Woman as Primary Bread Winner?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Simply_Nikki, Dec 10, 2007.

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  1. ~~Susita~~

    ~~Susita~~ Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the link you sent! I'll be sure to check that out. I'll have to remain in the states for at least two years so I can pay back the hospital (need to sign a contract to get through school), but after that, we'll see. At least I'll have some experience in the ER when I head over. If you have any stories or advice (I'm sure you do!) then please don't hesitate to send a PM.

    Take care!
  2. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    Define provide.
  3. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    "The bringing in from the outside what is needed for the household economy."
  4. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    Is that a monetary contribution only?
  5. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    No, it would also include subsistence farming, horticulture, hunting, fishing, etc. Scripture uses the example of working the earth in Genesis 3 which is synecdoche for all provision.
  6. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    He could work at home. Several men do this. Business, sales, internet based employment, whatever. And they may do it deliberately, so they can help educate the children where the mother is simply not as gifted at it. I know one man who who ran his shop at home, and could then use it to teach his older boys his trade.

    I know another man who is preparing for the pastorate, whose wife is a doctor. She will bring in more money in one day than he will in one month. Her profession, even working part-time, would enable him to minister to a needy congregation who can't afford a full-time pastor. He may watch his children while the wife works a day or two and that frees him the rest of the week to minister to the church.

    You just can't issue blanket condemnations for stay-at-home dads or working moms. :2cents:
  7. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I thought it was pretty clear from what I wrote that my concern was for men providing for their household and not where they conduct their business. I was using "stay-at-home dad" in the usual sense of a man who is not working full-time to provide for his family. I've never heard a man with a home office referred to as a stay-at-home dad.

    I still wonder in what sense a woman can be "despot of the house" when she is working full-time outside of the home.
  8. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll


    Good example. Now consider this situation.

    Husband is 60+. Wife is mid-50's. Husband has been forced, at least temporarily, into "early retirement" because the work in his profession of nearly 25 years, is now being done "offshore". The husband has been working from home, but that work is about to end and there is nothing on the horizon.

    The wife has been a homemaker. This is an empty nest, a homeschooling family. The child has finished college, is successfully employed, and is assuming appropriate responsibility for outstanding college debts. The house is paid off. There has been some retirement savings but it would be unwise to tap into them this early. Even though the house is paid off, we all know who really owns it.

    The husband might be able to get a job in a former profession but it's competetive and it might mean getting a Master's degree. The wife has a Master's degree.

    in my opinion the wife has more and better possibilities in the job market at this time. Comments?
  9. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    To be as clear as possible, here is what I believe Scripture teaches:

    Men are to provide for their families. It doesn't matter where they are doing this.

    Women are to keep house which especially relates to childbearing and the nurturing of children. It doesn't matter if they also have an income.
  10. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    The husband should work if able and the wife can work if the house is in order (which shouldn't be all that time consuming if there are no kids at home). It seems completely acceptable for the husband to go to school full-time if he'd like as that is directly related with him being better able to provide.
  11. BecomingReformed

    BecomingReformed Inactive User

    Very interesting. I did not know that the older widows would rescue orphans and put them with Christian families!
  12. Puritanhead

    Puritanhead Puritan Board Professor

    Statistics show women of comparable intellect and skills-set generally make 3/4 pay of men. It's not because of discrimination. It's because women are out on maternity leave more. In fact, most women wish they were in better position to spend time with family. The man should be the primary provider for the household. I admire a hard-working woman, but I want to be the primary provider in my future household.

    Read my review:
    Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn't Work
  13. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

    actually the whole nursing profession can be traced back to the first century Christian women caring for the needy and the sick.
  14. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    Having not thought through this in a while, this is the conviction I've lived by for the past 17 years.

    Technically, by definition, a husband is one who provides for a beneficiary of his provision. If he cannot provide for a wife, then he ought not to have one until he is able to do so. A wife is to benefit from his provision, and she ought to not marry someone who is offering what he cannot completely follow through with. If he loses his ability to provide at some point down the road, then the church or another brother or two ought to bear the burden for those under his care. Hypothetical situations cannot justify a change in the underlying principles. There may be exceptional circumstances in certain cases, but these should not be used to create precedent for lessening the responsibilities of a husband. Personally, I don't mind if my wife desires to work and make money to help the family, but I will not ask for it, nor will I depend on it, nor should she do such at the expense of her typical duties as a helper. And, she is not called to be a helper in the provision, but in the distribution and use of the provision that is provided for her. And, if I were not bringing in enough money with my current job, I would rather work 2 full-time jobs and live up to the definition of a husband than to ask those under my care to provide for themselves and myself as well.

  15. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    Another factor is that some women just cannot be happy at home with children. I love children but in small doses, not all day every day. I started medical school after being married and having two children. My reasoning was that if I were a child, I'd rather have a half-time happy Mom than a full-time witch. It was a good decision. My children are both adults and married now; neither has ever had a sense of bitterness over the decision. I've earned far more than my husband. We agreed on a budget and each supplied half; what each of us did with the rest of his/her income was not the other one's business. He managed the family budget and I stayed out of it. Earning more doesn't necessarily lead to domination.
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My wife is a nurse. Before we had children for a short time she worked while I went to school. We saw nothing unbiblical about this, partly because her "job" is also partof her calling and was preparation for nursing in the Third World. As soon as possible, though, we reverted to the norm of me bringing in the bacon. Also, again, we had no kids at the time and would not have done this had we already had kids.
  17. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    The Proverbs 31 wife made money outside the home...who knows how much money she made by selling at the market and by investing in fields?

