NPR’s Jennifer Ludden reports that according to a recent Pew Foundation Study there’s been a shift in the economics of marriage that has “turned the marriage market on its head.” The subtitle of her report, “The Rise of the Sugar Mama,” is sure to raise eyebrows. You can read or download her report here.
This trend raises some interesting questions. To make this a bit more interesting, factor into the scenerios Ludden describes the fact that in tough economic times men are losing their jobs or having their salaries cut back.
So, does the notion of men as providers set a woman up to feel she’s crossed the line or to struggle with resentment if she’s bringing home the bacon? Do men feel their manhood suffers if they don’t or can’t or if a wife simply can earn more money? If God created the woman as ezer [‘helper’] to the man, when it comes to marriage, is there a limit to how much help a wife can or should offer her husband?
My husband's been unemployed since the week we walked down the aisle close to seven months ago. He doesnt love not having a job, but the fact that I still have one that enables us to pay our bills is a blessing we're BOTH grateful for. I'm so glad my husband is an egalitarian!
It is a blessing to be able to pay the bills. So many people are struggling who never expected finances to be a problem. It's great when you can do what needs to be done (or what God calls you to do) without second-guessing yourself.
My husband was unemployed for 8 months last year. Even though we were grateful that I had a full-time job, it was one of the most physically and emotionally draining experiences of our lives. Neither of us had ever lacked financially, so this was truly a test of our faith. On one hand, my husband was humiliated over being laid off and becoming a full-time stay at home dad. Our 7 month old was not sleeping through the night during this time. On the other, I felt the pressures of having to provide for my family financially for the first time ever. The entire experience has made us more emphatic towards each another and better financial stewards.
The world has changed in its view of the male/female role in providing for the family. There are always extremes of views when it comes to roles. The church is somehow threatened when it comes to roles. There is not a threat when 2 people are followers of Christ living out their lives as you say as a “blessed alliance”. The agreement between the two of them is what is important as long as there is no sin committed. The idea of who does what in a marriage needs to be settled in the marriage. If a wife is the one who is providing and there is agreement within their alliance, there should be no problems. God controls our lives. At this point in my life, I thought I would be home enjoying grandkids instead I am working to provide for my husband and myself after the loss of his job. So God gives grace to me to serve Him in this way. It is ultimately about God not about roles and certainly not about me. Praise Him for his provision!
It is sad to me that on top of the difficulties so many are encountering in our economy, there is the added struggle for men of feeling they aren't living up to their part of the bargain if they don't fully provide for their families and for women that they are being called to do something that is beyond the scope of a wife's proper job description if they work outside the home. Rigid definitions of male/female roles put roadblocks where as Christians we should be cheering one another on.
Kudos to all of you for going to work and staying true to your ezer callings!