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The Voice in His Head

by the Respected Husband

On Sunday, September 23rd, the Peacefulwife ran a guest post by Kayla Gulick titled My Demon. In the article, Kayla described how all of the voices in her head accuse her husband of the worst. This prompted a discussion between the Peacefulwife and me. She then asked me about whether a guy has similar voices in his head that paint a bad picture of his wife’s intentions.

FROM A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE

I told her that husbands do have a voice in their head, but it rarely talks about their wives. It is a voice telling them “You don’t have what it takes to do ……,” “You are a failure at …..,” “You are an inadequate husband, father, or son”, and “You are not good enough.” Now, I need to clarify that this voice isn’t on all of the time and usually confined to one topic at a time. This is very different from how the Peacefulwife has explained to me about women’s brains where you have an internal voice coming at you accusing your husband and justifying your disrespect and need for control almost constantly (when a wife is cherishing sin in her heart and is not filled with God’s Spirit).

Much to my surprise, after I had made that statement I turned to find the Peacefulwife with mouth agape, stunned, and fascinated with my response. Shortly, after a little water and some cool compresses on her forehead, she said, “Hmm…Satan’s strategy is to attack the God-given spiritual authority from two sides. The accuser fills the wife’s head with a barrage of ammunition against her husband about how he is not worthy of respect and how she is totally justified in her disrespect and contempt. AND the accuser fills the husband’s head with thoughts about how he is not worthy of respect and that his wife is absolutely right in her observation of his faults. The two accusing voices paralyze leadership in the marriage, in the church, in business, and in government.”

IS THIS NORMAL?

Not wanting to jump to conclusions too quickly, we wondered if this theory held up in other marriages. Understanding that a voice in my head just started saying, “Yeah….Sure, check this out…You will only find that you are different than other guys. Other guys are better than you and wouldn’t think like this at all.” So, the Peacefulwife posted the question on the Facebook page. Shortly, Kayla Gulick responded that she had just asked her husband the same question without giving him my response and he said THE SAME EXACT THING.

Another reader, a husband, responded, “I ditto your husband. We fight the fear that we may not be ‘up to the job’ almost every day. But we are men, so it is shameful to talk about it.”

A husband wants to hide any insecurities or faults that he thinks he has because he is afraid that his wife or family will not respect him.  He is afraid that he might lose any clout that he might have with his wife and family if he was to let a weakness be revealed.

Wow….So far so good with testing this theory. At church on Sunday evening, we asked the same question to several men to see if they responded in the same way. Their responses seemed to first indicate that maybe I do think like a man and secondly, and probably most importantly, that the idea of Satan attacking the spiritual authority of the marriage from both sides was probably true.

So I started searching for a way to describe what a man hears in his head and I came to the conclusion that the voice in his head is all about exposing his insecurities. I found the following quote from Jake Dudley, a 24 year old blogger, to be a really good description of how a man thinks.

And that’s all insecurity is – FEAR. Fear of things we have no control over in the first place. I know what it feels like. I’ve been faced with the doubt you experience when you are staring at a person of the opposite sex wanting soooo badly to tell them how you feel. But instead you stand there frozen from the insecurity of thinking they’ll NEVER like someone as ugly as I think I am. I’ve stood at the crossroads of a major life decision thinking that no matter which I choose I will fail, so instead I turn into a little boy and run away from all possibilities. I’ve ended things and started things and ignored people and ran away from opportunities all because somewhere along the way I believed my self-inflicted insecurities defined who I was as a man.

But here’s the thing: insecurity has NOTHING to do with who I actually am as person. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with who I’m terrified of becoming if I take a risk. I usually think I’ll fail. I usually think I’m not good enough. I usually think girls think I’m ugly. I usually think my time has run out. I usually think and think and think my way into a pity party of self-loathing and doubt that I forget that I was created in the image of an extraordinary God.

