Aug 13, 2010

Rule #1: A Wife's Duty

Oh, I can feel it now. Them's fightin' words! "Duty?" "Wife's Duty?? Then the rule continues with this: "A man's home is his castle and as such, he ought to be treated like a king . . . and deserves a bit of pampering [when he returns home]." It finishes by declaring that it is the wife's responsibility to show that her husband is appreciated.

Oh my.

A little background:

I am a stay-at-home wife and mother. I worked full-time until 1995. Then I was home full-time until 1997. From 1997 to 2002 (Son was born in 2002 and was 8 months old when I quit), I worked part-time at an office where I could take him with me. Since then I've been home full-time.

During those years, I always assumed two things: Yes, our home was my husband's castle--and MY castle, too. He was the king and I was the queen.

It took me a while to figure out how to take that castle from a state of "ruins" though LOL! By the time I quit my teaching job in 1995, I had learned to have a "castle" that was reasonably decorated and reasonably clean. It was a joy for BOTH of us to come home to. I got home two hours before he did. In that time I was able to do a maintenance cleaning (thanks to Sidetracked Home Executives), have a meal in the works (thanks to Once-a-Month Cooking), and was sunning myself on our patio with a glass of Sweet Tea and a great book when my husband walked through the door. (It was Florida--I had a decent tan back then.)

When I came home full-time, I ramped it up. I was able to get to projects I never had time for when I was working. I did NOT have a child at that point (though we were hoping one was going to appear soon). I was able to grow roses, organize photos, exercise, cook healthy meals, and more. I LOVED being home. It was an oasis FOR US BOTH. My husband worked hard, and so did I. I created a "haven" (sound familiar?) for the two of us that brought peace, comfort, and enjoyment.

Then I had a child and my world exploded. My husband worked full-time and added more hours to cover the new addition. He grocery shopped on his way home. He kept the laundry, cooking, and house cleaning at a decent level while I coped with a demanding baby. He never complained. He took care of me.

Once I was able to get somewhat of a routine worked out, I began to take over my "duties" (YES, duties!) again. It felt so good to make our home a place for all to be pampered again.

I found that, in general, I was more interested in our home being a lovely, pleasant place to be than my husband was. His standards were not my standards. BUT, he definitely appreciates my standards and is very grateful for my efforts in this area.

I recently realized that I want to take this to a new level.

I want our home together to be what is stored away in the memories of my husband and child as THE place that comes to mind when peace and comfort are most desired. This came up for me when we went to GA for my MIL's funeral and my husband wanted to see his grandparents' home. It belongs to someone else now, but he has very happy memories of spending most of his summers there as well as holidays. I've determined that I'm going to try to unseat those memories as the ultimate ones.

I'm going to try, anyway, for ALL of us--King, Queen, and Prince!

So, have the evil words "Wife's Duty" been diffused yet? Does it seem more of a way to bless someone you love as well as yourself rather than words that raise the blood pressure?

What do YOU glean from this tip?

Related Posts:

How all this started.
Rule 5: A Happy Homecoming
Rule 3: Put Your Best Face Forward

Rule 4: Cleanliness...It's Next to Godliness


Anonymous said...

Okay, this is going to be long, as I have a lot of strong feelings about this topic.

I really enjoyed your explanation of this. I grew up in a very traditional household where Mom had her "duties" and responsibilities and Daddy had his. It was just a good way to break up the chores; both worked very hard.

My upbringing did much to shape the way I relate to my husband. I find it a joy to treat my husband like a king. As for the standard agrument that most women throw out against being good to our husbands: Treating my husband well does not make me less of a person or a doormat. Do we become doormats because we treat our children well, or our siblings or mother or father, or company that comes to visit?

How silly it is to think we don't "owe" it to our husbands to treat them the best we possibly can! Honestly, why WOULDN'T I want to be good to someone I CHOSE to marry (as you so eloquently put it) the person I pledge to stick by until my last breath? Did I get married just to grab all I can get out of my husband?

Lorie B said...

I read some of the comments/reviews of this book on Amazon...and well...I have some opinions as well.

