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My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 3

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Greg and April Nov. 2013

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  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.

 

Please check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not read them yet. 🙂

GET ON GOD’S PATH

No matter if my husband has given up trying to lead or if he still does attempt to lead me – I can give him the beautiful gift of my biblical submission to his leadership in obedience to God! I have the power to begin to make things right!! 

I began this journey 5 years ago.  I am still learning. I am NOT perfect!  I share my mess ups on my PW FB page as I make mistakes so that I am transparent.  But obeying God has brought me such joy, peace, purpose and abundant life!  I am very thankful God opened my eyes to my sin and showed me His design for me as a woman and a wife.  It is not popular or politically correct to do things God’s way today.  But it is SO worth it!  I have been richly blessed by God as I sought to obey Him above all else.  My husband has been richly blessed.  My children have been richly blessed and thousands of women around the world are being blessed by God’s power at work in my life. How crazy is that!?!?  It blows my mind.  It is ALL about God.  It all depends in His power, not mine, that is for sure!

I have to start with me wanting to be right with Christ.  Primarily, my submission is about yielding myself 100% to the Lordship of Jesus over every area of my life.  That is what Jesus requires of every Christian.  I have to get to the place where I care more about pleasing Him out of thankfulness for all He has done for me than anything else in the world.  My focus becomes simply to love, obey and please God.  Period.  Nothing else matters.  He is LORD.  I wrestle with my fears and idols until I can say, “not my will but Yours be done” about absolutely everything in my life – no matter what the personal cost to myself. I give up my illusion of being in control.  I stop trusting SELF and begin to truly trust God in His sovereignty.  If I am not in that place – something is very wrong with my relationship with Him.

No one can force me to submit to my husband.  Being forced into submission is slavery, not submission.  Biblical submission comes from a position of free will and voluntary choice and strength.  I choose to honor my husband’s God-given authority (unless he asks me to clearly sin).  I share all of my wisdom, personality, feelings, desires and ideas in a godly, respectful, polite, feminine way.  I no longer try to force my way or pridefully assume my way is best.  I seek God’s will far above my own.  Then I ultimately trust God to lead me through my husband if we do not agree.

Here are a few things to do to start to get back on track (pray and see if these might apply to you or if God might show you other ideas that fit your situation and marriage):

  • Confess to my husband what I did wrong and apologize without justifying or explaining myself.  Husbands usually only want one sincere and rather brief apology.

“I realize now that I have taken over the leadership role of our marriage and I have been WRONG for doing this! I have sinned against God and against you and our children.  I apologize for not following your leadership and for fighting you instead of cooperating with you and being on your team.   I’m so glad that God gave you the position of authority over me and over our family. That weight is too heavy for me to carry.  It stresses me out!  I am stepping down and I want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.  I will share my heart and desires, but I won’t fight you anymore.  I want to learn to support  and trust your God-given authority in our home.  I have A LOT to learn about being a godly wife.  I pray you can be patient with me.”  

If your husband is not close to God – I suggest you may want to take out the words about God and prayer (I Peter 3:1-2)

“I realize now that I have taken over control of our marriage and that is not right.  I apologize for not cooperating with your ideas and leadership.  I am stepping down now and want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.  I will share my heart and desires, but I won’t fight you anymore.  I have a LOT to learn about being a good wife.  I hope you can be patient with me.”

Husbands may react in different ways to this – they may get angry (and share all the hurt they have had for years), they may say nothing (they may be in shock and have to digest what you said for awhile), they may cry (out of relief that finally their wife understands them), they may forgive you right away.  All of these responses are normal.  Don’t expect a particular reaction.  You take care of your part, and let him respond however he responds.  If he does want to talk about how hurt he has been, please listen and don’t defend yourself.  If he forgives you, accept and respect his forgiveness and don’t keep apologizing!

