As women we long for our husbands to take the lead in our homes. We want them to lead our families spiritually – praying with us and for us, opening up the Bible with the kids and initiating spiritual conversations.
But what if he doesn’t?
Sometimes we think it’s natural for our husbands to just lead us in the home but that is not always the case! Husbands have insecurities, lack of confidence, poor or no role models, as well as bad habits just like us. The only difference between the two genders is that a man’s struggle/issue will manifest differently than a woman’s.
In the Ndoa ministry that Mi-amore and I serve in, we have encountered many couples with different personalities that tend to clash especially where the woman is a choleric and the man is a phlegmatic- woman is very self driven, knows what she wants, how and when she wants things done and the man is “laid” back in terms of leading and taking control of the relationship and home he’s just slow in his execution-.
So before jumping into any conclusions, we need to know and try to understand why they’re not leading in the first place.
- Maybe he doesn’t know how to lead his home.
- Maybe he didn’t have a father in his life to teach him what leading a family looked like.
- Maybe his father was married to a contentious woman, therefore, his dad kept his mouth shut so he could keep the peace in the home. A son who saw this growing up is emulating his father who wasn’t a good role model in leading his family.
- Maybe he’s a laid back, easy-going, type of personality and leading does not come naturally to him.
- Maybe he’s married to a contentious woman and he wants to keep peace in the home. If this defines your relationship, you have a lot of control over this area to make some changes, friend.
- Maybe he’s lazy and he doesn’t care. (This is truly sad, but unfortunately in some marriages, this is a reality.)
- Maybe he’s been taught by his parents that he’s no good and he’ll never amount to anything. (He’s afraid to fail so he doesn’t try too hard in life. Or maybe he lacks the confidence.)
- Maybe he’s been beat down and discouraged by his wife, therefore, he’s apprehensive to take the lead in the family. Again, my fellow wifey-friend, if this is you, you can make some changes and turn your marriage around!
- Maybe he’s fine with the way things are in the marriage.
- Maybe he doesn’t realize that his wife feels like he’s not leading!
- Maybe his and his wife’s roles are not defined within the marriage.
- Maybe the roles were reversed when he entered into marriage and it’s hard for him to make changes.
- Maybe he’s trying to change but he’s having a hard time doing so.
- Maybe he’s not changing fast enough according to his wife.
Sadly the above is a reality and not a list of excuses, and as wives you may have seen a point or two manifest in your husbands life but many have been such critics to your husband’s leadership styles or lack of before trying to understand his background and/or personality.
So what is a wife to do? Here’s a few things you can do:
Some things in your marriage you just have to let go. Does it really matter if he doesn’t pick up around the house as much as you’d like? By the way, I used to have this issue, but then I came to the realization that I didn’t marry Mi-amore because I wanted a helper to help me to keep the home! Instead, I just lowered my expectations and standards of order.
Being that I have a tendency to be obsessive/compulsive and add to that, a perfectionist, those things can be a recipe for disaster for any marriage. Instead, I chose the path of building up my home (husband) rather than tearing it down with my hands. I’ve done this for two reasons. One, because God’s Word says to do it. And two, truth be told, because I’m selfish. Hey, what can I say, I want a glorious marriage! I want to live with Mi-amore in peace and harmony not strife.
I’ve chosen to work at having a deeper and stronger marital relationship rather than examining my husband’s sins and shortcomings. But again, I have to remind myself to let things go, I cannot change him only God can. It’s a constant mantra of mine! In fact, as I sit here typing these words out, I can count the number of times dirty clothes lie beside the laundry basket instead of inside, that I’m constantly picking even thought the basket is right next to his bedside. Instead of getting disgusted and angry over the fact that he has left these clothes on floor right next to the basket, I choose to ignore it. So let things go, friend, and be gracious to your man. To be honest you and I also have flaws that our husbands also chose to ignore.
I want you to take a moment and humbly examine your own actions and speech towards your husband. Ask God to reveal to you if you’ve been demeaning, nagging, disrespectful towards your husband. So I encourage you to seek God humbly and see if you’ve been discouraging your husband from leading. If God does reveal to you your sin in this area, I pray that you will find the boldness and the humility to confess to your husband and seek forgiveness.