One Man’s Insecurities by Jake Dudley, www.corycopeland.net

A WIFE’S ROLE

A guy is always going to have insecurities and feel inadequate to fulfill his role as a husband and father. How can a wife work to control the demons that are not only speaking to her but her husband as well?  Your husband needs your respect, your trust, your belief in him, your admiration, and your affirmation. These are the confidence pills for the common insecurity. With a little boost of encouragement your husband can overcome and lead your marriage. I found the following quote from www.greatdatespot.com to be a great description of the role of a wife in handling his insecurities:

But here’s the thing- a man’s wife has a special place : she can truly build him up and quiet all other voices of insecurity -or- she can be the loudest voice of insecurity in the world. It’s a strange and magnificient power that you women yield. And it’s a power given by the source of security.

And while it may seem that these two oppose one another- they don’t. After all- a marriage is supposed to be mirror image of a person’s relationship with Jesus- so if it’s Jesus that a man’s security comes from- then it makes sense that a wife can wield similar power…if she chooses.

Ladies- you should understand- you have two choices here- to be the voice of encouragement and bolster your husband’s security or to be the voice of insecurity and rejection and crush your man (yes- you have that power). There is no third choice- if you choose to disengage and try to be in the middle- you are choosing the latter.

Ladies- your acceptance is not just vocal- though it is that. It’s not just sex, though it is that as well. It’s not respect, though it is that too. It’s all encompassing. Give him great compliments, give him great sex, give him great respect and you will see your husband be spurred on to become the man he was always meant to be. Think about it- the key to your husband becoming who he was meant to be- who you really want him to be – lies with you. Jesus could fully do it without you- but he chose to give you as a gift to your husband to speed it along. And I know, that seems like a tall order. That seems like a lot of weight on your shoulders. But it is your burden- or your joy- depending on how you look at it. Now that is your choice.

http://greatdatespot.com/2010/05/21/a-husbands-insecurity-from-10-things-men-wish-their-wives-knew-about-men/

Every wife wants her husband to be the moral authority for their family. Every husband wants his wife to be his biggest supporter, confidence booster, and encourager. When he can feel that he has your trust and appreciation it is like giving him a shot of energy.   That is why it is so easy for a man to literally become unplugged when he does not feel he is getting this support.  So what do you have if your husband is the moral authority of your family and you have the gift of energy he needs?

Moral + (e)nergy = Morale

Your marriage will have great morale. If my equation is correct the more of the energy you give him the greater the morale will be in your marriage. He will have the self confidence, self esteem, and drive to be the leader in your marriage and family.

But I know there are many who might say that, “My husband is definitely not the moral authority in our family and there is no way I can affirm him after what he has done.” Unfortunately, these husbands probably need the most support from their wives and yet their life yields very few opportunities for their wife to show praise and compliment thim. I think Priscilla Shirer addresses this pretty well in the following quote:

Now perhaps your husband has consistently proven that he’s not worthy of your trust. He’s been careless with money, drawn to addictions, perhaps even unfaithful to his marriage vows. The reason you can’t ascribe high value to his character, you say, is because he hasn’t shown you very much of it. And you’re right—his carelessness, laziness, or lack of integrity is not your fault. You are not responsible for what he’s done and is doing, even if you’ve been less than careful about loving him well and feeding his ego.

But even you—even now—can resolve to affirm your husband and to promise that your trust in him is not gone forever. It may need to be reconstructed with the aid of outside help and ongoing accountability, but he needs to know that your heart’s desire is to reestablish confidence in him.

Your Husband’s Two Biggest Fears, Priscilla Shirer

If we understand the destructive nature of the voices in our heads and that Satan’s plan is to attack our marriage and family we can start silencing the voices. I know when I feel that my wife is in full support with me about something the voice I hear is, “You can do this because she trusts and believes in you.” The Peacefulwife is very good at saying, “I am going to look out for the good in my husband and let God deal with his sins.”

Let’s build up the morale in our marriages starting now.