  • Accept my husband for the man he is right now today even if he NEVER changes!!!
  • Realize that I am responsible to God for my own sanctification, growing in Christ, my own emotions and my own contentment in Christ. I don’t have to wait on my husband to help me grow or wait for him to “catch up.” If I am really growing in my relationship with Christ, I will be humble towards my husband and towards God and let them work out my husband’s spiritual growth. I will concentrate only on my own spiritual maturity and I WILL BE PRETTY QUIET ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS if this is a difficult area for my husband. I will let my husband see my joy in Christ, my humility before my husband, my respectful attitude and willingness to follow where he leads… THAT is what will help make my husband hunger for God!  I will obey God in this for as long as it takes.  I trust God to work in my husband in his way, by His power and for His glory.  It is not about me, it is all about God.
  • Make decisions for myself about things I am doing, eating, wearing, how I spend my time, but let him make his own decisions for himself and let him make the final decisions for the family.
  • Uphold his decisions in front of the children, don’t undermine his authority.
  • Speak and act respectfully towards him. Ask if I am in doubt, “Is this respectful?” “Was I just disrespectful?”
  • Listen carefully when he talks to me – put down what I am doing and listen like I am interested.
  • Be encouraging about his ideas. Try not to squash his creativity, plans and ideas. Let him have room to think, dream and plan.
  • Don’t tell him what to do – if he asks, I can offer my perspective humbly as possible suggestions, not as if I am dictating to him what he should do.
  • Praise him whenever he leads the family, even in the smallest of ways, and does a good job!!!! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! It will help him build confidence in his abilities. If he hasn’t ever been the leader, I must be patient, it will be baby-steps, but that’s fine!
  • If he makes a decision, I back him (unless he’s asking me to clearly sin – which has never happened to me in 5 years of this so far) and support him graciously, joyfully, cheerfully. I may tell him my needs, desires and feelings, but ultimately the decision is up to him. God gives him insight and wisdom he doesn’t give to me. God will hold Greg accountable for the decisions in our marriage and family – he knows he will answer to God one day for each decision he makes.  This is about trusting God to lead me through my husband – it is ALL about my faith in God!!!
  • Get rid of negativity!!!  No arguing or complaining Phil 2:14-16a.
  • Ideally, give him the finances – or at least give him the ultimate responsibility for the finances and think of myself more as the secretary if I must pay the bills. It often works SO much better when I am not telling him what to do and how to spend money – in our marriage, at least.
  • If he decides to give me something, take me out to eat, go on a spontaneous vacation, I SMILE, accept graciously and don’t question if he should or should not give wonderful things to you. Say, “Thank you! You are SO generous! You’re such a wonderful husband!”
  • Even if I feel like he is “leading me nowhere” – that is ok! At one point, I prayed, “God, I am willing to sit RIGHT HERE spiritually and geographically and never move another inch if this is where you want me. I trust You to lead me through my husband. I am NOT going to run ahead anymore. I will patiently wait on You if I sit here until I am 80!” It’s funny, it wasn’t long after I adopted that attitude that things began to go forward on God’s path full-throttle!
  • Thank God for my husband’s leadership and spiritual authority over me daily.
  • Thank my husband for his leadership and spiritual authority over me – even if he is not a believer! Even if he is an immature Christian! God said the husband IS the head of the wife in Ephesians 5:22 – take God at His Word and thank God for His provision for me. God can and will use even a non-believer or a very immature husband to lead a believing wife who trusts in Him!
  • Have a willing spirit to be led by my husband and by God.
  • Recognize that God can and will speak to me through my husband many times.

If some of these things have been eye-opening for you, I’d encourage you to repent and commit to seeking God’s face and His will in your life and your marriage starting today!

  • It is God’s plan to teach husbands to be effective, humble, servant-leaders in the church by learning to be a leader at home first. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?  I Tim 3:5
  • God desires to use the respect, admiration and cooperation of godly wives to shape men and influence them in leadership in marriage.  In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2by observing your pure and reverent lives.  I Peter 3:1-2
  • God CAN use my willing, obedient spirit to help mold and influence my husband if my heart is right with God and I am respectful of the God-given position of authority God gave my husband. What a high calling!  I can’t change my husband!  Only God changes people!  But I can be on God’s team, get out of God’s way and influence him towards God and myself.
  • We will also be influencing our children and showing them how to have a godly marriage, what godly femininity means, how to submit to God and to God-given authorities. AND our obedience to God will draw many others to Christ!!!!!! MUCH IS AT STAKE HERE! I pray we act wisely and in full obedience and surrender to God.

