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A Man Shares His Thoughts about Husbands Being Pressured to Work Certain Jobs

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Earlier this week, I ran a post “Do We Try to Control Our Husbands’ Jobs?” where I shared how two wives tried to force and pressure their husbands into certain jobs and what severe problems that created for their husbands and their marriages.

Today I am excited to share a response from one of our brothers in Christ on this issue. I would love to hear from more of the men, as well.

I think that most of us as women/wives do not begin to understand what a critical issue a man’s career/job/unemployment is for most men. My prayer is that our husbands would eventually find their identity in Christ alone and not rely as much on their work or in making us “happy” to feel “successful.”

But – we do still have to realize that work and career often is central to a man’s identity in a way that would be comparable to how we as women often identify ourselves by our family relationships (wife, mother). Our men NEED our support as they seek to be “successful” in the world, to contribute in meaningful ways to society, to utilize their gifts, talents and abilities and to financially support the family. When a man cannot do these things, it can be incredibly emasculating and painful for him. In fact, one book I read about understanding men described that it is easier for many men to face terminal cancer than to face unemployment many times.  

Wow.

Let that one sink in for a moment.

How can WE be godly wives and help to lift burdens from our men in this area? How can we apply less pressure and more inspiration, encouragement, appreciation, faith and blessing?

Listen to what this man has to say and prayerfully consider what God may be speaking to you about how important this issue is for your man.

**(If your husband suffers from an uncontrolled mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction, I am not writing for wives in these kinds of severe situations, please seek godly, experienced, biblical, appropriate help. And if your husband is physically able to work but chooses not to work and wants to be home, this post may not apply in such situations. Not all men are exactly alike, after all.)

FROM THANKFUL HUSBAND:

Work is something most men will struggle with throughout their lives. It’s is part of the curse of our sin. Especially young men, still trying to find out what they are good at in a modern world that often does not value the things a young man brings to the table. It takes trial and error, effort and failure, often he will seem lost and without direction.

But as a business owner (who faced that exact circumstance before finding success) who interacts with some of the most successful & powerful men in the world…even those at the top are always in some kind of struggle with their work. And that struggle usually always goes about ten times deeper than what we let it show. Because we are not allowed to show that. That is weakness, and it is not acceptable and downright dangerous & negligent in the work environment and often times just as much at home. It makes up such a huge part part of our identity and it’s how we often express a large part of our love and protection for our wives and families.

I have no answers to negate the struggle your husband will undoubtedly face throughout life, it’s assured, as the curse is assured. But I can tell you,

A wife who is thankful for a husband’s protection and provision, who is a safe, warm and soft place to land is a blessing beyond blessing.

Lastly, I know for most women security is at the top of the list when it comes to things she wants her husband to provide for her – I know it is with my wife. And of course security is very, very closely related to money. Money is a tricky thing in this modern world and we are often deceived in what we think. I can tell you this, as someone who deals with the 1% daily, they are often less secure than the young couple. Everyone is leveraged and in debt beyond belief and put their trust in things that quite literally will dissappear anyday. But it throws everyone’s perspective off and gives us a false sense of what’s real and how much money we need to be “safe.”

There is far more security in a man who is willing to work harder and longer for his family than there is in one whose making more (even a lot more) in the moment. No matter what your husband makes at this moment, even if it doesn’t feel enough, if he is giving it his all and if tomorrow something where to happen and he’d take a job scrubbing toilets to support his family…you are richly blessed indeed. The trick is in keeping it in perspective and in showing it to him.

57 thoughts on “A Man Shares His Thoughts about Husbands Being Pressured to Work Certain Jobs

  1. Kelly,

    I am so glad that you are really savoring that conference! I am sure it is amazing. YES! The world has twisted God’s wisdom and design and we in the church have swallowed the godless lies of the world and have paid so very dearly in our intimacy with God and in our marriages. Time to turn that around!

    I praise God for what He is doing in your life!!!

    Much love
    April

  2. April- how would you advise a wife who’s husband is refusing to take jobs that are “beneath him”, but their family is living in a friend’s basement on charity and they are rapidly using up their emergency fund? It’s become very clear that he is not going to get a job in his preferred field of work (he has been trying to get there since 2007) and that he needs to go to Plan B but this has left him sullen, angry, withdrawn and mostly he just sets on the couch reading books and ignoring his situation and his family.

    I am the friend with the basement. 🙂 I am in a difficult position as I want to encourage this wife (and dear friend of mine) to respect her husband, admire her husband, follow his leadership- but our family needs to start setting some harsh boundaries as this has gone on several months. She is unable to work right now due to a nursing baby. My husband is prepared to say that he needs to take a job, any job and start contributing to the well-being of his family. We offered them our home rent-free on the understanding that he was moving to the area to get A job- not that he would spend months looking for THE job.

    I am BLESSED beyond all measure by a husband who makes our family’s well-being his first priority… he will do and has done any work necessary to make sure we are clothed and fed and our home is secure. And he is grieved by this friend’s decisions and treatment of his family. But we are trying to understand that our friend is downtrodden, depressed and feels very stuck. Their choices are severely impacted by a HUGE amt of student debt, coupled by not being able to get jobs in their fields of study.

    Anyway- long complicated story- but what do I say to this wife?

