but it is an Anabaptist/radical reformation view, not mainstream reformed.

It is also requires a very tortured reading of history, & some serious "shoe-horning" to try to make a modern cash based wage economy adopt a (flawed in my opinion) view of sexual variation in the economic production of pre-modern households.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
There's nothing wrong with it if that's what you decide is most helpful to you and the household.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't see a scriptural prohibition - as long as it isn't causing her to neglect her responsibilities as a wife. I would also point out that if a husband's job/career is causing him to neglect his responsibilities as a husband, he also needs to re-evaluate. I think that sometimes we forget that this road can be a two way street.
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
Wow, this would have never occurred to us to even be an issue. I had a college degree and started teaching right before we got married. I would have been lonely and bored to tears if I had had to sit at home while my husband worked 10-12 hour days in those early years!
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
Two things . . .

1) Why assume that she'd be under authority of a man? Would it then be okay if her boss was another woman?

2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church (unless all of their elders/pastors are women . . . uh oh!)

Just sayin'. That a married woman would be under the authority of a man in the realm of employment doesn't mean that she's no longer under the authority of her husband. This is like saying that a man shouldn't ever be under the authority of another man, because God has ordained that the head of man is Christ. Kind of silly.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
Two things . . .

1) Why assume that she'd be under authority of a man? Would it then be okay if her boss was another woman?

2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church

Just sayin'. That a married woman would be under the authority of a man in the realm of employment doesn't mean that she's no longer under the authority of her husband. This is like saying that a man ever be under the authority of another man, because God has ordained that the head of man is Christ. Kind of silly.
Wow!! I've never heard the logic of this played out and sort of blindly accepted this school of thought. Thanks for bringing it to its real logical conclusion! Very good points!
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
Two things . . .

1) Why assume that she'd be under authority of a man? Would it then be okay if her boss was another woman?

2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church

Just sayin'. That a married woman would be under the authority of a man in the realm of employment doesn't mean that she's no longer under the authority of her husband. This is like saying that a man ever be under the authority of another man, because God has ordained that the head of man is Christ. Kind of silly.
:oops: And what about letting her drive a car alone? She might come under the authority of a male cop.......
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't think anyone is recommending starvation as opposed to one's wife working outside the home (so maybe not at ALL costs). But let's remember that God has ordained that a woman's head be her husband; taking a job outside the home will put her under the authority of another man at some point... :worms:
Two things . . .

1) Why assume that she'd be under authority of a man? Would it then be okay if her boss was another woman?

2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church (unless all of their elders/pastors are women . . . uh oh!)

Just sayin'. That a married woman would be under the authority of a man in the realm of employment doesn't mean that she's no longer under the authority of her husband. This is like saying that a man shouldn't ever be under the authority of another man, because God has ordained that the head of man is Christ. Kind of silly.
I agree. I don't even have a problem with the wife working outside of the home after children have came along for the same reasons. It has to do with whether or not her home obligations are being met. I find this wooden view of the "under the authority of" clause inconsistent with the treatment of anything related to the husband and his relationships. Should a man be allowed to work where he might be in authority over any other women other than his wife and daughters? Even before his marriage or kids come along?
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church (unless all of their elders/pastors are women . . . uh oh!)
Rubbish.

At school, there is oversight of the church, and thus of the same (or some of the same) elders who sit in authority over me. If you are talking about public school, then you're right, and that's one of the bazillion reasons that I am dead set against it.

With regards to church, she would sit under the same authority that her husband sits under, so I don't see your point.

What I am more talking about is the sort of attitude set forth in this article by John Bunyan. I didn't want to quote the whole thing, but there are profitable bits scattered throughout.

THE DUTY OF WIVES.
But passing the master of the family, I will speak a word or two to those that are under him. And, first, to the wife: The wife is bound by the law to her husband, so long as her husband lives (Rom. 7:2). Therefore she also has her work and place in the family, as well as the rest. Now there are these things considered in the carriage of a wife toward her husband, which she should conscientiously observe.

First, That she look upon him as her head and lord. 'The head of the woman is the man' (1 Cor. 11:3). And so Sarah called Abraham lord (1 Peter 3:6).

