Family Matters

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God-Given Roles Of Husband and Wife


By John Preiss

 

As a single person, looking for a special person to spend the rest of his/her life with, often the single person reflects only on one’s own needs and desires. As Catholic Christians, however, we should focus on spiritual attributes, not only physical qualities and personalities.

As I examine my own thoughts at that point in life, I can remember praying to find that special person. As a non-Catholic at the time, I do recall my love for Jesus being strong. Unlike so many young people today, I did know what I was looking for in a spouse. I felt confident through patience and prayer that God would lend lead me to her. God did, in fact, lead me to her. We have been married for almost four years now. We have a son just over two years of age. We are expecting another child.

Femininity

My wife is an extraordinary person. She is devout in her faith and in all her duties as a homemaker. I see in her the proper role of femininity. Most women today have lost their femininity because of the women-liberation movement. Today there are women working in construction jobs, or as auto-mechanics, etc. Years ago people would never have dreamt of such work for women. These women have lost their femininity in their attempt to be equal to men. They feel they can do whatever a man can do. These women in fact are unhappy because they are not living their natural role of femininity.

Recently I was looking at old photographs from the fifties. I noticed all the women were wearing dresses. In society today, the women liberated from true femininity tend to look down on wearing dresses while in previous years, most women wore dresses. A modestly dressed woman brings out her femininity and beauty.

Young men prefer feminine dress

This is but one aspect that attracted me to my wife, her femininity consistently manifested in her dress. It was a great relief to find a girl who believed that modest dress in a feminine way was important. I believe most young men, when put to the test for their honesty, and not under social pressures, would admit that they prefer women dressed in a feminine modest manner.

I live near the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. The Shrine is rightly strict about modesty in dress. But I see an unhealthy number even of elderly women who visit here wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes. As a young person I was exposed to this all my life. I thought nothing of it until I started reading books on femininity and masculinity and experienced what a good Catholic family should be. I married into such a Catholic family.

Not only women but children are dressing immodestly today, both in public and often at Mass where our Lord is present in the Holy Eucharist. It is difficult for a young man to stay focused and pure even at Mass when a young woman walks into church wearing immodest clothing. They have lost the sense of modesty. Both young and older parents need to monitor at all times what their children wear. Men and boys should also dress modestly when attending Mass. Sundays should reveal our best dress of the week. Dressing modestly and well for Mass reflects our faith that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that He perpetuates His Sacrifice of the Cross.

If the President of the United States was coming to town and speaking at a convention dinner, to which you were invited, would you wear shorts, a T-shirt or a mini-skirt? I don’t think so. Yet, in the house of God many ignore His Real Presence by the way they dress. Why do people act this way? It is because faith in the Real Presence of Jesus and the perpetuation of His Sacrifice of the Cross at every Holy Mass has been lost, or has been seriously weakened. G.K. Chesterton would say to this: “What’s wrong with the world!

Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony

Together with a weakening of faith in the Sacrament of the Eucharist there has been a weakening of faith in a proper understanding of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio pointed out the importance and connection of Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony. A good faith understanding of the reality of the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament and a devout reception of the Eucharist is essential to a good marriage.

Many Catholics do not realize what is important to have a successful marriage. They appear oblivious to the precise roles of the husband and wife. Why? They have not had role models to follow. Too many priests are failing to educate married couples properly before marriage and to preach accurately on the duties of the married state..

The divorce rate is extremely high. In some areas it is at least 60 %. What are the causes? Both husband and wife are working. Often a working mother comes home tired, impatient and aggravates the children who have not been taught discipline. They’ve been at a day care center with other screaming, aggravated children. The tired working mother then also screams at the children.

And the husband? After a stressful work day he comes home to screaming children, an aggravated wife, a home without peace. He says he is going to a sporting event, or fishing. He gets away because he cannot handle the pressures and tensions from the children or his wife.

A confusion of roles is the cause here. Mothers should be at home giving love and care for her children, not working away from home. With careful planning and some wisdom in the handling of money, and not being saturated with the spirit of materialism against which the Pope has spoken so often, it should not be necessary for both to work. Her role is to be at home with her children and to make a loving home for her husband as well as the children. She should welcome him home with joy as would the children also in imitation of the mother.

When the woman extends herself into the work force it introduces some masculine characteristics into her life; it robs her of her femininity. The woman as the heart of the home is thus disturbed. God had a plan in creating the family. He gave separate roles to the husband and to the wife as revealed at the beginning of creation. The woman is the heart of the home and the man is the head of the home. 

