Bread winner and Jam winner
I heard an interesting conversation between a young couple with whom I stayed in US. The Indian couple may not have realized, I was listening to their interesting conversation. Both of them work outside home and were earning a handsome salary. They were blessed with a son who was going to school. They owned a beautiful home and two cars. The conversation was somewhat like this:
Wife: Please come and help me in the kitchen.
Husband: I have other things to do. Kitchen job is woman’s job, better you do it yourself.
Wife: You are not the only ‘bread winner’. If you are the bread winner, then I am also a ‘jam winner’.
Husband: So what? Should I come and help in kitchen?
Wife: Yes. If I am the ‘home maker’ then you become ‘associate home maker’.
Grudgingly, husband went into kitchen to help his wife.
Division of labour
In the traditional society, there was a clear division of labour. The husband had the sole responsibility of being the bread winner. He had to work hard outside the home and bring in enough income to feed and care for the whole famly. The woman’s role was within the home. She was the sole home maker taking care of household works like cooking, washing, cleaning and nurturing the children. However, now with the employment opportunity increasing for women outside the home, more women opts for a career. As professionals the women work hard outside home, and bring in a handsome pay.
However, the expectation and perceptions with regards to woman has not changed. The professional women are expected to come back home and start doing the household work, while men could come home and relax. That means, women have to put in more time of labour while men have more time for leisure. There is an increasing ‘leisure gap’ between them.
Ego and Laziness
It is generally understood that the men from South Asia ought not do any household jobs related to cooking, cleaning or washing. They have the idea implanted in their minds from childhood. If they happen to do these things, it is considered as an assault on their dignity and masculine identity. Even if they come out of this mindset, they prefer to be lazy as that is convenient. However, there are many Christians who even have a doctrine that women should not work outside home. The Blessed wife described in Proverbs chapter thirty-one is a professional woman.
Loving means sharing
Paul commands husbands to love their wives (Eph 5:25). Loving like Christ means to share the burden of the wife. It is not possible to offer help for the spouse in their work place/profession. The possible arena of sharing is only work at home (cooking and others) and that is related to home (shopping and others). The model of love is the sacrificial love demonstrated by Lord Jesus Christ. The sacrificial love is anti-dote for ego and laziness.
The work both are doing is not for the other, but for the whole family for the Glory of God. If that is the purpose, there are no ego clashes, laziness but unity of purpose. While women are expected to make sacrifice for the family in the traditional society, Bible demands men make sacrifice for the family as commanded by Paul.