“Never fix him breakfast. You do it once and he’ll think it’s his right!”
Many years ago, an acquaintance told me this was her mother’s advice when she got married. There couldn't have been a greater contrast between her mother's advice and some I later received from a Christian friend.
It was shortly after I accepted Christ, and I was eager to learn how to be a Christian wife. So a well-meaning Bible study sister told me a good Christian wife should fix her husband a hot breakfast each morning and warm up his car on cold days.
Dutifully the next morning, I woke up at 5am (my husband left for work at 6am). I was tired, and my active toddler and new baby would soon be demanding my full attention. But I wanted to please Christ and my husband.
While my husband Michael was eating the toast I’d prepared (all he wanted for breakfast) I slipped into the cold morning darkness and started his car (we had no garage at the time).
Michael wasn't annoyed with me, but neither was he pleased. He asked me not to get up with him again.
He wanted me to get that extra hour of sleep because he knew how exhausting mom-work was.
These two examples of advice illustrate two extremes:
1. No breakfast, no matter what = selfish and inflexible
2. Breakfast no matter what = unrealistic.
God expects us to be sacrificial, but He doesn’t expect us to bear the whole load. It's counterproductive--it wears us out. And it could even promote selfishness or unrealistic expectations in our husbands.
Marriages go through many stages…without children, with babies and toddlers…empty nest. What’s unrealistic at one stage may be realistic at another.
And different things matter to different husbands...people have different love languages. What’s important to one spouse is not to another.
The Bible doesn’t give a list of duties for the perfect Christian wife. The important thing is that we seek the Lord and communicate with our spouse about expectations.
1 Corinthians 10:23-33 may not be a perfect fit for what I’m trying to convey, but I think there is a principle that applies. Each of us should decide what is best for our marriage without judging others or trying to live up to others' expectations. As long as we are striving to do all things for the glory of the Lord, and being sensitive to our husbands, God will guide us.
“So whether you [make your husband breakfast or not], do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 my paraphrase