“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22-24 (The Message)
So….your husband isn’t the spiritual leader that you want him to be…that you need him to be. How dare he??!! Doesn’t he know that he is supposed to LEAD you and your family as the head of the household? Well, he obviously isn’t capable and just isn’t a natural leader. Good thing you’re here to pick up the slack and do the job for him. Geez! Your instinctive leadership abilities and your greater faith in Christ is way more qualified to be the spiritual head of the household.
I hope you are sensing my sarcasm at this point. But…isn’t that true to what you may have thought internally at times? I know I have. Guilty as charged! We “women” can be a bit cray-cray at times. We like to take charge, take control, lead the way, tell everyone what’s best for them, and DO IT ALL. Then we like to complain about how much we do;)
Even IF you are natural born leader. Even IF you are the extrovert in the marriage. Even IF your faith walk with Christ is more mature than your husband’s…God says it’s THE HUSBAND’S job to be the head of the household.
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
That’s a tough pill to swallow for many “take charge” women (like me!) I knew when I married Michael that scripture says to submit to him as the head of the family. I wanted him to be the spiritual leader immediately. It didn’t happen that way. What happened in our marriage…and is maybe happening in your marriage…was this:
I wanted him to lead…BUT I WAS GETTING IN THE WAY!!!
Yes, I was a big reason my husband wasn’t stepping up as the spiritual leader. Are you the reason why your husband isn’t assuming his role as the head of your house, too? How could that possibly be? If you want your husband to be the mature spiritual leader that you feel comfortable submitting to…it has to start with YOU! Not HIM! If you want God to bless your marriage, you have to let your husband lead.
If you want your husband to lead…give him the room to do it.
*Don’t try and manipulate him by using tactics to “trick him” into doing something. Just be open, honest, and ask. Don’t pout when he says “no”.
*Don’t be his “Holy Spirit” by offering him suggestions on what he needs to change, what should be convicting him, or what you think he needs to do. The Holy Spirit can do a better job in that department if you pray and ask him for help.
*Don’t guilt him and play the game of “I’ve done _______ for you! I expect you to play fair and do ______ for me.” Marriage is not a competition that keeps score. Give more than you take.
*Don’t believe that his way of doing something is the wrong way just because it’s not how you would have done it. Let him load the dishwasher without correcting. Don’t hover over his shoulder and give tips when he changes the baby’s diaper. Allow him to do the chore without any mumblings of “how you could do it better” or that “his way is just stupid”. Give him praise.
*Don’t put a time limit on his decisions. Be patient. Give him the room and time to decide without your nagging.
*Don’t make plans or decisions continually without conferring with him first. In the first few years of marriage, I wouldn’t talk to Michael about going away for the weekend to visit my family, I would just tell him. I also took dance classes in an area Michael felt unsafe for me to go. I undermined him and went anyway because I was a ‘big girl’ and he wasn’t my dad. Yikes…that’s one way to rob your marriage of God’s blessings.
*Don’t have the final say on everything…especially if it is something that betters your family. A friend of mine said they were searching for a new church and her husband wanted to try a few different ones out. I encouraged her to LET HIM decide the church they go to, even if it wasn’t her favorite, because if the husband is comfortable in a place of worship and chooses the place of worship himself, he will be more confident to lead his family to church every week and a more confident leader at home.
*Pray for him and his heart to be able to hear the Lord.
*Give him praise and confidence by speaking words of life into him. “I believe in you. I trust you. I respect your decision. You are always so good at ______.”
*Respect him and instill trust in him. Women need affection, love, and safety. Men need RESPECT. When he makes a decision, respect it by not trying to talk him out of it only to do it your way. If it doesn’t make a difference concerning your family’s safety and well-being, then it will be O.K.!
*Love him through actions. Find out what his Love Language is, and speak it. Michael’s is “words of affirmation” and “physical touch”. I need to do better in “words of affirmation”, but when I AM speaking his love language, I send him encouraging texts or emails and verbally speak things out loud about how fabulously awesome he is;)
*Ask God for patience, wisdom, and self-control on your part.
*Think before you speak. Give yourself 3 seconds before you say what you want to say. When he talks to you, listen to his heart, not just what he is saying. Usually if he snaps over something small and insignificant, there’s something greater happening in his heart. It’s not always about YOU.
*Submitting is following his lead WITHOUT letting him know you would have rather done it differently.
*If he is not a Christian or is spiritually unresolved, then you can lead him to Christ in your actions, not just words.
“Likewise, wives be subject to your own husband even if some do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word but by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands.” 1 Peter 3:1-5
Wives, if your husband does not know Christ and right now, seems to have no interest in getting to know him, don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep seeking God in your own walk. Keep going to church, alone, if you have to. Teach your children about God. Don’t let his weak faith pull you down. You are planting seeds in his heart that God can grow in his time. Do not get tired in doing good.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Warning: If your husband is physically abusing you, putting you or your children in danger, asking you to partake in illegal acts, or to do something that is against your faith and against God, then you are not under submission to him. Immediately seek help.
“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33 (The Message)
So…you want your husband to change and be the leader?
START WITH YOURSELF FIRST!
(P.S. I would like to say that once I started applying these Do’s and Don’ts to my marriage, things got a lot less stressful. Michael TRULY stepped up as the spiritual leader and I am so proud of him for growing in his faith walk. God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. Just leave it up to God and do what he asks YOU to do as a follower.)
(P.S.S. The cute couple in the pictures are Brooke and Jesse, friends and clients of mine. That is not my husband and me;)