I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you’re here for one of two reasons. Either you’re looking for some legitimate help for your marriage (as in your husband won’t lead and you legit don’t know what to do) or you’re prepping to tell me all the reasons why this content is insane.
If you’re the latter, I just want you to be aware. Trent and I have been married for 15 years. We both have very strong personalities and have regularly had to search the Bible for answers so our marriage didn’t blow up. We currently lead a marriage mentoring ministry at our church, so we encounter all sorts of couples with differing personality combinations.
Does that mean we have all the answers? Not hardly. But we aren’t just some random people on the internet throwing out bits of information we think sounds good. The information in this blog is Biblically sound, professionally recommended, and personally implemented.
I believe wholeheartedly in what I’m about to share. However, certain points may be more difficult to implement in certain marriages over others. If there’s anything you would like to add, or question, please leave that in a comment so this conversation can be more wholistic. Just do us all a favor, and be respectful 🙂
What To Do When Your Husband Won’t Lead
Maybe your husband has a more passive personality, and you’re here because he legitimately won’t lead. Maybe he just won’t lead the way you want him to. Both of those situations can be frustrating, but also, you have more control over those situations than you might think.
Before jumping into our recommendations I want to share something that has been so eye opening to me, as a wife. In the book, Captivating*, Stasi Eldredge says, “When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo… Hebrew scholar Robert Alter says that this phrase is ‘notoriously difficult to translate.’ The various attempts we have in English are ‘helper’ or ‘companion’ or the notorious ‘help meet.'” (p. 31)
But this is the part I think is so cool.
“The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.” (Captivating*, p. 31)
Whether you want to agree with it or not, there’s something engrained in us that wants to see a man to step up. There’s also something in us that wants to see women not be subservient. That’s because we were both created in God’s image, and we each have a unique way we display that image to the world.
The biggest problem we have is that we live in a world marred by sin – which simply means that the world and the people in it don’t act the way God originally intended. We try to make sense of things on our own, but what we really need is God. I’m about to lay out six steps to take that will encourage your husband to step up, but you can’t do it alone.
You’re meant to be a helper, but in order to live out your God-given design, you need THE Helper – The Holy Spirit.
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WHAT TO START DOING IF YOUR HUSBAND WON’T LEAD
1. Pray for your husband + yourself
The worst thing you can do is come at your husband with all the ways he’s falling short. I get that you’re frustrated, but if your motives aren’t right you’ll do more harm than good. What your husband really needs is the Holy Spirit. If he isn’t living up to his God-given design, pray for the Holy Spirit to convict him.
But pray for yourself too. If there are things you’re expecting that are outside of God’s desire for your husband, ask God to help you let those things go. And if God is in fact asking you to speak up, pray that you’ll be able to do it with grace, compassion, and love.
Communication is one of the biggest predictors of success or failure in marriage. When we don’t communicate frustrations build and eventually we explode. If you’ve prayed and feel like something needs to be said, go to your husband and ask if there would be a good time to have a chat. Just keep in mind that the point of your conversation isn’t to tell your husband all the ways he sucks. It’s to improve your marriage.
Let him know that you want your marriage to reflect God’s design. Ask him if you can share some of the things you’re noticing about him as a husband, and tell him you want to know ways you can improve as a wife too. Oh, and before either of you say anything I would recommend you pray together.
3. Leave room for him to lead
Sometimes men don’t lead because they don’t know how. If they didn’t have a good example from their father that could be a huge reason why. Another reason men don’t lead is because women don’t leave room.
If either of those things are the case, have a conversation about some changes you can both make that will encourage him to step up. Just make sure you aren’t comparing your marriage to anyone else’s.
Your friend’s husband might handle all aspects of the finances. Your husband might not even have a clue how much money he makes. If you think he’s going to take all the finances over, you’ll probably be setting yourself (and him) up for disappointment.
A better solution would be to choose a baby step. If you want/need him to be more involved in your finances then ask for his input on how much to give at church. Or give him a certain amount of money and have him buy your son’s birthday gift this year.
You shouldn’t be handling #allthethings, but you also can’t expect him to be you. Have a prayerful conversation and get creative with some solutions.
WHAT TO STOP DOING IF YOUR HUSBAND WON’T LEAD
1. Stop Nagging!
There are multiple verses in Proverbs that talk about nagging wives, and it’s no bueno…
It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. -Proverbs 21:19
Better to live on the corner of a roof than in a house shared with a nagging wife. -Proverbs 25:24
If your husband walks away when you start to complain, or heads to the garage, he probably just can’t take it anymore. (Husbands, I wouldn’t recommend this as your default response. You have to communicate, too.) But wives, be nice.
2. Stop Comparing Your Husband to Other Men.
Did you know the 10th commandment is “Thou shalt not covet?” Covet simply means to yearn to have something. To want it to belong to you. In Exodus 20:17 the commandment is explained in more detail…
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. -Exodus 20:17
When you constantly think, “I wish my husband was more like _______’s,” what you’re really doing is coveting. Coveting = Discontentment which is really a lack of gratitude for the husband you DO have. If you’ve been doing this you need to confess, repent, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you an appreciation for your husband in place of your displeasure.
3. Stop Gossiping + Calling it a Prayer Request.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women maliciously complain and complain about their husbands and cap it off with a sweet little, “Please pray for us.” As if that redeems the gossip. I’m gonna be honest with you. When you walk away, no one’s left with any respect for your husband or you. Stop doing that.
And before you even think it, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a safe community of believers that will allow you to be yourself and pray for you. However, if they never challenge you, either that’s not a helpful group of people to surround yourself with, or they’ve figured out you won’t take their advice. So they’ve stopped giving it.
My recommendation is to take a good solid look inside. If you’re a gossip you’re a huge hinderance to your husband’s leadership.
Final thoughts for a wife whose husband won’t lead
Do you love your husband? Maybe your like for him has waned, but do you love him? Like, do you want what’s best for him? Do you see potential in him that he doesn’t even see in himself? If you answered yes, then there’s hope. The hardest part of being a supportive and helpful wife is relinquishing your timeline for change.
Remember, you’re not the Holy Spirit, but you ARE a helper. One of the things I regularly try to share with wives is that the Holy Spirit will speak to the heart and wives get to speak to the ears. If you let God play his part (and ask Him to show you how to play yours) you’ll be a better wife, your husband will be a better leader, and ultimately your marriage will reflect God’s design.
You can do it. I believe in you 🖤
Because there’s a better way,
question: which of the points above would be the easiest to start implementing today? and which would be the hardest?
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Finally, if you enjoyed this blog and want to read more like it, check out 4 Ways to Fight Against Selfishness in Marriage.