Once upon a time, men and women went into marriage with very clear ideas about their duties and responsibilities. The husband went out to work while the wife remained home and cooked, cleaned, and brought up the children.
The responsibility of the traditional wife was to make the home a place of order, peace, and tranquility: whereas the husband came back in the evening to rejuvenate himself. However, the reality of 2018 is entirely different.
These realities mean that the responsibilities around the home have had to be revised: the husband is no longer the primary breadwinner and it is no longer realistic for the wife to do it all at home by herself.
What is the role of a husband in a marriage?
Only a handful of working parents have ‘the village’ that they need to care for their children. A woman cannot completely replicate herself while she is at work: She may pay for childcare and even a cleaning service, but that is still not enough.
Therefore, husbands have had to come in to relieve their wives at home. It is no longer enough for the 2018 husband to just ‘man’ the grill for the occasional BBQ.
Fun fact: Did you know that according to the Pew Research Poll, sharing household chores ranks as the third-highest issue associated with a successful marriage, behind only unfaithfulness and good sex?
Role as a husband
Men and women are not the same; thus, they are not interchangeable.
Even if you and your wife are capable of doing what each other can do, it does not mean that you are both capable of performing all tasks with equal fervor.
Ask your wife to draw up a list of the invisible tasks.
Be attentive to the work that needs to be done every day and do some of it.
Recognize the effort and sacrifice involved in completing the remainder of the work.
A husband cannot claim to love his wife and then watch while she toils at home after a long day at work. Even if she is a stay-at-home mum, the husband’s responsibilities are a new understanding that housework is every bit as exhausting as going out to earn an income, if not more.
Loving your wife means recognizing that she is exhausted and overwhelmed. If you love your wife, and you want her to feel loved, you will get home and slide into the second part of your day’s schedule, just like her.
Fun fact: Having a husband creates an extra seven hours of household chores a week for women, according to theUniversity of Michigan.
Remember, the point is not really to do only half the work. The marriage duty of a husband is to help his wife as much as he can. The motto should be: nobody sits until everybody sits. If there is work to be done and your wife is up, you are up too, doing what needs to be done.
Role as a father
The modern father greatly differs from the traditional married income earner and disciplinarian. He comes in various forms: employed or stay-at-home, biological, adoptive, or stepparent.
Have positive psychological adjustment effects on their children (lower levels of hostility and depression; higher self-esteem and coping with adulthood).
Improve their children’s cognitive development and functioning.
Report greater intimacy with their wives.
Further, the study showed that the role of a husband as a father in his children’s development is as great as the influence of the mother’s love. Therefore, maintaining a healthy relationship with your wife contributes significantly to your children’s health and wellbeing.
A husband must work closely with his wife to provide emotional and financial support for the children, provide appropriate monitoring and discipline, and most importantly, remain a permanent and loving presence in both his wife’s and his children’s lives.
Check out what Jordan Peterson has to say about the roles of a husband as a father:
How to be a modern husband?
1. The modern husband and provision
Most people believe that being a good provider means supporting one’s family financially. This is the reason many husbands are left insecure and confused when their wives start earning an income as well; sometimes even more than theirs.
The provision means much more than finances. A husband must also provide for the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of his family.
In the role of a husband in the modern setup, the biggest realization that you can come to is that, in addition to money, there are other currencies that you are called upon to provide for your family.
2. The modern husband and protection
Protecting your family as the role of a husband means more than being the master of your household’s alarm system, being in charge of opening the door when someone knocks at night, and shutting the household down before bed. It is beyond beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife.
You need to have your wife’s back, even if it means protecting her from your own family.
You may even have to protect your wife from your own children! Show others that you will not tolerate any disrespect towards your wife.
Beware how you speak to your wife. Like dropping a delicate piece of China, your words can break your wife permanently.
In addition, protect your wife’s self-esteem. Nobody else can make your wife feel like a supermodel despite the sagging breasts and stretch marks.
3. The modern husband and leadership
Part of being a husband is responsibility. It is realizing that you are no longer alone. You have a team that needs to be guided and protected from disunity. Effective marriages, like effective teams, need to be led with a servant-leader attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, women do not want to wear pants in the family.
Evidence indicates that despite the strides that women have made economically, most do not want to be their families’ leaders. Many wives want their husbands to lead. And what’s more, men don’t want to be led by their wives.
So, do not wait for your wife to take the initiative when there are problems in your family. Take the lead. Get in the game and create the kind of family you want instead of wasting time whining about your family’s situation. Remember, you will get the family you create, not the one you think you deserve.
4. What about sex?
Traditionally, there were clear-cut attitudes about intimacy; the man’s wishes were what counted. You do not believe that anymore, and neither does your wife. However, there is still the expectation that a husband should take leadership in a couple’s sexual lives.
You must realize that your wife is probably still inhibited by the traditional attitudes.
Always seek to add new adventures to take your sex lives to the next level. Remember, the level of satisfaction with your sex life will determine the level of satisfaction in your marriage.
At the heart of marriage problems, today are unclear expectations and contradictory goals. Shared expectations and mutual understanding of each partner’s primary goals and roles will save your marriage from dissatisfaction, arguing, and misunderstandings.
Today’s couples require communication skills to run a successful relationship. This is where your leadership comes in.
Find a way for you and your wife to communicate your needs and responsibilities openly and clearly with each other.
Create an environment where you talk about everything. You will establish a fulfilling relationship on a scale that you have never imagined.
Do not be threatened because your wife has a job or that she is out-earning you.
For a wife, the only thing that is more difficult than being a single parent and having to do all by herself is having to do everything by herself, while someone watches from the couch. It just adds anger to her tiredness.
So, a man’s role in a relationship is to make an equal investment for a happier, healthier relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Randy created the website ManageYourMan.com to help women get the most out of their marriages and husbands. He has an Advanced Diploma in Social Science and a Graduate Diploma in Technology Education. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his young family and if he’s really lucky you can find him in the garden.