Prepare girls to be homemakers, not Working Mothers

A woman in the home develops feminine characteristics, such as love, patience and domestic arts and crafts. She has the opportunity in her home to acquire the charm of true womanliness. When she rejects this role and enters the man’s world she loses her charm and loveliness and develops a sense of hardness. When a woman shares the burden of earning a living for the family, she takes on a masculine role. She wants to succeed in the world but she loses her femininity needed for true motherly qualities.

Many men are the motive behind the working woman. They feel they need the extra income so they can buy more material possessions and encourage their wives to work away from the home. They often end up making unwise spending decisions, attain more material possessions, but the quality of home life, love, peace and unity, is lost.

Today, the working woman is at an all time high. There is pressure on young girls to attend college so they can have a career. If only parents would guide them in the preparation to be good wives, mothers and women with feminine and pure qualities which is the vocation for most women. Most women never use their college education. In college a good percentage end up in serious sin of premarital sexual relations. A study in recent years revealed that over ninety percent of girls sent to college lose their virginity. Do parents realize they are sending their daughters into near occasions of sin when they send them to college? Is a college education necessary to be a good wife and mother? Parents who prepare their daughters for a career rather than marriage and motherhood will be held accountable.

The vocation of most women is motherhood. Guiding girls to prepare for a working career is harmful when attention should be given to prepare them to be full-time homemakers. When one is fully focused on doing a job one does well. When one integrates other jobs into your main work one’s primary duty suffers. It is the same with being a wife and mother. If a women is focused on her God-given role as wife and mother, then as the beating heart of the home she will do well and be happy.

The husband has the dutiful role of shielding his wife from the pressures of the world so she can perform her God-given role more perfectly. It is not God’s plan for the woman to divide herself into separate worlds as mother and provider. She has a full time job as the caretaker of love in the family. She should not be engaged in the worries of the man’s world.

It is sad to see women trying to be masculine. Many women have accepted the belief that femininity is degrading to women. The mass media has convinced women that they can not be successful or fulfilled unless they have a career outside the home. This attitude when accepted destroys the lives of many otherwise good women. It can destroy the peace and tranquility of women.

A look at various magazines and television also communicates the message to girls and women: if you are young, you dress immodestly and if you are older you dress in a non-feminine manner. The multitude of people have been desensitized over the years by the media so that true Christian values and roles have been forgotten.

How to change the non-feminine trend

Good Catholic parents should educate their children to the proper roles of men and women. They should carefully monitor their clothing. Growing children will probably try to convince parents that being modest is not in style. You must help them discover in-style feminine clothing.

I feel sorry for young gentlemen who have just gone to confession for impure thoughts. When they come out and turn the corner they often see girls and women dressed in mini-skirts, or low-cut blouses, sleeveless clothing, etc. Immodesty is everywhere, the media, billboards, etc. It is the silent road to hell that crushes the morality of our people.

Mother Church present the Blessed Virgin Mary as the example for modesty. This does not mean wearing the style of clothing she wore. But all should look to Mary for the prayerful protection of modesty and purity. Teach youth to ask Mary’s intercession and for guidance and understanding. When girls and women dress modestly they regain their dignity. They then become an examples to girls and women around them.

For a wife to be holy she must be obedient to God’s Word and obey her husband. One of the most widely misunderstood concepts of marriage today is that of submission. Many women think they should have an equal role in authority in marriage or even more than their husbands. They think that wives who submit to their husbands should become more “enlightened.” But it is they who should be “enlightened.” The wife who resists her husband’s authority will lack peace in the home and have many problems with the children who like her will rebel against authentic Catholic Christian principles.

The biblical presentation of the wife submitting to her husband is such a beautiful concept and God’s own teaching. Consider those liberated career women? Their very faces seem to have a scow. Premature lines from stress of job and lack of peace in the home is seen in their faces. They seem bitter and they do not appear feminine or happy.

The women I know who are submissive to their husbands are happy and there is order and peace in their homes. The husband is happy and the children are a joy to both of them. God wants us all to be happy. He knows one will not be happy unless one lives the life as God designed our role to be. Women who think submission to their husbands is a life of a silent slave or as one who has no input into the marriage are totally missing the message of submission.

Submission is when the wife lives here God-given role for the better of her family. That role is to be obedient to her husband, care for the children, be a good home-maker who makes the home a happy place. She has the primacy of love in the home. She is not stressed out with worry and work to increase material values for the home. She lets the work and worry of support of the family to her husband. She does not interfere in his business or work. She is happy to see her husband come home for the evening. She is happy to have him at home when he has free days from work. He is happy to be home because his wife lives her the God-intended role as a home-maker for the family. She contributes greatly to harmony in the home. Her husband returns to a peaceful home.