Lord,

I know this is a very tough and very painful subject! You know how many tears I cried myself over these issues for so many years in my own marriage. My heart breaks with wives who are anxious, afraid, lonely, overwhelmed and scared to make these changes. I pray that You might show each wife how to take that step of faith and trust You to work through our husbands for our good and Your glory! Help us to see that You will catch us and that what seems so terrifying is actually a gateway to peace and the life we have always longed for. Give us girlfriends to encourage and sustain us! Give us prayer partners to pray with us.

Help us desire to obey You even when we don’t completely want to and don’t understand Your wisdom. Help us trust You with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength! Open the floodgates of heaven on the women who have the courage to obey You in this area of following their husbands’ leadership! Let them see Your miracles! Let them find the beautiful place that this painful path brings us to – a place of joy, love, peace, hope, deep intimacy with You and with our husbands and abundant life! Don’t let Satan retain a stronghold in our hearts any longer! Let us sincerely repent of our sin! Let us turn to Your ways and begin the adventure of following You each day, anticipating all the wonderful things You will do to provide for us, protect us, and guide us through our husbands. Thank You for Your design for marriage! Help us to embrace Your wisdom and learn it and live it and then teach it to other wives! Use us to greatly bless our husbands, marriages and children. And use us to greatly bless the world with the fragrance, salt and light of Christ!

Amen!

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A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission

31 thoughts on “My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 3

  1. Truly appreciated your sharing on Facebook. Great example of our struggle, our battle as women! Had an experience yesterday of that struggle. DH making cake for grown daughter’s bday. He had asked about some ingredient. I said I wasn’t sure. He stated he thought I would have it (typical for him), end of discussion. I did let it go instead of trying to control.

    When it comes time to make cake, I am distracted with a really painful relationship “chance encounter” that had just happened, off my game, weakened, too many windows open in my mind’s desktop. I hear him in kitchen looking for things. And that ingredient was NOT there. I know I need to STAY OUT of his business unless asked because I will fall into old patterns so easily. However, in my state I wander in to get drink and fall right into it. “Do you want me to look for? Why are you…?” Before I knew what happened I was frustrated, angry, had made remarks… Ach!

    I left room and sat down to read paper. Fuming. Then it hit me! I was miserable and knew why. Prayed silently. When DH came in room I apologized. He tried to ignore the situation and pretend all was well and give me an easy out, “no, you were ok” . I stated that I had fallen back into that old pattern and needed his forgiveness (he is reading paper and seemingly ignoring me) I asked “will you forgive me?” He said he thought he already had even though the words were not spoken. I asked again “will you forgive me?” He got a serious look on his face, looked me in the eyes and said the words I wanted to hear.

    Many years of sinful bondage behavior for both of us. Ugly old patterns that Jesus is breaking the chains from. Link by link. Watched Scrooge a few days ago. I love the picture of Jacob Marley with his chains. He says, ” I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard.” Life and sin, ours and others, have a way of adding links to those chains that bind us. Jesus is in the business of freeing us from those chains!

    Luke 4:18 (NET)
    18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and the regaining of sight to the blind,
    to set free those who are oppressed

    Thanks so much for sisterhood I find here. It helps me more than words can express!

    1. Learningever,
      Ooh! Love that quote from Scrooge about the chain. That gives me chills!

      Thank you so much for sharing your struggles and what you are learning.

      That is what God gives us sisters in Christ for – to walk this road together, to pray for each other, to lift each other up and to bless each other and point each other to Him! 🙂

      Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister!

    2. Learning ever,
      I am so proud of you for your quick turnaround! I know our Lord doesn’t want perfection from us. He wants us to recognize our sin and repent. As many times as it takes. . . Way to go, sister!

  2. Yahweh is soooo impressing this issue upon me lately!!! For me, it is one of the biggest ways I have been disrespectful. Just going along at my own speed and not his speed. . .I know that has been so stressful for him 🙁

    Yesterday I was on the respect dare (35?) that speaks about making him feel important. I realized how unimportant I have unintentionally made him feel. I wept so hard to think THAT is what i’ve been communicating all of these years!! UGH!

