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Dominant Wife/Passive Husband: My Husband’s Take

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By my husband, Greg.  From the archives.  This is HIS perspective on how he felt as a passive husband. Maybe your husband has some of the same feelings? I don’t know!  But it could be interesting to try to find out.

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GREG:

Occasionally, I take one of April’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. Hope you enjoy.

APRIL:

Reverend Harold Weaver taught a class called “7 Basic Needs of a Wife, 7 Basic Needs of a Husband” in 2012. We LOVED this class! Rev. Weaver has his theology straight and explains God’s design for marriage so well. (He has given me permission to share his notes from this class and “Spiritual Authority” and “A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage”

During the class, he mentioned that in all of his 45 years of ministry and counseling, with a dominant wife/passive husband situation, he NEVER saw a husband rise up and take authority from his wife and begin leading spiritually. Not once.

WOW.

(I actually HAVE seen this happen with a few couples I have met here on the blog – but it is very, very rare, from my experience. And, even if the husband does attempt to rise up and begin leading, the wife must still be willing to step down and learn to follow and trust him.)

As a former dominant wife, myself, I think this is a pretty important piece of information. 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.
  • it is very difficult for a dominant wife to learn to give up leading.

BUT – IT CAN BE DONE! I am proof of that!!!

The inverted relationship will NOT be made right until the WIFE willingly and voluntarily 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!

GREG:

As a once-passive husband, I agree that it is very true that a passive husband will have difficulty taking the authoritative leadership role if his wife is dominant. 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 as 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 April 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 I thought that it would not do any good to try to convince her that there was another way. So, I would let April lead.

It was not until April 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. April 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 and God 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.

(NOTE – if a husband is physically abusive, if there is infidelity, active drug/alcohol addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues – that is going to be a much more complicated situation. Please, ladies, get experienced, godly help in such a situation! There can be times that it could be dangerous or unwise to trust your husband in such situations.)

There is a true equation 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.


APRIL:

TWO KINDS OF AUTHORITY

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 (I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:5). But Rev. Weaver talked tonight about another kind of authority I had 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.

GREG:

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 often 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, 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.

RESPONDING WHEN OUR HUSBANDS MAKE UNWISE OR BAD CHOICES AS LEADERS IN OUR MARRIAGES:

According to Rev. Weaver, 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 the importance of a wife not condemning her husband 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!

GREG:

One of the big differences I have seen in our marriage is the April’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. A wife’s willingness to accept 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.

APRIL:

Lord,

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!

Amen.

RELATED:

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage

A Husband Answers – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

Being a Good Follower

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

39 thoughts on “Dominant Wife/Passive Husband: My Husband’s Take

  1. Thank you for another wonderful blog post, your making a huge difference in my life and marriage. My marriage is not great but getting better. I want to desperately ask for a prayer request for myself and my husband. My husband is an unbeliver and is going away this weekend with his friends. And every time they go away they go to strip clubs. He will also go by himself at times. I can’t talk to him because he does not understand how it’s wrong and why I feel betrayed. I need prayers and suggestions on how to handle this because I know I can’t force him to not go. I’m just really confused on how to handle something like this.

    1. Will be praying for wisdom for you Kara. I would pray that he is convicted of his actions. Also that those places would hold no attraction to him . I also heard a talk where the preacher said she prays that whatever sin the person is involved in that that sin would actually make them miserable…
      I will be praying for you both over the weekend. Hang in there and keep going!

      1. Thank you so much and I love that idea. I think I will pray for that as well. All the support on this blog is very comforting and encouraging. 🙂

      2. Sophia208,

        Sin always DOES make people miserable. So – that is one prayer that will be definitely answered!

        Thank you Sophia, Learning Ever and Fellow Wife for blessing, praying for and encouraging Kara. GREAT JOB!!!!!!

    2. April – I am wondering if you have any advice for me. I have been married for almost 10 years with 2 children and my husband just never came home one day after work 7 weeks ago. Yes we have had out arguments and I am more dominant and he is VERY PASSIVE. He will not meet me to talk about anything even regarding the kids, he wil only come over when I am not there and is very angry. He stated he will be serving me with papers and will figure it out in court. How am I supposed to just accept this. Yes he said he is unhappy which is why he left but how do I give up when he won’t even try? I am so hurt and confused. I thought I knew this man

      1. Oh no!!! I am so sorry to hear this, Anonymous. 🙁

        Do either of you have a relationship with Christ?

        Has he ever said anything in the past about what was upsetting him?

        If you want to, you may find some clues in the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect, respect and biblical submission.

        God’s counsel to a wife whose husband is not obedient to God’s Word is I Peter 3:1-6.

        I have some ideas I can share with you after I hear a bit more from you and after you read some of those posts.

        Much love to you!

