4 Tips for Defining Your Roles as Husband and Wife

Do you know that some of the conflict that happens between husband and wife comes about when we misunderstand our roles? Different couples may have different perspectives about what is expected of them. This may come about from our different worldviews, as well as unclear expectations.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not talking about stereotypes about husbands and wives. We’re not advocating that only the husband can have a day job, or that only the wife should do the cooking or house cleaning. Instead, we’re looking at the larger principles of how husbands and wives can be clear on the roles they expect to play and from their partner.

For example, in our family, Daniel is the visionary, while I have the strength of implementing and executing the little details. This is one way that our natural strengths contribute to the strength of our marriage.

In this post, we hope to share some of the most typical roles that husbands and wives play for a harmonious marriage relationship.

When we discover our strengths, we are able to use these for the benefit of our relationship and our family.
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4 Tips for Agreeing on Your Roles as Husband and Wife

Let’s take a look at some of these tips: 

1. Understand your context.

In the old days, the husband tended to be the sole provider of the house and the wife stayed at home. For example, during the hunting-gathering societies, clearly, the physical strength of the man assigned him the role of hunter, and the wife the gatherer.

Then, in the farming age, the bulk of the male meant that he would be tilling the ground and doing much of the hard labour related to growing their food, while the wife might be helping around the vegetable garden, and feeding and taking care of the animals.

But most often, those kinds of living arrangements are long gone—unless, of course, you’re among the rising number of homesteading families learning to live off their own land! In the case of the majority, double income households have become quite common, with the wives building successful careers alongside their husbands.

All this to say that, one important key to remember in setting your different roles in the household as husband and wife is that you understand your specific context. Are you both working? Is the wife earning more than the husband, and you’re both happy about it? All these different arrangements can work, as long as you are both fine with it and are willing to talk about it.

2. Discover and maximise your strengths.

Next, after understanding the specific context for your marriage, it’s time to discover your individual strengths. I mentioned in the introductory story that in our case, Daniel loves dreaming of new things to do, but most of the time, I’m the one able to work out the little details to put it into action.

Since we were able to discover our strengths, we can then use these for the benefit of our relationship and our family.

3. Be flexible when change is needed.

Just because you’ve found your different strengths doesn’t mean you stick with them forever! Throughout the years, both of you might learn new things or discover new interests. Or, sometimes life happens that require a bit of change.

For example, I’m the main chef in the family, not just because I’m the wife, but because I love cooking (and Daniel can only fry an egg!). But we know other couples where the husband is the one who cooks, or both of them. Anyway, when I get sick, or when I’m traveling and Daniel is the one left at home, he doesn’t go, “Hey, this is your role!” Instead, he finds ways to provide meals for the family, whether that’s to try his hand at cooking or ordering takeaway.

4. Stay in constant communication.

Then, once you have agreed on your different roles, we recommend staying in constant communication. That way, you’re both aware when you need to make adjustments, whether temporary or more long-term.

For example, even though I said that Daniel is usually the visionary, I was actually the one who first broached the subject of fostering and adoption to him. Our family has been dramatically changed by what started off as one small, curious prodding, and all because we were open to discuss taking steps like that.

Understanding Our Roles as Husbands and Wives


Knowing what is expected from us in the context of marriage helps us know what to work towards. Our goal is to focus on our own individual roles, and not to worry too much about whether our spouse is fulfilling his or her role towards us; it’s their responsibility, and our job is to make sure we meet our side of the relationship.

The more we pour our strengths into our marriage relationship, we believe it can move us towards a greater closeness with our spouse.

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