There’s a question that floats round cyberspace from time to time.
“A woman earns one million naira monthly and her husband works in the same company and earns one hundred and fifty thousand naira monthly. If one of them has to resign to take better care of their kids, who should it be? Or if one of them had to be laid off by the company, who should be laid off?
The obvious answer should be the person who earns the least amount, right? Well this question was posed on an Igbo group on Facebook and majority of respondents said the woman should quit. It didn’t matter that the difference in their pay checks is more than the annual income of most Nigerians or that she could pay his six months’ salary and still have good money as change. They just wanted her to quit because she was the “woman”.
Somebody (a man) asked what if it was our brother, would we recommend that he quit? He asked the question on a thread where a number of women were talking about having the man quit. He went on to explain that such a man would do all the chores around the house and would end up becoming a housemaid.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, my response would be predictable 😉
The sad thing is that he saw a man doing the “woman chores” as some kind of travesty, maybe an abomination. I have two brothers, both of them younger than me. If any of them found himself in that situation, I would ask him to quit his job. Anyway my brothers wouldn’t be so foolish that something like this becomes an issue for them.
Millions of women around the world run their homes without help and have very demanding jobs outside the home, they do it without announcing it to the world. Why then should I act like it’s an abomination if one of my brothers took up that toga to ensure a better life for his family?
You see, in Ephesians 5:22-33 a man called Paul outlined some roles for the husband and for the wife. The woman was asked to submit to her husband- the famous SUBMIT refrain came from here and the man was asked to love his wife as Christ loved the Church even to the extent of giving up his life for her.
When I read that part of the bible, it strikes me just how easy it is to refuse to see what’s written in black and white. Jesus came on earth to save the lost and to reconcile them to him, right? He left his heavenly splendour and glory to rub shoulders with man and even died in one of the most horrifying manners possible. Yet he counted it as nothing because he loved us, he went without complaint- the bible says as a sheep goes to be slaughtered without a word. He even forgave those who killed him even while he was going through all that torment! Can you beat that?
That is the same kind of love that men are called to love their wives with, even to the extent of dying for her if necessary. What it means is that, if there’s one piece of meat in the soup… The woman should eat it while the man goes without because he is called to love sacrificially. Am I touching a raw nerve here? How come this love part is not shouted from pulpits without the same fervour as Submission is preached?
Many Christian denominations had forbidden women from preaching and teaching in congregations and still do that today, citing Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian women to learn in silence and not to teach where a man is present. Some congregations did not even allow women read the Bible, yes that’s how bad it was. I’m not writing this to rail against the injustices of the past, I don’t even have that kind of ranting energy this morning.
When I talked about a man loving his wife sacrificially on that thread, I made several men uncomfortable and because I was able to back it up with scripture, it made some of them lash out incoherently.
There’s a hymn that has a line “how will they hear without a preacher?” I find it very apt for this post. If the preachers refuse to tell them, to tell us just how all-encompassing God’s command to men about love is, we will not know. The sad thing is, many marriages are not experiencing the harmony that is God’s plan because of this deficit.
You see, if you feel loved by someone and feel that this person would do literally anything for your benefit. “Submission” would not be hard and if a man loves his wife as Christ loves the church, he would not ask her to demean or devalue herself just to fit into the “submissive” mould.
Someone (a man) said men do not love because women do not submit, when I told him the order to love comes before submission, he said I was talking nonsense. Christ died for the church even while we were yet sinners, he died for us before we were even conceived. He didn’t wait for us to accept him first before he died for us and that is the kind of love that Paul admonished men to emulate. The love that acts without waiting for an incentive, the love that thrives even in hatred and mistrust, the love that never falters.
Back to the housemaid issue and the question that began the avalanche. If a man has to take over running the home because his wife earns more, he isn’t being less of a man by preparing the kids for school (until we were old enough to bathe ourselves, my father would bathe us every morning and he even had a job where he had to resume at before 8 am) and doing school runs, he isn’t less of a man if he has to clean his house and do laundry and even cook. I’m not even talking about patriarchy and feminism here (y’all know I am a card carrying feminist).
The bible supports him becoming a “housemaid” to ensure a better future for his family, if he has to sacrifice his career for his home… He is simply obeying that admonition to love sacrificially as Christ did. If it were my brother, I’d tell him to start a business that he can run from home. Millions of women do that around the world and they do not have two heads, it can be done.
Finally, I think the church should increase their efforts at giving Christian men the right orientation. Many men do not know just how serious the call to love is, they just know “SUBMIT” but do not understand the ramifications of “LOVE”. I pray that the message is preached more and the lesson can take root in more hearts.
PS: Do you think it is reasonable for a man to ask his wife to change her numbers when they get married? Let me know your thoughts… We might talk about it in another post.
PPS: Shadow of a rainbow will be back soon, electricity supply to my new house is horrifically terrible. I write on my laptop (I hate writing on paper, I can’t even write on paper) and without power, it’s impossible to write. A generator is on the cards, if only the money for buying it will show up pronto.