The couple of a happy peaceful home can cope with whatever problems come their way. They put God and His Church first. The children have a living example of how to treat people of authority. They are being prepared to enter a good marriage themselves one day. In this way couples have a more fulfilling life as God intends.

I am not suggesting that couples following God’s plan for marriage will be without great trials. A couple getting married doesn’t realize all the problems that will be theirs in married life. Great tragedies may strike their family. Consider this one. They may lose a growing child by death. Statistics report that many couples have divorced after losing a child. But if they have built their marriage as God intended then both will grieve together and help one another carry this tremendous trial. Both will realize that the mother and the father will grieve differently.

Each one will have their good days and bad days after such a tragedy. The grieving will come as waves, sometimes intense, other times less so, even for years. Then they will help one another at the proper times focus that the child is alive in Christ, now and for all eternity. They will recognize that the child, whom they brought into the world as partners with God, now has everything they could have hoped for their child. They have one in heaven whom they call upon to pray for them. They recognize that they will see their child again and their joy will then be full, as Christ said. Without denying the grieving they will consider that they have a saint in heaven. They can still smile, gradually enjoy things together and remember this member of their family is still alive, having reached its final goal, even before its parents. Grieving together in Christ can make their family stronger and remind all of their final goal.

When there is a successful marriage, carrying one another’s burdens, even as heavy as the death of a child, when husband and wife are truly one in Christ, as God’s word calls for, then they will help one another. Couples who have become one will come closer to God whatever the problems that may come, even in tragedies as great as death. At the time of great trials special grace from God is needed, and it will be granted, when both are open to the grace of Holy Matrimony. The above thoughts are based on Ephesians 5:21-33.

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31 thoughts on “God-Given Roles Of Husband and Wife

    1. I AGREE THAT SOME WOMEN WHERE VERY IMMODEST APARREL . BUT GOD MADE MEN FIRST. THEREFORE WHERE IS THE GUIDANCE FOR MEN TO BOUNCE THEIR EYES AGAINST LUSTFUL IMAGES?? OUR HUSBANDS WILL BE JUDGED FIRST-MAYBE YOU SHOULD BE PREACHING”EVERY MAN’S BATTLE” IT’S A GREAT BOOK FOR MEN AND THEIR WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS. STEVE ARTERBURN DESCRIBES HIS STRUGGLES WITH LUST THAT EVERY MAN ENCOUNTERS.

      1. I agree that men need to learn to control their lustful thoughts. Men strive sexually on what they see and this is every man and women know that and take it upon themselves to dress inappropriately. Man was created in this way… I never heard of the book mentioned… I may look it up and check it out… Thanks

  1. It is because of people like you that i almost wish I could get an express ticket up to heaven right now; just to be sure that I’ll be there in time to see the expression on your face when you show up at the pearly gates and discover all you so strongly professed to be nothing more than a man-made and humanly perpetuated belief.

    Woman is not inferior to man, no more than man is inferior to the birds becasue he was ‘created’ after them. Women do not have to submit to men. Women are not responsible for preventing men from lusting over them; its up to men to try and control their desires. Women have just the same rights and freedoms as men. If they want to be stay at home moms, that is a perfectly fine calling, and I wish them all luck in raising a happy and healthy family. But women are also well within their rights to pursue an exciting and challenging career; some women, myself included, simply cannot retain their sanity if their daily routine consists of caring for the kids, doing chores, fixing dinner, cleaning the house, and then putting on a smiling face when the husband comes home from work and expects to find his meal ready and the football game on TV. And so, women have the right to chose their future. Their future does not lie in the hands of bigoted, self righteous men such as yourself.

      1. I can tell you have ben hurt before. It is good to let your fustrations go. You probably dated some jerk that broke your heart. The Bible is specific in the headship on the man in the home. Just stating facts. God bless you and I hope you can heal the wound in your heart.
        JP

  2. I have such issues with this whole thing. My husband keeps preaching this “man is the head of the house”. If men are suppose to be head of the house then men should stand up and take that responsibility. Most men do not and therefore the woman has to go out and take care of herself, the family, the house, the bills, and so on. Men have made woman the way they are. If men would have done what they were suppose to have done and treated woman the way they were suppose to have been treated, woman would have not went out into the work place and had to support herself, because her husband wouldn’t. I could go on and on and on. And just what is feminine? Just because a woman wears pants, does not mean that she is not modest. I wear jeans and t shirts. But I am a decent dressed woman. My clothes are not tight and not revealing. I would not walk into a church with jeans on, out of respect. But I do not think there is anything wrong with woman wearing jeans, pants or tennis shoes. What about woman cutting their hair. That being their glory. Does that mean not trim, does it mean have it 24 inches or what. I just really don’t understand how anyone can tell anyone how to live. I think that it is between you and God and if you are honest in heart God will not steer you wrong.

