The meaning of equality has changed for men and women over the course of the last ten or even fifty years. Today, equality means something different to each person, but there are still some areas where men and women are not equal, especially when it comes to their marriage.
1. Equality vs Being Equal In A Marriage
What is the difference between equality and being equal in a marriage?
Well, that depends on your definition of equality.
A husband and a wife will never be equal in the sense of being the same.
They are two completely different people with different strengths and weaknesses.
However, they can be achieve equality together in the sense of having the same value, importance, and worth.
When two spouses demand a marriage to be equal (50-50 split of household chores, financial contributions, childcare, and more) they drive contention and resentment straight into the heart of where their love should be for each other.
Demanding equality in marriage is like focusing on all of the things your spouse isn’t doing, instead of expressing gratitude and recognizing the things your spouse is doing for your relationship and home.
There will never be an equal marriage because each partner is different from each other.
Equality in marriage is the central focus of husbands and wives loving one another, supporting each other in their endeavors, and making life easier for the other person.
In a true married relationship, the independence of both husband and wife will have an equal balance.
Their dependence for each other will create a lasting role as they help each other fulfill their mutual obligations towards each other.
Equality is recognizing that both partners have different roles and being willing to help work together as a team.
2. Husbands And Wives Are Not The Same
Husband’s and wives are not the same.
A husband brings a unique perspective to the table as a male, and a wife brings her own unique perspective as a female.
Both perspectives are important in marriage because they offer different insights and angles on any given topic.
It is important for couples to ask questions, to be open to hearing each other out and not shutting down the moment their spouse offers a differing opinion.
Husbands should also be aware that their words and actions have a greater impact on their wife than they do on other males.
Likewise, wives should be aware that their words and actions have a greater impact on their husband than they do on other females.
This isn’t to say that husbands and wives should walk on eggshells around each other, but they should be aware of the power their words and actions carry.
3. God Gave Both Partner’s Different Roles
When my husband and I were first married he told me I wasn’t his equal.
I sarcastically responded, “Thank God!”
He then said, “That’s what I say in my prayers too. Thank God, my wife is not my equal so I can be a better man.”
God has inherently given both husbands and wives, mothers and fathers distinct, unique, and special roles.
A husband can no more fulfill the needs of his children by “playing mother” than a wife can in taking over her husband’s responsibilities.
There is a quote by Matthew Henry that says,
“Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him,
neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him,
under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”
So, the question remains: how do you promote equality in marriage?
5 Ways to Promote Equality in Marriage
Equality will come in a marriage when both partners are focused on giving selflessly to the other.
When both partners make an effort to serve, love, and respect each other then equality will be present.
Here are five ways you can promote equality in your marriage:
1. Husband And Wife Role In Marriage
There is nothing wrong with men helping their wives with the housework and childcare.
And there is certainly nothing wrong with women helping their husbands with his responsibilities.
As husbands and wives work together in the mundane and tedious tasks there grows a sense of security and happiness in the marriage.
When a husband takes time to help his wife with the dishes, he’s telling her, “I value your time and all that you do.”
She doesn’t feel alone in the daily household chores, and this gives her a sense of being recognized and valued.
And as the wife recognizes her husband’s contribution and vocally expresses her thanks, he too feels secure in their marriage.
National Husband Appreciation Day is a day to celebrate your husband and show him how much you appreciate him. It is typically celebrated on the third Saturday in April, but the date varies from year to year. Let’s learn about this special day and how to celebrate husband appreciation day in style.
2. Stop “Gatekeeping” In Your Relationship
Gatekeeping is a term that researchers created to define a partner in a marriage who refuses to allow their spouse to help.
The spouse builds their self-worth on the work they contribute to the marriage and feels threatened when their partner tries to help.
Gatekeeping leads to dissatisfied relationships, arguing, guilt, and regret.
Gatekeeping is also very subtle and is often expressed through criticizing work one partner attempts to do.
If the spouse redo’s the work to meet their standards they alienate not only their spouse but their children as well.
To stop gatekeeping it’s important to meet as spouses and as a family.
Assign chores, make assignments, and review how things are going.
After this is done, it’s important to allow each individual the freedom to meet their assignments on their own terms before their deadline.
