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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?

Support and Encourage His Hobbies

the deck my husband built at our old house

SC State House

A man receives a great deal of his identity from his work. He often thinks of himself in terms of what he does and that he has value in the world because of his career and contribution to the world. Sometimes he also gets a huge part of his identity from his hobbies, especially if his work isn’t bringing him very much fulfillment at the time. He may think of himself in terms of his dream that is outside of his career – his ministry, his athleticism, his remodeling/handyman abilities, his musical abilities, his gardening talents, his artistic and creative streak… All people need and deserve time to recharge and do something they love. Like Laura Doyle says in “The Surrendered Wife,” everyone needs time to dream big dreams and not have their ideas stomped on. But our men ESPECIALLY need this outlet. God designed them to conquer the world and make their mark. A supportive wife makes ALL the difference in the world to a husband in this area!

Notice your husband’s dreams. What are the things that energize him and really give him a love for life? Even if his hobbies don’t get you all excited, I want to encourage you to do your best to support his hobbies, dreams and desires. Who knows? It’s entirely possible that if he is allowed to follow his dreams and make big plans that he might find a new career path that he loves, or add another source of income, or build you a dream house, or just plain enjoy his life to the fullest and have the most to give to your marriage and your family.

If you find yourself being jealous because you don’t seem to have time for your own hobbies and relaxation, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his time to himself! But it might mean that you need to be more proactive about finding time for yourself, too. Then both of you can be at your best and have the most to give to each other and your family. Husbands and wives both need time to do things they enjoy on their own, to develop their interests, and to take good care of their own souls, minds and bodies. If we are spiritually/emotionally/physically depleted, we don’t have anything to give to our loved ones. We must take responsibility for filling ourselves up and taking good care of ourselves in these areas so that we can bless our families. In fact, if a wife is feeling particularly frustrated and irritable, it is a good idea to look at your own needs and make sure you are getting the rest, nutrition, time with God, time with friends, time for hobbies that you need to be at your best – then little things won’t seem like such a big deal.

Think of the things he loves. Honor what he loves. Listen to him talk about it. Be excited with him. Dream with him. Don’t criticize or put him down about his hobbies and passions. Don’t tell him to hire someone else to finish the house if he wants to do it himself – that is SUPER disrespectful to a man! He wants to complete the challenge and prove to himself that he can do it and he wants you to smile and applaud him and have that wonderful look of pride in your eyes about his abilities. He doesn’t need you to tell him how to do things, just to tell him that you have faith in him that he’ll figure it out, that you trust him. That little bit of encouragement and trust from you will motivate your husband like you cannot imagine! Give him some space to think, dream and work and you will be amazed what he may do for you and your family!!!!

One time at our old house, Greg and I were talking about getting a bay window to replace a picture window. There was a very unkempt crepe myrtle tree outside that window. I asked Greg if he would mind trimming the tree and maybe he could put some pretty white rocks and a bench under the window so that the view would be better. He shocked me by announcing that he was going to build a deck. He had never built a deck before. But I knew he was a super resourceful, intelligent, talented guy, so I said, “Ok!” Then he drew out a design. It wasn’t just a 10X10 deck. He had a 4 level 1000 square foot deck in mind. Wow! That was A LOT more than I had asked for. But I said, “Great! That would be amazing!” He built that whole deck all by himself and it was stunning. He even painted a compass rose on one of the platforms later that was accurate with true North, South, East and West pointing in the proper directions.

When I was pregnant and found out that we were having a boy, I told Greg I would love to have the nursery painted half as night time and half as daytime sky with the tops of pine trees along the floor. He said, “I’m going to do a mural of Columbia.” I said, “Ok!” He had never painted a wall anything but one or maybe two colors before. But I knew he was super talented and gave him all the space he wanted to do what he thought was best. We spent a few weeks riding around town taking pictures of the most beautiful landmarks in our town and deciding what would be in the mural. Then I would sit in the glider rocking chair in the nursery every night for 5 months and feel our baby kicking in my belly and watch while he painted the most incredible mural. It was GLORIOUS! How I hated when we moved away and couldn’t take the mural with us. I was tempted to cut out all the dry wall and move it to the new house!

What dreams does your husband have? What if I had squashed my husband’s dreams? Imagine the beauty and the priceless gifts he has added to our lives that I would have missed!! I pray that we might give our husbands room to soar and do all that they can dream of doing. I pray that we might encourage and inspire them with our trust, faith, admiration and confidence to reach heights we could never have fathomed! A man can move mountains when he has a wife who believes in him!


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