Second, She should therefore be subject to him, as is fit in the Lord. The apostle says, 'That the wife should submit herself to her husband, as to the Lord' (1 Peter 3:1; Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22). I told you before, that if the husband does walk towards his wife as is fitting to him, he will therein be such an ordinance of God to her, besides the relation of a husband, that will preach to her the behavior of Christ to his church. And now I say also, that the wife, if she walk with her husband as is fitting to her, she shall preach the obedience of the church to her husband. 'Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything' (Eph. 5:24). Now for your performing of this work, you must first shun these evils.

1. The evil of a wandering and a gossiping spirit; this is evil in the church, and is evil also in a wife, who is the figure of a church. Christ loves to have his spouse keep at home; that is, to be with him in the faith and practice of his things, not ranging and meddling with the things of Satan; no more should wives be given to wander and gossip abroad. You know that Proverbs 7:11 says, 'She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house.' Wives should be about their own husbands' business at home; as the apostle says, Let them 'be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.' And why? Because otherwise 'the word of God will be blasphemed' (Titus 2:5).

2. Take heed of an idle, talking, or contentious tongue. This also is odious, either in maids or wives, to be like parrots, not bridling their tongue; whereas the wife should know, as I said before, that her husband is her lord, and is over her, as Christ is over the church. Do you think it is seemly for the church to parrot it against her husband? Is she not to be silent before him, and to look to his laws, rather than her own fictions? Why so, says the apostle, should the wife so carry it towards her husband? 'Let the woman,' says Paul, 'learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence' (1 Tim. 2:11, 12). It is an unseemly thing to see a woman so much as once in all her lifetime to offer to overtop her husband; she should in everything be in subjection to him, and to do all she does, as having her warrant, license, and authority from him. And indeed here is her glory, even to be under him, as the church is under Christ: Now 'she openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness' (Prov. 31:26).

3. Do not wear immodest apparel, or walk in a seductive way; this will be evil both abroad and at home; abroad, it will not only give ill example, but also tend to tempt to lust and lasciviousness; and at home it will give an offence to a godly husband, and be infecting to ungodly children, etc. Therefore, as says the apostle, Let women's apparel be modest, as becomes women professing godliness, with good works, 'not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array' (1 Tim. 2:9, 10). And as it is said again, 'Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands' (1 Peter 3:3-5).

But yet, do not think that by the subjection I have here mentioned, that I do intend women should be their husbands' slaves. Women are their husbands' yoke-fellows, their flesh and their bones; and he is not a man that hates his own flesh, or that is bitter against it (Eph. 5:29). Wherefore, let every man 'love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband' (Eph. 5:33). The wife is master next her husband, and is to rule all in his absence; yes, in his presence she is to guide the house, to bring up the children, provided she does it, as the adversary has no occasion to speak reproachfully (1 Tim. 5:10, 13). 'Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. A gracious woman retaineth honour:' and guides her affairs with discretion (Prov 31:10; 11:16; 12:4).

Objection: But my husband is an unbeliever; what shall I do?

Answer: If so, then what I have said before lies upon you with an engagement so much the stronger. For, 1. Your husband being in this condition, he will be watchful to take your slips and infirmities, to throw them as dirt in the face of God and your Savior. 2. He will be apt to make the worst of every one of your words, actions, and gestures. 3. And all this does tend to the possessing his heart with more hardness, prejudice, and opposition to his own salvation; therefore, as Peter says, 'ye wives, be in subjection to your husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they may also without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear' (1 Peter 3:1, 2). Your husband's salvation or damnation lies much in your good behavior before him; therefore, if there is in you any fear of God, or love to your husband, seek, by behavior full of meekness, modesty, and holiness, and a humbleness before him, to win him to the love of his own salvation; and by doing this, how 'knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?' (1 Cor. 7:16).

Objection: But my husband is not only an unbeliever, but one very contentious, peevish, and testy, yes, so contentious, etc., that I know not how to speak to him, or behave myself before him.

Answer: Indeed there are some wives in great slavery by reason of their ungodly husbands; and as such should be pitied, and prayed for; so they should be so much the more watchful and circumspect in all their ways.

