Since Marriage Monday was started by Christine from Fruit In Season, I wanted to make sure I gave her the credit. However, there hasn't been a post about this or questions to answer since June of 2007, which I'm sure she's been extremely busy....so I guess this first post I will answer those questions, and later on I will ask some questions that seem valid for this meme, and then answer them too! :)
First question: What is your definition of a traditional marriage? Do you consider yours to be traditional or contemporary?
Now, this may be incorrect but I'm going to look at this as 'biblical/Christian' = Traditional marriage and non-biblical/non-Christian = Contemporary marriage.
I believe my husband and I have a more Traditional or biblical marriage. I have the traditional roles of being a Wife and a mother, taking care of the kids and the household, plus pets and whatever else I decide to add in there. And my husbands' main job is the primary provider for his family. In the very beginning my husband asked that I stay home with the kids, because he felt as a mother that is where I needed to be. Now coming from an environment where my father was the primary provider and mother was the primary caregiver, although not a traditional/biblical marriage, I didn't see a problem with this. However, having a job since the age of 14 years....now that was a little tough to overcome the first year I was home. What can I say, I was BORED!!!! Sure, I had a LOT of fun with my son, taking him to pre-school, being able to pick him up as well, and everything in between....but my goodness! What does EVERYONE do?!?!?! LOL It didn't take me long to figure out hobbies, activities, etc. to pass the time, but that first year was VERY difficult. I think most important here to remember about that first year was basically dying to the flesh. Yes, my husbands makes the money. Yes it is still mine too....I'm sure you know where I'm going with that! So.....next question.
Second question: What scriptures do you turn to (if any) when determining your role in your marriage?
To be honest, there are SO many scriptures that we can relate to marriage. Whether it is physical marriage, spiritual marriage, etc. I continually enjoy reading The Wife of Noble Character or Proverbs 31:10-31. I mean, how many of us can read that and think to ourselves...'I could NEVER be that woman?!?!?!' Indeed, we are not perfect, but we CAN become her! There is a site that I enjoy reading very much, it's called Laine's Letters. Although it's not been updated in some time now, she has SO much information to offer on this subject and many more concerning the heart, spirit, etc. One letter has DEFINITELY spoken to me on this subject, you can find that letter here. And I will post it along with this too.
This is honestly one of the most wonderful studies I've seen in a long time....see if you don't agree with me:
Here we are back in the beautiful book of Proverbs. A beautiful part of Scripture that was originally a acrostic poem that King Lemuel learned from his mother orally. Each verse started with a letter of the alphabet that he was so familiar with. She would have written it like this and had him repeat it back to her (vs. 1: the "utterance" his mother taught him), so that he would never forget it. A wise way to help out own children remember Scripture and inscribe it upon their hearts. Let's take out our magnifying glass now and study these beautifully woven "stitches of Scripture" revealing the heart of a woman whose deeds speak love, love , love.
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." Proverbs 31: 10
This verse starts out with a question posed to the man of God. It tells King Lemuel that he cannot find this woman on his own. He has to ask God for her. Only God can give him a woman that exemplifies wisdom. Only God can help a woman be a virtuous wife; and it takes a soft heart. He has to seek a woman whose heart pants for God as much as his own mother's heart did. The kind of woman whose goal is to practice righteousness and Godliness by serving those God gives to her. Proverbs 19:14 says, "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD." We must tell our children to take time to pray for the wife or husband God has for them. This is the second most important decision in their lives. (The first being their life given whole-heartedly to Christ!) Our sons want a woman who will love God more than them and more than their children. That is a balanced woman of God. As she will affect their career, their children, where they will live, the peace in their home, oh, so much, so much by either her obedience and submission to the Word of God or her disregard of it. Their wife makes them ONE together in Christ.
"The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain," vs. 11
This woman goes to work every day in her home with the absolute trust of her husband. She has earned his trust over the years. He knows he is only going to gain by what she does daily. You will see as the verses go on that he can trust her totally with his income (even to the point of buying land for them!) as she is a prudent woman. He can go to work in peace knowing she is doing only good for him and their children. He gains, gains, gains with her by his side. She has to be willing to learn or she could never have gone this far to gain his trust. He knows that most men do not have what he has in a wife. (We shall also see this as the verses go on.) She goes the extra mile. She crowns him with her wise living.
"She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." vs. 12
As I said before, this woman does good for her man. She is willing to learn how to live to bring good to him and her children. In fact, this woman will still be doing him good even if he dies before her. Because this woman is going to do her husband good until the day SHE dies. I know a recent widow who still crowns her husband by all the good she does. She did it when he was living during their 50 plus years of marriage, and she is still doing it by continuing the good she practiced while he lived. That man is crowned on earth and in heaven!!!
"She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands." vs.13
And what is the good that she does? Quite simply, I think it is the beautiful art of homemaking. Making a home a peaceful refuge for those who she loves. She is a "seeker". It takes seeking to bring the best home at the best possible prices (living within their means); and it takes working with her hands to bring the beauty out of what she has sought out. The key word in this verse is her willingness. She willingly works for her family because her work is crowning her LORD. It is a gift of God to enjoy one's work, and she has that gift. The gift is laid at His Feet daily.
