Doing Him Good, Not Harm

Last weekend I went away with three lovely ladies for our second annual personal planning retreat. It was such a lovely, refreshing time, pressing the “pause” button on our lives and really thinking intentionally about the year to come.

One afternoon, as we sat around chatting, my friend Jo mentioned that most of the world’s male CEOs/company presidents have a wife who “stays at home” (regardless of whether they have kids or not). She was referring to an article she and her husband had read not long ago, which stated that men with stay at home wives have 25-30% greater productivity than those without.

“Their minds are not divided while they’re at work,” she said, “They’re able to focus completely on the task before them because they have someone who is able to take the car in for a service, or wait on the phone to Telstra for an hour… they just have to mention something once, and then it magically gets taken care of!”

“My husband would like one of those!” I joked truthfully.

Because as she talked, I did feel the sting of conviction – my husband still did a ton of those “little things”, and lots of things he mentions (much more than once!) end up on the cutting room floor of my mind.

Where is the benefit to him in having a stay at home wife?

Certainly, the primary reason I am “at home” (or rather, not in paid employment) at this stage in life is to raise our children. Being a stay at home mum was my dream for a long time, and my husband values this too. But a huge part of my job is still taking care of the house and all the “other” stuff. And supporting a wife and 2+ kids puts a huge financial burden on my husband. *

Which leads me again to ask… how does this arrangement benefit him?

Later that day, after we were chatting, I thought of the Proverbs 31 woman, particularly verses 11-12:

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

 

Obviously, what these verses are talking about goes much deeper than “the benefits of having a stay at home wife”. What I see here is a passage that describes a wife who has spent her life living in a godly way and she has, over the course of her life, built that trust with her husband through her faithful actions in many areas.

And I know my husband trusts me, generally speaking, but I can’t say that he has reason to trust me in this specific area – “handling stuff”. And sure, this is not a make or break subject in a marriage. Maybe some of you are reading it thinking, “this is so unimportant, why are you thinking about it so much?”.

The reason I’m thinking it through, and writing a blog post about it, is that the Spirit nudged me to think about this. And the Holy Spirit does not tend to nudge people about things that are unimportant. The way I see it, the issue is not the literal division of “who does what, exactly”; the issue is my heart attitude. Is my attitude one of loving service, or stinginess and self-preservation?

When I read Proverbs 31, verses 11-12, and think about all those times my husband asks me to take care of some little thing and I respond by telling him how much I have on my plate already, I get a little sad.

Because I want him to have that deep, heart trust in me – to know that I am here for him and I want to help him. I want to give him the gift of “handling stuff” for our family. I want him to not have to worry about whether things will get done (like the time we drove around in an unregistered car for a month because the renewal notice got buried on my desk…oops!). I want him to not feel guilty about asking me to do things. And most of all, I want to be calm and joyful, not stressed out all the time!

 

The thing is, it’s a bit scary for me to contemplate even small changes here. I feel the fears creeping in –

“I’m already overwhelmed, how on earth can I manage taking on more things?”

“If I accept more responsibilities, he will keep giving me more!”

“What if I say I can handle something, and then I literally can’t?”

 

But where do these fears come from?

A lack of faith in God.

Honestly, if I am worried about how I am going to handle things, that reveals that I am putting my faith in my own abilities, rather than in God. And is it any surprise that I will then come up short?

Of course not!

Now, I’m not suggesting that faith in God means I can load myself up with an impossible weight of responsibilities and then expect that He will “magically” allow me to handle it.

But trusting in God – actively trusting – will mean added wisdom in deciding what to do, more joy in the doing and supernatural provision of energy when I feel like I. Just. Can’t

 


 

 

I talked to my husband about this when I got back from the retreat, and told him of my intentions to do better at managing “all the little things”. His answer reminded me once more of why God brought us together… he said he didn’t want me to feel like I had to take on a bunch more stuff, just work on doing the things he actually asks me to do. (I think he knows I can go overboard sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‰ .)

 

*I feel it’s important to note that for many, having a “stay at home mum” is an unaffordable luxury. Historically, most women have undertaken some form of paid work, usually while still caring for the children. I often like to remind myself of this fact whenever I’m having a little “woe is me, my life is so hard” moment.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Doing Him Good, Not Harm

  1. Really great article! I identify SO MUCH with you. It is so great to read a piece from someone thousands of miles away and feel as tho they are having a conversation with me.

    Funny story: just last night around 11:30 my F-I-L’s dog got out (we have been staying with him because our heater is very insufficient at home and it has been getting pretty chilly here in MI) and I was exhausted and so stinking angry at the thought of having to go drive around back roads with a flash light and some venison trying to lure him back, he dashes his little hind end as far away from the house as possible and does not have much motivation to come when you call him. Anyway, my husband was gone playing poker and so I grabbed the leash and stuff and got in the truck and drove around calling “Bruizer!” and whistling. I found him in the neighbors yard and drove up their driveway and got the venison out and tried getting him to come and eat it and he started eating out of the bowl and when I went to grab him, he ran away again! I was so overwhelmed because it was freezing and I was exhausted and I don’t naturally see dogs as anything beyond a walking, hairy mess for me to clean up after anyways and so I called my husband and told him about it. He instantly said “it’s okay, I’ll come home and find him, you go to bed.”

