If a husband truly understands God's word, he will not hint, ask, pressure, demand or command his wife to "get a job." He is less of a man if he does, because he is expecting her to be a provider. The Christian husband is supposed to be the provider.
When the wife becomes a co- provider, she takes on the responsibilities that God has given to her husband. The man loses a piece of his masculinity and will be forever dependent on his wife's salary, and she forfeits a part of her natural womanliness by leaving the feminine concerns of the home that were designed for her by God. The husband becomes dependent upon her salary and loses his sense of urgency and drive to earn a living. (emphasis mine).
While things discussed in the comments section varied from the Royal Wedding to the Australian domestic policies, the main topic of discussion seemed to be whether the wife should obey her husband if he commands her to go to work. Lydia stated that obedience to God comes before obedience to man, and that apparently caused hurt feelings in some.
The same discussion seems to resurge quite regularly on various alternative blogs and it somehow reminds me the famous discussion on what was first, the chicken or an egg. My particular opinion is that it often depends on the situation so that I would hesitate to give advice one way or the other without knowing the details.(Giving advice on the net is in general not my speciality).The thing I want to talk about today is the attitude which some commenters who take part in those types of discussions demonstrate all too often, namely that some of them seem to think that male authority can come without male responsibility.
First of all, what exactly is marriage? Catholic Church teaches that it is a sacrament, while the various Protestant denominations don't, however, marriage has existed in various forms throughout different cultures, and if we strip it of all religious talk, and look at the matter from the purely economical point of view, marriage is a contract based on property rights, where the husband pledges to provide for the wife in exchange for having exclusive rights to her sexuality. Since traditional marriage is based on property rights, various "progressives" hate it and have been trying to subvert and destroy it for years, but that's not the topic of the present post.
The point I'm trying to make is that we simply can't have traditional marriage without the husband providing for his wife and children. His refusing to do so, negates the very basis of marriage in the same way as the wife's sexual infidelity does. In Islamic Republic of Iran, of all places, the wife can apply for divorce if the husband doesn't provide for her for more than 6 months for various reasons: "1992 amendments extend wife's access to divorce by addition of following grounds: husband's non-maintenance for up to six months for any reason..." (source.)
The law in Western countries used to acknowledge the husband as the head of the family just like it does now in Islamic countries, and the same law compelled the husband to provide not only for his wife, but also in some cases for his widowed female relatives. Jane Austen's married brothers had to provide for her and her spinster sister, in addition to caring for their own wives (that's probably where the pressure for women to marry came from, as the male family members didn't fancy being stuck with them till death do us part, in addition to providing for their own wives and children).
In the times when the Western man was the Lord of Creation he had to pay, pay and pay. As an elderly preacher who came once to preach in our church put it: "we didn't see our children. When we came home from work, they were in bed. We didn't retire, we died at work and I'm not sure whether that system was better than the one we are having now."
In addition to this, a man often was not able to marry until he could persuade the prospective bride's family that he was financially stable. Why do you think all those elopements happened otherwise? For instance, in the Netherlands even in the year 1960 neither the man nor the woman were able to marry without their parents' permission until the age of 30 (!). To quote the book on the etiquette which I have :"..the young man visits the father of the girl...and gives the account of his financial and social position and the future prospects." (translation mine).
Simply put, whatever the individual situation in every particular family, in general men being in charge also means men taking responsibility, including financially. You simply can't have it both ways. Men who expect full marital obedience from their wives and then tell them to go out and provide the income simply have no grounds to stand on. Whatever temporary difficulties any particular family should encounter, which may sometimes demand that the wife helps out financially, it's not an ideal and it never was. As a Dutch proverb puts it, the one who pays, decides.