Marriage Missions International

When Men Fail To Lead

Photo by Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo by Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is the basic nature of a man to assume the lead —to be a do-er. Immediately, you may think of many men who are passive. For these men, passivity can be a means not of leading but of control or manipulation —what is known as passive-aggressive behavior.

This trait often emerges in a man when his confidence has been badly shaken, or when his masculine self-image was wounded at an early age. Recognizing and understanding passive-aggressive reactions will allow a wife to more effectively minister to her husband and to survive the intense frustration of life with a man who withdraws because he is unsure of himself.

There are two parts to handling the problem of a withdrawn man. The first is to commit yourself to the process of helping him emerge into his God-given role. And the second is to build for yourself a strong relationship with the Lord from which to draw strength while the emerging process is working.

How does a wife enter into the process of helping her “withdrawn man” come out of himself? The first part of her task is to build the skill of “active listening.”

Most of us assume that communication involves talking, but it also requires listening and looking. Women are notoriously good listeners —at least during courtship. But many times, this crucial skill is lost and forgotten after marriage.

True listening involves far more than waiting to talk. It involves picking up clues in an attempt to understand the reasons behind what is said and what is left unsaid. Often, a wife is at loss for what to say to a husband who is silent. Many ask, in frustration, “How do you listen to a stone?” You don’t. But neither do you try to forcefully penetrate a stone by talking at it.

A wife can, however, show her husband that she cares what he’s going through. And this can be done non- verbally in as many creative ways as you can imagine.

She can approach her silent husband, who has slouched in an easy chair, with a snack and the evening newspaper. She can stand quietly beside him, rub his neck and communicate without speaking “I love you. You’ve come to the right after a tough day.”

This can work in reverse, too. Instead of telling her stone-silent mate about mate about all the pressures of her day—which will likely drive him deeper into removed silence and the wife deeper into frustration —she can try this: “Honey, I’ve had a rough day. Would you massage my shoulders and help me relax?” If you cannot get a listening ear, you can at least have the comfort of his warm, relaxing touch.

Many women wrongly assume that their withdrawn man is so confident in himself that he is withdrawn in silence because he doesn’t need her at all. This is often a very wrong assumption. In fact, he may be withdrawn because he has had his confidence shaken, has seen his dreams shattered, or has spent his day feeling defeated. As a result, he needs a safe place to go, and home should be that place.

Home has been called “the spot where when you go, they have to let you in.” Many times, however, a man sees his home only as a location filled with more pressure. If he has been defeated, he’s not thinking of what his wife has faced all day, nor does he see the many roles she fills. His vision shrinks to the minute size of his own life. He’s left staring at the rubble of his shattered dreams. He sees his goals and his happiness slipping through his grasp.

Yes, it’s true that you may have had the challenges and defeats in your day, too. But the fact is, seizing your husband by the ear the moment he walks in the door is not the way to gain his eager attention. If you learn the approach of active listening, however, you are more likely, later, to get the attention you need as well. But what do you listen for?

What Is He Running From?
The desire to escape pain is a tremendous motivator for many men. For a man, one of the greatest sources of inner pain is the lack of success or outright failure.

Recently, in an interview on a news program, the race-car driver Danny Sullivan was asked, “When you’re in that car, what do you fear most?” You might reasonably expect him to reply, “A crash,” or “A fire.” But no. Like many men would, he said, “Failure. I cannot stand to lose!”

Even men who have a strong belief in God are not immune from this male trait.

The prophet Elijah might be an example of a man who experienced depression and a paralysis of will because of a failure. In 1 Kings 18, we read that Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. But at a time when one might expect this great man of God to be on top of the world, he made a mistake: He ran when his life was threatened.

We read that “he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die. He said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers'” (1 Kings 19:4).

A Christian woman may think that her husband’s beliefs should erase his human, masculine weaknesses. But given an even that shakes his confidence, a man’s first response will be to escape pain just like Elijah.

Unlike the prophet of old, the Christian husband has a wife and family who, hopefully, are committed to seeing him overcome human weakness.

