Shaunti Feldhahn gave a wonderful interview on Focus on the Family over the last few days, and the bits I caught really inspired me. I would strongly encourage you to try to find time to listen to that broadcast!
In a super-sized nutshell version, I wanted to expand a few points she made.
Contrary to what our culture says about men and women and their identities, God embedded in the hearts of men two basic “compulsions”–provider and protector.
Shaunti said one of the most interesting things she found in her interviews (she interviewed hundreds of couples for her book, For Women Only) was that EVEN in homes where the wife was providing half or more of the income, the compulsion the husband felt to provide was still the same–his identity tied to it, in fact. Not a culture thing, a God thing.
Which means, in essence, he thrives on the feeling that HE is the one caring and providing for his wife’s and family’s needs.
It made me question whether there’s a deeper emotional dynamic that causes discord among couples. Could his strong urge to feel like provider and protector be undermined by the “liberation” of his wife’s career? By her self-sufficiency?
One of the most damaging messages of our culture is the “my rights” campaign. It has greatly impaired the unity God intended to be felt between husband and wife, and I think we hardly realize it. It may be “MY RIGHT” to leave home and do something else, but is it the best thing for my marriage? For my relationship with my husband? Which is more important?
What if the wife was more concerned with guarding his provision like a treasure, being wise in her purchasing decisions, not insisting that “she deserves this or that”, honoring his role as provider and shunning the “I can do it myself” mentality?
And what if she focused on expressing true contentment, relieving him of the pressure to do more or provide more?
I think far too often marriages are an effort of two people trying to carry on two different lives with two different purposes and the division can only last so long before the marriage collapses. Something has to answer why there are so many Christian marriages that fall apart.
One other thought along this line is, if the wife is so capable of earning her own money, but the husband’s deepest need is to feel that he is her provider and protector, what of the fear that must lie in his heart, knowing hat she could split at any time and be just fine? And isn’t this need to provide tied closely to his need to protect? Isn’t there an affectionate bond that forms in his heart for her as he guards her vulnerability?
We are told that vulnerability is a horrible thing! But what sweetness when a man knows that his wife relies on his loving provision and protection, and she knows that he relies on her numerous duties in managing and keeping his home in order, and that these two are so inextricably entwined that both know they are utterly incomplete without the other!
Just my thoughts…
BTW…I’ll be away from a computer (gasp!) until Friday evening, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until then.