I get it. You see who your husband COULD be. If only he prayed more. If only he led the family to go to church. If only he read his Bible daily. If only he was the spiritual leader that you know your family needs.
You look at him and see apathy. Laziness. It makes you sad, but mostly it makes you angry. You can see so clearly what he needs to be doing. Why won’t he just do it?
And, before you know it, you feel yourself beginning to lose respect for him. You start to resent him. You look at other people’s husbands and wonder why he can’t be more like them.
Your motives are good. You want your entire family to grow spiritually, to have a strong spiritual foundation, to love God and serve Him together. But, you often end up shaming your husband, airing your disapproval of his leadership skills.
Take a moment, dear Christian wife, and consider how many ways that you fail in your walk with Christ. Think about how often you have to repent, how many times you find yourself falling into the same old sin traps, how often you wish you had controlled your tongue. Think about how far you yourself are from perfect. And, then look at your husband through fresh eyes, with compassion for a fellow sinner, with admiration for all the things he does right, and with the kind of patience that you know God has for you.
It’s so easy for you to see the flaws in your husband. But, the truth is that if you want your husband to be a spiritual leader, you should pray more and nag less. You should verbalize all the ways that you respect and admire him. You should stop looking at the situation as you-are-right and He-is-wrong, instead taking the approach that you are both imperfect and in need of God’s guidance and care. And then, help your husband along with prayer, real encouragement (not criticism disguised as encouragement), and unconditional love.
You are an important part of your husband’s spiritual growth, whether you know it or not. But, prodding and pulling are not going to work. Pray for him. Love him. And, trust God to do the work that only He can do. You weren’t given to your husband to act as his personal holy spirit. God intends for you to love him deeply and serve him as a fellow traveler on the road to eternal life. If you want your husband to be a spiritual leader in your home, let yourself be led by humility instead of frustration, by love instead of pride, by prayer instead of criticism. These are the first steps in encouraging spiritual growth in the man that you love.
And never forget, dear friends, about all of the things about him that made you fall in love in the first place. Chances are, he really is a pretty great guy. Pray for him and love him well.
Note: Nothing in this post is meant to be a justification for abuse.
If you are in an abusive relationship, get out and get help.
Just ask him nicely so that he knows what to look out for or what to strive for. ‘Next time such and such situation arises, perhaps you should be more blablabla or be more blablabla’ or ‘I’d like you to be more blablabla or do blablabla more’. He normally agrees.
I married a man that I thought/think was/is
wonderful. We both had no idea how much his dysfunctional church and home life had impacted him. At that point, he wouldn’t have even said they were dysfunctional. Yet the fruits became slowly and thoroughly evident. I carried so much frustration for so long. I needed and longed for a godly and spiritual leader but my husband was crippled by his past. Thank God, He saved me from destroying our marriage!! This piece of writing is dead on and I pray it changes the heart of a confused and deeply longing woman today. We are still a work in progress but not in chaos today. My husband is growing n changing and so am I:)
Good advice! Yep, wives have a tough time – they are married to an imperfect person, they themselves are imperfect and they’ve got to struggle with that part of the Genesis curse – the impulse to want to control their husbands and never be satisfied….With Christ, good marriages are certainly possible, but there are lots of nasty weeds that grow and hinder the joy!
Good words. I would add that it is important to also pray for the church as a whole. Many men don’t lead their families because they are not equipped to do so, and therefore just too afraid to even try. They need other men in the church to come alongside them and show them how it can be done. Much more discipleship like this is desperately needed even in biblically sound, spiritually growing churches.
Yes Ferocious Cantaloupe!
I agree with you! I’m glad you brought up the need for discipleship. Our men have not been trained to lead. Men who are gifted at leadership often assume it is a “male trait” and every man should naturally know how to do that. In fact, leadership can be a natural bent or a spiritual gift for some, whereas others need much more training to feel comfortable leading.
In the long run, I believe all can lead in their own way with the right training. Thank you for bringing up discipleship.
Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today.
This is another aspect of this issue that hasn’t been mentioned: many women (by that, I mean the majority) have assumed the leadership role in the home and a good number of men just let it happen, not wanting to rock the boat. Most women have no idea they’re doing this. No one is happy in this situation, as this isn’t how God made the family to function.
Ladies, if you are encouraging your husband to take the leadership role, you are *leading* them to do as they ought. Chances are the leading doesn’t stop there. I’ve lived this. I really made a mess of my marriage, but God is merciful (and EVER so patient!) and has restored my marriage.
The church needs to take *women* by the hand, come alongside them and teach them how to be the helpmeets God instructs them to be. Then, the men can take their rightful place as head. Feminism has so infiltrated the church that God’s way is rarely acceptable anymore. It’s a shame and the Christian family is breaking down.
Also an excellent point, Kari! Women need discipleship just as much as men do. I think where it can be really tricky is that when the husband is not leading, the wife is often left to be fully in charge or her own spiritual disciplines, etc. (and if there are children, theirs as well). If she is growing and learning, but her husband is not, she tends to take on what a least looks like a leadership role without intending to. Feminism is definitely a huge problem in our culture and in the church, but it’s not the only sources of leadership imbalance in the home.
I completely agree!!! This is a real issue, and many women (I was one of them) are nagging their husbands, picking at them, criticizing them, etc. and it’s not always because they aren’t leading, but sometimes they are just leading in a different way than the wife wants him to. And, regardless of whether he is or isn’t, only the Lord can make a man a godly leader of the home and a wife’s nagging or instruction just adds a hindrance (I think of Michal and her reaction to David dancing before the Lord).
Agree!!! I recognize my failures as a wife. I don’t want to be controlling or disrespectful. But if I’m honest, there are so many times I’m groping in the dark. I have no picture in my head of what this really looks like in real life. It’s never talked about in the church. I didn’t see it growing up. I am trying, but fail very often. I wish there was more practical teaching and more women willing to come along side a younger wife.
good! yep, we’re all failures apart from Christ – the only special church ministry mentioned in NT is Titus 2 model – older men and women mentoring and guiding younger men and women… so crucial for navigating the various aspects of life!
Hear, hear! Such a shame that I feel like I’m being ‘too much’ or a Lone Ranger in desiring to practice these things – let alone support and encouragement to do so – when I’m among the Church!!! This seems messed up to me, what happened to following pretty basic biblical instructions regarding the order of things in the Christian home?!
Thank you Melissa. and thankful for the Lord sharing through you.
made by me
adding my few pixels to this ‘discussion’, truth you speak.
The more I look at how I must die to myself the more I find I do not have the answers, the more I am able to forgive (taking your last sentences into consideration). The more my own heart is at peace with myself, my man and our marriage we both are able to be the one leading the other to look to the Cross of CHRIST.
AMEN! Go see War Room, and get Stormie Omartian’s book “The Power of a Praying Wife” – We need to lift our men up every chance we get. They are usually the ones tackling the “not-so-forgiving” world to support our families tangible needs. Let’s not forget that men and women are wired completely different. Be a Warrior Princess for your Prince!
I am grateful for your qualification at the very end. Thank you for that sensitivity.