There can be much debate in the evangelical world regarding the role of men and women; especially as it relates to marriage. Our goal in discussing roles, responsibilities, and decision making in the marriage relationship is not to create more doctrinal tension, but rather to provide biblical principles that we are sure will transform your marriage relationship. While many biblical teachings can be easily debated and cause confusion, it is very clear in Scripture that man and woman are to mutually love and respect one another, mutually submit to one another, and fulfill their God-assigned roles as husband and wife.
Our focus in discussing this is not that we should be overly concerned about the things in the Bible we don’t understand; rather it’s the things we do understand and fail to practice that should be cause for concern.
What does the Bible say about it?
Let’s get right into responsibilities in marriage. While roles in marriage are gender specific, we would say that most responsibilities are not. We can’t provide an exhaustive list, but can confidently say that cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, paying the bills, cutting the grass, changing diapers, and most duties related to the home and family are not gender specific.
Let’s consider what Paul writes in his letter to Titus regarding the responsibilities of men and women.
“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
There is little to no room for misunderstanding what is being communicated in this passage. However, the interpretive mistake many make is to not consider passages of Scripture in light of the whole Bible. This list is not exhaustive nor is it exclusive, but it does speak to each gender- male and female. We have many examples of men and women in the Bible who would have exemplified these characteristics and much more.
Share the Responsibilities
Tammy and I have had few disagreements on how responsibilities in the home are dispersed. I have no problem doing the laundry and Tammy loves to cook. Her loving to cook works out great because I love to eat! We appreciate each other for the things we do. And we work together to accomplish the things neither one of us is crazy about. We shared the responsibilities of parenting as well.
She was and is an amazing Mom, but it didn’t mean I could expect her to do all the work. We parented together and didn’t let one or the other navigate the different seasons of parenting alone. We both fed the babies, we both changed diapers, we both played with our little ones. And we both invested (and still do) significantly in each one of our six children. Full transparency, Tammy definitely did most of the late-night feedings. I would wake up and pray for her as she took care of our baby. 🙂
If we could encourage two things as it relates to responsibilities in the home, it would be the following:
- Be all in!
- Be tender hearted.
All in means you are going to give 100% even when your spouse doesn’t or has nothing to give. Secondly, your heart attitude is paramount when working through the responsibilities each of you are going to take on. If you’ll allow these two concepts to drive the discussion regarding responsibilities in your marriage, there isn’t a task too great that you wouldn’t be willing to do.