When a wife refuses to obey God’s commands by disrespecting her husband, she cooperates with Satan and becomes a megaphone that amplifies the accuser’s message to her husband.  But when a wife respects and follows her husband, she cooperates with God and becomes an amplifier for God’s voice and His will.  WOW!  This is POWERFUL stuff!  May we use our power for great good, ladies! – The Peacefulwife

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?

“I Want to Follow my Husband. What if He Doesn’t Lead? How Can I Inspire His Leadership?”

 

It is a VERY tough position to be in to want to be close to God, to want to obey God and to feel like you can’t follow your husband. You may long for him to lead a family devotion time, or prayer time. You may want him to be the one to tell the children why it’s important to go to church or to plan out character lessons to teach each child. You may want him to work with the kids on memory verses. You may wish that your husband spent more time with the family and not so much time at work. You may feel like you HAVE to take over the leadership role because it doesn’t seem like he wants it. You might be praying every single day for God to change your husband and cause him to be more like Christ. You may feel like your husband isn’t as close to God as he should be. Maybe you don’t see him praying. Maybe you are in charge of the finances and working full time and keeping the house and taking care of the children and it seems like an unfair majority of the burden is on your shoulders. Maybe you ask your husband to help you, but he just ignores you and keeps watching tv. Maybe you tell him how unhappy you are and what you need and it feels like you are talking to a wall. Or maybe you try to draw near to him and tell him about your pain so he will see how much you hurt and fix it, and he gets REALLY angry and lashes out at you and begins talking about your faults. Maybe you ask for your husband’s input or decision-making and he just never answers or says the dreaded, “I don’t know” phrase or he ignores you, or just tells you to do whatever you want and you feel like he doesn’t care and isn’t plugged in to the family and the marriage.

If these things sound familiar to you – you are not alone! Many wives feel like this and struggle daily with these same issues. Yes, this situation is extremely discouraging and may begin to make you think that your husband just doesn’t love you anymore or that following your husband’s leadership just isn’t possible in your case. You might think he can’t lead the family. You might just write him off as not being able to ever “man-up” and take care of family responsibilities. You might be wondering why God isn’t answering your prayers? Why isn’t your husband changing? You are praying clearly for God’s will – a godly husband who is a strong, Christ-like leader for your family. Why on earth have your prayers gone unanswered for months or years or decades? Why doesn’t God hear?

Precious, beautiful wife, I obviously don’t know your situation. But God does! There is GREAT HOPE in Christ!!!! I am EXTREMELY far from being perfect. I have a very long way to go to be what God desires me to be. But God has brought me such a long way from where I was – and I thank and praise Him daily for that! He gets ALL the credit for anything good in me. And I get ALL the credit for anything ungodly in my life. I don’t deserve His grace, forgiveness and mercy. But I NEED HIM DESPERATELY!

I know the pain of thinking that my husband wasn’t leading me and our family. I know the burden of believing that I had to carry all that weight myself and it was too heavy for me! Maybe something about my journey can shed new light on your marriage, too? I pray that God will use my journey into being a respectful, submissive, joyful, peaceful, strong wife to teach other women and to bless other marriages.

There are several very central, CRITICAL truths I have learned as a Christian and as a wife that have changed my life and my marriage that I want to share (with my husband’s whole-hearted approval) with wives who might be in a similar place to where I was years ago:

