A recent study made headlines (including here at The Gospel Coalition) by claiming to measure the economic value of work in the home. Although the study provides a useful reminder of the value of domestic work, it may also point to an important shortcoming in the contemporary church's understanding of work in the home and in the economy. Financial service company Investopedia added up what it would cost to hire someone to do cooking, cleaning, child care, driving, laundry, and lawn service equivalent to a full-time homemaker. They came up with $96,261. Studies like this one are perennial; we've been doing them since at least the 1950s. They're a useful reminder of how much productive work goes on in the home, and how much the home therefore matters. This is obviously a critical point for the church to reinforce from a scriptural standpoint. However, studies like this can also lead us in the wrong direction. The first studies of this kind were conducted for the purpose of denigrating domestic labor. The idea was to demonstrate that marriage was an oppressive institution. Men were using marriage to extract enormous economic value from women without compensation. Women wouldn't be liberated until they became economically independent from men. Thus marriage must no longer include an economic union of the partners, because that's exploitative. Marriage had to be reduced to a merely sexual relationship. And you can see where the logic proceeded from there. Investopedia seems to have the opposite idea in mind---to honor domestic labor. Describing their findings, they emphasize that the economic value of domestic labor implies marriage partners are economically interdependent. If the husband works outside the home and the wife works inside it, he is as economically dependent upon her as she is upon him. And while Investopedia doesn't make this point, you can say the same of two-income couples. Regardless of whether you have a one-income or two-income family, the basic point is that marriage is not just a sexual relationship; it is also, among much else, a state of permanent economic interdependence. (This is one of the many injustices involved in divorce.) That's great as far as it goes. I'm always a fan of honoring domestic labor. I love full-time moms so much, I married one.