I was honored to be a guest with Cherie Zack on the Imperfect Wives Radio Show today. Our topic: Husbands that don’t lead. Cherie tells me that this question is at the top of the list for the women who listen to her show and visit her Facebook page.
I thought I would share some of my reflections from the show. Of course, these are not all of my thoughts or answers on why men don’t lead, but this should get us started in conversation.
First, we need to define leading.
What does it mean for a husband to lead?God’s word tells us, “The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing” (Ephesians 5:23a Message).
There are three key elements that I see in this teaching.
1. Husbands should have a Christ-like character.
2. Husbands that lead care about relationships with God and others, putting others first. (Servant leadership.)
3. Husbands that lead are competent in their work endeavors. (Refer back to 1 & 2 if you need help accomplishing this one.)
A leader is a person with a magnet in his heart and a compass in his head. ~Robert Townsend
What if you are a wife reading this and what I described as a leader is not your husband. Here are a few reasons why men do not lead. (Please feel free to add your own ideas to our discussion board.)
1. He doesn’t know how to lead. Leading a home is not a character trait you are born with, it is something you learn and emulate from others. Has your husband had Godly men to mentor him? What was his father like?
2. There is no one to lead. Ephesians 5:23b (Message) continues by saying, “…So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.” Our wedding vows were easy to say but often times harder to act out on an ongoing basis when our husbands don’t act the way we want them too. The bible is not asking us to submit to immoral, dangerous, or abusive requests, God is asking us to be obedient to His Spirit and have faith that He is working behind the scenes to capture our husband’s heart for us!
3. There is no love or respect left in the marriage. This goes in tandem with #2. If you don’t have it, both Cherie and I recommended the book, Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
4. Unmatched expectations and the inability to communicate needs.
5. They are leading in the wrong direction. They are not going in the direction anyone wants to go so the wife becomes unsupportive, unresponsive, and uninterested.
What should our response be when husbands don’t lead?
1. Take personal responsibility for change in your life. Live 1 Peter 3:1- 5 (Message)
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.
2. Stop talking and telling. Try listening, supporting, and respecting 90% of the time and telling 10% of the time. A husband who doesn’t lead already knows he is not meeting your needs. Reminding him only creates distance, anger, self-loathing, shame and blaming. There are needs you need to express. Ask God to help you choose what is profitable for your future and ask him for the correct timing.
1 Peter 3:1 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives…
3. Start believing that the marriage you dreamed on your wedding day will come true. God has great plans for you!