FOR the moment let's forget about the high calling, the divine responsibilities of our husbands' work, and think about our husbands as just regular guys---one hundred percent human beings living in a very real world along with the rest of us. I never cease to wonder about this wonderful creation of God--husbands! They are special, you know.
It is easy for us with soapsuds to our elbows, the clothes dryer buzzing, and the telephone ringing to feel that we are overworked. Has the thought ever entered your mind that you are doing more than your share when you go to Bible studies and visit the little old ladies with him? Have you ever wondered where women's lib fits in with your life?
My Idea of Women's Lib
You know, even if you didn't have this big, marvelous man for your very own, you'd still be washing those dishes. The clothes dryer would still buzz. You'd still be cooking, and when it comes right down to it---well, I like cooking for two better than just for one! Don't you?
To me women's lib means something far different from what today's blaring news media describe. I am liberated from the bread-and-butter responsibilities of life. My husband provides all the food and clothes, and he pays the rent and utilities. All I have to do is turn the groceries into meals.
Oh, yes, I work some too. I nurse a couple of shifts at the hospital each week to help with college bills. But I can quit anytime those bills are paid, or even be fore if I really need or want to.
My husband can never quit! We have to live. Bills have to be paid. When he took me for his wife he shouldered a lifelong responsibility. 1 often wonder what thoughts go through a man's mind when his paycheck evaporates and there is nothing left in his pocket that is not assigned and that he can feel is his very own to spend the way he would like. Maybe husbands never think of this. God did give them big generous hearts. But the fact remains, they have a lifetime responsibility. They must go out and work, and they come home tired each day.
Our Own Minister Husbands
Ministers are men. They are human husbands. But more than this, they have a divine calling with a responsibility that supersedes bringing home the groceries. Yet their divine calling does not replace their role as provider for their families. They carry a double load.
You know their program. They can visit, give studies, preach, build churches, and attend church board meetings four teen hours a day and still have a long list of people who "just must be visited." Somehow they must find time to study and prepare a stimulating sermon for Sabbath. Have you ever tried to prepare a talk when you were tired? Have you cut your morning sleep short to get up and polish a sermon and pray? My husband tiptoes out of the room so that I can sleep a little longer, and when 1 get up his eyes light up as he gives me a morning kiss. No grudges there because I got to sleep longer.
Husbands will always have to fix leaky faucets and mow lawns, but should they be expected to wash dishes or vacuum the rugs just because you spent the day visiting members with him? Why not put him in the big chair with his feet up for a few minutes of relaxation? Maybe as he sits there he'll even get an idea for the sermon that's awaiting completion in the study. Dishwater isn't particularly conducive to sermon development.
When God combined preachers and husbands He planned for the compassionate mother-heart in every woman to understand their human limitations. Our culture frowns on men crying, so they bottle up their emotions. They aren't supposed to complain, either, and they must always give the appearance of having every problem under control. Minister husbands must do even more. They are to listen to everyone's woes and solve their problems. They must always exude an aura of spiritual calm and love that is supposed to rub off somehow and leave everyone in their wake feeling just a bit closer to God.
Minister husbands really need us human wives. They need us more than any man needs a wife. They need to feel a great calm and security not only in our arms but in the house that we turn into a home. They need to know we are first of all a companion and then mother of their children. It is a lonely life being a minister, for he is a friend to all, yet close to none. We must always let them know that they are the most important people in the world. If you, their wives, feel this way, the children will also.
Father's Place at Home
Fathers don't have to be the TV's odd balls. Dad gets the big chair because "he's the patriarch of the family." Dad gets the new gold-colored toothbrush "because he brings home the gold." Dad gets the biggest piece at the table "because he brought the food home." There are many ways to instill respect for Dad, and teach appreciation for this wonderful man in the hearts and minds of the children. While you are doing it, even though he pretends not to notice, inside Dad is a warm and happy feeling.
You see, statistics aren't very encouraging; the more stress our husbands have the longer widowhood we can expect. Why not remove a little of the stress and keep that wonderful fellow around a little longer?
But back to us don't we wives count? Must we always be thinking of him? We spend so many hours helping him! Well, so what? The farmer's wife feeds all the hired help, cares for the chickens, and sometimes helps with the plowing. The doctor's wife answers the telephone and waits up to serve a warm supper. The mechanic's wife does more than her share of laundry and has to take her turn collecting for the Crippled Children's Fund.
None of us lives for himself. When we do we are miserable and begin fighting for our "women's lib" rights. The real women's lib has always been the lot of women in God's original plan for the home. He wants women free from earn-the-living jobs so they can be waiting for the tired spouse at set of sun with more than love with understanding and compassion.
This is Monday. We got home late from a meeting last night, but my husband sneaked out of bed quietly this morning to work on a church building plan. As he closed the door ever so quietly, he felt good about being able to let me sleep longer. I felt contented and loved knowing he wanted me to have that rest. His big, loving heart did not begrudge my rest. Should my dishwater hands begrudge him time in the big chair?
He's my husband. What is more, he is God's preacher! I accepted both as my way of life when I accepted his name. As his wife, God has placed within my power part of the responsibility of determining how long he will minister to others and to me!