  • GOD IS SOVEREIGN – EVEN OVER MY MARRIAGE, EVEN OVER MY HUSBAND, AND OVER MY LIFE.
  • I CANNOT CHANGE MY HUSBAND AND MAKE HIM MORE LIKE CHRIST. I can aggravate him, push him away from God, make him want to be far away from me and make us both miserable by trying to change him, make him dread being in the same room with me, but I cannot change him – not for the better! I am not the Holy Spirit!
  • GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CHANGE MY HUSBAND – HIS WAY AND HIS TIMING IS BEST.
  • MY JOB IS TO OBEY GOD ON MY END AND NOT WORRY ABOUT MY HUSBAND’S SIDE OF THE EQUATION, BUT TRUST GOD AND DO MY PART.
  • WHEN I DO OBEY GOD AS A WIFE, I OPEN THE FLOODGATES OF THE POWERS OF HEAVEN TO WORK IN MYSELF, MY MARRIAGE, MY HUSBAND AND OUR CHILDREN.
  • MY OBEDIENCE CAN REALLY SPEED UP THE PROCESS FOR GOD TO CHANGE MY HUSBAND.
  • MY DISOBEDIENCE CAN KEEP MY HUSBAND FROM HEARING GOD’S VOICE AND CAN PUSH MY HUSBAND AWAY FROM ME AND FROM GOD.
  • I HAVE A FOREST OF TREES IN MY OWN EYE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BEFORE I COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SPECK IN MY HUSBAND’S EYE.
  • I CAN DO NOTHING GOOD APART FROM CHRIST AND HIS POWER WORKING IN ME.
  • I AM UTTERLY SINFUL AND WRETCHED ON MY OWN.
  • I NEED TO LIVE IN HUMILITY WITH A VERY REAL AWARENESS OF THE MAGNITUDE OF MY OWN FAULTS AND HOW SMALL AND IMPOTENT I AM AND HOW HUGE, POWERFUL, SOVEREIGN, ALL-KNOWING, WISE, LOVING, MERCIFUL, FORGIVING AND HOLY GOD IS!

Whew! This stuff is ugly. I don’t really enjoy this part, but unless we open up our own souls and allow God’s Word to shine in there to the darkest corners, we can’t move on to the great stuff. I would like for you to consider some things and whether or not these may be possibilities in your heart and in your marriage as we think about the issue of your husband’s leadership in your home. We are only going to look at ourselves as wives in this exercise and how we may be contributing to the success or failure of our husband’s leadership in our marriages. Please stop and pray and ask God to give you insight and wisdom into your own heart and life, as well as conviction wherever it is needed from His perspective. Please meditate and pray about how many of the following may apply to you and your marriage – many applied in mine, but not all –  (if you are dealing with an active addict, someone chronically unfaithful, a hardened criminal, or someone with an uncontrolled mental health disorder – please get godly, experienced help ASAP! Following a husband in these cases could be very dangerous. Safety for you and your children is the priority if you are in a physically abusive situation!!):

  • If I ask my husband to make a decision, and he doesn’t give me a “real” answer within 5-30 minutes, I get angry.
  • I yell at my husband, throw things at him, and call him horrible names.
  • I attack my husband’s character when we argue.