    1. MV,
      I believe that this is something that your husband will need to address with your friend’s husband. I would allow him to handle this. And you can seek to continue to encourage this wife as you have been. I am sure her husband is extremely discouraged and depressed. He may feel paralyzed and like a complete failure. If his wife is able to show faith in him and in God and to continue to honor his leadership, it may be that could inspire him.

      I pray for God’s wisdom for you and your husband and for this couple. That is a very difficult situation. Praying for God to work for His glory!

    2. I’ve seen this happen at least a few times with men close to me in the last six years, in all different stages of their lives and levels of family responsibility. Sometimes it lasted a few months, sometimes years (yes, years).

      What I have learned from this is the following:

      I think this is a good cop, bad cop situation. The good news is, your the good cop. The wife is best served in prayering for her husband (and family), encouraging and loving vibrantly her husband. You’re the person that has got his back even when the world has turned away from him and even when he has stopped believing in himself.

      But there does need to be a bad cop. Maybe if he is close with his father or if he’s got a pastor or elder that he trusts that can do the job, and by that I mean most modern pastors & elders in our modern church honestly are too feminized and insecure to light a fire under him. It sounds like it needs to be your husband…partly because he should trust your husband because of the sacrifice and giving nature you’ve both shown this family and because he has to. Regardless if it’s a different family or not, if you are living under someone else’s roof you are living under someone else’s authority and you need to respect them enough to hear them out. In times past it was considered manly and you were a good friend if someone was willing to rebuke you and be tough with you. We’ve lost almost as much on the masculine side as we have on the feminine side (some days I think more).

      This man sounds on the younger side. It’s a hard spot to be in, saddled with debt and a piece of paper the only thing to show for it.. A piece of paper he knows by know doesn’t guarantuee him anything. At this point it’s a matter of physics. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. This man needs to get in motion and realize that it doesn’t matter if you start out as the lowest guy on the totem pole. If you show yourself smart, trustworthy and a hardworker you will find someone that gives you the job you need. But few anymore get that job by the piece of paper they paid to get. My most trusted worker use to run games in the carnival. But he was willing to start at the bottom and quickly proved his ability and charachter, But even low on the totem pole jobs don’t always show up tomorrow so he needs to be encouraged to work outside at the house, volunteer, exercise, anything to get moving and be a man of action. Men are suppose to act and the moment we stop doing so we become depressed and full of self doubt. “Good feelings” and a good pep talk won’t overcome that. He has to go out and start proving to himself he is a man that can get stuff done and do a good job.

      1. Yes, physics! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying! Objects at rest…

        We are regularly seeking prayer and counsel from a pastor and elder in our church, and they are willing to step in and mediate the situation if we request it. I am so grateful for a strong church willing to do that!

        I appreciate your insight as a man who has managed employees and is accustomed to being a male role model. My husband will appreciate reading this also, I’m sure! He and our friend are peers in terms of age, social status, family stages etc. So my husband has struggled with how much to step out and essentially say ” you need to man up”.

        Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom.

        1. MV,
          I understand your husbands “position”. Of the three men, one was my father and one was the husband of my wife’s good friend (that we also went to church with and whom had advanced degrees). In other words I didn’t “feel” right about challenging them. However, what I learned (often thru failure on my own part) is that if I don’t step to rebuke, encourage, light a fire under those men close to me I’m really failing him as much as he is failing his family. Part of being a godly man, and even just manly, is to not worry so much about stepping on toes or worrying what others think about us as men. But doing what is right, regardless. We have lost that as men and need to reclaim it. I think if we wait for just those “above us”…we might be in for a long wait. And to be honest, I don’t have faith by and large that our “leadership” has their priorities (both biblically & having a true sense of true godly manhood looks like) straight enough to do it even if they wanted. Of the man up sermons I hear, they are often off base in their agenda.

          Don’t want to monopolize the conversation but these last two subjects have to be looked at from a male perspective so thank you for letting me weigh in on your female blog. I (and my wife) sure appreciate what is being taught here and what you many wives are doing.

          1. Thankful husband,
            I agree with you completely. If there are godly men around to speak to husbands who are having issues, it makes it much more possible for wives to be respectful and submissive. When no godly men are willing to step in, things are very difficult on wives and children when husbands get stuck in depression about unemployment or are hesitant to make needed decisions.

            The church is supposed to be a place where we can receive life giving, wise, godly, loving, truthful rebukes from those in authority over us.

            We have largely given up submission to all God-given authority as believers, and that has hurt us!
            We need authority in our lives in church, the government, at work and in families to maintain order and to best provide for, protect and bless every member of society.

            I am extremely thankful for your willingness to speak out on these important issues. I believe your perspective is one that will greatly benefit the wives who read.

          2. Peacefulwife,
            I hesitate to respond one more time but I think this point it too valuable to not say. Yes, we have largely given up submission to all God-given authority.
            I won’t address government/politics…I’m a small business owner, I hope that says enough. But just point out, men and women, on average have very drastic different views on government, politics and in how they vote…that should say something.

            But specifically address the church as this is a common thing I hear from christian women about men not being under the submission of the church. I completely understand women’s hesitation and even fear of this if she is going to place herself under his authority. But as a man. A man who tries to live for Christ and was once a skypilot himself (pastor) I completely understand why many christian men are not willing to do this in most of our modern churches and to the churches leaders.