    1. In Ephesians it specifically says, “That men are the head of the home like Christ is the head of the Church”. Submission from women is a free act a gift to be obedient to God. So when a women is not submissive to their husband they cannot be submissive to God. But a man should not demand his headship. Her submission is given freely out of respect and love and honor to God and the husband. You are right when you say that the men don’t take care of the home. This is why we are trying to educate them because they act like little boys and care more about hunting, fishing, sports watching TV. I know this and i understand this. I would suggest next time he says he is the head let him do it. Give him the bills, the checkbook, let him lead but support him and you will find that he will become more responsible because he has too.
      As far as the clothing issue. It is definetly more feminine to wear dresses. The paints came in when the men went to war and the industrial evolution came about. No it is not a sin to wear jeans or tennis shoes. But it is not more feminine.

  3. Wonderful article! The only thing that I slightly disagree with is about young women getting a college education. I concur that sending a young lady off to a liberal university, getting a degree she will likely never use, and then being saddled with upwards of $30,000 of student loan debts, isn’t conducive to promoting the vocation of motherhood. However, I think it’s important for young women to have some kind of formal education/training post high school to assist when dire circumstances arise. The drastic downtown of the economy in the past two years showed that even men with good and seemingly stable jobs can quickly find themselves on unemployment for an extended time. This is the time when a wife that has some kind of formal training can assist the family financially by getting a part-time position to help out with the bills. I encourage all families to consider having their daughters attend a local community college (where they live at home, not in a dorm) and earn a degree (or at least a technical certificate) in a field that not only interests her, but can benefit her vocation as a wife and mother. For example, an Associate Degree in Accounting can be not only an asset when dealing with the family budget/finances/taxes, but also with bringing in some extra money at tax time by doing the tax returns of others or even being a part-time bookkeeper for a small company/business.
    Healthcare provides a wealth of knowledge for the vocation of a mother and by earning an Associate Degree as an RN or a Respiratory Therapist, it can be quite beneficial in a time of dire financial crisis; those jobs are well-paying, almost always in need, and have family-friendly flexible hours. I don’t say this as a way for a young lady to “find herself” or “be productive” as society sees, but rather a way to be a helpmate to her husband should a change in his employment cause a dire financial crisis. Those are just my thoughts on that particular subject….I know my husband was very thankful that I had a background in healthcare and was able to work some part-time shifts at a local hospital when he was laid off work for a few months. God Bless you and the work you do for the Church!

  4. I am honestly offended that you outright say “prepare girls to be homemakers, not Working Mothers.”

    First of all, how dare you use the word of God to continually keep women from reaching their true potential as human beings. If your daughter wanted to go to college and wanted to become a doctor, a psychologist or maybe even attend an art school, would you stop her?

    Would you stop her and say: “You cannot go to college, honey. God made you to serve man and become a homemaker.”

    God may have made men first, but He made women from the RIBS and not the FOOT.

    Mate, the fifties are gone, and they are never coming back. I thank God, as a woman, that I live in a society where I am able to go to school and do whatever I want in life without a man telling me what to do. Some women are not as lucky.

    I agree that we women are losing our feminine touch, but can you blame us? We are taught from an early age that women can’t have it all, but men can. We are taught that women who choose family are weak, but women who choose to fulfill themselves first are seen as greedy. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.

    To make this shorter than what it once was, I will say that nothing is black and white. God gave us all (men and women) the free will to decide our own destiny.

    You might disagree, which won’t surprise me. I will end with this: teach your son to respect all women. It’ll help him later in life.

    1. If a women wants a career let her go for it but she shouldn’t get married. She can not do both and be happy. Being a good mother and wife is a fulltime job. You sound unhappy with your response, if you have a bum for a husband it is hard to respect and be submissive. But Sacred Scripture in Ephesians 5 is not a lie it is God’s word. Women and men feel a sense of guilt when they read this verse. I respect my wife and she is the queen of my castle and she is not stressed with the world like the working women. It sure is nice to come home to a happy home. My son already knows how to treat a women he learned that from me. We take care of everything around the house. I hope this sheds some light on the subject.