1. Therefore be very faithful to him in all the things of this life.

2. Bear with patience his unruly and unconverted behavior; you are alive, he is dead; you are principled with grace, he with sin. Now, then, seeing grace is stronger than sin, and virtue than vice; be not overcome with his vileness, but overcome that with your virtues (Rom 12:21). It is a shame for those that are gracious to be as lavishing in their words, etc., as those that are graceless: They that are 'slow to wrath are of great understanding; but they that are hasty of spirit, exalteth folly' (Prov. 14:29).

3. Your wisdom, therefore, if at any time you have a desire to speak to your husband for his conviction, concerning anything, either good or evil, it is to observe convenient times and seasons: There is 'a time to keep silence, and a time to speak' (Eccl. 3:7). Now for the right timing of your intentions,

(1.) Consider his disposition; and take him when he is farthest off of those filthy passions that are your afflictions. Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband till his wine was gone from him, and he in a sober temper (1 Sam. 25:36, 37). Not heeding this observation is the cause why so much is spoken, and so little effected.

(2.) Take him at those times when he has his heart taken with you, and when he shows tokens of love and delight in you. Thus did Esther with the king her husband, and prevailed (Esther 5:3, 6; 7:1, 2).

(3.) Observe when convictions seize his conscience, and then follow them with sound and grave sayings of the Scriptures. Somewhat like to this dealt Manoah's wife with her husband (Judges 13:22, 23). Yet then,

(a) Let your words be few.

(b) And none of them savoring of a lording it over him; but speak still as to your head and lord, by way of entreaty and beseeching.

(c) And that in such a spirit of sympathy, and a heart of affection after his good, that the manner of your speech and behavior in speaking may be to him an argument that you speak in love, as being sensible of his misery, and inflamed in your soul with desire after his conversion.

(d) And follow your words and behavior with prayers to God for his soul.

(e) Still keeping yourself in a holy, chaste, and modest behavior before him.

Objection: But my husband is stupid, a fool, and one that has not wit enough to follow his outward employment in the world.

Answer. 1. Though all this be true, yet you must know he is your head, your lord, and your husband.

2. Therefore you must take heed of desiring to usurp authority over him. He was not made for you; that is, for you to have dominion over him, but to be your husband, and to rule over you (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 11:3, 8).

3. Therefore, though in truth you may have more discretion than he, yet you should know that you, and all that is yours, is to be used as under your husband; even 'every thing' (Eph 5:24). Take heed therefore, that what you do goes not in your name, but his; not to your exaltation, but his; doing all things so that by your dexterity and prudence, not one of your husband's weaknesses is discovered to others by you: 'A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed, is as rottenness in his bones.' For then, as the wise man says, 'she will do him good and not evil, all the days of her life' (Prov. 12:4; 31:12).

4. Therefore act, and do still, as being under the power and authority of your husband. Now touching your behavior toward your children and servants. You are a parent, and a mistress, and so you should demean yourself. And besides, seeing the believing woman is a figure of the church, she should, as the church, nourish and instruct her children, and servants, as the church, that she may answer in that particular also; and truly, the wife being always at home, she has great advantage that way; therefore do it, and the Lord prosper your proceeding.
-----Added 5/26/2009 at 11:22:02 EST-----

Many of us also have no choice other than to find work outside the home from time to time also though (and yes, I've worked from home as well).
And I don't think anyone is arguing that point either. But when it is a choice, to do so out of anything other than absolute need is where I have the problem.

Women are to be, with the words of Scripture, "keepers at home"
How does this advance the conversation? Nobody in this thread denies that.
Perhaps they do not outrightly, but it's come pretty close.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Women are to be, with the words of Scripture, "keepers at home"
That is absolutely true, but the question still needs to be asked what is meant by "keepers at home".

If you have a method of bible interpretation that says a woman cannot work outside because she needs to be "at home", than a woman may not go to church, go shopping or go visit relatives and so on and so on. There is no biblical reason to limit the application of "keepers at home" to just employment, which is what seems to be typically done when the verse is used to rule out outside employment for women.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
2) If you're going to use this as a reason to prohibit it, you'd also have to prohibit women and girls from (among other things) . . .
- school (unless all of their teachers are women)
- church (unless all of their elders/pastors are women . . . uh oh!)
Rubbish.

