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“My Husband Doesn’t Want Me to Minister Like I Want To”

Before God opened my eyes to my control, self-righteousness, pride, disrespect, bitterness, and all of my mountain of sin in December of 2008 – I used to think things like:

  • I want to give more to the poor. Yes, we are tithing and giving some – but I know that it is God’s will for us to give a lot more money to those in need. Maybe I should just give behind Greg’s back if he doesn’t want to do God’s will. God’s work is the most important thing.
  • I want to take this homeless person to a restaurant and buy him some food. He’s obviously in need. How can I do nothing? I don’t care that Greg said he doesn’t want me to go out by myself to help homeless strangers and that he is concerned for my safety. This is obviously God’s will and Greg is not listening to God like I am.
  • I want to go to another country to be a missionary, but Greg has no desire to do that. Maybe I should just go by myself even if he doesn’t want me to. God’s kingdom needs me!

I used to think that Greg was really holding me back from doing everything I was supposed to do in God’s kingdom and boy, was God ever missing out – in my mind, at least! Oh, what PRIDE!

Then, God revealed to me that when I am walking in faith and obedience with Him, NOTHING will hold me back from His will, certainly not even my husband. God can change my husband’s heart. God can give him the desire to help me accomplish what He wants me to do. And certainly, God can give ME the desire to help my husband in the ministry to which God calls my husband. God can change my heart. God can change circumstances and open doors that no one can shut. It turns out, the thing that was hindering my ministry for God the most for so many years was my own sin and disobedience against God. Also, He wanted to spend some serious time preparing, maturing, and equipping me before I was ready to do the thing He wanted to call me to do.

When I am walking in obedience and in the power of the Holy Spirit in the center of God’s will, no human will hinder God’s purposes for me!

Since God set me on this journey to become a godly wife and to learn to honor and respect my husband’s God-given leadership, He has shown me some things that I wish I had understood before.

  • God doesn’t need me.

He may choose to use me as I am walking in obedience and in the power of His Spirit. But I am not the critical element in His ministry and in His kingdom. He is!

  • If I have to sin against my husband and God’s commands for me as a wife to minister to someone or to give money to a ministry, that is a big problem. I need to STOP and pray. This is a huge red flag.

How can I think God will bless that? God’s Word says, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). For God to be pleased with my ministry, I need to show reverence for Him and for His structure of authority in my life. (Now, if my husband forbids me from witnessing for Christ at all – that could be a different situation. If this doesn’t make sense, let’s talk about it together. But we can still seek to honor Christ first and then our husbands. And we need to use great caution about going against our husbands. There are many times that would be sin.)

  • If God desires me to do ministry for Him, He is going to open the door of my husband’s blessing and favor.

If Greg is against me doing something for God, it may be that God has shut that door at this time for me. God may well be leading me through my husband. I can say to Greg,

“I really believe God desires me to do this, but if you are against it, I will trust God to lead me through you and I won’t do it.”

If God truly wants me to do something specific for Him, He can change my husband’s heart to give me favor with my husband (yes, even if my husband is not a believer or if he is far from God) so that I can do that thing for Him. THEN, He will bless that ministry because I am participating with my husband’s support and I am walking in obedience to God.

  • I tend to want to run way ahead of God and Greg and do my own thing.

I have to be REALLY patient and wait and do things in God’s timing as He leads me through Greg. If my husband has concerns or objections, it is extremely unwise for me to charge ahead. It’s awesome that I want to minister to others. But what would be even more awesome would be if I am humble enough to wait on God and to do God’s will God’s way instead of in my own wisdom and strength.

God can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband. This whole thing is ultimately about us and God. It isn’t really about our husbands – but it is about that we trust God to lead us through them (unless there are specific situations where we cannot follow our husbands). Ultimately, what we each need most is to hear God’s Spirit’s voice and prompting and to do what He shows us to do. His leading will always fall inline with His Word and His commands for us. And, most of the time, if God has a ministry for me to do, He will put it on my husband’s heart, as well.

