“By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.” (Genesis 3:19)
Since the day this curse was spoken men have felt the tug of war between work and marriage. The time strain that pulls us in different directions and toward different priorities. If we don’t deal with this strain in the right way it can destroy your marriage and family at the same time that you are working yourself to the bone trying to provide for them.
In the “curse” in Genesis 3 God assigned men a task and women a relationship. This forever cemented men’s struggle to providing for the ones they love while being in relationship with them. Since that time, men’s sense of purpose, belonging, and identity is often found in their work.
If you ask any guy to describe themselves, somewhere within the first three sentences will be what they do for a living. A man’s job becomes a basic part of their self-concept. By saying “I work at…” We are, in essence answering the question, “Who are you?”
Love it or Leave it!
In this difficult economy there are many men who are stuck working at a place they can’t stand. Even men in these difficult situations, having a lousy job they are forced to go to every day, is still at the core of their identity. The only difference is that the mentioning it usually comes with a visible weight on their shoulders.
You Can’t Ignore the Curse
Every women getting ready to have a baby thinks about the fact that it is going to hurt. It is a reality of life, and all women have to face it and make some choices. Why do I mention this now? Because painful childbirth came about at the same time as a man’s need to work hard to provide for their family. (Genesis 3:16 & 19)
- Husbands, you will be emotionally pulled to work to provide for your family.
- It will be hard.
- You will have to wrestle between time providing (toil) and time in relationship.
Guys we need to understand these facts, but we also need to understand that if we don’t wrestle the natural “provider” side of us will take over. Providing is not a bad thing, but it is not the only thing.
Simply being a good provider does not mean that you are a good husband (or father for that matter). How can you find the middle ground? How can you and your wife tackle this challenge together?
Remember your ABC’s
Be honest with the fact that you feel pulled between work and family. Talk about the desires to do well at your job. Share the demands for your time at work.
When you feel that strain of being pulled between the demands at work and the demands at home, don’t shut down. Don’t try to do it all either. You won’t be able to. Acknowledge the pull and talk about it with your wife. You will be able to navigate the challenges together. It is impossible for us to find the balance without your wife’s help.
When you are not at work you are not on vacation. You cannot expect to build relationship with your wife if the only time she sees you; you are relaxing and recovering for another day of work. Do you need to relax? Yes. But you also need to be present. Make sure that she doesn’t only get your left over energy. Show her that she is important enough to get the best of you.
Communication is key. Does your wife know what is going on at work? Does she know the demands placed on you? Does she know how you are wrestling well to make sure that she has your time and energy too? If she doesn’t know then how can you expect her to help you? You cannot expect her to cut you some slack when you are working on that extra project, if she doesn’t know about it! This kind of communication actually adds to your intellectual intimacy, as you are sharing your day-to-day lives together!
Work is important, we need to be providers. But in the end you will be remembered for the relationships you had rather than the amount of money you earned!
Talk Back to Us!
Guys: How have you been able to communicate the difficult struggle between provider and husband to your wife?
Women: How have you helped your husbands to find the correct balance?
Let us know in the comments.