        1. Thank you 🙁

          His job is a large issue between us because he is always working. Our biggest issue is communication because I clearly did not see this coming. He refuses to meet with me but from what he tells others he is unhappy and he ‘knows’ that nthing will change. He said that he has reached his breaking point, that someone can only take so much. His problems are that he does not feel I support him , he feels I am controlling. We went to counseling once since he left but he just said he wanted a divorce and would never go back with me. I have been going alone since. I just am not ready to give up 🙁 I have been reading through a lot of your blog. Thank you

  2. I am just starting down this path and am struggling with “handing over the reigns.” My heart is ready to be submissive, but I don’t think my husband wants to lead. I think he is “comfortable” with some things the way they are. Our greatest area of contention is finance, and I have always balanced the checkbook and payed the bills. He doesn’t want to, but I cannot handle the weight of that responsibility when I don’t agree with him on our finances. How can he see that he needs to care about our finances without me “forcing” him to care? At this point, I am ready to support him even if I don’t agree, but how do I do this if he is willfully oblivious?

    1. Marie,

      Welcome! I am so excited that you are beginning this journey with us. 🙂

      I have a number of posts on this topic.

      Here is how I handled things in our marriage.

      Here is how a wife handled things whose husband insisted that he wanted her to continue handling the finances.

      Here is a post from my friend, Kayla, about how she handled this issue “Money and the Ugly Truth”

      He may not be oblivious. He may be delegating to you. That is not wrong.

      Check out these posts and prayerfully consider what you believe God may desire you to do to honor your husband. I’m right here if you want to talk some more about this!
      Much love to you!

    2. Marie,

      PS

      A husband will need to see that you will be safe, that you will be supportive, and that you will not blast him if he makes mistakes.

      Here are a few more posts that may be helpful:

      A husband answers, “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

      An Interview with My Husband – Understanding a Passive Husband’s Mindset

      Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

      Becoming a Good Follower

      My Husband isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

      My Husband Won’t Lead

    3. Hi, Marie.

      I just want to give you another perspective on how this can be done. I reached a point, like you, when the weight of dealing with the bills was just too much and was really stressing me out. I told my husband that I just could not do it any longer and I needed him to either take over completely or take over the decision making and I would be the secretary. He chose option 2. 😉

      Now, here is how we do our bills…. we have a bi-weekly meeting where we sit down and I have all of the financial stuff ready. (Bills laid out, envelopes, stamps, checkbook, calculator). I give him the stack of bills and write checks for whatever he decides is going to be paid. I tell him what I need for groceries or any other expenses I know of I will need money for. (Gas, copays at a dr apt, etc).

      This is working out beautifully for us. I feel so much better without the full weight of that responsibility on me!

      I hope you find a way that works out great for you and your husband. There are a lot of different ways it can be done- just thought I would give you another viewpoint.

      Good luck!

      1. Also, Peacefulwife, and husband, I don’t know if you mentioned this, but I’m sure your sex life[after you allowed him to be the “man” of the house] sky rocketed, and I’m sure it was sooo much better than ever.
        I say this, simply because, when a man takes charge, in and outside of the bedroom, it makes his wife feel safe and secure. When a man takes charge, it allows for the wife to be feminine. It’s extremely hard for a wife to be feminine, playing a man’s role in a marriage.
        When a man is in charge, and he’s leading his wife in an intimate manner, she’s more open to him sexually. And when a woman feels free, safe, and open to her husband, she’s able to have better orgasms.
        Peacefulwife, I would love for you, if you don’t mind, to share your story[ in how once you allowed your husband to lead, that your sex life became more fulfilling].

      2. Thanks for your input. 🙂

        After some reading and prayer I plan to talk to my husband. Your advise is helpful. I think I could handle the clerical if I knew he was making the decisions.

      3. A fellow wife,
        I love this! In fact, I would be ecstatic to share a post from you about how you and your hubby handle the finances. I think it would bless many wives. I would love for them to see a number of options to consider.

        Much love!
        April

        1. I talked to my husband last night. At first he was devastated, and said he felt like a failure. That scared me because I thought, “oh, no! I didn’t communicate it right to him!” But I am so thankful I read the posts you shared with me because God used them to give me the right words. I told him I felt like a Pharisee, driven and prideful of myself while judging others.
          He also asked me for specific areas where I felt like we were struggling. That scared me, too because in the past bringing up specifics is where the “fights” started. Again your old posts saved me! 🙂 I talked about the things I thought we should be doing like devotions without kids, praying together daily, and budgeting. BUT this time I said that those were not things we HAD to do even thou they were good. It was interesting that he responded that he always thought those things were ideal but not that big of a deal ( that is between Him and God.).
          I pointed to my breaking point last year when I was so busy that it felt like I was never home. I told him it was my fault because I knew he had been trying to tell me I was too busy through subtle signs and I didn’t listen. I said I would support him I didn’t want him to make me happy, that had been his goal. I wanted him to to help me be a better Christian and choose the right priorities. 🙂 He got it!! He saw what we needed, and I think he is still scared but at least now we are both ready to do the right thing! He is worried I won’t tell him what I want or need, but honestly I had already stopped telling him those things. Telling him never helped before. It just led to fights, but now I know how to communicate with him without expecting him to agree, and He knows that he doesn’t have to go with what I say.
          We are going to do the finances together. I am excited about that because I know the weight of the final decision is not on me, and we will be spending more time together. He wants to balance the checkbook together on Thursdays and pay any bills we have.