    Today we had an early appointment and we needed to drive separately. We’ve both been to where we were going many times, so normally i wouldn’t have thought twice about who lead the way. This is not something we’ve ever discussed or pondered over in our family. As we left the house I felt a strange nudge to back up and let him pull out in front of me. No big deal, so I did. . . But as we were pulling away I felt this strange sense of accomplishment! And I clearly heard the Lord speak to my spirit and say “YES!! THAT’S IT!! GOOD GIRL!!! LET HIM LEAD!!!”.

    I said nothing, but a few minutes later my teenage son said, “Ugh! Why did you let dad lead? He always drives so much slower!”. I thought it very strange that he would say anything about that. But before I could even process his question, I said to him, “Dad knows exactly how fast to lead our family. Dad is patient and careful. If we were to push him faster that would be reckless. For many years I have done just that and I know from experience that it would be better for all of us if we follow dad’s lead.”. And I know the words did not come from me.

    I drove down the road with a heart full of praise for the One who knows me and meets me exactly where I am in the middle of all the small stuff! And it was so strange when we got there, I am convinced that my husband, who witnessed none of this, was standing a little taller today. . .

    1. Fallenshort,

      WOW!

      What an incredible opportunity to communicate truth and repentance to your son.

      This brought tears to my eyes!

      I hope you might allow me to share.

      It’s so funny that you mention this. I used to always just take the lead myself if Greg and I drove separately, too. But since I have been working on respecting his leadership, I also back up and allow him to lead, and I follow him instead of going my own way.

      This is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! 🙂

      1. Oh my ,April, absolutely if u have an opportunity to share & feel the need to use my story – I totally trust you :). After all YOU’VE given to ME???? To use your verbiage, I owe you dump trucks full of stories!

  3. Interesting. Mark always takes the lead when we drive. I’m directionally challeged. In fact, we have gps on my phone so that if I get lost he can look online and talk me home. For some reason, with all of the things I have been able to learn in life reading a map is not one of them. Nor is remembering east, west, north, south..

    When we first moved to Dallas there were a few times he called while I was driving home from work in the first few weeks to tell me I was going the wrong way!

    I totally relate to the driving slow thing though. My husband drives slow everywhere we go and he always drives. I used to really frustrated and he would get mad and tell me that the auto makers put one set of controls in the car for a reason. I did find out about a year ago that he had an accident when his daughter was little and he flipped the car. Nobody was hurt but apparently he’s been driving slow ever since. I felt like a big meanie when I found that out.

    So, now that I’ve read all three parts and I think about areas where my husband does not want to lead or areas that he does not want to make decisions, I have to ask:

    Is it better that I don’t put him in the position that forces him to lead in areas where he is not comfortable leading or making decisions in areas that are not his strengths?

    I say that because I wouldn’t want him to put me in charge of let’s say fixing the plumbing or figuring out what was wrong with the car or choosing a church or something that I don’t have the skillset to do. I would feel like I was set up to fail. Likewise I don’t want to set him up to fail. He’s already having issues with feeling like he’s failing in areas that he’s struggling with like trying to change his career path and staying motivated to do his classes or with his kids.

    Our strengths and weaknesses are pretty much opposite of each other. He’s creative and I’m not. I have many interests his are more limited. I’m very social and he is introverted. He’s good at saving money and bad at making money. I’m good at making money and bad at saving money. I can’t cook, he can cook. He’s good at getting us from point A to point B, I on the other hand am lucky to get anywhere on time. I’m analytical and well, so is he.. 🙂 There are things that we share strengths and weaknesses on.

    He pointed something out to me today that he thinks I do that is mean. At first I didn’t think much of it but now I think yeah, he’s right because the motivation for doing it is actually to confuse him and make him feel like he’s not as smart. He says I use 10 dollar words when we have a disagreement when a 5 dollar word will do. I know he has a limited vocabulary and I do throw words in when making my point knowing full well he has no idea what they mean. I’ll have to talk to him more about it later tonight because it is mean. And he was right it is intentional. It is designed to make him feel like he can’t match wits with me.

    Gail W.