Those 'reviews' had one thing in commen to me (at least the ones I read). Each person came off sounding selfish and arrogant. "I am the center of the universe so how dare the world tell me I have a DUTY to ANYONE" type of tone.
That sense of entitlement turns my stomach. My parents have been married for nearly 50 years. My grandparents (both sets) were married until they died. The surviving spouse on either side never remarried. The thought was abhorrant to them. I loved your grandpa, I couldn't bear to be with anyone else, was their comments.

I married my husband because I love him AS MUCH is not more than myself. I love my children in the same way. I give of myself unselfishly to them, why does society make it a sin for a wife to WANT to give of herself to her husband. I am a stay at home as well, and my JOB is tending to this home, and making his life easier after working 12 hours a day.

But this goes back to how the bible teachs that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. Our Pastor recently talked on this. He said that submission in the biblical sense is NOT a domineering lord of a hubby and a cowering wife. It is a wife who willing submits to her husband out of CHOICE to HONOR her hubby and the Lord.

DrJulieAnn said...

Quick comment: If I want to be appreciated for my endeavors, why wouldn't I show appreciation to my husband for his endeavors?

I truly don't get the "one way street" mentality that is so pervasive. My husband and I figured out a long, long time ago that if we each focused on making sure the other person was happy, content, etc., instead of worrying about whether we were "getting what we needed" from the other, our marriage was deeper and richer and happier. It is amazing how one's world view changes when they stop gazing at their navel.

Is my husband king of the castle? Oh, yeah! Is it my "duty" to "make" him happy? Nope. But it is my profound joy because it is a way to show him how much I love him and love being married to him.

Roxanne said...

OK, Ladies, y'all have gone to doin' some good preachin'!!

I am in total agreement with what you've all said.

Trixie--Well said. Division of work along "traditional" roles does not mean the women are doormats. How very silly. Also, you are so right: Why should we treat COMPANY better than the people who we love the most??

LoriB--Yes, and amen. Selfishness is indeed what is being demonstrated by those who "disagree" with the sentiments listed in this book.

The world is very skewed in its understanding of relationships. The "Me First" syndrome is destroying marriages left and right.

Dr.JulieAnn--"One Way Street" indeed.

Result? 50% of marriages ending in divorce. Selfishness is not the only reason, but I can almost guarantee that it's the underlying cause for most of the reasons.

We're not responsible for someone else's happiness, but why can't we make it a point to at least try to CONTRIBUTE to that happiness?

It certainly won't hurt LOL!

Packrat said...

Please don't explode. For the most part, I agree with everyone.

The person who stays home is the logical person to do the house work. This is usually the wife.

But, at no time should the wife and/or mother or older siblings be slaves to anyone other than a tiny baby. Everyone who is physically capable should still pick up their own dirty dishes, pick up their own toys, put their own dirty clothes in the hamper, help make lunches, hang up their own wet towels, help with any chore that they are asked to do, and clean up any mess that they make, etc.

Everyone in the home should respect the contents of the home and the effort that is put into keeping a home. And, unless your husband does physical labor all day, you (the wife and mother) have most likely worked harder than your husband.

The problems come when wife/mother dotes on a person (or persons) creating at least one person in the family who thinks it is their right to be pampered to the point of being completely self-centered and selfish to the point of being at the very least verbally abusive.

(When I worked at the school there were eighth graders who would call home and yell at their mothers for forgetting to put their homework or a lunch in their backpack!)

Roxanne said...

Packrat--No explosion. (Just a small tear trickling down my cheek...JK!)

What you said is absolutely important. NO ONE should treat others as if they "owed" them anything. Everyone should show consideration for everyone else in the family.

I think that "doting" on one's family isn't a bad thing. A line can (and has) certainly be crossed, but most of the ones who ridicule the level of "pampering" mentioned in this book come no where near that line.

It wouldn't hurt them to move in that direction just a bit.

Travels With Uncle Sam said...

This is really great, Roxanne.

Roxanne said...

Travels with US--Thanks. It's definitely causing me to carefully examine my own actions!

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