      1. Hum. That’s funny. My wife works, and she’s happy. Must be the lack of kids.
        Oh, and the 1950s called. The Cleavers wants their gender roles back.

  5. Thank you for this article. As a wife and mother who tries to live by God’s standards, it is refreshing to hear an unapologetic defense of Biblical marriage. I know many women disagree with your article, but that does not negate what the Bible says. Yes, men and women are equal in worth to God, but are given different roles. I think that over the years, equal in worth has been replaced with equal in terms of sameness. If God created man and woman to be the same, one of us would not be necessary. He created us to fulfill specific roles. How can a Bible believing, God fearing woman truly believe that God would create a system that is contradictory to human happiness? That is not the God I know and love.
    What has following the ways of the world brought us? Skyrocketing divorce, children raised by strangers in daycare centers, material greed, killing of innocent “unwanted” babies, the list could go on and on. Since that system doesn’t seem to be working, what is so wrong about following the God designed plan for marriage and life? After all, He designed both.

  6. SAINT Gianna Beretta Molla was a wife, mother, AND medical doctor! The Church canonized her. The daughter whom she sacrificed her own life for went on to become a Medical Doctor herself and is an advocate for the elderly…on a continent that has no problem with euthanasia for the elderly and terminally ill. Perhaps instead of insisting that all women must choose between having a spouse, children, and a career, we take a look at St Gianna!

    1. You make a fair point… But to care for a family, husband, home etc. It would be somewhat easier without a career. If you want to be a medical doctor be one. But your family will sacrifice. If you stay single be what you want

  7. Uh no, she didn’t. She continued working part time in her clinic, even after she had children. Read her biography or the book of letters between her and her husband when he was on business trips out of the country. She also wore pants when an activity called for it.

  8. John, it’s always a dangerous practice to generalize – and you can probably expect negative responses! You have brought up so many concerns in your article, but I will just comment on the “women working” portion. Just as we are uniquely created by God, each with our own wonderful gifts and talents that distinguish us one from another, so our paths in this life take different turns one from another. As you and your wife have decided on the path you’ll take for your family and future, so others do the same, and that path may look very different from yours. This doesn’t mean they are seeking God any less wholeheartedly than you and your wife. That does not mean they are going against Church or Biblical teaching. If a couple wishes to take the path of “wife stays home and husband works”, then as long as they are doing all for God’s glory, wonderful. If, on the other hand, they decide that the wife will work and the husband will work as well, fine – if what they are both doing is for His glory. Women can bring a refreshing balance to the workplace, both in talent and ingenuity, and often a gentleness in perspective that might lack in an all male work environment. Just as they complement a husband at home, so too they can bring wonderful and yes, feminine, qualities to their chosen profession. A balance can be struck, I think quite well, between a woman’s responsibilities at home and her dedication to her work. One does not have to suffer because of the other. I, of course, know we differ in opinion on this subject – but I would challenge you not to place cookie-cutter restrictions on your brothers and sisters in Christ by making sweeping generalizations about who should be doing what and when they should be doing it. Focus that passion and energy on your own path toward our good Lord – and not so much on criticizing or worrying about the journey that others may be on.

    1. Hi
      It is not an argument of generalizing I am just using Biblical Principles and facts. I do understand your view and I realize that all an not live in this way. I never put you or anyone down. I.m just offering solutions and what works in my family. Many husbands and wife tend to feel guilty and this leads to criticism of the article.
      You have to agree that the feminist movement has opened up many doors that have become contrary to our faith.
      Thank you for your response
      God Bless!

  9. The word “submission” means to be “under the mission”, which in this case a wife is under the mission of her husband who is to love her as Christ loved the Church; meaning the husband is to die to self, sacrifice, and give his life in it’s entirety to his wife. He is to guide and lead his wife closer to holiness, that is what he has “headship” over.

    In addition to Proverbs 31, we can look at the lives of the Saints to see how they lived their lives. If St. Elizabeth Ann Seton could go to school, I don’t see why most women can’t.

    1. I don’t see a problem with women attending school. My point is for a women to live her vocation as a mother and have a family it is hard to do both. Something will suffer and it is usually not the career but the family.

  10. I am not certain if my last reply posted or not, I will try again.

    My point is for a man to live his vocation as father and have a family, it is hard to do that while working. Something will suffer, and it usually not the career but the family. The same principle applies to both men and women, there needs to be work-life balance.

    Also, what’s the point of women going to school when they won’t enter the field after having kids?

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