    As others have pointed out, it is about attitude: the Proverbs 31 wife did these things to honor her husband.

    The reasons behind a wife working are most important: is the husband lazy? Is she just afraid of not having "enough"? Does she derive her self-worth from work (this is rebellion and defining her role apart from Scripture).

    And also it needs to be considered if her working is purposefully preventing them from having children.
  18. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Just some thoughts and comments:

    A man is indeed the provider for his family and he should work hard to be able to do it. However, it is the bible which defines what it means to be a provider, and what are the responsibilities of a husband. As was mentioned above, the virtuous wife of proverbs 31 contributed financially to her household. That was not in any way a slight against her husband’s role as a provider, but simply a part of her role as a helper. You have said that a wife is only to help in the use of the provision that her husband brings in, but that is not what the bible shows. The virtuous wife went out an brought in additional income to add to what her husband earned. And this was not a suboptimal situation, it was part of what made her a great wife. Nor was this a household in poverty, rather it was a prosperous household that could afford servants.

    Your intentions are noble, however, as I said before, it is the bible which defines what a husband is. There is no shame in accepting financial help from the wife as long as the husband is putting in his reasonable best (which should be very hard work indeed), as proverbs 31 shows. Also, the idea of working two jobs rather than accepting help from the wife assumes that a husband’s sole role is in ‘bringing home the bacon’. If a husband truly is the spiritual head of his home, he has many duties with his wife and children that extend beyond financial provision. He also has duties to his church and in other areas. All these things cannot be done well if he is overworking himself. There is no shame, and indeed it is God’s plan that wife can and should help her husband in situations of genuine need.
  19. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Exactly what my mother has said. The difference, both my brother and I DID resent her for her selfishness. It was all about what would make mom happy (or what she thought would make her happy), rather than her making personal changes, accepting those challenges, and God's refining her for her family.

    I've also heard this same reasoning used for women leaving their husbands..."well, wouldn't it be better for the children for ME to be happy?"

    I also would have concern over the whole financial "none of the other's business". Do we each at times have money that we can freely spend on our own? Certainly, but we would never dare presume that it was not the other person's business.
  20. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    WHY WHY WHY are you all raising monumental barriers to professional women coming to faith in Christ?? The scriptures teach female submission to male leadership in the home and in the church, nothing more. You (males) are adding your cultural baggage. Deborah excelled in government. The virtuous woman of 31 Proverbs excelled in business. Some women are not home bodies. Some men are. How can the church legislate on this, as if it's in the same category as homosexuality or idolatry?
  21. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    you might find this article helpful...I think the link takes you to the middle of it, just scroll up and start from the beginning.

    Your comment is disconcerting...at its foundation this is destructive to male/female distinctives...on the one hand, you affirm the created order in the home and at church, but suddenly throw that out the window when it comes to careers...ironically, your concluding comment is wrong: this is related to the category of homosexuality.

    If men are allowed to be "home-bodies", then what is associated with femininity is okay for men...the Bible says otherwise. Confusing every day male/female roles is a sexual issue...this is why people think they can choose their own gender and become transgendered...then what bars a woman becoming a man from holding church authority? Or how about marrying a woman?

    Marriage, and the relationship of the Church, is used by God to *redeem* sexual identity. Our roles aren't merely defined for church and family...rather, they find clearest expression there and are to be demonstrated in every day life. It seems the Reformed world suffers from bi-polar disorder when it comes to masculinity and femininity.

    Notice, Peter appeals to husbands to live with their wives as though they are *weaker*...he doesn't appeal to husbands on the basis of their wives being their wives, rather, his appeal to these husbands was based on fact their wives are *women*...demonstrating again that these distinctions are across the board in every part of the created order.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2008
  22. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    As Josh stated, the Proverbs 31 woman saw to her own home first and foremost. I know plenty of keepers at home that have homebased business and take it to market or online for sale. Thus they are able to include their children and make their home their priority, market secondary. Many professions do not permit a women to arbitrarily take care of their family first. No, care of their family is scheduled around their work demands. Everything from caretaking, homekeeping, childhood education, family vacation, etc.

    We also are not to sacrifice our families for "mission work". Ministers are called to have their families in order if they are to minister (notice family first). A wife and mother's first obligation is to her husband and children, not the women in the workplace. Believe me, God has ways of reaching out to those women.

    There are women that are called to be single and to work in certain spheres. There are also women that work in certain spheres AFTER their family is raised. My midwife is one of those. She waited till her children were grown. Now her new "career" is a ministry to many women, she also is a spiritual influence to young mothers and an encouragement to them, and she makes certain her house is in order...her family came/comes first.

    No one is raising any barrier. To say such is to also say that God is dependent upon man (or woman) and that we need to step out of the roles that He gave to us in order to "help God out".
  23. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Following upon Jessica's statement...there have been those that have noted that Proverbs 31 is showing the various stages of a woman's life as well. There are times where our sole focus is the household and children, a time where we are able to focus on those in need around us, a time where we are able to plant and take our goods to market. The latter items not done at the expense of the former, however. There is an order of priority.
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