I am not saying do not address the issues, it also depends on the magnitude of the matter, I guess what am trying to communicate is we need to know how and which battels to pick and your relationship will be better off as a result of this practice. Let go of your expectations – Sometimes we may not recognize our husbands’ leadership when we’re so focused on how we think they should lead. Take a step back, surrender your expectations to God and become a student of your husband’s. Find out what his leadership style is and encourage him as he leads.
Thank him for what he does do. Encourage him in areas that he is already soaring in. Let him know you admire such and such quality about him. By building him up, he may have more of a desire to want to better his marriage with you and thus, that’ll entail leading. But only if you allow him.
Pray for God to convict his heart to lead your family. And, if you want him to step forward to lead, you’ve got to step back more. Keep turning to him and asking him how he wants things done in your family life. But here is where it gets really hard….Your timing will not be his timing. Your expectations and standards will not be his and what you’re concerned about probably won’t concern him. Have non-emotional conversations with your man so the two of you can get on the same page.
Spend some time talking with your husband and share your heart about what it is that you desire for your marriage, but be careful here. Make sure you don’t beat him up over this issue. Your tone should be filled with grace and kindness, otherwise, your husband probably won’t listen to a word you say or an argument will ensue.
See if you can pinpoint some areas that he might be struggling in and then spend time in prayer and lifting him up to the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you areas where you might be able to encourage and strengthen your husband, as well as areas where you need to back off and just let things go in your home life.
If your husband is passive, it becomes even more important to go back and understand God’s original plan for him. You see, you can’t pray for what you don’t know. Faith staggers and fails when you don’t have the word of God as an anchor.
But here’s the problem, when a husband fails to lead his home, the last thing a wife wants to do is think about his role in the Biblical sense. Sure, you want him to lead, but a lot of times the desire is drenched with more hurt, disappointment, and anger than spiritual awareness.
“Why bother understanding his role when he’s not bothered at all?” is a logical question but let me propose something else: our faith does not follow logic.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5
Plus you are not studying his role to beat him over the head with it or to make yourself feel more wretched. No, you familiarize yourself with God’s plan for him so your faith can be stirred and you can pray according to God’s will. If your husband is struggling to set the tone in his home, chances are he’s struggling in other areas of his life and spirituality. Pray with understanding.
Sometimes, people who need our love the most are the most difficult to love. It’s easy to start withholding in other areas when you feel like the scale is imbalanced. But I want to remind you this: “we love one another because Christ first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Not because we are getting everything we want.
A lot of times when we think about leadership, we are actually thinking about a leadership style. Leadership is often associated with extroverts; determined, decisive, talkative, resolute e.t.c But what if your husband is a gentle, soft-spoken like-to-hang-in-the-back-of-the room type of person? Does that mean he doesn’t or can’t lead? Not at all.
It means he will lead differently, most likely in his quiet, gentle introverted ways. You need to re-adjust to his style.
“The world thinks that if you’re not happy, the marriage isn’t legitimate. But if the vow meant, “we’ll stay married as long as we’re happy”, there would be no need for a vow! The vow is what will hold you together, and God asked you to make that vow. God asked you to commit, because in committing to someone for life, we’re also creating a situation where we need to lean on God. When marriage is hard, you need God more. For marriages to improve, you need to emphasize God more, and yourself less“
In your frustration and despair, don’t forget that God has a high purpose for him, one that is bigger than your personal ambition. Submission to your husbands leadership is a work of faith, trusting God to work through your husband for the good of your whole family. As a wife, it requires prayer, the laying aside of our pride and will. At times, your husband will fail, and you will be tempted to snatch up control. How beautiful it would be instead to encourage him in these difficult times, to stand beside him in forgiveness and love, letting him know you still trust him to be the man God planned for him to be.
Before God moves in our situations, He always moves within us. Change is a personal decision – your “getting out of the way” does not guarantee his stepping up. However, you will have the peace of God as you work and walk out your situation. If your husband is passive or absent in any area of your marriage and family, I am not suggesting you are the problem. Yet as a wife, you can be a catalyst for change.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you” 2 Corinthians 13:11.