          1. Marie,

            I am so glad to hear from you! I am sure that was a very scary conversation to have. I love what you told him about not trying to make you happy but to help you be a better Christian and choose right priorities. THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!

            I love your plan!!!

            In fact, in another month or two – if you would like to – I would love to share your story with other wives. 🙂

            Much love to you!

  3. April, you are SUPER CUTE in this pic! More pics pls. 🙂

    This blog post was one of those I copy-pasted and read and re-read in the beginning of my submission journey. It was a real eye-opener. There were a lot of eureka and aha moments because of this. Thanks so much for being a gift to us wives. God bless you and Greg more! 🙂

    Nikka

    1. Nikka,

      Aww! Thanks! 🙂 Will see what I can do about the pics!

      It’s a really old post – but I love this one, too. I really like it when Greg (or another husband) gives his perspective – I think that is extremely helpful for wives as we seek to learn to understand our husbands.

      Much love my beautiful sister!

  4. This is a fantastic article. When a man fail to lead his family, dysfunction is soon to follow. God forbid if this dysfunctional family have kids, then the kids will grow up dysfunctional.
    Being an African American man, I grew up in a single family home[raised by my mom], and so did a lot of my friends growing up, as well as our wives. As a group, we saw how woman provided, and ruled the household. My friends and I didn’t see the dominate, father figure in our homes, so therefore, all we knew was a strong, dominate woman that was in charge of the home.
    In growing up this way, my friends and I after we all became married, ran into a host of issues with our wives, and the main issue was, who would lead the household? I believe it’s natural for a man to lead, but when he has not seen a man lead by example, it becomes extremely difficult, especially if his wife is trying to lead.
    Men, no matter what, you have to lead, because just as it’s in our DNA to lead, it’s in a woman’s DNA to follow.
    Men, if your spouse is not open to the idea that you need to lead, then I would suggest you two to go to a therapist. Your children need to understand that it’s imperative for you, the man, to lead. If you don’t lead, you will teach your children that this dysfunctional behavior is normal.
    God Bless,
    Conroy Dennis
    “Keep Pushing For More!”

    1. ConroyDennis,
      That is a really important point – SO MANY men and women grew up in single mother households and haven’t witnessed a godly marriage where the husband lovingly, humbly, selflessly leads and the wife honors, respects, appreciates and praises the husband.

      If couples do go to counseling, I would STRONGLY suggest that it be biblical counseling that promotes God’s design for marriage.

      Thank you so much for this important perspective!

  5. Thank you for this post. It is great to hear both of your perspectives.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is for wives to support husbands and not blast us when a decision we make does not turn out well. A man’s greatest emotional need to to be respected and honored. When we lead and make decisions, we are taking a risk. When the results are less than expected, a wise man will try to learn from it and improve. This leads to better leadership and decision making. However, if we get blasted for a decision and get reminded of it over and over, then we are being told that we are too stupid to make wise decisions. That costs us respect and honor. As we go forward, we will fear making decisions because unless the decision is perfect, we will get blasted and reminded again. When my wife stands by me,supports me and believes in me, regardless of the outcome, then I will have the courage to step up, lead and make decisions in the future.

    1. Joe,
      Your thoughts are SO IMPORTANT on this issue. I am really thankful that you shared. I know that many wives will be able to understand their own husbands’ hearts better because of your willingness to share your perspective.

  6. My husband has always had a dominant personality, and I LOVE him for that!
    I grew up with a dominant mother and passive stepdad (now divorced), so I know the damage this kind of relationship can do!
    I am the type of person who likes to follow, rather than lead…but I am also used to being spoiled (my upbringing), so there were times when I tried to get my way.
    And he was not about to let me walk all over him!
    So we butted heads and got into arguments over silly things.
    I wanted him to be the leader, as long as his interests were the same as mine, and I agreed with his decisions.
    Many arguments could have been avoided if I had simply treated him respectfully.

    1. Paulina,

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and your wisdom. PRAISE GOD that your husband wouldn’t allow you to steamroll him. That is a blessing.

      I am excited about what God is doing in your life and marriage. 🙂

  7. Praying for ur hubby now Kara that God would speak to him right now. That he would see how this hurts you and he would come to love Jesus

    1. Thank you for your prayers and support. I’m so happy I have re committed my life to God and that I am able to wake up everyday and be encourage by this blog and all the women on here. Without God and the prayers I would be a huge mess right now. Thank you 🙂

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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