Sunday, June 16, 2013

Great Series on Breadwinning WIves

Recently, Mary Kassian posted a rather disturbing article on working women who make more than their husbands, which you can read here. It's sad, really.

Anyway, in trolling the internets, I came upon a really fantastic response by From Two To One- it's a four post series, actually.

Here's an excerpt from the response:

A husband is not less of a man if his wife earns more than he does, just as a wife is not more of a woman if her husband earns more than she does. Kassian’s view turns marriage into a power struggle between men and women, which is deemed God-honoring only when the husband wins.

As much as complementarians like Kassian want to label their vision for the world as “biblical” or “true,” what she does in this post is one of the least biblical, least true approaches to marriage: Kassian treats marriage as a transaction rather than a sacred union of two people becoming one. Taken to its logical end, Kassian’s argument that it’s the “man’s responsibility to be the provider for his family” because they are “wired to bear the primary weight of that responsibility” and “women aren’t,” a marriage in which the male is the primary breadwinner and the female the primary keeper of the home (even if she works or contributes in some way), is essentially transactional more than relational. He provides; she receives.

Kassian’s dichotomization of man/provider and woman/recipient essentially reduces the marital relationship between husband and wife to prostitution: the man provides money to the woman in exchange for sexual and domestic services. 

The logic end of this grossly oversimplified dichotomization is a sexual economics and ethics based on power differentials rooted in money. Since money is a proxy and conduit of power in most, if not all, societies, whoever controls the money has the ability to have more power in the relationship. Of course, this is absolutely not a necessity, and there are many, many relationships that fit a traditional male provider/female caregiver role that do not fall into this transactional trap. But this sexual economics essentially is a religiously and legally condoned framework in which husbands are granted access to their wives' bodies and labor in return for economic provision.

This is not what God intended when proclaiming that the two will become one. 

Marriage is not meant to be a transaction, a hierarchy of he provides and she receives. It is meant to be a relationship of mutual love, affection, and commitment. Marriage is a sacred union if you’re a Christian, a sacrament if you’re Catholic. From this Christian perspective, who brings home the bacon is less of an issue since both husband and wife are providing for each other and the family.

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