I have several married friends where the husband has recently retired and the wife continues to work. I’m currently in that situation, as I was required to take early retirement, so I’m really rather young, good-looking, wise beyond my years, humorous, and possess a vivid imagination – Ha-Ha, just kidding about all that, except retirement. However, I think I’ve noticed some characteristics that God means for our good and which the enemy twists to cause oppression.
Women generally have a higher need for security than men. Men generally have a higher need for affirmation and purpose or identity which is often derived, in part, from their occupation. I refer to these “needs” as felt needs because God has promised to supply all our needs in Messiah Yeshua. (2 Cor. 9:8). Irrespective of the ultimate necessity and source of fulfillment for these needs, they feel real, valid and necessary to us. One may have many actual needs and not feel any urgency or lack in a temporary absence thereof; in another even a small decline in the supply of a particular need may set off alarms.
I must point out some reservations regarding this message of encouragement. I’m not offering a fix; most things can get very complex when the details are examined. Moreover, everyone and their exact circumstances and specific intentions and motives vary. Finally, I’m no psychologist and while I find the subject interesting, on occasion, I believe it is quite limited in bringing about real and lasting health.
So here is the situation as I see it, a married man retires for whatever reason and begins to adjust to his sudden absence of gainful employment. He probably is not in dire need of the money and is willing and able to accept less income, as he no longer devotes his full-time to his vocation. His wife continues to work because she likes her work or fellow workers, and perhaps, needs the money. She begins to adjust to being the main source of employment income and having a husband that is unemployed.
These respective adjustments pull in separate ways and manifest several collateral offshoots. It is like a vast main gorge with smaller hollows feeding into it. The marriage balance, established over decades, is now stressed by these changes and the very different impact on their separate felt needs. The husband may feel useless and worthless without his occupation. The wife may feel great insecurity about their financial future. All this can result in stress, blame, accusation, withdrawal, and more in both reality and in imagination.
God’s purpose is bring us to Him together and for ever-increasing purpose, (Eph. 1:9-14; 2 Cor. 5:5), which often looks like something very different in the natural world. God wants us to rely on Him for affirmation and financial provision. The enemy seeks to divide us, creating barriers, pitting one felt need against another. Much of this is in the battlefield of the mind through false accusation, imagined fears or disaster, curses, and most of all lies.
Here is the truth:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23).