Lashing Out
There can also be another side to the withdrawn man. When he isn’t immersed in silence, he may be demanding and critical. Having lost the battle in his working world, he may turn his attention to the one place he still seeks to prove his dominance—his own home.

One of the obvious first signs is that he’ll become less and less considerate. He’ll contribute little effort to help with the chores that make the household function. Then his wife points out his shortcomings as a husband, a father and a Christian. The more she communicates a lack of respect for him, the sooner he’ll decide that home is just another place filled with hard knocks. This produces a downward spiral with results that can be devastating.

Another sign that a man feels his failure has thrown his life “out of control” is that he will take only “safe” tasks. Why should he attempt something that carries with it the uncertainty of risk? Therefore, some men will pull back from activities over which they don’t maintain a high degree of control, or in which they aren’t certain of success.

The complexity of today’s world often freezes people between choices. When a man finds himself at a crossroad in life, he may believe it is actually wise not to act at all. He then becomes glued in his tracks to indecision. In his desire to do the best thing for himself, and the perfect thing for his dreams, he does nothing.

If he’s employed in a job he dislikes, he may remain so, in the desire to wait for the perfect moment to switch. Meanwhile, his dissatisfaction and emotional withdrawal from his family continues.

The actions—and more importantly, the reactions —of a woman whose husband is undergoing a crisis are critical. It doesn’t help to say, “My husband knows the Lord. Why doesn’t he just pray?” The facts are that Christ has given each of us a ministry, and the wife may be the only expression of God’s love that her husband can see during his most trying times!

Now, I’m not suggesting that a woman should overlook or ignore her own needs when trying to help her husband out of time of emotional withdrawal. In fact, while she’s learning to listen and to wisely communicate her love in practical ways, she must not neglect her own emotional and spiritual needs.

Only by learning to press on in her relationship with the Lord will a woman be able to handle her own pain, which will merely compound the marital stress if allowed to churn out in negative words and reactions. The path to helping her husband and, therefore, ultimately helping herself, starts with her own walk with the Lord.

The Path to Peace
Often a woman marries believing her deepest needs will be met in the relationship with her husband and in the family and home that promises to be hers. There’s that tendency in each of us, men and women alike, to view our spouse as someone pre-designed to meet our own needs. But only God himself can satisfy the longings of our heart.

If a wife is to have a major impact, she must ask God for the wisdom to help her to focus her husband on hope.

There are several creative ways she can work on this task:

1. Begin to keep a prayer diary of little things she is praying for in her devotional time. Keeping track of the ways God is answering prayer will also bring hope.

2. Acknowledge that even the things her husband is now doing to avoid responsibility as having potential future value. (For instance, a wife whose husband is a good mechanic could say, “You’re such a great mechanic. It makes me feel safe to drive around in a car I know you’re looking after.”)

3. Find something he has done in the past that is paying off now. Compliment him. (“I’m grateful you built that barbecue. We’re getting so much good use out of it this summer.”)

If these simple steps are undertaken and continued patiently as a ministry, a wife may show her husband that she believes in his future and his worth, even if he does not. This can be done without sounding “preachy.” And more importantly, she needs to be involved in encouraging her husband in a way that will give her hope as well.

Build His Confidence
Include as a part of your personal prayer list this daily request: “Lord, let me catch him doing something right today—anything!” Thanking him for the smallest deed as soon as possible can be a positive reinforcement.

As newfound confidence develops, your husband will be a happier man to live with.

The above article came from the book, Husbands Who Won’t Lead and Wives Who Won’t Follow, written by James Walker, published by Bethany House Publishers. It is an excellent book and goes into much greater detail to help you understand your spouse, your marriage, and your expectations for each other. This is a very practical, insightful book that can help both husbands and wives find assistance and directions to help them find a balance of roles by investing a few hours going through this great resource.

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Comments

55 Responses to “When Men Fail To Lead”
  1. Kenya says:

    This article has really touched me and it hit the nail on the head to the problem the my Dh and I are having. I’m going to try these tips and give in to the Lord and allow him to move in my relationship instead of me trying to fix things on my own. Thank you very much. This website has really helped me to understand what my Dh might be going through and has giving me the tools to better my relationship with God! God Bless!

