Should a woman be a “keeper at home” (not working outside of the home)?
Titus 2:1-5 says, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
You will notice that in the above passage, the part about being “keepers at home” is surrounded by the woman’s husband. Before that phrase you read “to love their husbands,” and after it you read, “obedient to their own husbands.” Of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, it says in verses 10-12, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. THE HEART OF HER HUSBAND DOTH SAFELY TRUST IN HER, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
The number one reason for the wife to be in the home is for her husband. That is why God created the woman. Genesis 2:18-24 says, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Some women only see the need to be a keeper at home while they have small children. But that is missing the reason that God created woman. God did not create the woman because Adam was getting old and feeble, and the human race needed to be reproduced or become extinct. On the contrary, God had created Adam to live for ever. And he would have, had he not sinned. Genesis 3:22-24 says, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: AND NOW, LEST HE PUT FORTH HIS HAND, AND TAKE ALSO OF THE TREE OF LIFE, AND EAT, AND LIVE FOR EVER: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
There is much concern today about what is called “latch-key children.” That term is used to describe children that come home to an empty house with no parents there. They unlock the door and let themselves into the house. They go in and prepare their own food, etc. I have never seen a report done on “latch-key husbands,” but there should have been one done. There are thousands of husbands who come home to an empty house, because their wives are working a job outside of the home. Many times husbands and wives work different shifts, and seldom see each other.
You can readily see how husbands and wives can quickly distance themselves from each other, and become closer to co-workers. Many divorces come about as a result of co-workers getting attached to each other, and then divorcing their mates and marrying each other. I know of an office worker who divorced his wife, and married one of the women in the office. I know of a truck driver who divorced his wife, and married one of the waitresses working at a restaurant. I know of a woman who started working for a lawyer, and ended up divorcing her husband and marrying another man. I know of a man and a woman who worked at the same factory, and they ended up divorcing their mates and marrying each other. We could go on and on with examples. No matter how strong a marriage may appear to be, it is not exempt from the exact same thing happening. I Corinthians 10:12 says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
God made the woman because it was not good that the man be alone. That foundational fact is seldom taught, even in Christian circles. It does not matter if there are no children yet in the young marriage, or if, in a seasoned marriage, the children are all grown and married. The fact remains that the wife’s primary purpose in life is to be with her husband and to be his helper through life.
We have not taught that like we ought, even in churches and Bible Colleges. Many times not only young men are preached at to find “God’s call” upon their lives, but young ladies are also preached at in the same way. For a young man, he should be in prayer about God’s will for his life’s work. There are many occupations and ministries out there, and he needs to find what God’s perfect will for his life is.
But when it comes to young ladies, things are much different. Young ladies should not be encouraged (or pressured) to decide what “God’s call” for their lives is, except in one area — whether to marry or not to marry. God does not call women into the ministry, He calls men. What we should be teaching young ladies is, “You be in prayer about whether God wants you to marry someday, and if so, then do all that you can to HELP YOUR HUSBAND FULFILL GOD’S CALL FOR HIS LIFE.”
Sadly, there seem to be few Christian homes where the man really leads the home. Part of the fault is our inconsistent teaching in the matter of God’s calling. We are training young ladies to have independent spirits, by teaching them to seek God’s calling for their lives (other than whether to marry or not). I have seen examples where young ladies believe that God has called them to be a “pastor’s wife.” So they reject a young man whom God is calling to the mission field, because “his calling does not match hers.” And it happens the other way, too. She may feel “called” to go to the mission field, and he may be called to be a pastor here in the States, so she rejects him on the basis that “his calling does not match hers.”
So what happens when their callings “match?” That may seem perfect — until some time later. What happens if they do go to the mission field for some years, and then the man believes that God is calling him to pastor in the States? If the wife believes down deep that God has called her to the mission field (for life), then one of two things is going to happen. Either she is going to put up a good fuss and rebel against his decision (thus he may, just for her sake, stay there and disobey the Lord’s leading), or she may go along with his decision, but believe down deep that she made a mistake ever marrying him (which will end up showing in different ways in their marriage). Or the opposite can happen — they both may say that they are called to the “pastorate” (she a pastor’s wife, and he, a pastor). What will happen if he, after a few years, believes that God is calling him to the foreign mission field? Is she going to be angry at him? Is she going to have her heart set on serving in the States, and be firm in her refusal to go to a foreign field? Many men will never go against their wives in making such a decision, if they sense that she is dead set against it. They thus may serve the rest of their lives out of God’s perfect will.
The fact of the matter remains that we need to be training young ladies to help their husbands do WHATEVER GOD HAS CALLED THEM TO DO. A home cannot have “two leaders,” or there is going to be constant friction. Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”
According to Proverbs 31, a woman may be involved in a “home-based” business. In verse 24 it says, “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.” Notice that she is not a merchant (she does not own a store), but she makes the girdles and sells them to the merchant (the store owner). That way, she does not have another man as her boss.
One problem with a woman having a job outside of the home, is that it then places someone between herself and her husband — her boss. Her boss (whether it be a man or a woman) tells her what to do with more authority than her husband. If the boss says, “I need you to work Saturday,” and her husband says, “I need you to go visiting with me Saturday,” which will the woman do? More than likely, she will go to work. The boss will have the final authority in her life. That is not Scriptural. There is only supposed to be one person (other than the Lord) over the wife, and that is her husband. Ephesians 5:22,23 says, “WIVES, SUBMIT YOURSELVES UNTO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” When a wife gets a job outside of the home, then there will be some marital trouble sooner or later because of it.
Why does a man put up with someone else telling his wife what to do? The love of money. Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 makes things in the home and then sells them to merchants. There is nothing wrong with that. That still places her under her husband’s authority. If he wants to go somewhere that weekend, then there are just fewer items to sell to the merchant, but it still allows him to make the decision.
In this day of time-saving devices, women do sometimes have free time at home. If they had a home-based business, that would allow them to use that time making their products, and still be at home with their husband and children.
In the end, pressure should never be placed upon the wife to support the family. That is the man’s responsibility. I Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” If the wife can supplement the income from the home, that is fine, but she should never feel pressured to “make her share” of the income.