What does God Have To Do With Cleaning The House?

I was sent this article today on how to be a “Biblical Wife”. Now, I’m trying my hardest to write my opinions with peace in my heart, and not fire in my veins. I am certainly a reactionary person, defensive and convicted in my “liberal”, “feminist” ways, if that’s what you want to call it. So, I’ll try to appear level-headed here. (It might be clear, though, that I’m not necessarily).

I won’t get into one of my biggest issues with this article, because it’s an entire post of its own (or non-fiction/opinion/memoir mega-book). But I’ll quickly state that I’m thoroughly fed up with Christian vernacular. I consider myself a “Christian” because I’m part of a “Jesus-centered community” since, unfortunately, my little human brain can’t handle the chaos of not being a part of something. I need to know where I fit in, and for some reason a small church in Worcester with a pastor who had dreadlocks seemed to be my place, and so I’ve been there for 5 years. Just because I’ve chosen to do life with a community of somewhat like-minded people, I don’t typically think that I fit in particularly well in the widespread Christian community. Without getting too deep into this issue, I’ll briefly just say; I don’t think Jesus came to Earth to start a fan club. All too often, Christians run around writing articles and waving signs explaining that there are obvious lines drawn between the group of us that can be considered “Godly people” and those of us who cannot. You fit in because you do A, and you do not because you do B. Jesus actually never condoned that behavior. Jesus didn’t actually found that Church.

Anyway.

This all loosely relates to my feelings on an article telling me how to be a “Godly” wife.

Can I be frank and maybe, to some, a little controversial?

I’ve never actually felt that my primary role as a wife is to clean the house. (This is taken from a direct quote in the article that, indeed, our primary [see: number one] role as wife is in the home).

Believe it or not.

You don’t have to believe it.

You can if you want.

But hear me out. (Or don’t if you don’t want to.)

I feel like my primary role as “wife” is a little less clear-cut than that. (Just as my role as Christian is far more complex [in some ways, actually simpler] than to follow all the rules just so).

Listen, ladies (well. Men, too), marriage isn’t what it once was. We are no longer legally covered by our husbands like we were in Medieval days. We actually do have the right to be a partner in this arrangement. We actually do have the right to decide what our role is in this partnership. Believe it or not. (And again, you certainly don’t have to believe me. Make up your own mind. You can ‘x’ out of this post now if you feel like it. I won’t be offended, I promise.)

When I get married in September, I will agree to be a partner in a lifetime arrangement. I will have a say in how I want to lead our life. No, I will not be selfish, and I will no longer be able to live life on my terms alone. I’ll never argue for that. That is a poor formula for marriage as well. When I get married this summer, I will agree to see my husband with God’s eyes to the best of my ability, to lead him into a relationship with his Maker as often as I can, to discover with him what God had in mind for each of our lives, and how to join forces and get the best God has for us together. I believe firmly that our efforts are much better together than alone (see: Genesis 2:18 & Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for my personal idea of what God is pitching as “Biblical partnership”). When we get married in September, we will decide together exactly what it will look like to create a home, as partners. I will certainly not always clean, he will certainly not always work. I would like to become a better cook, but he makes a darn good curry. In certain areas of life, I will serve him better than he can serve me, and the opposite will be true. I will learn the ways in which he’d love me to serve him, I will find (quickly) the parts of me that are selfish and unwilling to sacrifice, and I will die to them and give more than I thought I could. I believe Jesus will give me the strength to do this, but I also believe that feeling lazy and selfish and ugly and mean and not cleaning the house is not enough to make me “un-Godly.”

In fact, I don’t think any my failures as a wife, woman or human being is enough to make me “un-Godly” or “un-Biblical”. Why do we make God so small? Why do we think, again and again, that He loves us the way we love each other, with a list of conditions we must adhere to?

My bottom line? God will not leave you (or your marriage) if you don’t clean the house.

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5 thoughts on “What does God Have To Do With Cleaning The House?

  1. Reblogged this on Biblical Gender Roles and commented:
    The author of this post proves that being a “Christian Feminist” can a contradictory thing. The scriptures are extremely clear on the roles of men and women.

    “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

    I Timothy 5:14(KJV)

    “The aged women… That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
    Titus 2:3-5(KJV)

    Sounds to me like God is interested in women cleaning their houses.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Scripture. I really appreciate it.

      I agree that God is interested in women cleaning their houses! I’m not arguing that women SHOULDN’T. No, no, no. Women absolutely should love their husbands selflessly and die to themselves daily. I hate cleaning, I hate cooking. But will I do it? Absolutely! I know my fiancee really appreciates these moments of servitude. I’m so glad there are Scripture encouraging this in me – “take joy in the ways you can serve as a wife!” I definitely need this push, and I need to be reminded that serving in my marriage in ways I don’t necessarily want to is important.

      My claim in what I wrote is that a women’s primary role in her life or marriage should NOT be to clean the house. Women should be valued as loving creatures with many more gifts rather than cleaning. God certainly doesn’t stop loving us when we are not good at one thing or another. He does give us great guiding points in the Bible for a great life, but if my greatest skill in my marriage is not to clean the house, He won’t call me a bad wife. If my husband chooses to cook more than me, I will not be a bad woman. This is what many people believe, and I’m stating that I don’t. I haven’t experienced that type of conditional love from God, and I don’t believe I will in my marriage either.

