Dominant Wife, Passive Husband: The Passive Husband’s Take

By my husband, Greg.

Occasionally, I have tried to take one of the Peacefulwife’s old articles and add a husband’s thoughts to them. One of the older ones that continues to be read regularly is one entitled, “Dominant Wife, Passive Husband.” This post came out of a marriage seminar we were attending at church at the time that we both really enjoyed. Just for information, although you probably already figured it out, my comments will be in blue and usually refer to the Peacefulwife’s thoughts that are above. Hope you enjoy.

Reverend Weaver taught a class called “7 Basic Needs of a Wife, 7 Basic Needs of a Husband” on Sunday nights at our church this spring. We LOVED this class! Mr. Weaver has his theology straight and explains God’s design for marriage so well.

During the class, he mentioned that in all of his years of ministry, whenever he sees a dominant wife marry a passive husband, the husband NEVER rises up and takes authority from his wife and begins leading. Not once. As a former dominant wife myself, I think this is a pretty important piece of information. And I love Rev. Weaver’s advice. He said that a dominant wife must use her leadership gifts to empower and encourage her husband’s leadership. He said it is very difficult for a passive husband to learn to lead. And he said it is very difficult for a dominant wife to learn to give up leading. BUT IT CAN BE DONE! I am proof of that!!! But the inverted relationship will NOT be made right until the WIFE yields the leadership and control. She must make the first move. And she must foster her husband’s learning and leadership gently with plenty of praise and admiration. The more she respects him, the more confidence he will gain and the better leader he will be!

As a once passive husband it is very true that a passive husband will have difficulty taking the authoritative leadership role in a dominant wife/passive husband relationship. I think it is difficult to separate the difference between being a servant husband as opposed to a passive husband. As I was growing up in a Christian home, I was always taught to respect authority, be chivalrous, and to not get bogged down in the small stuff. Growing up a preacher’s kid, I also had many more people who scrutinized different areas of my life on a regular basis looking at who my friends were, how I treated people, and how I reacted to different things. One learns very quickly that you need to pick your fights judiciously and work on limiting how many times you rock the boat. This unfortunately carried over into marriage. After the Peacefulwife and I had been married for some time, I didn’t put up too much of a fight about a lot of decisions. Part of that was the desire not to rock the boat and the other part was the thought that would it do any good to try to convince her that there was another way. So, I would let the Peacefulwife lead.

It was not until the Peacefulwife made the decision that she would rely totally on my leadership that I was able to be the head of the family. It was a slow process and each of us had to make new habits that were foreign to us. I had to take on making a lot of decisions that I had not previously made. I also took on a lot of responsibilities with different aspects of our marriage, parenting, finances, and household that I did not previously have. The Peacefulwife had to learn to give up control of a lot of things. It was a scary time for her because for once she had to trust me fully to meet her needs. She had to let go. She had to take the weight off of her shoulders. It took some time, and a few hiccups, but she found that this new way of thinking was revitalizing. She found that she looked at me in a whole different way. She learned to trust that I would lead our family without selfishness and by looking out for the best interest of all of us. She found that when she respected me and submitted fully to me, I was able to give her the love she needed, the happiness she desired, and the inner peace she had longed for.

There is a true relationship that the more that she puts her faith and the more she trusts my leadership, the greater my desire is to love and serve her and our family. The strength of my leadership is a function of her faith and trust in me.


I also love something that Rev. Weaver taught us. He talked about two kinds of authority. The main type of spiritual authority we think of is “positional authority.” A husband has positional authority in marriage – given to him by God. He is the husband; therefore he has the spiritual authority in the marriage because of his position as husband. But Rev. Weaver talked tonight about another kind of authority I have never heard of before – “influential authority.” A king’s advisor has this kind of authority, and the king has positional authority. A wife has influential authority in marriage with her husband. Sometimes influential authority can be more powerful than positional authority – think of the story of Esther – she had influential authority over her husband, the king. Rev. Weaver said that many women profoundly underestimate the power of influential authority. God gave us the power to influence our husbands towards destruction or towards godliness.

In the dominant wife/passive husband scenario, the positional authority position and the influential authority position get reversed. The problem is that a passive husband is not a very good influential authority. The dominant wife becomes the sole decision maker and in essence leads without much influence from her husband. Almost every business management model has a structure where there is a tiered system of a head manager who has managers below him to managers below them all the way down to the regular employees. Each position has a positional authority and all but the head manager has an influential authority role. Just like in business, the family will work most effectively when all levels of the organization are functioning in their intended roles. The employee has the ability to influence his manager in the same way that the assistant head manager can influence the head manager. If the head manager wants his business to function best he must be willing to accept the influential authority of those below him. In our families, or the small businesses of life, it is important to balance both authorities so that they have a strong role in the direction of the family business.