  • If my husband asks me to do something I don’t like or don’t agree with, I refuse to go along with him. I will only follow if he leads where I want to go.
  • If my husband comes up with an idea or plan, I find fault with his thinking and his solutions and tell him that his way won’t work, only my way will.
  • I criticize my husband’s opinions, preferences, tastes, wardrobe, hair style, hobbies, thoughts, suggestions, and plans.
  • I react negatively when my husband tries to help me. He just doesn’t load the dishwasher right, or change the baby’s diaper right, or fold the laundry right. He never hears me praise him and say, “Thank you SO much for the help!” He only hears me say, “I’m going to have to redo it all the RIGHT way!” Or “Why can’t you ever get it right?” or “That is C+ work, not A material.” Or “You’re not doing it right!”
  • If my husband tries to please me, what he does is never enough, I always want more than what he delivered.
  • I frown at my husband a lot.
  • I sound angry, frustrated, impatient, and like I am reprimanding and scolding a naughty little boy many times when I speak to my husband.
  • My facial expressions, my tone of voice, my words sound condemning of my husband often.
  • I act disrespectfully towards my husband to show him that he needs to pull his weight more and love me more and to show him how unhappy I am.
  • I withhold physical intimacy with my husband to punish him.
  • My husband often rejects me physically – it feels like I am pursuing him and it seems like he has lost his attraction for me.
  • My husband tends to ignore me a lot.
  • I feel very lonely, like the whole weight of the entire marriage and family is on my shoulders alone. I feel overwhelmed by all that has to be done.
  • I have to take over leadership because my husband won’t lead.
  • I have very specific ideas about what a husband’s leadership should be and my husband is not meeting my standards.
  • I am always “right” and I make sure my husband knows that he is always wrong. My way is best. I know best what our family and marriage needs.
  • I don’t trust my husband’s ideas.
  • If I let my husband be in charge he’d destroy our lives.
  • I think my husband’s ideas are ridiculous.
  • I don’t think my husband can be an effective leader.
  • I think my husband is an overgrown boy.
  • I have to correct my husband when he is talking with other people or he gets things wrong.
  • I have to tell my husband what to do or he does nothing.
  • I’m very intelligent, strong-willed, perfectionistic, opinionated, and possibly some family members might say I could be “controlling.”
  • Thinking of yielding my control makes me have a panic attack. THE WORLD WILL FALL APART IF I AM NOT IN CHARGE!
  • I am exhausted from trying to take care of everything myself all the time. I don’t relax.
  • I resent my husband for relaxing and taking time for himself to recharge.
  • I cannot or will not forgive my husband for how he has hurt me in the past.

