It’s never healthy for people in a relationship to compare responsibilities, but if someone feels their role in the home is minimized or taken for granted, it’s easy to get caught up in this game. Even though I am a homeschool mom who works harder than I ever did as a business owner, I am well aware of the tremendous role and responsibility my husband carries as the primary source of our household income. I witness the stress he experiences in keeping his boss happy, especially when he had a boss that was never pleased with his efforts. I sympathize when he goes to work sick as a dog, because he has a deadline to meet. However, if we moms are influenced by our self-centered universe, and surrounded by self-centered little people during most of our waking hours, we may find it hard to walk in our husband’s shoes and encourage him along the way. This is why I think it’s more important for husbands and wives to join forces and work together, to encourage each other, and to find ways to give each other a reason to get up and take another one for the team. James and I have become very good at working as a team during our nearly seventeen years of marriage. We even like to take it a step further by each continually sharing with our children the tremendous value of the other person and how their various attributes, jobs and roles play into making our family successful.
When our children complain about Daddy having to work instead of doing whatever they would like, I immediately point to the purpose and benefit of having a daddy who is responsible and willing to get up and go to work to provide not only for our basic necessities, but also for many luxuries. The clothes, warm home, family vacations, not to mention our ability to homeschool, are all products having of a godly husband and father. During these teachable moments, I urge them to also encourage their father. It’s amazing to see how our children respond when daddy comes home at the end of a busy day. They treat him like a king! Our four-year-old always greets him with, “Daddy, how was your work?” Our daughters cater to him, offering to make him tea if he’s coughing. They’re constantly making him pictures and cards to decorate his office. In the same manner, my husband is constantly complimenting and verbally acknowledging his appreciation for all that I do. He brags about me to his co-workers and friends telling them about all of the things that I do: caring for the children, decorating and remodeling the home and cooking. One of his favorite compliments is, “He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing; and he that findeth a wife that can cook, findeth an even better thing!” Therefore, the end result is two happy parents who feel loved and appreciated by each other and their children.
As we model a mutually appreciative and loving relationship, our children see a beautiful portrait of marriage. Observing us will help them learn how to function as husbands and wives themselves when the time comes. This approach, showing mutual love and respect, is so much less stressful and more rewarding than the unhealthy alternative that literally sucks the life out of everyone under your roof. If you are struggling in this area, I urge you give this model a try. It will become second nature to you before you know it and everyone in your household will reap the benefits.