Our response when our husbands make a poor decision can be the difference between something creating great good or great harm in our marriage. A godly wife will respond to a husband’s bad decision with loyalty, with grace, with poise, and will look for the good that can come of the situation, knowing God will use even a poor decision for good. We learn so much more by our mistakes than by our successes, and God will use a husband’s failures to teach him greatly if his wife doesn’t interfere. If a godly wife can be supportive of her husband, and can refrain from criticism and “I told you so” and “look what a mess you made now!” – the husband will be in the best possible position to learn and become a better leader. Rev. Weaver talked about not condemning our husbands for one failed decision. My response to my husband’s failure is much more critical than the failure itself. A godly wife will use these opportunities to demonstrate her fierce loyalty to her man even when things are tough, and to support his position as leader, and to pray for God’s wisdom to direct them through the mistake towards being more holy and towards sanctification. A godly, wise wife, will have peace, a gentle and poised spirit, and will be looking for her husband’s best interests, not selfish interests, when things go badly. She will give grace and not make a big deal of what he did that was wrong. She can offer encouragement, prayer, support and her undying faith in her husband as a man – WITHOUT taking over control. There is the critical balance a wife must achieve!

One of the big differences I have seen in our marriage is the Peacefulwife’s ability to accept my decisions….good and bad. She also has been much better at forgiving me……that is where the grace comes in. I, like most men, tend to be stubborn and hang on too long to issues where I have made wrong judgments and decisions. When I know that my wife supports my decision, even if she pretty well knows that I screwed up, I am able to accept my failures and try to make atonements more easily. If a decision is made by a man where his wife turns on him because she didn’t get her way, he is forced to live and die with his decision and will not easily reconsider it. I do want to stress that it is totally good for the wife to have an influence on the decision and it is totally fine for her to have her own opinion. Accepting her husband’s decision with grace and poise if she is in disagreement with him is the ultimate picture of respect for her husband and shows that she trusts his leadership. He will notice it and it will stay with him. He will make sure that his decision turns out best for the family or he will try to make it right. When a wife is able to strike that perfect balance the family is able to function like a well oiled machine.


Help us to be women who understand the power and authority that You have given us and how to stay close to You and be right with our husbands and offer godly influential authority. Help us to see that we have very important roles as wives – and use us to spur our husbands towards godliness, holiness and sanctification. Let us be strong, godly, Spirit-filled, Bible-loving women who obey Scripture in our marriages and see Your hand at work in mighty ways every day in our homes!


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17 Comments on “Dominant Wife, Passive Husband: The Passive Husband’s Take”

  1. sholashade
    May 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    This is so, so insightful! I am going to steal it!!!


    • peacefulwife
      May 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      When I read my hubby’s words last night for the first time, I was amazed. It brought a lot of tears to my eyes to finally know some of the things that were going on with him as I was learning respect and submission. Praise God! He has answered so many prayers in our marriage! I don’t blame you at all for wanting to steal this post. :) God bless your marriage, family, ministry and walk with Christ!


  2. sholashade
    May 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Reblogged this on sholashade.


  3. Lou
    November 6, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Why should a wife atomatically be submissive, as if it were the ‘natural’ way to be…? I personally find it closeminded and close minding, even if I respect your point of view and way of life.


    • peacefulwife
      November 6, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks for your comment! The basis for why wives are to respect their husbands and cooperate with their husbands’ leadership and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her is in Ephesians 5:22-33. It is my desire to build my life and marriage on God’s Word.

      I did things my own way – as you can see. It sure caused a lot of misery in our marriage.

      I don’t have the authority to tell people how to live or what marriage is supposed to be. But God’s Word is the ultimate authority. God designed men and women. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He designed marriage and family. So it is my goal to uphold God’s design. It is countercultural. It is counter-intuitive. Most people don’t like what God commands. But it works! And His purpose in His design in marriage is to display the very great mystery of the relationship between Christ and His church. The husband is to represent Christ in the marriage and family and the wife is to represent the church.

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage!


    • peacefulwife
      November 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Lou, Thanks for the comment. A lot of people hear the idea of a submissive wife and automatically think that she must be a slave or completely controlled and that is extremely far from the truth. To say that my wife doesn’t have her own voice or opinion is also very far from the truth. The truth is that in God’s design for marriage the husband and the wife must give up themselves to walk in step with God. In the same way that she submits to my authority, I have to go above and beyond to respect her commitment to me and make sure that my decision is the best one for both of us.

      In our relationship we were very much the dominant wife/passive husband. We found that once we started following God’s design their was freedom for both of us. My wife found out that there was a ton of freedom and peace by giving up the control that she felt she needed to have. I found out that I could lead my family and I had the space and support to do so. I was finally able to be the husband my wife really wanted me to be. And likewise, she was finally able to be the wife that I desired.