    1. Gail,
      Each marriage will have its own unique way of living out respect and biblical submission and love.

      A husband can delegate if he things that is best. But sometimes, as he is first learning, some husbands need to only have one new thing at a time. Each man is different, there is a learning curve to learning to lead. This will require sensitivity on your part to God’s Spirit.

      I am glad that you are considering his point and willing to change to use $5 words. It is so important to see our motives in everything we do and to refine them to please God and bless our husbands. 🙂

      1. Yes, Mark is definitely a one thing at a time kind of guy. He’s also the type that needs to ease into changes. Perfect example; Mark loves to plan date night. Spends 3 weeks planning it. Date night is sacred and nobody messes up, changes the date or gets in the way of date night.. It’s like a monthly holiday.. I can see him researching different stuff to do, places to go but it’s always dinner and a movie. Because it’s his comfort zone in the end and he’s so afraid of choosing wrong.

        One of his friends told me he used to love to golf. I’m gonna ask him tomorrow if he would mind helping me pick out some golf clubs and teaching me how to golf. That has huge romantic possibilities and may open the way for him to make that leap into something different and us doing something he is good at.

    2. Gail I really like your explanation of what you realized about your husband, women always may try to appear higher, but I noticed men have alter ego’s its no battle that we should try to outake each other, but rather humble ourselves under other’s-especially our husband. I love reading what you have to say- u put it ou there-thx.

      1. Gail, its nice of you to offer him into a hobby of some sort-women are there to bring out the best in theri man and vice versa, my husband loves golf, he even wants to play professionally, I use to play a little but were different anyway…in the things we like, I would love to meet him in some ares..he has alot of things he is good at and alot of hobbies, I always tend to get into them in a way, b/c I dont have as many hobbies.

      2. Thanks Peeps. My husband and I do have a lot of things in common. I have never played golf. My family is all golfers. My brother actually received a golf and bowling scholarship to college. And a partial juggling scholarship. Those were the good ole days when you could get a scholarship for anything! ..

        There’s no doubt that for a long time my husband and I were in one of the worst power struggles ever. So it did throw me off a little when I would give him control of something and he tried to throw it back at me like it was a hot potato. I’m not disappointed in him if he doesn’t want to lead in any specific areas or if he fails.

    1. Tami,

      That is one of the things I love about as you learn to respect and honor your husband – the times of tension usually are much more easily overcome and happen less and less frequently. PRAISE GOD! 🙂

  4. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Thank you for letting God work in you and your marriage and, most importantly, for sharing this with the world! I needed this. I needed to be confronted with my own ugly sin. I needed a generous dose truth. I needed an infusion of hope! I’m just starting on my journey to biblical submission (SCARY!), but I’m confident that God can change my heart. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Michelle,

      You are most welcome! It is painful and scary at first. But God’s ways are ultimately the path to freedom, lightness of heart, contentment, fulfillment, joy, true peace and abundant spiritual blessings. I am so excited that you are beginning this journey. I have MANY, MANY posts here that I believe will be helpful as you get started. Let me know if you need to talk about anything. You are not alone. Hundreds of other women are walking this path with you.

      Much love!
      April

  5. Thank you so much. I really needed this as I felt it spoke directly to me. I work in leadership roles and bring that home. I have been unable to figure how to help my marriage. I have a lot of studying and praying to do, but for the first time I have hope things can be different. Thank you.

  6. Wow! I am so glad to find your blog! I have been feeling alone in my marriage until I found you. Thank you for your time and transparency. So my husband is not the only one with the problem 🙂 I have been stugging because of my husband’s temper and immaturity. I always had to lead because he wanted me to and now I am tired of it I told him and can’t make any more decision for him and want him to lead. He is struggling in this area. By the way, we have been married 16 years and now worn out. I want a man but I don’t see it in him. Thanks for helping me get my eyes off his problem. I desperately need God’s grace and help in this marriage.

    1. Ann,

      I think you are in the right place. 🙂 I invite you to read the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect, respect, and biblical submission. And I also invite you to search my home page for the following terms:

      – lead
      – leader
      – idol
      – idolatry
      – submission
      – respect
      – stages of this journey
      – ungodly woman
      – godly femininity

      I’m right here if you want to talk about anything! Praying for God’s greatest glory in your walk with Christ and in your marriage!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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