At school, there is oversight of the church, and thus of the same (or some of the same) elders who sit in authority over me. If you are talking about public school, then you're right, and that's one of the bazillion reasons that I am dead set against it.

With regards to church, she would sit under the same authority that her husband sits under, so I don't see your point.

What I am more talking about is the sort of attitude set forth in this article by John Bunyan. I didn't want to quote the whole thing, but there are profitable bits scattered throughout.

THE DUTY OF WIVES.
But passing the master of the family, I will speak a word or two to those that are under him. And, first, to the wife: The wife is bound by the law to her husband, so long as her husband lives (Rom. 7:2). Therefore she also has her work and place in the family, as well as the rest. Now there are these things considered in the carriage of a wife toward her husband, which she should conscientiously observe.

First, That she look upon him as her head and lord. 'The head of the woman is the man' (1 Cor. 11:3). And so Sarah called Abraham lord (1 Peter 3:6).

Second, She should therefore be subject to him, as is fit in the Lord. The apostle says, 'That the wife should submit herself to her husband, as to the Lord' (1 Peter 3:1; Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22). I told you before, that if the husband does walk towards his wife as is fitting to him, he will therein be such an ordinance of God to her, besides the relation of a husband, that will preach to her the behavior of Christ to his church. And now I say also, that the wife, if she walk with her husband as is fitting to her, she shall preach the obedience of the church to her husband. 'Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything' (Eph. 5:24). Now for your performing of this work, you must first shun these evils.

1. The evil of a wandering and a gossiping spirit; this is evil in the church, and is evil also in a wife, who is the figure of a church. Christ loves to have his spouse keep at home; that is, to be with him in the faith and practice of his things, not ranging and meddling with the things of Satan; no more should wives be given to wander and gossip abroad. You know that Proverbs 7:11 says, 'She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house.' Wives should be about their own husbands' business at home; as the apostle says, Let them 'be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.' And why? Because otherwise 'the word of God will be blasphemed' (Titus 2:5).

2. Take heed of an idle, talking, or contentious tongue. This also is odious, either in maids or wives, to be like parrots, not bridling their tongue; whereas the wife should know, as I said before, that her husband is her lord, and is over her, as Christ is over the church. Do you think it is seemly for the church to parrot it against her husband? Is she not to be silent before him, and to look to his laws, rather than her own fictions? Why so, says the apostle, should the wife so carry it towards her husband? 'Let the woman,' says Paul, 'learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence' (1 Tim. 2:11, 12). It is an unseemly thing to see a woman so much as once in all her lifetime to offer to overtop her husband; she should in everything be in subjection to him, and to do all she does, as having her warrant, license, and authority from him. And indeed here is her glory, even to be under him, as the church is under Christ: Now 'she openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness' (Prov. 31:26).

3. Do not wear immodest apparel, or walk in a seductive way; this will be evil both abroad and at home; abroad, it will not only give ill example, but also tend to tempt to lust and lasciviousness; and at home it will give an offence to a godly husband, and be infecting to ungodly children, etc. Therefore, as says the apostle, Let women's apparel be modest, as becomes women professing godliness, with good works, 'not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array' (1 Tim. 2:9, 10). And as it is said again, 'Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands' (1 Peter 3:3-5).

But yet, do not think that by the subjection I have here mentioned, that I do intend women should be their husbands' slaves. Women are their husbands' yoke-fellows, their flesh and their bones; and he is not a man that hates his own flesh, or that is bitter against it (Eph. 5:29). Wherefore, let every man 'love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband' (Eph. 5:33). The wife is master next her husband, and is to rule all in his absence; yes, in his presence she is to guide the house, to bring up the children, provided she does it, as the adversary has no occasion to speak reproachfully (1 Tim. 5:10, 13). 'Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. A gracious woman retaineth honour:' and guides her affairs with discretion (Prov 31:10; 11:16; 12:4).

Objection: But my husband is an unbeliever; what shall I do?