      It is all in your perspective. This may not be what you are looking for. Some may look at the surface and say this is a “closeminded” approach. I think it has opened our eyes and has been the best thing that has happened for our marriage and many more.

      Respected Husband


  4. Sam
    November 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Thanks for your insightful piece. I have been married for 10 yrs but unhappy. My wife is very domineering and she wants her ways all the time. There is hardly a month we dont quarrel. The sad aspect is she is very unforgiving and nags me when l have done something wrong. She christian virtue she exhibited before our marriage are not apparent any more. I considered living alone but the concern that i have for the children is keeping me in the marriage. Sometime i ask God why this is happening to me. Your case is different because


    • Sam
      November 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      I feel your case is different because you still fear God. What do i do?


      • peacefulwife
        December 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm #


        I thought I was a really mature Christian even for the 15 years I was actually being disrespectful. I thought I was being submissive and respecting my husband and didn’t realize all the ways I was sinning and committing idolatry. It is possible for a wife to be completely deceived and blind to the fact that she is not submitting and not respecting her husband. Most wives feel “justified” in their disrespect and taking over control because they feel their husbands “won’t” or “can’t” lead and they believe they have no choice.
        The book Love and Respect by Dr. Eggerichs opened my eyes to my sin and how disobedient I had actually been to God’s Word. That could be a great place to start. It is a very fair and balanced book, spending equal time on the husband’s responsibilities and the wife’s.

        I am praying for God to open your wife’s spiritual eyes and for wisdom for you as you attempt to love her as Christ loves the church and lay down your life for her to love her and lead her in a godly way.


    • peacefulwife
      December 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm #


      I am really sad to hear that things are so difficult in your marriage. I would be glad to correspond with your wife if she is interested – and help her find the path to putting Christ first and experiencing His peace and joy.

      There are a lot of posts that would be very helpful for her, I believe, on this blog.

      I don’t counsel men at all now – so I have asked a pastor to handle questions from men for me. I am hopeful he may be commenting to you about your side of the relationship later.

      I ran a series of posts in early November about some of the ways we as women try to control our husbands – there is actually a lot of idolatry going on in all of these methods. But these posts may be a helpful starting place. Boundaries and Control, Playing the Martyr, Using Guilt to Manipulate, People-pleasing, and then the truth What Does God Say About Me?

      I would also recommend that she read the pages that are linked at the top of my home page about my before and after, What is Disrespectful to Men and 101 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband

      You may want to check out my husband’s blog – he concentrates on men and what they can do to draw nearer to God and to better love their wives.

      I do know that as a wife, when I focused on what my husband’s “faults” and sins were for 15 years – I ended up being a powerless victim full of bitterness and unforgiveness. I didn’t see God start to answer my prayers for my marriage until I began to focus on my own sin (and WOW! There was a lot more than I had ever imagined!) God changed ME first, then He changed my marriage.

      Praying for God’s direction, wisdom, leadership and insight to bless and heal your walk with Christ and your marriage!


    • peacefulwife
      December 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm #


      RonFurg has offered to allow you to call him to talk with him. May I email you his phone number?


  5. aconcernedwife
    January 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    I am currently the “dominant” wife in my marriage of 10 years. And I don’t want to be. I am very miserable in the marriage, and am still in it to save our family for the sake of our children, alone. In my case I was brought up pretty rough with my mother and younger sister without a male’s influence or help. In turn I gained a lot in the way of strength, street smarts…things like that. My husband, however, grew up very sheltered in comparison to my own upbringing. And in turn is naive to many things that I am not. He is often upset and/or frightened about things most people don’t even think twice about, so I often find myself to be the one calming things down and saying everything is going to be okay, we only need to do…whatever it is…So obviously I find it hard to hand over control to someone who can’t seem to handle the “small” stuff. What would your recommendation be in this in a case such as this?


    • peacefulwife
      January 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      A Concerned Wife,
      I have great news for you!!! You can still use your leadership ability, but it will be in a teaching role (kind of like being a teacher’s assistant in a lab – you will stand behind your husband and be there to support him, but he will be the one doing the hands on stuff) instead of you taking charge. But you will be there more to give suggestions IF he asks for help, not to tell him what to do. You will step down out of control – and then boost him and cheer him on as he begins to learn to make decisions. He may ask you for your opinion. He will probably want to know your perspective. You may certainly share your feelings and desires with him. But then let him make the decision and trust that he will learn and grow and become a better and better leader as he has practice.

      It will have to be ok for him to make mistakes or do things differently from the way you would do it. YOu will be focusing more on being a good follower and supporter and thanking him for what he does right, praising him for what he does well – and that will reinforce him as a leader so he can grow stronger and stronger.

      Would you like to give me an example of where you try to let him lead and how it went? We can hash through it together.:)




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