"She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar." vs.14
Merchant ships were loaded with beautiful sights, smells, and delicacies. She is likened to this ship! She knows some of her seeking takes her away from home sometimes to bring home the finest fare at the best possible prices for her family. She is always seeking to lay on the table the BEST for her family, no matter the struggle meant for her to get it. She asks God to show her the way and to shop wisely. It might mean shopping several stores. It might mean shopping once a month an hour away at a store with great prices. It might mean "cooking research" and asking lots of questions. It might mean buying some co op and bulk buying. She is constantly willing to learn and willing to practice it all pleasantly for Him!
"She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants." vs.15
This woman does not sleep in. She is up before the dawn! How she can't wait to talk to the LORD. She is early on her knees recognizing that He holds everything she is and everything she has in His Hands. She is His Bondservant. How she loves His Word and asks Him to help her meditate on it all the day as she works. Oh, the peace, the peace she finds in His Presence. His joy is her strength! To provide spiritual food for her household, she must drink from the Living Well daily. For she cannot impart to her children what she does not possess. And Her Food is to do the will of Him Who set her in this family. To crown her husband by her obedience and righteousness and in so doing, crown Her beautiful, beautiful LORD. So, she must spend time alone with Him to do all that these beautiful verses teach. Once she has sent time in His Presence, then comes the serving! (As the LORD taught concerning Mary and Martha.) His joy is her strength! How she relishes her early morning encounters with her beautiful Savior. She's with the SON before the sun! She is excited to serve The One she has been blessed to spend time with alone in the early morning hours before the family has stirred. This is the preparation for her "spiritual food": "He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The LORD God has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious." Isaiah 50:4b-5
Now she works on her physical food. In her time she had servants and got them fed and going early in the morning. She was an "early bird who caught a lot of worms". In other words, she had a lot done before most women even got up. Today our "servants" are the refrigerator, oven, bread machine, stove, washer and dryer, mixer, crock pot, food processor, etc. These are the jobs her servants would have had to perform early in the morning for her. These are the "servants" in our home that we are wise to get going early in the morning as she did in her home. The sweet cooking smells draw the family into the kitchen where she is ready for them. She feels His joy as she serves them because she has sat at His Feet before she started her service. His joy is her strength!
"She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard." vs. 16
Remember she is prudent. She moves cautiously asking the LORD continually to guide her. She does not want to put her family into jeopardy by foolish, quick decisions. She is wise financially as well as with the use of her time. Will it take time away from her family? Will it put a burden on their finances? Her husband trusts her with some of the major financial decisions in the family, so she will use that trust wisely. She has her own profits from her work in the home (as we will see soon), so she has her own profits that she puts back into their land to produce even more for her family. She is definitely a picture of the wise servant Jesus told about who went to work right away with his talents to make more for His Master. She is always seeking to be a better steward of all that her beautiful LORD has entrusted to her. (This is even possible with a foolish husband as seen with Abigail and Nabal in 1 Samuel 25. Abigail's wisdom shines in this passage bringing much glory to her LORD.)
"She girds herself with strength; And strengthens her arms." vs.17
This woman is willing to learn. As she learns at His feet daily, she finds strength she never knew she had. "For bodily exercise profits a little, but Godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that is now and of that which is to come." ( 1 Timothy 4: 8) She is the opposite of the contentious woman; she has taken off the "ious" and is so content with what God has given to her to work with. She willingly learns to get better and better at it, in the process strengthening her arms as He grants skill to her hands by His grace. The raw material is handed to her; she learns how to work with it skillfully and joyfully; and hands it back to Her Beautiful LORD for His Glory. His joy is her strength!
"She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out at night." vs. 18
She has plenty of oil which signifies strength for her family. She is light as He is light. It does not mean that she doesn't sleep; it means that she is always ready for what He should have her to do. She was a seller of merchandise (linen garments) and a light in the window told those around her she had garments for sale. She was an enterprising woman. We can't help but think of the wise and foolish virgins of the parable in Matthew 25:1-13. This was a woman who was counted with the wise. Ready. Prepared. Alert.
"She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands hold the spindle." vs. 19
This was considered women's work. She realizes she is the "weaker" part of the union between her husband and herself. There is some work that her body is geared for and which her hands move "rythmatically". She was made for this kind of work. Her body reveals that. In her weakness is found His Strength. It gives her such pleasure to cloth her children. To see them wear her creations. No one can create what she will for those God has given her to love. It is such a unique and beautiful work. It cannot be duplicated. She is God's fingerprint leaving His Impression with her loving hands. Her husband provides the raw materials for their family; she takes those raw materials and fashions them into a home. His work is supportive. Her work builds on that support beautifully. He is the leader and provider. She is the sub divider and home manager; managing their God-given resources into a place on earth that everyone longs for- a home where you are fully loved.
*************************To find the first part of Proverbs and many, many more letters like this, visit Laine's Letters.
I'll add more scriptures later on, but personally Proverbs 31 is one of the greatest resources I turn to when I'm having a problem with my husband....which I think we can ALL agree, at that moment it is generally a problem inside of ME!!! LOL And Praise God for His Mercy on us!!!
Third and final question for today's meme: In the sharing of duties in your home (childcare, work, house cleaning), are you and your husband satisfied with the way things get done? If not, how would you or he like it to change?
You know, I will be the first to admit that I have been the one that was most DISsatisfied with the duties in the beginning. But as I've grown in the Lord, what I do and what my husband does is perfect in Him. It is how it's suppose to be, and I LOVE being a servant to my God and to my family. I honestly, would NOT have it any other way!
I hope this 1st Edition of Marriage Monday has blessed you!