Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating.
Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! Please do not read my blog if you are a wife who is being abused. You will need VERY specific help in that situation. Reading my blog for women who tend to be controlling may be harmful for you.
My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 1 If you didn’t read the first part, you may want to check it out before you read this part. 🙂
My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 3
WHAT ARE MY IDEAS DOING TO MY MARRIAGE?
If some of these statements (from the last post) resonate with you, I’d like for us to consider some things together. These things may be kind of shocking. They may not all apply, but the ones that do apply to us – we definitely need to deal with between us and God. This is the stuff that was at the heart of my behavior in our marriage for the first 14+ years. It’s some awful stuff! Turns out I am a WRETCHED sinner. I had no idea until 5 years ago just how wretchedly sinful I was. PRAISE GOD that Jesus’ blood was more than adequate to cleanse me of all of my sin!!!!!
- Many of these ideas have a VERY prideful origin. “I know best.” “I know better than he does.” And it might even be, “I know better than God does.” THAT IS HUGE PRIDE! That was really what was behind my thinking and motives for the first 14+ years of our marriage. I didn’t consciously realize this, but this is how I lived. This is some of the most repulsive, nasty, cancerous sin from God’s perspective. I had to confess DUMP TRUCK LOADS of my own pride to God for weeks and weeks to begin to get my perspective straightened out and really see the sin that God saw in me.
- When the wife puts herself in charge (even if she thinks she “has” to – unless there is a serious illness, major drug/alcohol addiction, infidelity, serious abuse, uncontrolled mental illness or the husband has abandoned his wife – please seek godly, wise counsel in these extreme situations), and takes over the husband’s God-given place of authority in the marriage, husbands usually either react with great anger or by unplugging completely and letting the wife be in control by herself. My husband unplugged and allowed me to take the reins because I would NOT follow him and I was so critical and always “right.” He told me later, “How can I lead someone who refused to follow?” Husbands who feel steam-rolled by their wives are not going to sit there and take it. They go as far away physically and emotionally as they can or they fight for their honor.
- Most of the sentiments in the last post contain a large dose of DISRESPECT for our husbands. Disrespect isn’t really talked about much in our culture anymore. We have lost respect for almost everyone in positions of God-given authority in our culture – husbands, parents, pastors, teachers, government officials, employers, police officers… God commands wives to respect their husbands (I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-33) and we may think that we are doing fine with that verse and easily gloss over one of the most critical components of a successful marriage – our genuine respect for our husbands. I read that verse plenty of times and checked off, “Yep! I’m doing that!” and moved on through the rest of the chapter. I had no idea that there was an entire world of respect that I was totally unaware of. I had no idea how many seemingly insignificant comments and remarks I made, and the tone of my voice conveyed an almost constant disrespect to my husband. I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS WOUNDING MY HUSBAND AND BRINGING MISERY ON BOTH OF US! I always thought HE needed to change. I didn’t have a clue that my disrespect and my controlling attitudes were destroying our marriage. THAT WAS A BLOW THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. It sent me reeling for days at first. Then I decided that I was going to study respect and biblical submission and, by God’s grace, become the best wife I could possibly be!
- Is it possible that my husband may feel so beaten down, so criticized, so condemned, so hated and so much like a failure that he has given up even attempting to lead? Every time he tried to lead, my way was better. Whenever he suggested something, I had all the answers and he was “wrong” in my eyes. When he had an idea, it wasn’t good enough. Eventually he realized that there was no point trying to lead someone who “is always right.” OUCH! He NEVER said anything. He never said he felt disrespected. He didn’t verbalize the problem. I had a toxic, critical, judgmental, un-forgiving, ungodly, negative attitude that poisoned our marriage.
- Especially Christian women tend to have very high, narrow and specific expectations of husbands as leaders. We often expect them to lead Bible studies and prayer sessions out loud in our families. We expect them to know more of the Bible than we do. We expect them to talk about spiritual things a lot. We expect to see them studying their Bibles and praying on their own for hours every week. We want them to initiate prayer time with us every night. Unless my husband had a lot of experience praying out loud, he may not be comfortable praying out loud even in front of me – ESPECIALLY if I came across as being more spiritually mature than he was and as being better with words and knowing the Bible more than he did. He may be intimidated by me. He may feel like a spiritual failure compared to me. My husband used to feel that way – like it was impossible for him to be as close to God as I seemed to be. So he gave up trying for a long time. How that breaks my heart now! Maybe my expectations were unrealistic? Maybe my husband leads in a lot of ways that I didn’t acknowledge or even notice. It takes many years, even decades for a lot of men to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. I can be extremely impatient with my husband and destroy his ability and desire to grow as a leader. If I really am more mature, I will be patient and not try to pressure or force things, but will offer plenty of mercy, grace, forgiveness and unconditional love and respect. I will remember I Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
- Is it possible that my husband sees me as being “holier-than-thou?” Do I come across as being self-righteous and as if I think I am better than he is and I think he is a “loser” compared to me? That is big time sin. Jesus spent more time confronting self-righteousness in the Pharisees than almost any other sin.
- Men need encouragement, praise, admiration, a cheerleader, someone to say when they are doing things right! THEN they will have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown and intimidating world of leadership and try new things and grow stronger. He has to know he has my unwavering support and faith. He has to know that if he makes a mistake, I am not going to make a big deal of it. He has to know I trust him. THEN he will grow and become so much more the godly man that God desires him to be.
- Sometimes husbands lead in subtle ways, by example – not so much with words. They forgive easily. They don’t hold grudges. They are patient. They try to do what is best for the family. They continue to give of themselves even when their efforts are not appreciated. They have talks with the children about their attitudes and behavior. They try to help out when we are sick. They are generous. They are kind. They are faithful to us. They work hard to provide for the family financially – this is one of THE BIGGEST ways that most husbands try to show their love and leadership. They live with integrity. They try to do what is right. They show respect to others. I can learn to appreciate all that my husband does right and not try to put him in a little box of my specific expectations.
- If I am disrespecting the spiritual authority of my husband over me and trying to go around him to God to complain about my husband – God will not be pleased! My disobedience will grieve the heart of God. My critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards my husband means that I also have a critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards the One that put my husband over our marriage. I know now that my level of respect and biblical submission toward my husband was a tangible outward indicator of my level of reverence and submission to Christ. God does not hear my prayers when they are steeped in sin, pride, judgment and lack of respect for God-given authority!!!!
- My faith in God was small. My understanding of God and picture of Him was small. A big part of why I didn’t trust God or my husband to lead was that I didn’t have a correct picture of who God really is and I didn’t see His sovereignty.
- I was committing idolatry by putting myself in God’s place and trying to be God to myself and those around me – living as if everything depended on me and as if I was sovereign, not God, trusting SELF, not God. There is no sin greater than idolatry. I was committing idolatry every waking moment for decades, and didn’t even know it! UGH!
Tomorrow – we will talk about how to get on God’s path for us in this! 🙂