If some of these statements resonate with you – and you may or may not have been consciously aware that these are the things you have been thinking – I’d like for us to consider some things together. These may be kind of shocking to you. They may not all apply, but the ones that do apply to you definitely need to be dealt with between you and God.

  • Many of these ideas have a VERY prideful origin. “I know best.” “I know better than he does.” And it might even be, “I know better than God does.” THAT IS HUGE PRIDE! This is some of the most repulsive, nasty, cancerous sin from God’s perspective. I had to confess DUMP TRUCK LOADS of my own pride to God for a long, long time to begin to get my perspective straightened out and really see what God saw in me.
  • When the wife puts herself in charge (even if she thinks she “has” to – unless there is serious illness or an extended absence of the husband in the home), and takes over the husband’s God-given place of authority in the marriage, husbands usually either react with great anger or by unplugging completely and letting the wife be in control by herself. Husbands who feel steam-rolled by their wives are not going to sit there and take it. They go as far away physically and emotionally as they can or they fight and fight to the death for their honor.
  • Most of the sentiments above contain a large dose of DISRESPECT for our husbands. Disrespect isn’t really talked about much in our culture anymore. God commands wives to respect their husbands (I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-33) and we may think that we are doing fine with that verse and easily gloss over one of the most critical components of a successful marriage – genuine respect for our husbands. I read that verse plenty of times and checked off, “Yep! I’m doing that!” and moved on through the rest of the chapter. I had no idea that there was an entire world of respect that I was totally unaware of. I had no idea how many seemingly insignificant comments and remarks I made, and the tone of my voice conveyed an almost constant disrespect to my husband. I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS WOUNDING MY HUSBAND AND BRINGING MISERY ON BOTH OF US! I always thought HE needed to change. I didn’t have a clue that my disrespect and my controlling attitudes were destroying our marriage. THAT WAS A BLOW THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. It sent me reeling for days at first. Then I decided that I was going to study respect and submission and become the best wife I could possibly be! I was so thankful there was something I COULD CONTROL and do to make things better!
  • Is it possible that your husband may feel so beaten down, so criticized, so condemned, so hated and so much like a failure that he has given up even attempting to lead? Every time he tried to lead, my way was better. Whenever he suggested something, I had all the answers and he was wrong. When he had an idea, it wasn’t good enough. Eventually he realized that there was no point trying to lead someone who “is always right.” OUCH! He NEVER said anything. He never said he felt disrespected. He couldn’t verbalize the problem. I had a toxic, critical, judgmental, un-forgiving, ungodly, negative attitude that is poisoning our marriage.
  • Especially Christian women tend to have very high expectations of husbands as leaders. We often expect them to lead Bible studies and prayer sessions out loud in our families. We expect them to know more of the Bible than we do. We expect them to talk about spiritual things a lot. We expect to see them studying their Bibles and praying on their own for hours every week. We want them to initiate prayer time with us every night. Unless your husband had a lot of experience praying out loud, he may not be comfortable praying out loud even in front of you – ESPECIALLY if you come across as being more spiritually mature than he is and as being better with words and knowing the Bible more than he does. He may be intimidated by you. He may feel like a spiritual failure compared to you. Maybe our expectations are unrealistic? Maybe our husbands lead in a lot of ways that we don’t acknowledge or even notice. It takes many years, even decades for a lot of men to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. We can be extremely impatient with our men and destroy their ability and desire to grow as leaders. If I really am more mature, I will be patient and not try to pressure or force things. I will remember I Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
  • Is it possible that my husband sees me as being “holier-than-thou?”
  • Men need encouragement, praise, admiration, a cheerleader, someone to say when they are doing things right! THEN they will have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown and intimidating world of leadership and try new things and grow stronger. He has to know he has my unwavering support and faith. He has to know that if he makes a mistake, I am not going to make a big deal of it. He has to know I trust him. THEN he will grow and become so much more the godly man that God desires him to be.
  • Sometimes husbands lead in subtle ways. They forgive easily. They don’t hold grudges. They are patient. They try to do what is best for the family. They continue to give of themselves even when their efforts are not appreciated. They have talks with the children about their attitudes and behavior. They try to help out when we are sick. They are generous. They are kind. They are faithful to us. They work hard to provide for the family financially – this is one of THE BIGGEST ways that most husbands try to show their love and leadership. They live with integrity. They try to do what is right. They show respect to others. I can learn to appreciate all that he does right and not try to put him in a little box of my specific expectations.
  • Maybe he DOES try to lead – or maybe he used to try. But whenever he would lead in a way that you didn’t agree with, you wouldn’t follow. That’s what I did, too! After a few years of leading and no one following, understandably, a lot of men give up.
  • If I am disrespecting the spiritual authority of my husband over me and trying to go around him to God to complain about my husband – God will not be pleased! My disobedience will grieve the heart of God more than my view on my husband’s lack of leadership abilities. My critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards my husband means that I also have a critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards the One that put my husband over our marriage. God does not hear my prayers when they are steeped in sin, pride, judgment and lack of respect for God-given authority!!!!
  • My faith in God is small. My understanding of God and picture of Him is small.
  • I am a pretty horrible follower and supporter!
  • I may be committing idolatry by putting myself in God’s place and trying to be God in my life.