            Most men do not believe the church is fair or biblical in matters between the sexes. I know I do not. Most men believe the church is the first to cut him off at the knees if he tries to lead his family and is either subtly or openly hostile to men, headship, masculinity in general, etc.. I don’t want to go into too much detail here or offend anyone but my point is this. If you want your husband to willingly put himself under a churches authority then you had better let him select the place and check it’s authenticity to scripture. Doing otherwise is like asking someone else to select the husband you have to be in authority under. If the day comes that it is needed, the only way he will be willing to listen is if he has willingly chosen to submit by his choice to attend. That might men attending a church that does not have the modern worship (which many men do not feel comfortable with) or attending one that does not have all the programs and bells and whistles.

            I’m sure many who read this blog would not be surprised to hear that men and women have not only different takes on marriage (and government), but on churches…and yes, we often go to where our wives want to attend. But when you look around the church sanctuary, ask yourself, why is 60-70% of the people in attendance female? And why is my husband not passionate about it? They are important questions to ask.

          3. Thankful husband,
            Again, this is a very important point. You are right, men and women are often not treated fairly in the church. So I can definitely understand why men are hesitant to place themselves under leadership that will hold them accountable to love their wives as Christ loves the church but who will not hold their wives accountable to respect and biblically submit to their husbands.

            We need a great movement of God’s Spirit to return us all to God’s wisdom and His design on every level. We have been so adversely impacted and infected by our godless culture, it breaks my heart.

            Point well taken.

          4. Thankfulhusband,

            THAT was the the most AWESOME thing I have read in a long time. My husband loved the church we used to attend. The Pastor left and he is not passionate about the church anymore. We go to a new church here or there that he wants to check out but have not found a church that he likes yet. Some I could understand why and others I thought he was way to picky about. We live in Dallas and I think how hard can it be to find a church you like in the Dallas area. There are a bazillion churches.

            You’re post makes sense to me. I’ll be patient and wait for him to find a church he wants to attend regularly. We have started a bible study that is really great but the church it’s actually held at is a Baptist Church. We are not a part of any particular religion, in fact, we are new Christians. We were going for the non denominational type church so that we don’t get confused between doctrine and what the bible actually says. We also don’t want to get kicked out of church or catch on fire for attending the wrong church.. 🙂

          5. mesprite, my hubby & I also live in Dallas, but we drive to Waxahachie to attend Waxahachie Bible Church & we both love it. Bible church’s are known for being “not a denomination” lol. If the commute doesn’t bother you then I invite ya’ll to check it out. Good luck finding the right church! I don’t envy that search.

          6. You can “monopolize” this subject all you want thankfulhusband. 🙂 I am learning so much from your wise insights. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. 🙂

            Nikka

          1. Thank you April! We are walking a difficult road, but we approached it with prayer and counsel and we keep reminding ourselves that this is a ministry to this family and won’t automatically be easy! Sometimes I wish there were just obvious answers to our questions, but allowing someone to share our home for a time just isn’t done in today’s culture, even among Christians. My husband was very encouraged by what was written here- it confirms a lot of what we have felt to be true.

          2. Mv and Mr. MV,
            I am so thankful for your godly influence on this couple and for the strength God has given you in your marriage. I pray for Him to continue the good work He has begun in you both! And in this couple you are helping.

            Much love!

          3. And fortunately, our marriage is in the best health it’s ever been so we are able to extend our energy to others at this time!

      2. Thankfulhusband: I like your comments. I agree with you! In fact, one of the things I pray for daily is that God will put my husband in the path of godly counsel. I pray for a strong Christian man will enter his life and help him to draw close to God, and open his eyes to his role. I think a man can communicate certain things better to another man, than a woman could.

    3. @ MV
      I would suggest to your husband that you guys buy that couple a Financial Peace University class if you can afford that. Or call in to Dave Ramsey’s radio show and maybe he will give them a scholarship.

      FPU is a fantastic resource for money management and it’s all bible based. It is mentioned many times in that course how a man needs to work to support his family no matter how menial the job may be at the time. He does this without condemnation or judgement. He uses lots of stories and lots of humor and it’s worth it’s weight in gold. The actual cost of the program is about 100 bucks. But you get CD’s of all lectures and access to many helpful tools. It’s just awesome!

      If you haven’t taken it yourself, you could try to find a class together.

      Blessings,
      Trixie

      1. Thank you, Trixie! We are big fans of Dave Ramsey and have shared as much of his cds, books and materials as this couple is willing to allow at this time! We have taken FPU twice and the principals we learned there are the reason we are in a financial position to help this family. 🙂

        1. Be careful! No matter how well intentioned, sending someone to “school” could be another blow to his sense of ability.

          I really hate to say this, but this is going to take a man’s mind and a man’s perspective to solve.

  3. I am really praying for wisdom on how to honor my husband in this area. Right now his work is seasonal, and I have asked him to at least work part time to help pay our bills. I have a full time job; I just don’t want to pay everything myself. Ladies, would you please join me in praying that God will raise up right, Biblical, counsel from a Christian man and that he would have the courage to address this and my husbands heart would be open to hear it? Thank you. I’m also praying that God helps me to TRUST Him and not resort to controlling behaviors due to my fear. That has only led to disaster and I want to change! I want to let God do it!

