I will finish up the wife’s part in making a home, with excerpts from J.R. Miller’s book, Home-Making. Today’s post is about how a woman handles her work at home.
“The good wife is a good housekeeper. I know well how unromantic this remark will appear to those whose dreams of married life are woven of the fancies of youthful sentiment, but these frail dreams of sentiment will not last long amid the stern realities of life, and then that which will prove one of the rarest elements of happiness and blessing in the household will be housewifely industry and diligence.
It may be put down as a positive rule, whether among the rich or the poor, whether in a palace or in a cottage, that the wife who would be happy, and make her home happy and permanently beautiful, must work with her hands at the housewifely tasks which the days in turn bring to her.”
In other words, good breakfasts, dinners and suppers, a well-kept house, order, system, promptness, punctuality, good cheer—far more than any young lovers dream—does happiness in married life depend upon such commonplace things as these.
Bad housekeeping will soon drive the last vestige of romance out of any home.
In one of his Epistles St. Paul gives the counsel that young wives should be “workers at home,” as the Revisers have put it, signifying that home is the sphere of the wife’s duties, and that she is to find her chief work there.
There are many who are free to serve in public charities, in caring for the poor, for the sick in hospital wards, for the orphaned and the aged. There are few women who cannot do a little in some one or more of these organizations of Christian beneficence.
But it should be understood that for every wife the first duty is the making and keeping of her own home. Her first and best work should be done there, and till it is well done she has no right to go outside to take up other duties. She is to be a “worker at home.” She must look upon her home as the one spot on earth for which she alone is responsible, and which she must cultivate well for God if she never does anything outside. For her the Father’s business is not attending Dorcas societies and missionary meetings, and mothers’ meetings, and temperance conventions, or even teaching a Sunday-school class, until she has made her own home all that her wisest thought and best skill can make it. There have been wives who in their zeal for Christ’s work outside have neglected Christ’s work inside their own doors. They have had eyes and hearts for human need and human sorrow in the broad fields lying far out, but neither eye nor heart for the work of love lain about their own feet. The result has been that while they were doing angelic work in the lanes and streets, the angels were mourning over their neglected duties within the hallowed walls of their own homes. While they were winning a place in the hearts of the poor or the sick or the orphan, they were losing their rightful place in the hearts of their own household. Let it be remembered that Christ’s work in the home is the first that He gives to every wife, and that no amount of consecrated activities in other spheres will atone in this world or the next for neglect or failure there. (Home-Making, pp. 62-68)
Okay, I am sure if any women are still reading this blog you want to flog me right now. Remember, I didn’t write this, I am quoting J.R. Miller, but pray and ask God to reveal if there is any Biblical truth in his words.
Tomorrow I will give husbands and wives a break and tell you what J.R. Miller says about the children in a home and what their duties are.