If your husband has given up trying to be the leader in the marriage – you can give him the beautiful gift of your submission to his leadership! You can make things right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here are a few things you may want to do to begin to get back on track (pray and see if these might apply to you or if God might show you other ideas that fit your situation and marriage):

  • Confess to your husband what you did wrong and apologize. HUSBANDS ONLY REALLY NEED/WANT A SINCERE APOLOGY ONE TIME!!!!!!! “I realize now that I have taken over the leadership role of our marriage and I am WRONG for doing this! I have sinned against God and against you and our family. I apologize for not following your leadership. I’m so glad that God gave you the position of authority over me and over our family. I am stepping down and I want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.”
  • Accept your husband for the man he is right now today even if he NEVER changes!!!
  • I am responsible to God for my own sanctification, growing in Christ. I don’t have to wait on my husband to help me grow or wait for him to “catch up.” If I am really growing in my relationship with Christ, I will be humble towards my husband and towards God and let them work out my husband’s spiritual growth. I will concentrate only on my own spiritual maturity and I WILL BE PRETTY QUIET ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS if this is a difficult area for my husband. I will let my husband see my joy in Christ, my humility before my husband, my respectful attitude and willingness to follow where he leads… THAT is what will help make my husband hunger for God!
  • Make decisions for yourself about things you are doing, eating, wearing, how you spend your time, but let him make his own decisions for himself and let him make decisions for the family.
  • Uphold his decisions in front of the children.
  • Speak and act respectfully towards him. Ask if you are in doubt, “Is this respectful?” “Was I just disrespectful?”
  • Listen when he talks to you – put down what you are doing and listen like you are interested.
  • Be encouraging about his ideas. Try not to squash his creativity, plans and ideas. Let him have room to think, dream and plan.
  • Don’t tell him what to do – if he asks, you can offer your perspective humbly.
  • Praise him whenever he leads the family, even in the smallest of ways, and does a good job!!!! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! You will help him build confidence in his abilities. If he hasn’t ever been the leader, be patient, it will be baby-steps but that’s fine!
  • If he makes a decision, back him (unless he’s asking you to sin) and support him graciously, joyfully, cheerfully. You may tell him your needs and desires and your feelings, but ultimately the decision is up to him. God gives him insight and wisdom he doesn’t give to you. This is about trusting God to lead you through your husband – it is about your faith in God!!!
  • Get rid of negativity!!!
  • Ideally, give him the finances. It often works SO much better when I am not telling him what to do and how to spend money.
  • If he decides to give you something, take you out to eat, go on a spontaneous vacation, SMILE, accept graciously and don’t question if he should or should not give wonderful things to you. Say, “Thank you! You are SO generous! You’re such a wonderful husband!”
  • Even if you feel like he is “leading you nowhere” – that is ok! At one point, I prayed, “God, I am willing to sit RIGHT HERE spiritually and geographically and never move another inch if this is where you want me. I trust You to lead me through my husband. I am NOT going to run ahead anymore. I will patiently wait on You if I sit here until I am 80!” It’s funny, it wasn’t long after I adopted that attitude that things began to go full-throttle!
  • Thank God for your husband’s leadership and spiritual authority over you daily.
  • Thank your husband for his leadership and spiritual authority over you – even if he is not a believer! Even if he is an immature Christian! God said the husband IS the head of the wife in Ephesians 5:22 – take God at His Word and thank God for His provision for you. God can and will use even a non-believer or a very immature husband to lead a believing wife who trusts in Him!
  • Have a willing spirit to be led by your husband and by God.

Maybe none of these things apply to your marriage, if so, I pray that God will direct you to the resources you need to apply to your situation. But if some of these things have been eye-opening for you, I’d encourage you to repent and commit to seeking God’s face and His will in your life and your marriage starting today!

I believe it is God’s plan to teach husbands to be effective, humble, servant-leaders in the world by learning to be a leader at home first. I believe that God desires to use the respect, admiration and cooperation of godly wives to shape men and instruct them in leadership in marriage. God CAN use your willing spirit to help mold and influence your husband if your heart is right with God and you are respectful of the God-given position of authority God gave your husband. What a high calling! We will also be influencing our children and showing them how to have a godly marriage – AND our obedience to God will draw many others to Christ!!!!!! MUCH IS AT STAKE HERE! I pray we act wisely and in full obedience and surrender to God.

Lord,

I know this is a very tough and very painful subject! You know how many tears I cried myself over these issues for so many years in my own marriage. My heart breaks with wives who are anxious, afraid, lonely, overwhelmed and scared to make these changes. I pray that You might show each wife how to take that step of faith and trust You to work through our husbands for our good and Your glory! Help us to see that You will catch us and that what seems so terrifying is actually a gateway to peace and the life we have always longed for. Give us girlfriends to encourage and sustain us! Give us prayer partners to pray with us. Help us desire to obey You even when we don’t completely want to and don’t understand Your wisdom. Help us trust You with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength! Open the floodgates of heaven on the women who have the courage to obey You in this area of following their husbands’ leadership! Let them see Your miracles! Let them find the beautiful place that this painful path brings us to – a place of joy, love, peace, hope, deep intimacy with You and with our husbands and abundant life! Don’t let Satan retain a stronghold in our hearts any longer! Let us sincerely repent of our sin! Let us turn to Your ways and begin the adventure of following You each day, anticipating all the wonderful things You will do to provide for us, protect us, and guide us through our husbands. Thank You for Your design for marriage! Help us to embrace Your wisdom and learn it and live it and then teach it to other wives! Use us to greatly bless our husbands, marriages and children. And use us to greatly bless the world with the fragrance, salt and light of Christ!

Amen!

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