This article is written from a Biblical Christian perspective to encourage other Christian wives.
Did you know that you are a “working woman” when you become a wife?
Were you ever told about the job of running a home? Do you know it’s ok to earn money but that is not what qualifies you as a “working woman”?
All I ever wanted was to be a wife running my own home, but I knew to never admit this was my primary ambition. No one was ever presenting this to me as an option. I was prodded toward the workforce with great intensity and never a word mentioned about being a wife working at home. But there was more than just the lack of this option being spoken about, I noticed more and more as I grew into a young adult woman, the utter disrespect toward her.
Fifteen years later into my full-time career as a housewife, I can report that nothing has changed.
Women have been constantly told in casual conversation for decades that we do not work at home. We are told to “go to work” as though we are not already at work. We are told to “get a job” instead of people understanding that we already have a job.
When a woman gets paid work outside of the home, she now has two jobs. The work of the home never POOF goes away.
We can use modern conveniences like premade food, grocery services, robot vacuums, etc. but our household still requires a tending that only a physically present, discerning and wise woman can do. And not every wife prefers to outsource her duties. Not every wife prefers to eat convenience food day in and day out. Some of us enjoy the skills of the home and want to master certain aspects of it that we find immense value in offering to others and to experience ourselves. Moreover, there is no hired maid or robot vacuum that can offer emotional presence, spiritual guidance, and love as a woman running her own house can offer.
Many of us would spend our entire paychecks to hire a maid, grocery service, and daycare so that we could be gone working! I wonder why we have to pay others to do these tasks in the home….maybe because it’s….WORK.
The Bible does not say that women are to be “staying” at home. It says we are to be “working” at home. If the Bible calls our job at home “work”, then we ought to speak of it the same. Instead, we adopted the language of Unbiblical culture that says we are “staying” or that we are simply “at” home. This language demeans the job and the work inherent to the household and the woman tending it. This demeaning language is also apparent when women are referred to as “just” a “stay-at-home-mom” or “just” a “stay-at-home-wife”.
Women in the workforce are not called “stay-at-desk-wife” or “stay-at-company-mom”. When we frame women working at home as “staying” we frame her as lazy. She is just staying. There is no reference to her actively working. The language the culture uses is inaccurate.
Moreover, I have never heard a workforce woman be referred to as “just a doctor” or “just a lawyer”. Workforce women are given respect. While homeforce women are consistently degraded this way. The language we use only perpetuates the way we view her.
The entire culture has asserted that unless a woman is in a paid job, she is not working, and she does not have a job. We consistently use language that demeans her and her role of the home. There is a woman who has been so disparaged in society that she does not even like to advertise her status as a housewife. The very word “housewife” has been so maligned through twisted portrayals of her in media that women have distanced themselves from the very term!
In an age when people want to use language to honor their sin such as changing pronouns, as Christians we need to use language to honor what is good and true. We need to train and teach the young women as Titus 2 says, and we need to use words that agree with scripture.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5
Our language matters when we train and teach people. We must instill honor and respectability into women about their role of work in the home and stop only giving respect to work outside of the home. We all need to show honor unto the wife as husbands are directed to do.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
Let’s remember that earning money is not exclusive to outside jobs. The time and unhindered creativity of being a working woman at home produces income earning as we see in Proverbs 31. I personally know many women who had extremely successful home-based businesses. We are free as working women at home to extend our skills and our talents to others to enterprise and create income. We are free to also work outside of the home and earn money. But working outside of the home does not cancel the job and work of the home. It only adds to it. Moreover, we do not become “working women” when we earn income. We are already working women when we add income because the job of the home is always work.
The Proverbs 31 wife is praised for many things she works at before it ever mentions her earning income.
With just the job of the home, you are already a “work-at-home-wife”, or a “work-at-home-mother”.
Words matter. The Holy Bible consistently teaches us the weight and the effect of words. We need to listen to the words we are choosing and realize the meaning of what we are saying to women and about their role.
“Do you work?” is not a good framing of that question. “Do you work outside of the home?”, or “Do you have paid work?” Are correct ways to frame this question. I answer honestly when someone asks me if I work. I say “Yes I work.” When they learn that I work at home full time they will still assert that I “don’t work” to my face. I don’t think they hear how rude this is or just how incorrect it is because they are programmed to speak a certain way from a culture that has erased the concept of a wife having work in the home.
If you are a wife, then you have a household to run and you are a working woman.
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