If you’re on social media, you may have seen TikTok videos or other references to the term “tradwife.” If you haven’t heard this term before, a tradwife is a woman who considers herself to be living out the traditional role of a wife in the home.
She stays home to do the cleaning, cooking, and childcare while her husband goes to work. Many tradwife social media influencers are inspired by the 1950s both in their style and in their home values.
In the last few years, tradwife influencers have been the subject of quite a bit of controversy. I don’t think anyone is upset that these women love to cook, clean, and care for their families. But some women feel the tradwives are putting the stay-at-home lifestyle on a pedestal and devaluing wives and moms who work outside the home.
So, how should Christians approach this topic?
The tradwife movement: 3 questions
I’m pretty new to the tradwife conversation, but a lot has already been said on the topic from people of varying values and perspectives. Rather than taking a side, I’d like to pose three questions we can all consider as we think about the #TradWife movement.
1. Is a traditional view the same as a biblical view?
“Traditional” roles in marriage have been controversial among women for quite some time. Even the way we define “traditional” differs from person to person, culture to culture.
So, is the traditional view of a woman’s role the same as the biblical view? Not necessarily. Both the traditional view and the biblical view place importance on a woman’s role in the home. But even in this similarity, there are two beliefs from tradition that are not taught in the Bible:
a. Traditionally, wives have been treated as the lesser contributor.
The tradwife movement’s return to 1950s values has created fear in some women that it could promote sexism.
Many women feel disturbed by the idea of submission, and who could blame them? History is full of known and unknown examples of the mistreatment of women by domineering men. But these come from the tragic abuse of power, not from biblical submission.
The Hebrew word “ezer,” meaning “helper,” is used 21 times in the Old Testament. It’s used when a Psalmist is crying out to God for deliverance (Psalm 115:9-11; 121:1-2), when God is defending Israel (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:26-29), when mentioning nations that are without aid (Hosea 13:9; Ezekiel 12:14), and at woman’s creation (Genesis 2:18, 20).
Think about the last time you really needed help with something. Did you think, “Let me call someone who is much less competent than I am?” I doubt it. I imagine you called someone strong, capable, and qualified. Even though God gave Adam authority, He created Eve to be a reliable counterpart, adding value to the world with her unique contribution as woman.
In Ephesians 5:22-33, husbands and wives are each given commands for how to treat one another. A wife submits to her husband out of respect for his leadership. And a husband submits to the Lord and loves his wife as well as he loves himself. The distinction of men and women was not intended to create a power struggle but to capture the rich love of Christ, who gave Himself to the church.
b. Tradition and the tradwife movement emphasize a woman’s role is to be exclusively in the home.
Scripture makes it clear that women have much to contribute to their homes and that this is a significant role. But the Bible also offers examples of women serving outside their homes.
We see this in examples like the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. This woman is described as working hard at home and outside the home. She takes care of her home and family (verse 27-28), invests in land for gardening, helps the needy, and runs her own business.
Luke 8:1-3 gives an example of women being involved in Jesus’ ministry:
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
2. How can I use my influence for good?
Most people, especially women, have a deep desire to be seen and loved. It can play out in our relationships, our careers, and especially in the areas we most want to have influence.
Some tradwife influencers are using their channels to be self-promoting, documenting their day of working through a laundry list of homemaking tasks and acts of kindness for their husbands and children.
I love that women are investing in their homes and families and encouraging others to do the same. But real talk: Stay-at-home-mom life cannot be Pinterest-perfect all the time. We can learn all the best cooking and cleaning tips, but what we need most is to see how Jesus is meeting others when life isn’t so glamorous. When the juice spills, the kids don’t listen, and chores are left unfinished.
Whether it’s on social media or at work, church, or home, your influence gives you both the potential and the responsibility to shape someone’s character. If we highlight our homes, routines, and outfits, we’re communicating that these are the most important values. Even if we highlight our families, we can miscommunicate that a “good family” never fights, always smiles, and has children who always behave. Let’s commit to making a difference through authenticity and relationship.
3. What does it look like to be for all women?
Jesus empowered women in a culture that devalued women. Throughout His ministry, Jesus used His power to uplift women who were outcasts in society.
In Making Room for Leadership, MaryKate Morse examines how Jesus empowered a woman cast out for her sin in front of religious leaders:
The woman’s position at Jesus’ feet was a social gesture of complete service. No doubt some of the other guests snickered and some were offended, but most would have marveled at Jesus’ response … Jesus’ honor covered the shame of the woman. He showed his acceptance of her gesture of love and faithfulness.
In another situation, Jesus empowered a woman cast out as ceremonially unclean due to her prolonged bleeding. He healed her and publicly acknowledged her as “daughter.” He also went against the cultural norms to tell a Samaritan woman how she and her community could receive salvation and to have Mary Magdalene be the first to witness His resurrection. Jesus went against tradition by honoring marginalized women.
Will the true feminist please stand up?
One critic responded to tradwives’ claims of being “true feminists” for staying at home with: “We gave women the choice – that’s the point!” The irony for me is that this statement comes in a critique of women who choose the tradwife lifestyle. Honestly though, I don’t see women on either side being very accepting of lifestyles that differ from their own.
In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul addresses a controversy over what constitutes godly behavior. The Corinthians disagreed about whether it’s right or wrong to eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul explains it’s not about the behavior but the belief behind the behavior. He encourages people to form their own convictions and not put others in a position where they will compromise their beliefs. For, “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do” (verse 8).
In the same way, the Bible gives clear commands in certain areas (the husband’s leadership and the wife’s submission) and freedom in other areas (women working outside of the home). We are no better or worse for our decisions in those other areas, so long as our intentions are to worship God.
We say we’re arguing in the name of women’s rights, but is casting judgment going to win anyone to either side? And is it more important than caring for other women?
Whether you’re a tradwife, a working mom, or somewhere in between, I encourage you to live that out to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
 Found using the Strong’s Index search tool on NetBible.org.
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Alex McMurray is a content writer for FamilyLife at Cru headquarters in Orlando. She graduated from Cedarville University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a concentration in child and family studies. She grew up in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania with her parents and older brother. In her free time, she enjoys having deep conversations over coffee, playing board games, and adventuring outdoors.