    1. Andra,
      I am praying for you to approach this in the wisdom and power of God so that you will be able to show your man you are on his team and not pressure or nag or pile contempt on him. I pray for wisdom for you both and for healing for your marriage and God’s greatest glory!

  4. There is a secret men almost never share that I believe all men have in common. We are afraid of being inadequate, of not measuring up, of not being good enough. Not only that, but we find our self-worth many times in our ability to provide for our families.I thank God my wife has always, trusted God to provide for us, and was content in whatever circumstances we were in. I am a not particularly skilled at any sort of technical work, my one employable asset has always been my willingness to work as hard, or harder than anyone else.With seven children, this has led to many, many tough times for us.

    My wife has never once in 38 years,tried to pressure me to take a job, or stay in a job, that I didn’t think I should.This has been an incredible blessing to me. Words cannot express how sweet this has been to my soul, how strongly it fuels my desire to be worthy of such trust. Not that it’s completely trust in me, but faith that God will provide for us.Still, scripture says that a man who does not provide for his own family is worse than an unbeliever.I was guilty of this for some time early in our marriage, while we separated for five years. Part of my repentance, in returning to God was rectifying this. By God’s grace, since being reconciled to my wife, I have never been out of work more than a couple weeks, except for one period, when I had injured my shoulder just prior to being let go from a job, and had to let it heal.I say this, not to brag on myself, but to show how my wife’s faith that God would provide for our family, through me, has been rewarded by a loving and gracious God.

    Ladies, my wife has always held my willingness, and desire to provide for her and our family, as being acceptable and praiseworthy. She has questioned my wisdom, in managing our finances, but never my desire to provide and care for her.She has always been an advocate, that it is God who provides, and I am the vessel that He works through.This has made my burden so much lighter and easier to bear. To know that my best is good enough, however meager that might be, is refreshing to my soul.

    1. TC your comment has blessed me. I am happy that your marriage has been restored and that your wife’s attitude has been such a blessing to you.

    2. Wow, TC.

      Thanks for sharing about your struggles and about your godly wife. My prayer is that I become like her too more and more each day. I have been on the other end of the spectrum for quite a time, being his judge and jury, rather than his ally and supporter. 🙁

      Thank you for sharing your heart. You are blessed indeed!

      Prov 12:3
      “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.”

      Nikka

      1. I would like to be clear, lest ya’ll think my marriage does not have it’s issues, it is not. We have some major hurdles, especially regarding intimacy to clear. But money and my choice of jobs, has simply never been an issue.

  5. Wow, these comments resonate with me. My husband lost a full-time job in 2009, and since then has not done what I (nor others familiar with the situation, such as church leaders) think he should have to resolve this. This is what I’ve had to just leave in God’s hands, and humbly accept help from my church leaders at times.

    1. Ellen,

      Goodness, such a difficult situation. I pray for wisdom for the church leaders, your husband and yourself. Praying for healing for your husband’s soul and for God to open the doors for him to find just the right job. Praying for God to prompt you about how best to honor him in this difficult time.

  6. I am thinking that just as most women no longer know their roles (as helpmeet) in the home, most men too no longer feel the need to fill up their God-ordained roles as well (that of the provider).

    Both sexes need to give room for each other to grow in their respective areas, and extend LOTS of grace to one another, in order for the both of them to reach their God-given potentials.

    No matter what society says or how androgynous the roles are now, since it is the ‘curse’ of Adam to toil, and the ‘curse’ of Eve to have pain in childbirth and to steal the leadership from Adam, it is only in toiling (for men) and giving birth and succumbing to the husband’s headship (for women) that we find redemption and fulfillment. Why? Because it is what it is. God designed us that way. 🙂 We can fight it all we want, and convince ourselves otherwise but at the back of our mind (if we had not hardened our consciences), we KNOW that the Biblical roles of men and women are really what is correct and what makes the both of them find purpose.

  7. I think this is a good opportunity to talk about types of men and importance of work. I read things like this and I think that is not my husband. I know he has some of these qualities but I don’t think he has a strong drive to provide. It seems as long as there is money to pay the bills he is fine with no job.

    When he does have a job, he is a very hard worker. He is not lazy at all. Maybe when he doesn’t have a job he is depressed? …so he is lazy around the house and at looking for a job? I think this may be the Visionary part of his personality. He is mostly Command man but he does have that Visionary part too.

    For the first 20 years of his life he worked the same job and was pretty far up in the company. His first wife left him and then he was laid off. Since then it seems like things continue to go wrong, like his injury and this last humanly impossible job.

    He has gone to school twice during this time to earn a degree and a certificate of training. But he still doesn’t seem to have a drive to work.

    I would like some thoughts on this.

    1. Daisymae,
      It would be interesting to see how his drive to work. I get change if you don’t pressure him at all and if you continue to show respect, honor, faith, encouragement and affirmation and stop trying to control him.

      Then, you will have a more clear picture of what may really be going on.

      Much love!

