IMPORTANCE OF WORK IN FAMILY LIFE --- PART I
Let us elaborate a little bit on work, especially the work of a husband or father as a necessity for a healthy, productive, and happy family life.
A wife is given to every man as a special helper for his original God-appointed work. The woman should therefore prepare herself to become adequately equipped to be a worker (especially domestic home builder) who is fit for that particular man and the family that they will build with their children for a successful marriage and a happy home.
Marriage was designed and ordained by God in a state of man's perfection. There was no Church, religion, or government then. But, God established work as well as worship and fellowship with God, as essential components for a good marriage and a productive family life (Genesis 2:15 & 3:8, 17-19). In fact, one of the major reasons why a woman was created was to help a man to do his work (Genesis 2:18).
The physical work was primarily manual and agricultural----tilling (cultivating) a Garden. This is the reason why any lazy man cannot be a good husband, father, or family man. When work was originally instituted, only the man was there with God without any woman. Man was to work with his hands and keep his environment --- maintaining it to be sustainable, beautiful, and productive. Agriculture, ecology and environmental management have therefore been part of man’s family and social life from the beginning of time.
Work brings income and fulfillment to the home and family. We can receive gifts as blessings, but we cannot (and are not supposed to) depend and live solely on gifts and human support. The man of the home (husband, father) is to lead his family to depend on the results of their own work and organized labor.
As much as money should not be the key factor in determining love and affection for anyone, no woman can enjoy her marriage when the husband is not making her feel financially secure. In fact, a woman must think twice and discuss matters thoroughly in order to have concrete plans for work and financial security, before marrying any man who is not working, have no definite plans for future work, or not earning any meaningful income. Children will not be happy or secure either, and they cannot flourish in an impoverished environment.
Some of the major benefits of work are:
- Income --- financial returns enable us to make purchases that supply family and individual needs, and could be used to bless others.
- Investment --- doors are open for us to invest our money and resources for future returns and to engage in projects.
- Security --- presence of adequate income, savings, and investment provide a sense of security for the present time as well as the future. A wife in particular feels financially and socially secure in the hands of the man.
- Self-development --- work was designed to match our talents, gifts, abilities, and temperament, as an essential part of every fruitful life. It promotes the proper cultivation of our innate endowments and development of our personality, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
- Confidence --- hard work, especially in accordance with our talents and abilities, enables us to sharpen our capabilities and meet our financial obligations as well. This builds inner confidence for us in our daily walk, especially for husbands as leaders in their homes.
- Responsible lifestyle --- any good worker is regarded by the society as a responsible citizen.
- Usefulness --- your work will benefit your family and community, and you will consequently make valuable contributions to the welfare of the society. All the investment put into your life by your parents, family members, and the community, will yield useful returns for everyone.
- Child training --- our children observe what we do in addition to the efforts we put into training them, in order to imitate us and continue our work when we cannot actively work anymore, or after death.
- Legacy --- productive work enable us, fathers in particular, to leave inheritance for our families and society (Proverbs 13:22).
- Respect --- a hardworking man with good income invokes natural respect for himself; from his wife first, and then his children as well as in-laws, other family members, and friends. Your own good work makes you develop a sense of respect for yourself too.
It is difficult for any woman to respect and submit to a lazy or poor husband who is not making any effort to actively engage in or improve upon the family work and finances!
- Fulfilling God’s purpose --- God designed for mankind that any meaningful, productive, and satisfying life should only be realized and established in honest and useful labor. We cannot be lazy and claim to be doing God’s will at the same time.
- Contentment --- honest labor with resultant financial gains and all the accompanying benefits as listed above, especially the gratifying feeling of the accomplishment of one’s destiny and fulfilling God’s will, cause us to develop inner joy, happiness, and satisfaction.
These facts must be known and understood by every man, before he sets out to take a wife for himself. Every woman must be armed with these truths as well, in order to develop a collective understanding with the man who wants to marry her. This will enable them to make collaborative efforts in the determination of their future labor and financial direction before they settle down in the home.
- Copyright December 2000 (modified February 2009) Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Phone 757-7289330 email@example.com
IMPORTANCE OF WORK IN FAMILY LIFE --- PART II
I will want us to focus a little bit on the relevance of work for a responsible and loving husband.
