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

Greg and April Nov. 2013

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. 🙂


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.


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!