    • Dan says:

      (INDIA)  I totally agree, Kenya… I just now read this article and till now I was thinking that our marital problems were all because of my husband. But now I realize that I too, have a role to play… I’ll definitely suggest this to all my married and unmarried friends… Great going!!! God bless you all!!!

  2. Asia says:

    (USA) Truly a great article! Thanks for the insight. Sometimes as women, we forget we may be a bit overbearing in our own needs. In our attempt for perfectionism, we are making others unhappy. I pray for my husband a lot. His being happy means more of my happiness. Thanks again for the great article!

  3. Megan says:

    (AUSTRALIA)  I have been frustrated in my marriage from the very start and think I made a mistake in marrying my husband. I have been praying and trying to encourage him for 7 years now and feel I am in constant uphill battle. I blame myself and realise I may have issue myself.

    My husband is a Christian, goes to church, but is not really passionate and finds praying a chore. He is vague a lot of the time and very moody and just hard to live with. I started using the power of a praying wife 7 years ago. I have seen a little progress not much. I still feel very frustrated and pray to God for strength.

    He never jokes around and it just feels like we do not connect at all. I find it hard even to have a conversation with him. Communicating is really hard. Do I stay or leave? Do I just accept this is how things are and will never change? He does not notice things even with the children and just doesn’t react. I feel for my children. We are so different. Is there anyone out there who can offer some advice, please?

    • Lisa says:

      (USA)  You said one thing that I want to address because I’ve been there and I feel your pain. You said early on you felt you made a mistake in marrying him… Please ask the LORD to help you never entertain this thought in your mind again… its under eveything you will think and do and will undermine how you feel and how you will react to him. Try as hard as you can by the power given to you by the Holy Spirit to focus on the good things he is and not the things he’s not. Is he faithful (not cheating) does he work and provide? Making that one small adjustment will help you manage your expectations of him.

      I hope this helps… worked for me. I focus now on my relaionship with God an making sure my reactions are Godly in spite of what feel he SHOULD be doing…and even though things have not really changed a lot I am happier and more content and I can actually feel love for him again. Colossians 3 12-17…is my mantra.

      • Nikki says:

        (USA) Lisa, I just wanted to say that what you advised her has been such a blessing to me. Colossians 3:12-18. God bless you and your spouse richly. May He give you the desires of your heart as it relates to your marriage and all areas of your life. One thing I have often said, which I am going to do more is pray to God about everything and leave it at His feet. Only He can change the hearts of man. And I’m going to also use the power of my tongue/words to speak over my husband, to draw out the great leader that He is!

  4. Jordan says:

    (CANADA)  Megan – I understand what you’re saying… though I’ve not been married yet for as long as you have, I do hear what you’re saying about your husband as I struggle with similar issues with mine.

    Everything I am hearing right now is to drop it at the Lord’s feet, work on my issues, and let God do His thing on my husband. It’s hard, as a woman, to see a problem, know the resolve, and not say anything! I’m sure you’ve heard all this before… but I do want to encourage you to start looking at the positives and strengths within your husband – and tell him. Respect is a HUGE thing for him. Have you read or watched the Love & Respect book/DVDs? They are enlightening, to say the least.

    I noticed you shared also that you have seen some progress. Though it’s not as much as you would like considering how long it’s taken to get this far, there is change occurring. Try to look at it as an encouragement instead of adding, ‘not much’. Maybe God is trying to do something in you too? :)

    Trust me when I say I’m saying this to myself as much as I’m writing it to you… because I know it’s hard. I hope the heart of what I’m saying comes across … and I pray for continued strength for you… and as you press into the Lord, that you would continue to see changes in yourself and your husband. God is FOR you, not against you! :)

  5. Tony says:

    (USA)  This was mentioned just today in a discussion about submission on the Family Life Today radio broadcast. Fortunately the transcript is available, so I’ll provide a link and then a small quote about leadership.

    it may apply in some cases, and I provide it for those who are heeding the advice to work on their own stuff, as I believe it’s possible for a wife to undermine and destroy a husband’s will to lead.

    http://www.familylife.com/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=dnJHKLNnFoG&b=3832113&ct=6020463&DCMP=BAC-FLT+HP+Broadcast+Link&ATT=BoxLink

    "That’s right, and sometimes, as women, we have taken up the mantle of leadership in our home, and we need to be willing to lay it down. I think often men come into a marriage, and they are willing to lead, but their wife grabs it so often from them that finally they go, "Fine, just let her have, I mean, this is not worth the fight."