Again and again – to me – the key is balance: proper balance and understanding of God’s Word, and willingness to obey Him completely. I can give God all of myself and I can give Him my desire to minister and to be available to Him and my willingness to do whatever He calls me to do. When my heart is yielded completely to Him and I am committed to total obedience to Him and to allowing His Spirit to fill and control me – He will open whatever doors are necessary and move whatever mountains He needs to move to accomplish His will in my life as I trust Him.

God is more important than my ministry for Him. My obedience to Him is more important than my giving money to those in need. I pray He will help us see things with His eyes and that He might empower us and our husbands to be about His work. But I long for us to only do what He truly desires us to do – and all that He desires us to do – and not anything else. When I first began this journey, I thought that if I followed Greg, I would never get to do anything for God. Turns out, God has led me through Greg in amazing ways when I have been willing to follow God first and to trust Him to lead me through my husband’s leadership.

Much love!

Check out how God has been able to lead me in ministry through Greg in this post.

RELATED:

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Don’t Often Notice

My Husband Is Not a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

6 Things I’ve Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More – Part 1

My Husband Won’t Lead

A Husband Answers a Wife’s Question – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

What Headship/Biblical Submission Look Like at Our House

 

NOTE:

There are some husbands who are spiritually abusive who don’t allow their wives to talk with anyone, to go to any church, or to do any ministry ever. That is a different scenario than what I am writing about in this post. If you find yourself in such a situation, please find a godly counselor to help you work through that in a healthy way. I pray for God’s clear wisdom and direction for those in such difficult situations.

If there is abuse going on, please search my home page for “abuse” or check out www.leslievernick.com for emotional abuse, or www.thehotline.org (a secular site) for physical abuse.

 

15 thoughts on ““My Husband Doesn’t Want Me to Minister Like I Want To”

  1. April,
    I had this exact situation early on in my marriage when I felt the Lord calling me to minister to women working in the sex industry. I had been reading a book about it, and starting feeling very drawn to the idea of starting an outreach to the strip clubs in our local area.
    I talked to my husband about it, and he was very against it. He didn’t want me going near those places because he worried about what might happen in there.
    So I kept praying about it, knowing that God wouldn’t have me do ministry against my husband’s will. And after a few weeks, my husband came to me and said he’d had a change of heart and that he thought I should start up that ministry!
    (From there, we approached our pastor and eventually we did end up starting that ministry.)

    It was a very powerful answer to prayer for me, because it showed me that God does not call us to do something without “making a way” with our husbands as well. And it meant a lot to me that I could see God had actually changed his heart on the matter, as opposed to him saying, “Well, I don’t like it but I guess you can do it anyway…” When God changed his heart, he actually got excited about the ministry too!

    1. seriouslyserving,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love that you listened to your husband and prayed and trusted God to open the doors if this ministry was His will for you. What a powerful testimony! 🙂

      LOVE this!

  2. Oh, amen to this, April.

    I wrestle with those things too. I’d be at church everyday and involved in all sorts of activities if I had my way, but God has reminded me there is this whole ministry going on at home, that marriage itself is a ministry, and that my own relationship with Him must come first.

    My hubby is distant from the church, there’s a fracture there, so I have to tread carefully. Last year I really wanted to help the kids with a pageant, but he didn’t want me too, so I said no. Later hubby really surprised me by offering to take me to see not just that show, but two others. So I didn’t get to help with the music and costumes, but I got to go to church with hubby and watch the presentations, which is really what I wanted in the first place. We also visited two other churches.

  3. April, although I am not leading any ministry, your post really ministered to my heart today. I am trusting in the Lord and keeping faith that He is leading us even through my husband who is not seeking Him right now. And I have seen and felt God doing just that recently, He is leading us through my husband on various aspects of our lives right now and I am putting my total trust in Him that by not running ahead like I used to, and instead submitting to the authority of my husband on various issues, that God will make a way.

    Thanks for sharing this with us it certainly spoke to my heart that I am doing the right thing, waiting on the Lord as He works on my husbands heart as well s my own, and trusting that He can do whatever He wants, and can minister to my husbands heart, all without my help!

  4. April and others, I hope I can ask for your prayers for my husband and I right now. God may be giving me that opportunity right now that I have been waiting for to open the door on spiritual discussions with my husband… just as I was responding to April’s post my husband messaged me to apologize for some negative attitudes lately (praise God!). And suddenly I find that our discussions are heading down the road of spiritual things as I felt led to share with him something I read in a devotional today.