3. Share The Work
There is a great division within a marriage of what “work” means in the home.
If a marriage is based on traditional values, most often women are more likely to do maintain the home while men focus on being providers and protectors.
Yet, research has shown that no matter what role men and women fulfill, as couples help each other and express gratitude toward one another, the spouse recognizes their contribution.
This inevitably causes less contention in the marriage.
4. Childcare Responsibilities
Mothers spend an average of 3-5 hours actively involved in their child’s life for every hour that the father spends with the child.
Yet, mothers and fathers play a different role in each of their children’s life.
There is no way a father can have the impact that the mother can have on the child and vice versa.
It’s scientifically proven that children need both parents in order to grow and develop properly.
As fathers and mothers take the time to spend with their children, whether together, or to give one partner a little reprieve, both spouses share in this responsibility in teaching, nurturing, and rearing their children.
5. Express Gratitude
Be willing to thank your spouse for all that they do.
I learned early in my marriage that when I stopped focusing on the things my husband wasn’t doing (or that I wanted him to do), it was then that the Lord showed me the contribution my husband was already making.
When you express gratitude to your spouse they feel recognized.
And when your sweetheart says “thank you” for all of your hard work, you feel valued, appreciated, and loved.
It is clear that husbands and wives can have equality in their marriage without fulfilling equal roles.
What is important is that both spouses feel like they are contributing to the relationship in a way that is meaningful and valuable to them.
If you and your spouse are struggling to find an arrangement that works for both of you, it may be helpful to sit down and discuss what equality means to each of you.
Once you have a better understanding of each other’s perspective, you can start working together to create a partnership that meets both of your needs.
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected].
6 thoughts on “3 Reasons Husband’s and Wives Are Not Equal”
I felt there were some assumptions in this article as to what husbands ‘should’ be doing vs what wives ‘should’ be doing. Yet I agree with the content. Because I’ve been there. In my marriage, the verse in 1 Corinthians 13 about love keeps no record of wrong has really helping in clearing away/guarding against resentment due to feeling that chores were unequal. So I try not to keep track of hours spent with the children, dirty diapers changed per day, how many times I got up last night, or the balance of chores. Focusing on love and what the partner DOES do is really important.
Thank you, Stephanie for your words of wisdom. One of the many acts marriage requires of both partners is knowing and focusing on the contribution of our partner. I once read a quote that often comes to mind. The author said, if both partners focus on the well-being, happiness, and care of our spouse, there would be less divorce and more love in marriages.
Have a happy day, friend and thanks for stopping by.
Thank you for this!
I am engaged and I have been very concerned with the idea that women must submit to their husbands, and that’s inherently inequality in a marriage even though God specifically states men and women are equal. I don’t know if it is just something I misunderstood or a cultural difference between then and now.
I also want to be a protector of the family and be a provider of the family as well, and I believe that this would be part of the teamwork you spoke of. Today the wife and husband often both have to work, and I want to have a strong career. This would keep me from doing all the house work, thus my husband can aid in helping with what I cannot do.
I want to submit to God and follow him, but it’s difficult to understand the contradictions in the Bible.
I think I will leave the rest to God. He will guide me and help me have a happy, healthy marriage if I put my faith in Him.
Thank you for this, Samantha. You made my heart smile. I know as you prayerfully move forward with your marriage that God will strengthen you and your husband. Although husband’s and wives have very different roles and responsibilities, they are compatible and equal when both parties are unified. My husband often reminds me that Christ is the greatest champion of women. He first proclaimed his divine heritage to the woman at the well and then appeared first to Mary after his resurrection. Best of luck to you in your engagement and future happiness. Marriage is not easy, but I promise the friendship and relationship you forge with your spouse (even while standing together through the trials of life) will strengthen you and draw you closer to each other and to God.
I too am very thankful that my husband and I are not ‘equal’. Each of us has our own role that God intended for us. For a while, I struggled with feeling that women were less valuable in the eyes of God, but thankfully that’s not what the Bible teaches. In the eyes of God, we are equally valuable and very much loved.
I love that you bring this up. In the Hebrew translation of the Bible, the word “help meet” literally means “a helper like his opposite.” Eve was created to be Adam’s opposite but with both (Adam and Eve) being equal in task, purpose, and in standing with God.