It is sad and unfortunate to see many ladies who have fallen victims to the tentacles and intrigues of men who did not take time to plan and develop any career or get their hands on a gainful employment (or at least seriously plan to have one) before marrying. In such situations there is a reversal of roles. The woman becomes the main breadwinner for the family instead of the man driving and directing the labor and financial vehicle of the family. The danger in such a situation is that such women feel “used by the men” for their selfish ends in the relationship, at least to a certain degree, no matter the benefits the ladies receive in the marriage.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the woman working to support the family, but her financial role should be a supplement to the primary income of the husband, unless tragedy hits the family for the man to be incapacitated in a way that he cannot really work anymore. I do not also dispute the fact that a man may be handicapped or disabled from the onset of the relationship, and the woman calculated the cost and decided to marry him and help to care for him in love.
In several instances the wife could be in a better financial position than the man, and could earning a far higher salary or gaining more business returns than the husband. Even then, the man and the woman must carefully and thoroughly discuss all the issues at stake and come to a common agreement that will benefit both of them and not just for the benefit of one person in the relationship.
If circumstances are such that the woman has to work to support the family in a “lean season” when the husband or father is out of work for any reasons, it is very appropriate and healthy. In fact, it is a classic example of the need for a good, loving, God-fearing, and dutiful wife in the life of a man. But it should not be taken as an opportunity for the man to “let sleeping dogs lie” and relax with his friends, sports, entertainment, and pleasure so that the lady continues to sweat endlessly for the upkeep of the family while he simply eats savory meals and enjoys the wife at home.
In some cases the man makes loud claims to be “doing business” or “making plans to do good business”, and yet for months and years nobody really sees any evidence of the kind of business that the Beloved Lover, Daddy, or Beloved Husband is supposed to be doing. Other men engage in running churches and organizations expecting income from their activities, but gain nothing appreciable that can sustain their families.
Some men even go to the extent of using some of the little income at home or take loans to purchase items or to travel, all in the name of “the business”, or “the organization”, but the family sinks into poverty more and more. Unfortunately when the man is questioned for more information in order to be assisted, advised, or to help ease the anxiety or suffering of those close to him, he switches into a mode of self-defense, flares up in anger, or feeds on his pride, and refuses help! Some men use the anger as cover up, and feel offended that their integrity or manhood capabilities are being questioned.
Here are a few suggestions as remedy for singles and couples:
- Work and financial disclosure --- Before any man and a woman settle in a marriage, the man should completely disclose all that pertains to his work and finances, including plans for the future. The woman must disclose her plans as well, and then have a basis to question the man as far she can, and be sure of her financial and labor security. “Adam must have a Garden of Eden and must be working hard to keep it before the arrival of Eve” (Genesis 2:8, 15).
- Honest financial declaration --- The man must determine to speak and act honestly. He must decide not to lie to the lady or her family about his work and finances.
Some men have told their ladies at the beginning of the relationship that they were Certified Accountants, only to be exposed in the future as Cashiers at shops in town. Others had lied that they had University Degrees when in fact they possessed some Diploma from a non-accredited institution on the outskirts of a village. Sad to say that some women discover these lies several years into the marriage when important things have to be applied for, teenage children have to be assisted, school has to be paid for, and resumes of parents have to be submitted.
Honorable ladies, please have self control, and tone down your desire to settle down in marriage when you meet a man you believe you can love and marry, and spend time to investigate matters before you put your life on the line. The desire to be loved, romanced, cuddled, and made pregnant to have a baby can be overwhelming obsessive for some women especially when they are approaching or have passed 30 years of age, to the point that they simply “swallow anything that comes by” out of anxiety and frustration.
Men must know that no woman will be able to sincerely love, admire, respect, support, and live with a dishonest man. Let us learn to tell the whole truth to each other.
- Mutual financial plan --- There should be an established agreement between the man and woman from the beginning as to how they are going to manage the work and the finances of the family. They should even discuss plans for emergency situations.
- Exploration of talents and capabilities --- The man and woman should explore their talents, backgrounds, and ambitions, and find out how to encourage and support each other for job and career development.