    Most men want peace in their home more than they want leadership. So if you give them leadership and peace, they’ll usually pick that mantle back up, and the interesting thing — I think one reason the women have reacted the way they have in the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember conferences when I’ve spoken about submission is that women really are happy to have men who lead lovingly. They are happy to have men that are strong and know what they want. They are willing to follow if the men do it appropriately, lovingly, and like this woman said, if they value her opinion and ask for her thoughts." — Cindy Easley 10/20/2008 FL Today broadcast.

    The one thing I question about that is how she seems to state a conditional willingness. The statement about willing to follow IF the men lead appropriately.

    I don’t see where scripture places such a condition upon the wife following. I’m not suggesting the wife sin. But in the case where there is no sin, it’s not predicated upon him leading in a loving fashion as far as I can tell from scripture.

    • Lo says:

      (USA)  Hi Tony, I agree with submission and believe some people are still finding reasons not to. It’s obvious that there were less divorces in the past when people took their God-given roles. The moment we move away from the word of God and try to make our own rules problems start. There is a good reason for these things.

      I used to mourn about the little love I got from my husband. That was until I started respecting my husband and let him take the lead. Submission sounds politically incorrect but its what it is-the truth (what God requires of wives). It works for the good of both husband and wife.

      I know my husband is not always right but my duties are to help him and give him suggestions. But the final decision rests with him. When I pray, I ask God to lead my house through his servant, my husband. So I can be rest assured that God is watching us and is working through my husband. The moment I try to take over, I know I am stepping out of God’s will and he may not hear my prayers. Even when I want to get things done, I have trained myself to step back and be in submission “in everything”. This gives me patience and allows me time to pray for my husband as well.

      The Bible says women of the past made themselves beautiful by fearing God and submitting to their husband. Sarah even called her husband “master”. Physical beauty is good but it’s overriden by the way you live. If you want to obey God, do it all the way and not choose things that work for you.

      When I submit to my husband he loves me more and he considers my opinions more. I would feel sorry for him if he stepped back and let me run the household. Women need to feel loved and men want respect. That’s what it is.

      • Marie-Rachel says:

        (USA)  Thank you for your comment. I struggle very much with not picking up the mantle of leadership, and am ashamed of it. My urgent prayer is for God to have mercy on me, and give me a heart that will submit and respect my husband. Thank you for what you wrote, it is what I needed to hear and to prompt me into prayerful action. God bless!

  6. Max says:

    (USA)  Will the same steps help if it is the wife that is emotionally distant and withdrawn?

  7. Kim says:

    (PORTLAND USA)  My husband and I are legally separated, it was unbearable. We are married now for 16 years with three beautiful children and a life that has not had God as a main focus. We are in counseling, seeking help with the pastor who married us and it seems to really help.

    A major event took place that sent me over the edge and I have not been the same since. I could not look at him and think of any good to come out of a man who caused so much pain. I, for whatever reason, now have a new heart; I believe it is because I have found God again.

    My pain and emotional distress are gone and I pray every hour and or every minute that we will reconcile and make this last to the end of our life together on earth… I truly love him; he is my world. Even though I need to find something good each day and let him know. I needed him to love me, lead our family and be strong.

  8. John says:

    (USA)  I have read the article and agree with most of the statements but the answers seem to be centered around the Lord and whether the man is running away from the Lord or trying to be independent making his own decisions. There are always two sides to a story and there could be another approach to this one.