    2. Daisymae,

      My husband is somewhat the same. He becomes discouraged with this classes or in figuring out how to get out of his old line of work into a new one. So he will play video games all day, sleep until noon and not do much for like a month at a time. He quit his job to learn to do something else 8 months ago. And frankly he has only worked about 2 years out of our 5 year marriage. Since we are very comfortable living on my salary he doesn’t feel the pressure to complete anything. Right or wrong it causes a rift between us. Not because I care how much my husband earns or what he does for a living. I mean I care that he finds something he enjoys to do as a career choice but it’s his choice what that thing is. Heck, he didn’t pick my career, I did long before we ever met. But it causes a rift when he gets depressed and starts to put all of the responsibilities on me. Both husband type and wife type responsibilities. I really do not want a 44 year old, 6 foot 7 inch child. I don’t want a wife. I married him to be my husband. I want to be in partnership with another grown up. It also causes a rift when he complains about how much groceries cost or anything that has to do with finances. That’s an annoying on my part because I provide very well and if he is not happy with that then he needs to figure out what to do. Otherwise, he needs to be happy with what we have.

      I want him to find his way into a career or a job or a business or whatever that thing is. I want his life to have meaning and purpose outside of our marriage. But I am a little shocked (But not judging 🙂 ) that any person would attempt to choose a job for another person. Or pressure them into a job unless it was causing the family to be homeless or not have basic needs met. At that point, I can see where someone has to get off their rear and take action. But nobody instantly gets a job because they are nagged to do so. There is enough internal pressure when someone looses their job. I have seen when companies downsize or people get laid off that it is such a crushing blow to men (and some women) emotionally. But women bounce back faster because in most cases (not in mine but most cases) the husband is anxious about how he is going to care for his family and he takes being out of work way more personal. Like it says something about his performance or his ability. Getting laid off says nothing about personal performance but rather the companies performance and/or need to adapt in a changing economy.

      Career choices are a very personal thing. Nobody else can do a self inventory for another person unless they have specific experience in career counseling. And even at that they can only guide the process. When I interview people I’m not looking for a butt to fill a seat. Now I understand that men (and women) who look to make a career choice later in life struggle with how to transition into that. They typically cannot do that alone. They need someone who knows what they are doing to help guide them thru it.

      I help my husband where he asks me to. For example: He did not know how to “word” his resume in a way that makes his transferable skills stand out to a potential employer. I can do that because I know how. He particularly struggled with making his military experience relevant. Ex-Military guys ALWAYS struggle with that. How to put military speak into civilian speak. I helped my husband find resources so that he could do a personal skills assessment and reconcile that with his resume to make sure he included things that gave him that skill. I helped him figure out what his greatest past achievements were and put that into wording that shows monetary value to a business. I helped him identify gaps in his experience between the things he thinks he wants to do and what he is capable now to do. It’s up to him to figure out how to close those gaps. It’s up to him to decide what he wants to do. It’s up to him to research openings and contact schools or businesses. It’s up to him to decide how long he is going to be unemployed and it’s up to him to handle and work thru his emotions about his situation.

      I don’t necessarily disagree with my husband for quitting his job. He should not work for unethical boss and he should not do a job that is physically destroying him when he is a very intelligent man and can do other things. So, his choice was not a bad one. But his delay in figuring out what he wants to do is hurting him. Men in their 40’s have a short window in which to effectively switch gears. A woman out of work for years and years are assumed to have been caring for their families. Whether they were or not. Men are seen in the marketplace as just unmotivated. Unless they can show they were actively pursuing education or something tangible in society. If a man stayed home with the kids until they were in school they would be seen as lazy.

      I can see where some wives have a legitimate beef when a husband does not want to take care of the family financially. I mean you cannot put a wife in the position to be the “man” of the household and then complain that your wife is acting like the “man” of the house. Equally, a wife cannot complain that her husband works a lot to support her and the kids so that she can stay home with them and then complain he doesn’t help with the housework. Whatever roles each couple decide for their marriage they have to do without complaining. And they have to understand the responsibility that comes with that role. If the man stays home, he probably should learn how to cook and do the dishes and know how the vacuum works. If both work, they need to figure out what they can live with regards to division of household chores.

      I tend to disagree that the bible tells woman to be barefoot and pregnant and men to be the head of all things. I think men are the spiritual head of the family and we were created to be equal in our marriage. If a wife has a career and makes a higher living I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for a husband to fill other roles in the house. Now in most cases, that may not be the best thing for the kids if they are small. I’m just saying it does not make a woman wrong to be successful and it doesn’t make a man wrong to take a break from work and develop his true skills or purpose. It also does not mean that the one who works has 100% say in how the money is spent. That is still a joint venture. But in reality, the bills are the bills no matter who earns it or who writes the check.

      All that to say, there could be dozen’s of reasons why a husband in our husbands situations are behaving the way they are. Most likely it is not a lack of drive or laziness. It’s a paralysis in taking that next step. It’s not knowing how to move to a new thing. It’s not having confidence and faith in themselves. It could be hearing lessons from growing up over and over again of the old outdated career advice of their dad’s world. It could dread that they may have to do something they hate doing on a daily basis. And it’s all very likely to be tied to not understanding his own identity in Christ. Don’t all of our emotional struggles end up with that being the core problem. Which then leads to every single earthly struggle we have. And that doesn’t matter if you are a husband or wife.

