Changing Roles For Men and Women.
by Nick Bishop
Traditionally, it was the role of the husband to go out and work and put food on the table, while his wife stayed at home and looked after the children, kept the home and prepared the meals, etc. The familiar name given for this role was ‘housewife’. Sadly, this term has been used in a derogatory fashion. The old fashioned and erroneous view that men, being stronger, are therefore more capable in the workplace, has been greatly abused.
The popular website, GotQuestions.org says:
Men are naturally (physically) stronger, and, from the beginning of time, men have been the primary providers and protectors of their families. We find an allusion to this in God’s curse on Adam: “Through painful toil, you will eat food from (the ground) all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17) God’s curse on Eve explains the age-old battle of the sexes: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (verse 16), or, as the NLT has it, “You will desire to control your husband, but, he will rule over you”. The harmonious relationship between the man and woman was broken by sin, and God predicted a new dynamic would emerge. But, even in Eve’s curse, there is no hint of her inferiority or inequality.
In recent decades, men and women have in greater measure, understood their equality as human beings, and as a result of this, the working world has changed dramatically.
For women, with the advent of women’s lib, education, and the rise of feminism since the 1950s, there has been an explosion of women in employment. Today, both male and female members of a household are likely to be in employment.
Today, many women share the same occupations as their male counterparts. Even in the trades, we see female electricians and plumbers. In the emergency services we have female firefighters and even on the front line in the armed forces. Likewise, you will find men, working in offices, and also as nurses, carers, etc. Even in the church, you have some female clergy alongside their male counterparts.
With far more women working today, we have seen the phenomena of the ‘stay at home dad’ or indeed, the ‘house husband’. Now, some men stay at home with the children, do the shopping and house chores, while their other half goes out to work.
According to the Office of National Statistics, there 192,000 househusbands, compared to just 16 years ago. Another factor that has caused more men to stay at home is the job market today, seems more favourable to women than ever before.
I myself have been a stay at home dad and a house husband, and I am not ashamed of it. Today’s climate allows men to spend (if they wish and with mutual agreement with their wife) time with their kids and to help with chores around the house, fetch the kids from school, cook for their hard-working wife, etc, and why not? It certainly doesn’t mean men have lost their masculinity.
Both men and women need to learn to trust each other in whatever role they perform at work or at home, but this respect is often earned through hard work, understanding and teamwork.
Technology has allowed men and women to stay at home and work from their computers, smartphones, etc. Whether self-employed or working for a company, the dynamics of the workplace and the broad range of employment open to men and women, has radically changed in recent decades.
One thing that does not change Biblically, however, is that the man is still head of his household. That does not mean, however, that women are slaves to the whims of their husbands. A man must treat his wife well and respect her, as she must respect him. The man, being the head of the household, simply means taking care of his wife, children and everything under his dominion, and certainly not inflicting cruelty and oppression on them. Just as God manages the universe and everything in it, fairly and justly, so a man and his wife must work together in harmony and bring whatever skills and acts of service they have, together, to serve the family unit and the good of society.
In God’s eyes, both men and women are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27).
Though today, men and women may still have different roles, both in the home, workplace and church, these different roles do not indicate a differing worth. A hammer and a saw both have a different role in the carpenter’s shop, but that doesn’t mean one tool is more valuable than the other. The roles of men and women are divinely designed to be complementary. It is the wise, loving and humble person who seeks to implement this truth in their life.
In closing the GotQuestions website summarises the topic rather well:
“Are women and men equal? In some ways yes, and, in some ways no. Spiritually, men and women are absolutely equal. Physically, they are obviously not equal.
God has chosen distinct roles for both men and women that they may complement each other in a way that most glorifies Himself. Men and women should work together, each fulfilling their respective, distinct roles, for the common goal of glorifying God”.
Food for thought:
1 Corinthians 7:33: “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”.
Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you”.
Colossians 3: 18-19: “Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands love your wives and be not harsh to them”.
God bless you x.
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