- Financial discipline --- They must learn to control their purchasing desires, and work hard to get rid of bad spending habits. These financial deficiency areas can bring contention and arguments, but the man and his wife must recognize and understand that they have agreed to join their lives together in order to allow the relationship to shape each other’s character, including financial discipline.
- Make a budget and set priorities --- The husband and wife should write down their priorities and rank the items in order of importance, including financial assistance for parents, in-laws, other family members, their church or organizations, and friends. Always ensure that your plans include reasonable support for God’s work. Based upon that, they should pull together all of their financial resources and make a reasonable budget for the necessities of the family, ensuring that they cut their coat according to their size in all wisdom and humility.
- Savings and investment --- Before the coming of Eve (the wife), God ensured that Adam (the husband) had “gold in his garden” hidden in the earth, which to me, represents savings and investment (Genesis 2:11, 12). Any man who does not believe in savings and investment, or disciplines himself to do so, is a terrible man to marry. A woman who does not also know how to save money or invest for profit and future use is a horribly wasteful wife to live with as well.
- Time management and lucrative labor --- If the man (or woman) has a vocation which takes most or all of his time (e.g. Pastor, Evangelist, Religious Leader, Politician, Doctor, Businessman, Volunteer, etc.), and which does not go with any fixed salary or allowance, then it must be carefully planned by both of them in the best interest of the whole family. You cannot simply live by unfounded faith for God’s supply, or operate by expectation of fortune to come your way optimistically. We must distinguish between blind (baseless) faith and enlightened zeal. Thorough knowledge is important for any zeal to be enlightened and productive, so we need to learn and know exactly what we are doing, and the intended or unintended consequences involved. We cannot claim to be doing God’s work, helping our community or nation, or assisting others, but doing so at the expense of our family life which is our primary work and responsibility. Sometimes such claims are dishonest, ego-promotion, and lazy excuses to dodge or shirk our marriage, home, and family responsibilities in an unwise and uncaring manner!
- Your own family first --- The husband and his wife should not live to please any man; their family must be first on the list of their financial priorities. They should never become slack in their work, ambitiously or foolishly engage in gigantic ventures, or slavishly labor for others at the detriment of their families. This is particularly important when the man or woman is trying to please his or her parents, boss, brothers and sisters, uncle, aunt, or close friends. Older folk who help children through their education should not put any heavy burdens on the children when they grow and are working. Some family members and friends will not let others marry without being meddlers and controllers in those marriages. They can mislead the husband or wife into business transactions and activities that significantly weaken the family bond, damage the finances, and ultimately wreck the marriage.
Some married ladies have teamed up with other ladies to travel and trade, and have neglected their husbands and children. Some men have done the same harm with reckless plans and activities. We should all learn to balance outside associations and family commitments properly, backed by wisdom, decency, truth, discipline, and godliness.
If you decide to team up with anyone to work or invest, then it is appropriate to:
- Discuss it with your spouse,
- Seek for expert advice, do all the investigations you can, and come to a common agreement before you start.
- Do critical evaluation from time to time, and examine how productive your ventures are financially, physically, socially, emotionally, morally, and mentally.
- Admit if the work has adverse effects on your health or reputation, and if you have to suspend it or quit altogether. It may be hindering, for example, childbearing or child training, time with your spouse, devotion to God, your morals and integrity, or could be eroding your love for your spouse and family. If you discover anything negative, then you need to strategize and reposition yourself for proper balance or change.
- Learn to accept humble duties when necessary --- You may not always get what you want or what you deserve, but “the single corn seed must learn to die as it germinates, in order to grow and bear hundreds of corn seeds.” Learn how to begin in a small way and grow your finances. Faith and humility can propel you to heights that others have struggled in vain to attain. Remember, however, that the most important ingredient in faith is patience. God clearly tells us that patience is a fruit of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), which you cultivate after allowing the Spirit of Jesus to fill and control your heart, and growing spiritually through continual dependence upon God’s word and prayer for daily guidance and empowerment.
Copyright January 2001 (Revised February 2009) Rev. Dr. Samuel A. Kisseadoo, President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Phone 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 firstname.lastname@example.org