Answer: If so, then what I have said before lies upon you with an engagement so much the stronger. For, 1. Your husband being in this condition, he will be watchful to take your slips and infirmities, to throw them as dirt in the face of God and your Savior. 2. He will be apt to make the worst of every one of your words, actions, and gestures. 3. And all this does tend to the possessing his heart with more hardness, prejudice, and opposition to his own salvation; therefore, as Peter says, 'ye wives, be in subjection to your husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they may also without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear' (1 Peter 3:1, 2). Your husband's salvation or damnation lies much in your good behavior before him; therefore, if there is in you any fear of God, or love to your husband, seek, by behavior full of meekness, modesty, and holiness, and a humbleness before him, to win him to the love of his own salvation; and by doing this, how 'knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?' (1 Cor. 7:16).

Objection: But my husband is not only an unbeliever, but one very contentious, peevish, and testy, yes, so contentious, etc., that I know not how to speak to him, or behave myself before him.

Answer: Indeed there are some wives in great slavery by reason of their ungodly husbands; and as such should be pitied, and prayed for; so they should be so much the more watchful and circumspect in all their ways.

1. Therefore be very faithful to him in all the things of this life.

2. Bear with patience his unruly and unconverted behavior; you are alive, he is dead; you are principled with grace, he with sin. Now, then, seeing grace is stronger than sin, and virtue than vice; be not overcome with his vileness, but overcome that with your virtues (Rom 12:21). It is a shame for those that are gracious to be as lavishing in their words, etc., as those that are graceless: They that are 'slow to wrath are of great understanding; but they that are hasty of spirit, exalteth folly' (Prov. 14:29).

3. Your wisdom, therefore, if at any time you have a desire to speak to your husband for his conviction, concerning anything, either good or evil, it is to observe convenient times and seasons: There is 'a time to keep silence, and a time to speak' (Eccl. 3:7). Now for the right timing of your intentions,

(1.) Consider his disposition; and take him when he is farthest off of those filthy passions that are your afflictions. Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband till his wine was gone from him, and he in a sober temper (1 Sam. 25:36, 37). Not heeding this observation is the cause why so much is spoken, and so little effected.

(2.) Take him at those times when he has his heart taken with you, and when he shows tokens of love and delight in you. Thus did Esther with the king her husband, and prevailed (Esther 5:3, 6; 7:1, 2).

(3.) Observe when convictions seize his conscience, and then follow them with sound and grave sayings of the Scriptures. Somewhat like to this dealt Manoah's wife with her husband (Judges 13:22, 23). Yet then,

(a) Let your words be few.

(b) And none of them savoring of a lording it over him; but speak still as to your head and lord, by way of entreaty and beseeching.

(c) And that in such a spirit of sympathy, and a heart of affection after his good, that the manner of your speech and behavior in speaking may be to him an argument that you speak in love, as being sensible of his misery, and inflamed in your soul with desire after his conversion.

(d) And follow your words and behavior with prayers to God for his soul.

(e) Still keeping yourself in a holy, chaste, and modest behavior before him.

Objection: But my husband is stupid, a fool, and one that has not wit enough to follow his outward employment in the world.

Answer. 1. Though all this be true, yet you must know he is your head, your lord, and your husband.

2. Therefore you must take heed of desiring to usurp authority over him. He was not made for you; that is, for you to have dominion over him, but to be your husband, and to rule over you (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 11:3, 8).

3. Therefore, though in truth you may have more discretion than he, yet you should know that you, and all that is yours, is to be used as under your husband; even 'every thing' (Eph 5:24). Take heed therefore, that what you do goes not in your name, but his; not to your exaltation, but his; doing all things so that by your dexterity and prudence, not one of your husband's weaknesses is discovered to others by you: 'A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed, is as rottenness in his bones.' For then, as the wise man says, 'she will do him good and not evil, all the days of her life' (Prov. 12:4; 31:12).

4. Therefore act, and do still, as being under the power and authority of your husband. Now touching your behavior toward your children and servants. You are a parent, and a mistress, and so you should demean yourself. And besides, seeing the believing woman is a figure of the church, she should, as the church, nourish and instruct her children, and servants, as the church, that she may answer in that particular also; and truly, the wife being always at home, she has great advantage that way; therefore do it, and the Lord prosper your proceeding.
I don't think most of the women on this board would have a problem with most of the above. Saying that I am sure Mrs. Bunyan got out and about more than usual and had to assume affairs discharged most often by men in those days given that he was incarcerated for a number of years.
 
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