My mentor is very active in the kitchen not as a palliative for not being able to provide for his family. God flows through him to provide very actively and sufficiently for everyone including his wife. He is active because he recognises every work in his home is primarily his. His wife is only sent to help and often the helper needs help herself. As the occasion demands, he steps in to help his helper.
The flip side is equally valid: even if your husband cannot provide (or you’re the major source of the provision), that’s not the reason why you won’t manage the home and the kitchen on his behalf as help to his life. Your cooking and home keeping is not a correlative to his provision. You do all of that as an apostle (a sent one with a special assignment) from the Lord to his life. The Lord is your employer and you ought to fix your gaze on Him for your pay and not your husband.
Eventhough home keeping and cooking is a great work, usually God has given the man a greater work to do. It is the man who is usually the lead-executor of the vision of God for the marriage. The vision can be that of founding an evangelical ministry that will touch the whole world or building a business, a school, organisation or any special work in the purpose of God. Building an evangelical ministry from the corner of your heart until it becomes an international household name with great impact for instance is not a mean work that you can imagine is less than the work of cooking meals and keeping the home.
Our women unfortunately usually exaggerate the work in the kitchen without being mindful of the bigger task of vision execution which the men are always expected to lead. But when the vision becomes prosperous, the successful woman beside the successful man is the first and greatest beneficiary.
I am lead executor of the vision God has given myself and Iyebiye. A large chunk of the vision was given to me before I ever met her. She’s coming in to help execute those visions with me. We added her own visions and made it one vision but certainly my original vision is the one primarily providing the direction and being the bigger umbrella under which hers have been subsumed. This is usually the way it works from biblical standpoint. Now, the vision (our merged vision) is huge. Converting those big visions into reality as lead-executor will require that I spend hours in my study studying, praying, writing books; then preaching sermons, handling administrations, organising protest marches, attending political meetings and traveling all over the place. I may not be available in the kitchen as frequently as I am today. She will have to take charge for me fully.
But again there are aspects of the joint vision that are assigned to her to lead the execution on our behalf – some may even relate to the advancement of her own career. A time may come when she’s totally unavailable also. At such time, home keeping may have to be totally outsourced.
But if during those early years of building the ministry when her own hands are more available, she is the sole provider and also the sole cook, she’s not being cheated. I’m not sitting idle. This ministry that I’m labouring to build, when it prospers, we will both be eternally blessed by it even in material things (eventhough that would not have been the focus).
What I have described above was the case of that virtuous woman in Prov 31. She was the one investing, working on the business and making the money, yet she was the cook and home keeper for her children and her husband. All that was said about her husband was that “he is well known at the gates when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” It would appear as though the woman was being cheated. It would appear as if the woman was the one running up and down while her husband was merely “sitting” idle at the gates.
But I wish you know what “the gate” in that scripture represents. It represents the “entrance” to the mountains of influence which are the strongholds that control nations and the governing culture of people’s lives: the gates of politics/government, business/economy, arts and entertainment, education, media, Religion, etc. He is sent to conquer those gates for Jesus. There are principalities occupying the top of those gates/mountains which he must dismantle before he can take the mountain for Jesus. It is no small assignment. Of course you’re both called to do it, but he is the lead executor and though sometimes a woman may appear to be the lead executor of a work, it must have been with the delegated authority of her husband (if she’s a correct and godly woman) who has recognised her gift to do certain things better and has willingly delegated her to take the lead in those areas. A good example is Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth, that great woman in the Bible.
If the man is not available to assist in the home because he is focused on taking any of these mountains, you would have fulfilled your mission to his life by releasing him to do the work without distraction while you stabilise his home on his behalf. This must be the understanding of the virtuous woman why she practically took upon herself the task of making money for the family and also raising the children while her husband focused on conquering the giants AT THE GATES.
The reason why what I’m raising is not apparent is because a lot of men are absent in the place of their assignment. They are really not executing any special assignment from God. They work just for money. They go to work and come back just as their wife goes to work and comes back. If that’s the nature of your own home or the one you’re planning to build, then there is no possible reason why the man should not be permanently involved in home keeping with his wife. Why? Because he will be as available as his wife unlike a man who is busy at the gates. And availability is the rule of the game here. Whoever is more available at any given time should keep the home.
I think that it is the recognising of the fact that the lead-executor responsibility is usually on the man that has made the Bible put the responsibility of cooking, care for the children and home keeping on the woman as her own contribution so the man can focus “at the gates”. (Proverbs 31:15, 21& 27, Proverbs 14:1, Titus 2:5). However as we have noted earlier, she does all of these still as a help for the man who is the primary owner of all the work. He ought to be grateful for this help and should as occasion demands step in to do his own work.
Aside lead executor (which is enough work on its own), the man is spiritual head and collects bullets in the spirit for his family. He is protector and so puts his life on the line to keep his family safe. He is sanctifier and so must be skillful in the word of God which is the tool for sanctification in order to present his wife and children spotless before God. Even when provision finishes in his home, we will expect him being the leader to take lead-responsibility for tapping the resources from the Lord.
For women whose partners are at the gates executing a specific assignment for God and who are taking charge of these other responsibilities which God has given to a man, do you think cooking and home keeping is more demanding? If you think so, maybe we should exchange the roles. ?
There are however situations whereby the woman is called to be actively at the gates herself, the man in such situation will have to play the stabilising role. It must still be deemed that the work being done by the woman is his work while the woman is still his helper eventhough she’s really the visible person in the work. God always calls a couple into a single assignment. Eventhough it sometimes appears as though the assignments are several and contradictory, it must be seen as one assignment with several components for the sake of oneness. In Genesis 2 which is the locus clasicus for marriage, God gave Adam and Eve just one assignment. All other marriages must follow this pattern to align with God’s perfect will.
For further details on the dynamics of aligning visions between a couple, read my article WHO HELPS WHO using this link:
The series on financial agreement continues next week. Don’t miss it.
Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye.