I have a very good husband who is good to me, our children and provides all our physical needs. When we began raising our family, we did what our parents did; taking them to church every time the doors were open. But the Lord began to deal with my heart that I needed to train our children differently. I began digging deeper in the Word and began growing in my walk. It was my deep desire that he would have the same passion but he never showed any interest, even when I expressed my desire for him to join me. Instead, he began leaning more on me for his and our family’s spiritual leadership.
I led the kids in Bible reading and prayed with them every night. Whenever important decisions needed to be made, my husband relied on me. I talked to him about his responsibility to be the spiritual leader in our family, and he would do well for awhile, but he didn’t stay committed and I was back in the leadership role. I know that I made it easy for him to not be the leader because he knew I would always do it for him. My question is this: What are women to do when their husbands won’t step into their God-given roles of being the spiritual leader of their families?
Unfortunately, Scripture doesn’t give us a “How-to” for everything so it can be challenging to know the appropriate actions to take in specific situations. Mothers definitely share the responsibility of making sure their children know the Word of God and live according to His commands. Usually mothers have the most influence on their children and have spent the most time with them. Mary, Lois and Eunice, and Hannah all had a major influence in their son’s lives spiritually and that influence affected those who came in contact with their children. But fathers also have a major responsibility to train up their children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6).
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching… ~ Prov. 1:8
Both the father and the mother are responsible for training their children and are responsible for fulfilling different functions within the family unit.
Beginning with Adam and Eve, God established man as the head of the home and the wife as his helper. They are both equal in God’s sight and made in His image, but they have different roles. God consistently puts the father/husband as the leader throughout Scripture. Abraham was the one responsible for making the decisions for his family, even when they seemed ridiculous, but Sarah submitted to him no matter what the circumstance. Joseph was the head of his home with Mary and led them to Bethlehem and in bringing up Jesus Christ.
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. ~ 1 Cor. 11:3
So if your husband is not being the head of his home, as Christ commands, then what do you do?
1. Check Yourself
You need to make sure your heart and actions are right before you can accuse him (Matt. 7:5). Are you just as guilty as your husband of not fulfilling your God-given role? God has given us women a very noble role to fulfill as helpmates and as wives who choose to submit to their husbands, as we do to the Lord.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. ~ Eph. 5:22
But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. ~ Eph. 5:24
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. ~Col.3:18
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands… ~ 1 Pet. 3:1
I’m the type of person that if someone isn’t doing their job or doing it well, I’d rather just take on their extra work because at least I know it’ll get done and get done right. So wouldn’t it be easier to just fill that role that your husband isn’t so at least it’ll get fulfilled by somebody? But, we cannot expect our husbands to fulfill their duties if we’re not giving them the opportunity. If we keep stepping up because they won’t, then guess what? They will never man-up because you’re doing their work for them.
Our responsibility is to perform the function our perfect God gave us and submit to our husbands. By submitting to our husbands, we’re also submitting to God’s will. God has consistently commanded to wives that they are to submit to their husbands, IN EVERYTHING, whether he’s making wrong choices or not making choices at all. We are responsible for what God has told us to do, not what He has told our husbands to do.
2. Pray for Him
Anytime you are burdened over sin in your home, you must first go to God with your requests. Ask the Lord to soften your husband’s heart and wait on the Lord’s answer. Ask the Lord to bring godly men into your husband’s life that will help show him how to live and will hold him accountable.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Phil. 4:6
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray…Jam. 5:13
We have a generation of men who are not stepping up to the leadership role and the standards of godliness God calls for them to have. We all need to be praying that these men humble their hearts, repent, and turn to walk on the righteous path, for the sake of our children and the well-being of families for generations to come.
3. Talk to Him
Sometimes we women think that men should be able to read our minds, but, unfortunately, they cannot. They may not realize that there is even a problem and as their sister in Christ, as well as their wife, you need to confront him in love (Matt. 18:15).
After a time of coming before God, seeking His timing, and asking Him to prepare your husband’s heart and your own, you need to talk to him. You need to go to your husband, in love, gentleness, and meekness, and ask him what God (not you) wants him to do. You have to let him know that you cannot be the spiritual leader and you will not continue in that role because God forbids it. The motive must be because your heart yearns for God’s will to be done and to see your husband submit to God’s will for his life, not for any selfish gain.
4. Submit to Him and God.
After talking with your husband and praying for him, what else are you supposed to do? Wait on the Lord (Ps. 38:15; 39:7) to work on his heart because only God can bring out change in someone (Ez. 36:26-27; Jn. 15:5). But there are some things for which you are responsible.
…Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior…. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord,…. ~ 1 Pet. 3:1-6>
God speaks directly to women who have disobedient husbands and gives them their charge: They are to be submissive to their husbands, no matter what. Now God isn’t asking you to submit to something sinful your husband is asking you to do, but He is asking you to submit to your husband, whether he is in the will of God or not.
Sarah is a great example of this. Even when Abraham told her to lie and pretend she was his sister (Gen. 20), she obeyed and God protected Sarah while handling Abraham. And when Abraham left their home to wander around the country, she was by his side, treating him with respect and submitting to his decisions. When you are obedient and devoted to the Lord, your actions point to Christ and this cannot go unnoticed by your husbands. When you have checked your heart, prayed for your husband and communicated the issues to him, all that is left to do is obey God’s commands for you and submit. Remember that respectfulness, purity and gentleness are beautiful in God’s sight. He is the one who we will be held accountable to in the end, so choose His ways of doing things, not what you think will fix the problem sooner.
For the Single Ladies:
Some of you reading are not in this position yet. Using discernment in the early days of dating a guy can save you a lot of heartache and trouble. Does he set the pace of your relationship or are you the one who initiates the DTR (Define the Relationship) talk? Does he plan dates or does he always pick you up and say “So what do you want to do tonight?” Is he actively reading God’s Word, regularly attending church, and surrounding himself with godly people? Is he leading in the spirtual growth of your relationship?
Since a man’s character during the dating relationship does not change much when he gets married, look for the red flags while you’re dating. They’re a good indication of what kind of husband and family leader he will be.
Too many times I have seen these cases of husbands who follow their families, rather than leading them. It burdens my heart deeply to see husbands and wives not submitting to God’s perfect plan for them. For the women who are in this position, I hurt for you but I also plead with you to follow God’s plan, even if your husband changes or not. You are only responsible for your own actions. Do not give up praying for your husband but continue on encouraging him, loving him, and submitting to him, as to the Lord.