      You would not want your husband to go to a job he hated every day just for extra income. You just want him to do something with his life. You can’t really control that, fix that or even influence that. If he voices that he is struggling with that you can suggest a career counselor. Or a therapist that deals with that type of depression and career guidance. There’s some type of roadblock standing in his way that you will not be able to see or help him with. Only he can root that out. You can pray about his spiritual and emotional health and that would be good but try not to just pray that he finds a job. There’s something bigger there that needs attention first.

      Gail W.

      1. Gail and April,

        The one thing I have never pressured him about was getting a job until 6 months ago. If he wanted to go to school, I supported him. I didn’t push him into this job for extra money. I live very frugally and as I have said before our tv is over 15 years old, we don’t have smart phone and we drive old cars.

        I would never want my husband to work a job he hated just so I could have things. We were going into debt on my credit cards every month just to have necessities. When I couldn’t pay the taxes on the house, I insisted that he get a job and then found him one. I am not in any way saying that was right but it was not because I wanted material things. I was desperate and I wasn’t depending on God.

        I do wonder though that when wives have an income if husband who might have some Visionary tendencies, might not feel a strong need to provide for the family. See I was “fixing” everything every month and getting the bills paid even if it was on my credit cards so I don’t think he felt any strong desire to do anything. I think the Surrended Wife would frown on this…..

  8. “Especially young men, still trying to find out what they are good at in a modern world that often does not value the things a young man brings to the table. ”

    Ya, it’s not nice hearing a lot of voices (lots of them within Christian/traditionalist culture) pretty much calling those of struggling to get careers established losers, pretty much–there are so many men (and women) who can’t get their foot in the door without experience and to men, especially, I hear insult laid upon injury. 🙁

  9. From Jack – about the basement tenant situation:This is definitely a man-to-man issue.

    First of all, this man has some problems with being realistic about his situation. Obviously, he has decided that only the “right” position is “acceptable”.

    But there is a definite lack of humility here as well. Basically, he has a pride and control issue (the male version of these) and is starting down a bad road.

    The Bible says that we have not because we ask not, or because we ask amiss, that we may consume it upon our lusts. Lust is NOT just about sex. Lust for power, control, money, fame, approval, personal glory, etc, are all as dangerous as sexual lust.

    Pride can cause a lot of missed opportunities for temporary prosperity. I have had many low periods in my life, and have been grateful for small opportunities, and did not consider them “beneath me”. Also, the ungrateful heart can lead to other problems.

    Nothing is “beneath us”. To think such things is to put oneself as a person of higher value than others, and the Lord is not going to reward that kind of pride.

    I would ask people this, as an example:
    What if a person only wants to help out at church if they are in the “worship team” on stage, or in some leadership role?
    What if a Sunday-school classroom needs painting? What if some other dirty job needs doing? Is that for other people (you know, the ‘nobodies’) to do?

    Now, the the issue of accidentally “enabling”:
    I have learned that helping people is not always helping people. I am not “blaming” the people who offered the basement, because their heart was in the right place. However, we must not always assume that an act of charity is automatically always the right thing to do. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. It is also the mother of “take any job that pays the rent, Mister!!’

    A wife cannot be a man’s protectee and also his guide/mentor. The wife is in a tough spot, because she needs to exert influence over her husband not by complaining or scolding, but by allowing him to see the place he has put her and the child in, and how he is letting her down. Sooner or later, if this guy is a Christian, he will swallow his pride and go to work somewhere. Criticism or scolding from her will only allow him to deflect his anger at himself onto her. My advice to her would be to make the absolute most of everything that they have. Keep up with housekeeping, laundry, looking after the child, etc. Sooner or later, the husband will see her industriousness and her unwillingness to feel self-pity over being in a basement, and the Lord will convict him.

    The husband’s carnal mind is probably secretly hoping that the wife will descend to his level, thus allowing him to place additional blame on her “bad attitude”. She needs to be careful not to take this bait.

    The man-to-man part:
    This is harder to answer because I don’t know much about the relationship between these two men. If the two men were friends and that is how the arrangement was made, then the guy has a lot of influence here.

    But I have a feeling that the two women were friends, and that is how this arrangement came to be. If that is the case, then we have a different dynamic altogether. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but it is very dangerous for the women to get together and “engineer” this kind of help. It is possible that the wife pressured her husband into taking this basement arrangement. Having two women come up with an arrangement to “compensate” for his employment failures could be damaging to his self-respect (although he still sounds immature and prideful).

    It is also possible that the homeowner’s wife talked her husband into this arrangement, which (if true) could cause some tension.

    Final analysis:
    Homeowner wife: If this was your suggestion, then repent of unintentionally enabling this man in his pride and misbehavior. All that was accomplished was that he is delaying his date with reality. If it was your husband’s suggestion, then you are off the hook completely!

    Homeowner husband: If this was your suggestion, then have a talk with the guy and let him know that this can’t continue past a certain date. If it was your wife’s suggestion, I’m afraid that the talk will be harder, but still necessary.

    Tenant wife: If you were part of arranging this, realize that you may have unintentionally stepped in the way of God dealing with your husband’s pride about work and his stubborn unwillingness to take what jobs are available and wait patiently on the Lord. If it was your husband’s idea, then not much you can do except let wait on the Lord yourself and let the Lord deal with your husband. Make sure you don’t accidentally interfere with this process.

