Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Saga of a “Not-So-Desperate” Housewife (Part 1)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 NASB

“You iron his shirts?” The teenager in my Sunday school class hopped onto her soapbox. “I’ll never iron my husband’s clothes. He can do it himself.”

My example of ironing shirts lit the 15-year-old up, as it probably would many young women. Jesus wasn’t talking about being a slave to another and neither was I. The point I was trying to make was “if you love another, you’ll do what they ask you to do.”

Last week I shared my review of “So You What to be a Stay-at-Home Mom,” which spawned a need to share a few things I’ve learned as a Stay-at-Home Woman (wife and mother) for more than 35 years. However, I don’t want to stun you as I did my SS student.

Lesson One: It ain’t easy

Key definitions:
Housewife = someone married and committed to the care of a house
Homemaker = someone dedicated to creating a family sanctuary
Helpmate = a constant, consistent partner, cheerleader, best friend

Even before our wedding vows, and way before our first baby, my husband and I decided my job title would be housewife. My mother was a housewife, however, I had no idea—no definition of what it meant.

Mind you, this was at a time when the women’s lib movement was riding its second ardent wave. Women not only went to college but dreamed of high-level careers, and considered the title of housewife as demeaning. And so the battle for my role as a housewife began on the playing field with a powerful opponent.

Typically the role involves cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry. None of which I truly knew how to do. I only knew my mother did them but she hadn’t taught me and I hadn’t paid close attention. My husband, on the other hand, had been taught by his mother.

With my patient new husband, I learned on-the-job. He showed me how to clean a toilet and mop a floor. With his help, some remembrances from my 8th grade Home Ec class, and my most precious asset—the red-and-white Better Homes and Garden cookbook—I accomplished the skill of cooking. I began to make menus, clip coupons, read store ads, and pick out fresh meats and produce. The back side of detergent as well as most washing machines instructed me on doing laundry. Because I knew how to sew, I knew how to iron.

The first couple of years weren’t easy to ignore the debasing murmurs of society, but I worked hard at my new position in life. I was never desperate, bored, or miserable; in fact, it gave me great joy. My house wasn’t the cleanest—no white glove inspections for me. I would never win a cooking contest, but my simple, edible meals sustained us. I could starch and iron heavy 100% cotton fatigues, yet didn’t love ironing. My husband was pleased. I was fulfilling my role of housewife, which was all that mattered
…or was it?

God sent more coaches (lots of them) to guide me to the level of homemaker.

In the next few weeks, I’ll explain how we, as a very young couple, derived at the decision for me to be a stay-at-home-wife.I’ll share how I went from novice housewife to experienced homemaker and loyal helpmate. And, I'll suggestion ways for you to be a stay-at-home-woman, wife, mother.

Please, share your comments, experiences, or ask questions below.


  1. Hello!
    This is such an encouraging post.
    I could learn a thing or two about being dedicated to create a family sanctuary.

    1. Thank you, Michelle. God bless you on your journey to create a family sanctuary.

  2. Great post!My mother said about dusting, "Give it a lick and promise you'll do it better next time." Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you, Janet. I love you mom's philosophy! Keep pressin' on toward the goal. God bless

  3. Exactly right, when we love someone we want to do things for them. There is no slavery involved at all. Admittedly I don't do the ironing in this household though. It's the one chore I'm not a fan of. My hubby knows this and doesn't mind.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. I don't do much ironing anymore; I'm not a big fan of it either. God bless you in what you do do to show your love and support.

  4. I really enjoy this post Merrie. What I is so nice about this story of yours is that you made an adult decision with your partner as to what and how things would be done in your household. I do not believe that any particular "job" is designated to be husband or wife - it is as the two people involved decide as you had. Thank you for your encouragement; for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you. You're absolutely right about there are not particular jobs for the husband or wife, but oh, those first few years of determining who will do them can be tricky. The bottom line is, someone has to do those household chores or your home will never become the safe place to land at the end of the day. God bless you in your endeavors.

  6. I iron my husband's shirts too because I don't mind it. Each couple has to divide up the chores in a way that is acceptable to them not society. And you're right if there is true love you will do just about anything for that person.

    1. Even though we shouldn't let society dictate to us, it can be hard to shut out the critical, belittling comments made for such choices. Thank you for sharing your thoughts...and being a fellow "iron-er."

  7. I very much appreciate this post, however, I want to add a different perspective to being a housewife. Please note that I am not dismissing the idea of being a true housewife that is 100% devoted to you family as a bad idea. That would be a misunderstanding - if you do understand what I am about to say that way..
    I used to be the "good" housewife (everything you have described above was my duty), but, in the end it didn't matter. My husband at the time divorced me.
    I have since gotten remarried and due to my experience the first time (and hints that it was going to happen again) about a year into the marriage, I decided to go on "strike".
    I did nothing for him except follow my heart.
    Because my husband must have truly loved me, he endured my strike for a good year (or maybe even close to two)-without complaints.
    After realizing that my husband must truly love (or he would have left me) - my heart led me to being a typical housewife that takes care of him, while he goes to work (when he wants) and pays the absolutely necessary bills, rent and small stipend for food.
    And we both end up doing exactly what we really want to do, and we don't even care about what the other is not doing - because we both know that in our marriage, loving the other means giving them the option of doing whatever makes them happy and if that means that my husband is not going to work enough to make money so that I can take a trip to Rome or get a maid, than so be it..I still know that he loves me. If I decide to ignore the house and not cook for him for a few months...he doesn't care, he hugs and loves me for who I am.
    But I want to cook and clean for him, because it makes me feel good and he wants to pay the bills because he doesn't want to be homeless.
    And being divorced from a completely different type of situation, I truly appreciate this arrangement.
    I just want to say once more that I am in no way challenging anyone to who has a "better" marriage. I am just offering a different perspective :)!

    1. I appreciate your story "Peaceful Controversy, and that out of your love you & your husband invested in your marriage relationship. As I said, "it's not easy." May God continue to grow your love. Thanks!

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  9. What a great post, Merrie! I feel kinda outnumbered here, but I will add that the philosophy of being a "helpmate" applies to the husband as well.

    Granted, I am not a professional ironer. But we both work, like so many couples are forced to do these days. So I help out where I can, as does she.

    I'm proud to say that this formula has worked for almost twenty years.

    Nice to meet you! I found you through Lynda's BBQ event.
    Peace and blessings~~

    1. Bryce, I love hearing the male perspective. I did not succeed at this position without the love, support, and understanding husband. Thank you for jumping in and sharing. And wasn't Lynda's virtual BBQ awesome?! God bless you and yours.


Thank you for your thoughts and comments...God bless you