    I am just praying for God to give me the right words and if this is Him making a way to open this door that I will be sensitive to how He wants me to be and the words He wants me to use. And praying I will be sensitive to His leading and not run ahead to push and bombard my husband and shut that door again. Just need your prayers for us both that I will follow the Lords leading on where He wants this to go, and be respectful in every way I can be, and for my husband that His heart would be open to this discussion… thanks all!

    1. Praying for you TRULYBLESSED. I was truly blessed, inspired, and excited reading your post chalked full of wisdom and mountain moving faith! YOU GO GIRL !!!

  5. Thank you, April, I needed to be reminded of all you have written. Thank you, also, seriouslyserving for your example.
    Blessings and prayers.

  6. As a husband, I get jealous. I realize that is selfish. My wife can’t say no. She sees something that needs to be done and in she goes. That is great up to a point.

    Then I get lonely. I feel neglected. Gradually it changes to where her first love is doing things for others. Then it all becomes too much because she is doing it in her own strength. She no longer seems to ask God does God really want her to do this. She just goes goes goes.

    Then when I step in there are tears and anger and rebellion. Maybe I take too long to act. Maybe I am motivated by the selfish desire for attention. Whatever. She is still way over-committed and also no longer doing it for the right reasons.

    1. Andre,

      Husbands and wives need time together, for sure! If we don’t take care of our marriages, what are we going to have left to give to anyone else that is very helpful?

      I can relate so much to your wife. I have the exact same tendencies. I tend to overcommit. I want to help everyone, too. But then I can get overwhelmed. I am really thankful now that Greg will step in and say, “How about you get off of the blog by 10pm so we can have some time together?” Or that he will gently share that he thinks something I want to do may be too much.

      Sometimes, we wives have blind spots. (All people have blind spots, of course.) But our husbands can sometimes see things that we don’t notice and they can spare us a lot of heartache in situations like this if we are willing to listen.

      Praying for God’s wisdom and pure motives for you both so that you might both focus on the things God shows you are most important and minister to one another first and then to others in God’s power for His greatest glory.

    1. Melissa,

      I needed this post myself 20+ years ago. So thankful that it was a blessing for you. I knew God had several specific women in mind this week for this topic. May God richly bless your walk with Christ and may He bring about His greatest glory in your life as you trust Him and yield fully to His Lordship.

      Much love!

  7. Is it possible for this to happen with the roles switched? I feel that my wife does not intentionally try to control me but it can happen so subtly, even trying to use scripture to coerce me. I have a personal project in my life that I am pursuing that is not sinful in any way; it is important to me but it is not important to my wife and she actually wants me to give it up and throw away my hard work. I’ve stated several times that she is not respecting that this is something that is important to me and I do not have any inner witness or personal conviction from God to give it up.

    She uses the scripture that if we are not in agreement then I can’t do it without being in disobedience to God. Likewise I’m not in agreement to give it up. I’m earning my own money to put towards it that is not affecting our financial security and she again says that if I put money towards it without her blessing and agreement then I am out of God’s will.

    I have her permission to buy items that depreciate or can consume but says if I spend that same money on my project then I am driving a wedge between us and am not proving my love and I am dividing our house if I don’t give it up. I’m feeling controlled and manipulated and I don’t feel like God has spoken to her about this yet.

    I always say yes and am supportive of stuff that is important to her and will steer her away from things that I think are not good for her but I always give her the final decision to take my advice or go ahead. It feels like a double standard when it comes to me. Do you have any articles related to double standards in marriage??
    Thank you April

    1. Kenneth Wilson,

      It is wonderful to meet you, dear brother!

      Yes, it is certainly possible for a wife to object to something her husband wants to do. Ultimately, a husband would want to seek God’s will and direction. He would want to take his wife’s words into account and pray over them.

      I wonder, what scripture does your wife use to support her thinking?

      Perhaps these two posts may be a blessing?

      Spiritual Authority
      A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

      I don’t seek to give advice to men or to teach them because scripture does not give women authority in the body of Christ to teach men. But I may be able to point you toward helpful resources.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you both!

      In Him,
      April

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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