    Tenant husband: Hey, man, get a job. Any job. Greater men than you or I have had setbacks, and had to take humble work for a time. If you arranged this basement deal, then start paying rent. Now. God will reward your diligent and industrious behavior faster than he will move you right to the “perfect” place. It’s easier to move up if you are moving. It’s easier to get a job when you have one. It’s easier to manage a too-busy life than a life with not activity in it. Inactivity is destructive to male ambition.

    1. Thank you for your well-thought out insights. 🙂 While my husband and I very mutually offered this to our friends, it’s become clear that our “tenant husband” is very very passive and our “tenant wife” was desperate to get out of her parents basement and get her husband out of the very depressive funk he was in. Obviously- that hasn’t worked very well. She is a respectful wife, but God has convicted her much recently about much she compensates for her husband’s passive nature… husband frankly prefers it that way and we are seeing growing pains as she abdicates that role and leaves decisions solely up to him. God is doing such a work in their lives and it appears that setting an end-date to this arrangement will be part of that work in the near future. Appreciate your insights!

      1. MV,
        Yes, it can be very painful for everyone when the wife begins to step down during that time of waiting for the husband to take over.

        Praying for wisdom for all of you!!!!

  10. From JC:

    “My prayer is that our husbands would eventually find their identity in Christ alone and not rely as much on their work or in making us “happy” to feel “successful.” ”

    Thank you, April, SO MUCH for this statement!!

    Every man should be prepared in his heart to go out like Lazarus the beggar whom God showed FULL approval and took to heaven. I know I’ll go out in a blaze of glory! I have no doubt that I’m doing my part to the best of my abilities. Outward success is never guaranteed and there is no biblical basis whatsoever for gauging our righteousness/identity by the way the world rewards us with results–quite the contrary, hence: 1 Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

  11. “Work is something most men will struggle with throughout their lives. It’s is part of the curse of our sin.”

    To anyone who believes this theology, I’d like them to show me one example of a godly man “struggling” as this testimony describes. Plenty of Biblical men wept and cried out in distress, but I cannot recall even one single man bemoaning his injured masculinity because of feeling like a failure at his work.

  12. The has been eye opening for me. My husbands been unemployed the majority of our relationship. Hes always spent what little I have with no regard for the position it leaves me with trying to provide for the children. After some very life changing events I have also began to notice some changes that are potentially great. He still spent what little I had but in tight spots he did whatever was necessary to get that little bit to make ends meet. I wanna slap myself right now cause I was not greatful in any way for his effort, I put him down still. When I express my financial setbacks he asks for my bank account # so he can put enough in before the deadline so I dont overdraw & get fees. This past weekend was our anniversary & I was under the assumption I would pay for everything. He took a side job clearing out someones storage locker & spent it all on me. Could this perhaps be him transitioning into his role as a provider as im stepping down?

    1. NC,
      I think it is definitely possible that he is trying to help provide and lead. How thoughtful and sweet of him and how generous to spend what he made on you. I hope you will thank him, encourage him and seek to bless and honor him and give him room to begin to rise up to lead more.

      Does he have any mental health issues or addictions?

      Praying for you to allow God to empower you to speak life-giving words to your husband, to support him and to encourage his masculinity and his desire to provide.

  13. April,

    Thank you for letting God use you as HIS vessel. I appreciate it and am blessed by it.

    Please help me handle this correctly…

    I am the primary breadwinner and it seems my husband is ok with it. I am not, at all. I’ve missed so much time with my children and in taking care of my home that it breaks my heart into a million pieces. He is constantly plagued by illness or injury and spends more time at home than at work. I realize that I am resentful and bitter and take full responsibility for that. I’ve prayed and asked forgiveness. We are in marriage counseling with our pastor and individual counseling as well. Things are not good. We cannot communicate much without it going downhill fast. This is what has prompted me to buy your book and keep reading this blog as well as dig in deep into the Word. I am the head of household in every way and I can honestly say that I hate it and was not created for this role. It is not godly. My husband says a lot of great things that I agree with, but unfortunately there is a lack in doing what he says. I’ve lost trust and almost hope… I’m trying, I really am. I’m about ready to quit my job and MAKE him provide but I don’t think I could do that to my kids. Am I not trusting God enough? My mortgage went way up because of property taxes and I don’t know what to do or how to light a fire under this guy. Help?!!

    1. Cara,

      I do understand the pressure a wife feels if her husband is not bringing in any income or not much income. I also understand how easy it is for resentment and bitterness to creep in and how easy it is for a wife to feel she “must” take over in every way if she is bringing home the majority of the money.

      Ultimately, though, the real issues are probably not about the work situation.

      Would you be interested in doing a spiritual check up with me, my dear sister?

      Much love to you!

      1. April,
        Yes you are spot on about there being deeper issues for sure. We both were “older newlyweds” and this is not our first marriages.

        I would love to do a spiritual check up. I am currently in that process now, digging deeper into my Lord and Savior so that I can do better. I know that I am accountable for my own thoughts, actions and decisions.

        Thanks April!

        1. Cara,

          Awesome! 🙂

          A few questions to help me get a spiritual “pulse” on you…

          1. What do you need in order to be content in life?

          2. Where is your primary sense of security?

          3. About what do you most complain?

          4. What are your greatest fears?

          5. How are you handling temptations to hold on to anxiety, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness?

          6. What does your walk with Christ look like on a daily basis?

          7. How do you believe you are made right with God?

          Much love to you! Take your time!

