My husband and I were talking in the car the other day about honor. Specifically about how stay-at-home mothers can often feel like they do a thankless job, never getting much, if any, recognition for the incredible job they do. Culture tips a hat at them (us) and we get a little buzz of energy around Mother’s Day, but other than that, the issue is never talked about. It was hard to even put words to because I didn’t quite know what exactly the issue is.
Everyone (at least Kingdom-minded ones) know that home is where the heart is. Devi Titus, author of The Home Experience takes it one step further, saying “Home is where hearts are formed”. It’s an important job (understatement of the year). The implications of parenting (and “spousing”) are huge. Left to its own devices, all manner of evil will present itself. The good wives and mothers I know naturally work nonstop perfecting this God-given position, investing time and heart to ensure their kiddos are well-fed, healthy, well-rounded, and nurtured. With all of this investment, the payoff might include gratitude from a loving husband or, rarer still, their own children.
Now I am not saying most husbands don’t work hard. They do. And truthfully I feel like ingratitude is an enormous epidemic in our culture no matter who we’re talking about. This is especially between family members, sadly. And it is unacceptable. But I will say, even the fact that my husband receives a mere paycheck for what he does, is an account of his said work, and that is only the baseline honor he receives.
“What is the problem?”, we asked ourselves. “Who would honor stay-at-home moms and what exactly would that look like?” “Is this all selfish and am I preoccupied with what I’m getting out of this lifestyle (which we have chosen, nonetheless)?” I had no immediate answer, but it made me think of a friend of mine, a homeschooling mom of 5 kids under 12 whose husband travels 5 days out of every week. I don’t know how she does it. She is composed and joyful, dressed and insightful. How is she honored? I’m sure her husband is grateful for holding down the fort and investing her life into her children, but how far does that really go? Let’s be honest.
Philip and I came around to the conclusion that since mammon is involved in every nook and cranny of life, seducing us into the belief that it is the most powerful and influential and sexy thing in life, we end up being persuaded that the husband’s work is more important, because it is tied to money. We elevate work because it is the source of provision for our family. But who’s our provider? Oh yeah… God. And there it is: the elephant in the room. Work is sacred, I believe that. Family is sacred too. I’m not saying don’t work for money, but I am saying there needs to be equal honor in both arenas.
Husband receives recognition in workplace? Wife should be included in said award. Why? Because he is what he is, and can accomplish what he does in part because of what his wife does on the other end. I would even venture to say the entire family unit would be included.
The first time I ever saw family honor was about 6 years ago at a former church, we had a speaker come in (now a very close friend of ours), and as he introduced himself, he played a recorded video that his wife and kids, who weren’t able to travel with him as was always custom, had prepared specifically for this night and us as an audience. High and elevated speaker- sweet personal video from wife and kids. It spoke volumes to me and encouraged my trust in his message and integrity. Years later, I would find that to be absolutely true. It was an overflow of their family’s values. He elevated her for staying home with their children while he was away, thanking her for her sacrifice and added duties, and in turn she honored him in the video, thanking him for doing all he can to share the message and passion for their family’s mission, knowing it’s a sacrifice for him to be away from their family as well. Do you see God’s heart in this? This is what honor is all about. Preferring one another and giving grace where the other is pouring out.
We are now challenged in our family to be better. With future business partners, friends, and the like. Not always will it be the case, but I’m guessing it will be most often than not.