      I believe God’s love is unconditional, and our love for our spouses should (they will not succeed 100%) emulate this. So, if my husband can’t fulfill his “role” as “man” – ie; bread-winning, or fixing stuff around the house, and I can’t always fulfill my role as cleaner/cook/maid, we will continue to love each other, fight for each other, see each other as God’s Beloved children with many, many other special blessings we bring to marriage.

      1. Ashley,

        I have no problem with men cooking or helping around the house. I actually cook probably 50% of the time, and I like trying new recipes out. I am mostly a stove top guy(stir fry’s or anything else that gets cooks on stove top), and my wife is more of the baker and crockpot cooker.

        However, the scriptures are clear that a woman’s primary place is in the home (See Proverbs 31, I Timothy 5:14,I Timothy 2:3-5). That does not mean a woman can never leave the home, or do things outside the home as well – Proverbs 31 shows that. But what it also shows is, her focus always returns to her home, even if she is out, she is out in the service of her husband and her home.

        And yes part of being a “guide to the house” and “keepers at home” means keeping your house clean and organized as a wife and mother.

        That does not mean you will do it perfectly, and as you said men are not perfect in how they exercise their duties as a husband and father either. It is not about perfection, it is about having a right attitude.

        You are correct that God loves us unconditionally, and we too ought to love our spouses unconditionally. But what many people miss is, yes God’s love to those who place their trust in his Son is unconditional, but his approval of our lifestyle is VERY conditional.

        If we are living in a way that is completely contrary to God’s design, then God will not approve of our lifestyle, and we may face the consequences of violating his designs for marriage(i.e. Marital problems or even divorce).

        Is there some room for defining roles in a marriage, certainly there is. No two Christian couples will have the same dynamic. But there are some principles, some things in the roles that God has been very clear on. Man is the head of woman, and woman was made for man. Never in the original language of the Bible does God ever call marriage a partnership. (The NIV wrongly inserts that word in a passage).

        If you not only want God’s unconditional love(which you already have if you are a believer in Christ), but you also want his approval of your life(and future marriage), I would strongly suggest you drop all preconceived western notions of equality and marriage being a partnership and go to the Bible, and God’s design for marriage.

        Otherwise if you continue down this path, that you are equal partners with your husband, and he is not your head, and no one has the veto in your relationship, you will face grave troubles down the road.

        Look around you – marriage is a joke in Western Civilization today, more than half of marriages end in divorce(within the first 7 years) – there is a reason for that – we have left God’s design.

      2. It seems as though we’ll have to agree to disagree on exactly what God shows us through His Word. While you choose a few passages to point out how God is a vengeful God that will turn on us if our lifestyle is wrong, to me it seems clear Jesus came because we are all, in so many ways, completely wrong in our lifestyles. I believe that to believe in Christ is to believe that every single day, we are forgiven. While my marriage can be wonderfully patriarchal, I will still lie. While I clean the house selflessly and fulfill my “primary” role as maid, I will still feel resentful and bitter in my heart.

        Not one of us is clean. Not one of us is worthy. We all deserve God’s “consequences,” his “punishments” for our sinful behavior. You are not exempt, my friend. You and I both are as sinful as the greatest evil in our world. We are as dirty as every liar, as unworthy as every thief. However, the Good News, the Gospel, is that God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Let’s agree to disagree that your view of “saving” is putting me back in my place in the kitchen.

        My view of “saving”, however, is that my loving God is not the Master of Patriarchy and a society that, yes, riddled with divorce, has also placed women in shackles for centuries. My view of His Word is that of a saving God, bigger than you or me would ever like to imagine. He breaks chains and he has always been for the neglected, enslaved populations of this earth. God is bigger than any societal roles, labels, agendas, or hierarchy. He cannot fit where our little minds try to put Him. My view of God’s Promise is that while I steal, cheat, lie, and will often neglect the cleanliness of my house, I can fall at His feet every day and experience the Goodness of His Love. This Love will spill out of my soul and into my husband’s life, and he will not mind a bit that the books aren’t straight on the shelf when I look in his eyes and know who he is in the Eyes of his Maker.

        In Mary and Martha’s house, Jesus sits with Mary at his feet. Martha stayed in the kitchen, performing her rightful duty. But Mary, Jesus says, has chosen what is better. To sit at His feet, and listen to Him speak. It will not be taken away from her, he says. She does not have to worry about keeping this house clean. My Jesus wants to spend time with me. Sometimes He will be in my kitchen with me, and sometimes He will be in my bed with me and my husband as we make love. I will choose to sit quietly and experience Him wherever He moves. And this is the Gospel in my eyes, friend. That we will never be separated from Him. Not through a messy house, not through a patriarchal society, not even through divorce and heartbreak.

        Take it or leave it. I assume you’ll leave it and that’s perfectly fine.

        You are loved more than you can comprehend by the God of the Universe. I pray you experience this love today.

      3. Ashley – I agree 100% with you that as believers sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. I also agree 100% with you there is no limit to God’s forgiveness. I also agree with you 100% that none of us are perfect(not me, not you, not anyone else) and we daily need to confess our sins to God.

        I believe in a Gospel and a God that that takes us as we are, not as some perfect beings. But while God asks us to come as we are, and will always love us no matter how we fail him each day, he does not want us to stay as we are, but he desires for us to grow and conform to his will for our lives.

        Obviously you and I will just have to agree to disagree as to what God’s Will is for our lives according to the Bible.

        Thanks

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