          1. OK, here it goes…

            1. Ahhh, much growth in this area over the last 7 years of my life. I was RARELY content before, with just about anything.

            NOW, I am very content because I have Jesus as my Lord, my healer, my counselor, my provider, my everything. I do still have struggles with control at times. I have surrendered my own will many times because I realized it only brought me pain. Now, I realize I also need to surrender the expectations I have had in my marriage and have started the path to do that. I was very sad to realize that my husband isn’t what I thought he was, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t love him for who he really is minus my expectations. I’m working on that. 🙂

            2. I’m going to be blatantly honest here…. I know that the answer to this question should be that I get my greatest sense of security through Jesus and deep down, I do. BUT…. I also “feel” secure when I think I have control even though I know that I have control over nothing! That sounds so incredibly stupid for being a smart person. Lol.

            3. I most complain about my husband. Which has led me to here. The list is quite long, I’m ashamed to say. 🙁
            I also complain about my own body image. This is something I’ve been actively working on and have made many great strides! I realize that my old definition of beauty falls so far away from God’s definition of beauty and that has helped me try to be beautiful on the inside more than on the outside. Honestly, I believe that people remember your personality more than your looks anyway.

            4. My greatest fears…. Again, being honest here because I know that if I truly trusted Jesus with everything then I wouldn’t have any fears…. I’ve come a seriously long way from the worry wart that I used to be but have some work to do. I worry about finances, my children and their own salvation, whether they will walk a path of righteousness as adults or stray away and face years of pain like I did, and whether I can learn to respect and love my husband for who he is and not how I would like him to be. Honestly, it’s difficult but not impossible. I would like the excited butterflies in my stomach again!

            5. At the exact moment, I’m not doing a very good job at fighting the temptation of hanging onto these things. In fact, I’ve let them build up to destructive levels and am having a really hard time letting it go. Yikes.

            6. My walk with Christ isn’t as on fire as it was a year ago and I don’t like living in that place of being lukewarm. I am praying daily, reading your book right now, digging into Ephesians 5 and try to do devotions with my husband when we are speaking to each other. I think about Jesus all the time and try to base every aspect of my life off of his word. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes because I do. Especially in how I interact with my husband. I also attend church and speak with other women when I get the chance to. I was also an active leader in celebrate recovery (codependent) but have stepped down as I felt convicted about this particular program and needed to listen. My husband is still an active leader.

            7. I am made right with God through repenting of my sin, accepting Jesus as my Lord AND Savior and his finished work on the cross through death and resurrection. I am sanctified and washed clean by the shedding of HIS blood when it should have been mine. Thank you Jesus for this precious gift. God no longer sees my sin because I am covered by the blood of the lamb. There is no other work I could possibly do to earn my way into heaven. I can, however, work on my stumbling blocks and things that keep me distant from living a truly holy life as it would please God.

            Hope that helps!!

          2. Cara,
            I LOVE how honest you are being – we do have to be brutally honest in order to really dig down deep and allow God’s Spirit to shine His light in the darkest places. I am hoping to get to respond later today or tomorrow. But want to have enough time to really respond very thoughtfully and prayerfully. This is a GREAT start!

            Thank you!

          3. Cara,

            1. I’m really excited about what God has shown you in this area of expectations. I have a number of posts on this topic, if you are interested in researching more on it. You may search my home page for “expectations.” I also praise God that you are accepting who your husband really is instead of who you wanted him to be.

            2. The first step toward healing is to see the problem. Control SEEMS to offer us security. I know! I have been there! But – it is an illusion. We don’t actually control much. It is so freeing to discover what we really do control and what we really don’t control and to let go of the things that are not in “our jurisdiction.” I invite you to search my home page for “control.”

            3. Check out this post, “A Challenge for You, Ladies” about not complaining. And – maybe you might be blessed by doing what I have learned to do. When I want to complain – or when I am feeling upset or very negative – if I can go write down my feelings and thoughts and ask God to help me look at my motives, it is VERY helpful. Then I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and recognize which thoughts are of the enemy and which thoughts are of God and purposely reject the sinful thoughts and embrace the godly thoughts. That is VERY key! Check out this video on the topic on my Youtube channel. And also you are welcome to look at this video about having a heart of thanksgiving and praise.

            4. I’m so thankful that we can entrust our fears to God. 🙂 What a blessing and honor! That we don’t have to be burdened by fears but that we can trust Him to work in our lives even if we do face our deepest fears – that He will use it all for our good and His glory ultimately! Such a precious promise! I invite you to search my home page for: fear. There are MANY posts that I believe will be a blessing to you there.

            5. You are also most welcome to search my home page for: bitterness, and forgiveness. So many important truths there that are good reminders for us all. Just a tiny shred of bitterness left unchecked grows into an evil “tree” of bitterness that takes over our souls. It ALL has to go!

            6. Is your husband excited about doing devotions together? If not, I suggest to work on your own private prayer life and devotion time and to trust God to work in your husband’s life. I also invite you to search my home page for: oneness, and closeness. Those posts talk about being enmeshed and becoming free from being enmeshed or codependent, if you are interested.

            7. YAY! Sounds like you have a healthy understanding of Jesus and having a right relationship with God. PRAISE GOD for that!

            Much love to 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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