Do You Work?
By Charline Lemonds Sexton
How often have you been asked this question? If you have children, you certainly do work, whether or not you bring in a paycheck. Many mothers of today work outside the home because they have to. In some families, the household expenses are so great that it takes the constant struggle of both parents to provide the necessities and pay the bills. In some homes, the man's health will not permit him to work regularly. In other cases, the father has found other interests. According to a recent report (February 1993) 60 percent of the young people of today spend at least some portion of their lives in one-parent homes. Their plight is, naturally, out of their control, and often the parent who is providing for them can do no better. This sad predicament is by no means pleasing to God. In fact, Paul wrote to Titus that the older women should teach the younger to be discreet (sensible; sober-minded), workers at home, kind, and obedient to their husbands (Titus 2:3-4). Thus because of her manner and her behavior the young wife would cause those who know and observe her to regard Christianity and the church more highly.
Such questions as to whether or not the wife will work outside the home, whether or not they plan to have several children, who will have primary control over the checking account and the budget, how the children will be brought under control when they create problems - these are questions which should be discussed and agreed upon before the uniting ceremony. Everyone in the family should understand from the beginning that every member of the household will attend worship regularly (Acts 20:7). This pleases God and puts the family structure on a firmer footing.
Almost any young woman, before her wedding, will spend much time planning such matters as the wedding gown, the attendants, the guest list, and the reception. She would do well to give, as a primary consideration, serious thought to what her future is going to be like. Her obligations to her husband are numerous. Each has certain intimate physical needs, the fulfillment of which is incumbent upon each other (1 Cor. 7:2-5). She should be loyal to the man whose name she wears and try never to say or do anything which would embarrass or denigrate him (Prov. 31:12). If she works only at home, she should appreciate the opportunity which is hers and should spend her time wisely and productively (Prov. 31:27). I once visited a young woman who impressed me very favorably. She had given up her job after her marriage, and on the day when I was in her home, she had prepared an evening meal; had made the house immaculate; and had put on a fresh dress and made her face and hair as attractive as they would have been if she had been waiting for her husband to take her out to dinner. For years I have carried with me this vivid picture of the young wife waiting eagerly for her husband to come to the door and smile as he greeted her proudly and affectionately. Though I do not know this, I would think that they were inclined to follow Solomon's saw of Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
In the United States, as of June 1993, women make up almost half (45.7 percent) of the work force. Most of these women work eight hours a day and then go home and work many hours in the house. They can gripe and make everyone around them miserable, or they can make the best of it and thank God for the blessings they do have. Many of the problems which haunt our children today could be solved if only we could all carry out the exhortation of Paul that the young women should love their husbands and their children and should be "discreet, workers at home, kind, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed" (Titus 2:4-5).