    I did. But as I was laying there seeing the car lights and hearing the door open and shut and everything, it became so clear how much of an “unhelper” I am sometimes. My husband willingly will help me because he see’s my mistakes as any other problem and he automatically solves them for me. He doesn’t think about that his fingers are freezing cold and he is starting to cough or that his boots might get wet or that he was so close to hopping in bed when the inconvenience happened, he just solves problems- my problems even!

    That is the attitude that we need as helpers. We need to figure out a way to just naturally see a problem and look for a solution. I thanked him through tears this morning because it literally meant so much to me, and in that instant, any of my anxiety or frustration in having to find the dog was gone and placed onto him. I no longer had a problem- he took it away.

    It’s funny when I get unappreciative of my husband because times like this make me wonder what I could possibly have to complain about. He will always do anything so I don’t have to feel one ounce of discomfort- shovel snow, make uncomfortable phone calls, fix things I’ve broken, and the list just goes on forever.

    I just really want to remember all this when my husband casually mentions needing some online form filled out or wanting a certain under armour hoodie cleaned. Why would I waste any of my energy doing anything but what I could do to help him in the few, minute ways that I can when he asks? He sure doesn’t waste time to help me.

    So long story short, it’s something we are both going through together in different ways that the Lord has shown us. I was very encouraged by this post!

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  2. Thanks for your comment!
    Likewise, it’s encouraging to hear that someone else is thinking through this stuff too and trying to grow. It’s only in God’s grace that we will be able to do so!

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  3. This is an excellent post, SS! I get so excited to see younger wives talk about these things because I know what is in store for you as you continue on this journey. I’ve learned that with the feeling of “overwhelmed” is the prodding of Satan – wanting us to embrace that feeling and wallow in it because of this long term benefit:
    28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    Her husband also, and he praises her:
    29 โ€œMany daughters have done well,
    But you excel them all.โ€
    30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
    But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    And let her own works praise her in the gates.

    Oh, Satan must hate that.

    When RLB’s back injury left him on the couch for a year and a half with severe pain, I was tasked with being the literal heavy lifter in the home. To do that work, I had to get strong. What a blessing that became. Now, as you know, I’ve been tasked with daily research to find alternative pain relief for him. I have learned so much that extends well beyond just relieving his pain to the point that I am asked at least once weekly if I can help someone with this medical issue or that medical issue. How do they know to ask me? Because of verse 28 up there. I don’t know what he says to people but they come to me now with full faith that I can help them (I’ve been nicknamed “the shaman”). And because of my focus when I was a young wife on efficiency and organization, my plate is not full – I have no stress and I have time to help and can share what I learn. It really becomes clear why Satan must hate this process that you wrote about. It becomes a snowball effect of more and more people finding hope and Satan loses big time.

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  4. @SD,
    “When RLBโ€™s back injury left him on the couch for a year and a half with severe pain, I was tasked with being the literal heavy lifter in the home. To do that work, I had to get strong. “

    Yes, I’ll never forget the day I had to walk back to the car carrying a screaming, kicking toddler, whilst pushing a pram with the baby and 4 bags of groceries… I thought, “This is why the Proverbs 31 woman has strong arms!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really resonated with this, Jess! A few years ago, I realised my aversion to all things financial/computers/maintenance was a real hindrance to my husband, who works so hard at a full-time job. Even though children are difficult (a full time job in itself) it’s so easy to use the kids as a handy excuse, isn’t it?

    These days, I work a little harder to stay on top of the filing, fix my own IT issues, stay informed about our finances and remember to do the little jobs he asks. I’m still a bit of a scatterbrain (only realised today I forgot to send in some insurance paperwork, meaning we didn’t have business insurance for 3 months – eep!), but I guess the main thing in all of this is our attitude – that we are trying, that we are humble and willing to learn, that we persevere, that we serve with joy. So thankful God (and my husband!) is gracious when we fail ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Thanks for your comment, Soph!

    ” I guess the main thing in all of this is our attitude โ€“ that we are trying, that we are humble and willing to learn, that we persevere, that we serve with joy. So thankful God (and my husband!) is gracious when we fail :)”

    Nailed it!

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  7. This is something I still (after many years) drop the ball on if I don’t write things down, put reminders on my phone, etc. When I start the kids schooling for the day, I get tunnel vision and annoyed with anything that threatens to interfere with my ability to accomplish my goals for the day. I am darn near obsessed with not getting “off pace”, whatever that means.

    In terms of this post it means I all too easily forget to do the little things that would make my husband’s load lighter. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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