Mom and Dad, Husband and Wife

“Your dad and I have divided family responsibilities 50-50,” Mom would tell us kids. “I make all the small decisions, and he makes all the big decisions. I decide what jobs to take, what cities to live in, what houses to buy. He decides who gets to be president and whether or not we go to war.”

No, Mom was not subtly suggesting that she had my dad under her thumb. Dad was no dishrag. My young backside gave proof of that! Instead, Mom and Dad made decisions together.

Even in the 1950s, I was growing up in a household that modeled partnership and mutual respect in a marriage. Yes, they were traditional in that my mom didn’t work outside the home, but she was a strong, mature, wise, loving person who my dad respected and listened to.

But there’s something else you should know about my dad. He was a confirmed bachelor for forty-six years. He had decided he would not get married because he had never seen a happily married couple. And as he told us, the reason for the unhappiness was always money.

So when my mom won him over and they got married, he decided to never let money be an issue between them. That meant two things for him. First, he would always try to make enough money so that it didn’t have to be a problem. But second, he was never going to argue about money with mom regardless of how much money they did or didn’t have.

How did this work out in practice? I will give you one example. Once my mom and dad were at a store and my mom showed him two purses she liked. Since she couldn’t decide between them, she asked dad which one she should buy. Of course one was more expensive than the other.

Without hesitation, my dad said, “Buy both.”

Extravagance wasn’t the lesson I got from this episode or from watching my parents for decades. After all, they had both lived through the Depression, and frugality was baked into my DNA.

No, what I learned was how a husband and wife can function together, how they can make decisions together, and how right and good it can be for a husband and wife to defer to each other.

Within some Christian circles today, this is not always the way things are viewed. But even though my father was not a religious person, as I looked more closely at Scripture in the years ahead, I found out how close both of them were to a truly biblical perspective.

What is that perspective? Stay tuned. I’ll take that up at my next installment in this new series of posts.

Image by Mohammed Ryad Hossain Salman from Pixabay

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

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