  9. Sandy says:

    (US)  This article is definitely describing my DH. I have been married to him for 20 years! I noticed his “distance” during our courtship (the gift giver absent of the giver, or, could only say “I love you” in a card on Holidays or my birthday). I never really understood what this was all about. But, somehow, I truly felt his love for me. Thus, I put the emotional distance out of my mind. I didn’t even know how to reference the behavior. I had accepted his “feeling” of love and his acts of “duties” as one of the “five communications of love” at the same time praying for healing of the great hole in my heart from isolation.

    I became the great and very creative initiator for all aspects of intimacy (as was during our courtship). I love sexual intimacy and all the sweet nothings between a couple “in love”. The more he downplayed my efforts (at the same time taking pleasures for himself), I began to withdraw realizing this only inflamed my pain. It seemed my expression and submission of love to him had become a method for him to exercise assurance and control of me to fulfill his deep seeded insecurity.

    In hindsight, I believe this relational dynamic only fed his passive-aggressive controller syndrome all the while driving me deeper in denial that he would eventually realize the depth of my pain AND HIS OWN. My pain began a manifestation of verbal snides and outbursts specially with regard to his silent passive response to my requests for walks in the evening, his out of control weight gain, etc, etc. After a few years of this I could no longer stand myself and resumed Christian counseling (he participated). It really turned me around and I began to like myself again. He was amazed and relieved of my shouting and angry tone, without a clue of his contribution to my pain.

    Well, here I am after 20 years of praying, dragging him to marriage retreats, counseling, owning the greatest collection of self help books/tapes (his under piles of dust) to include years of praise for his talent in leadership outside the home while our own finances and home life have tethered on the roulette wheel excluding/disallowing my input or participation. The paradox of him excluding or denying my emotional needs substituting them providing money to keep a home, dinners out, travel to places he enjoys, church leadership void of sharing the word, has taken me over the edge. So I thought.

    Recently, I learned (by accident) of his years of sexual infidelity with prostitutes and massage parlors, credit cards taken in my name, to include phone sex providers birthdays listed on his calendar while my sexy homemade nude sweet pillow talk video is hidden in a file drawer at his request fear of our daughter seeing it!!! Can you imagine??? Actually, the video is really good, ha. I am pretty with a good body, a love and foundation based on Christ, faithful in marriage (run from male advances).

    I am tired, devastated, in extreme shock and pain and back to counseling to save my sanity. Our teen daughter only knows “we are having a marital crisis” (like she doesn’t already know). Ninety percent of me wants to end this marriage while ten percent of me wants to continue “understanding” and helping “him” to work through his problem. Verbalizing the later makes me throw up. Any suggestions?

    • Cindy says:

      (US)  Sandy, Only you know in your heart and your prayers with God what you can truly handle and what you can’t. The Bible states that marital infidelity occurs when a husband or a wife has committed the sin of adultery. Whether or not you forgive him is up to you and your relationship with God. While forgiving may be the easy part, forgetting is something different. At that point the question becomes do you trust him? Do you think that there is anything left on your side that would allow you to rebuild a relationship with him? While Christian counselling is great it sounds like there might be another addiction going on here that may require a psychologist or psychiatrist.

      I have been married 5 years now and while I certainly do not know the pain you are in, I have my own suspicions about my husband’s behavior. When we were going together he had a huge collection of pornography and I knew he watched it on TV. I thought that my love and caring would be enough to build a better releationship where he would not feel the need for such stimulation. To this day I do not know. While the pornography is gone (at least I can’t find it), we have not had sexual intimacy since a few months after our honeymoon.

      I too am wondering if there is anything left in our relationship to build on. I can only look to God and my heart to see if there is anything left inside of me that can be used to build this marriage again. I am not sure if I will ever know 100% that the decision I make in the next few months will be the right one. After a while it comes to the fact of who survives –you or you and your husband.

      I wish you God’s good graces and his strength are visited upon you and that you in your turn will find what path you need to follow. I will pray for you.

  10. Hanne says:

    (USA)  Sandy, My heart absolutely aches for you. I have no advice for you as I am not married, because I am still a single woman, although I have personally suffered from a past relationship where I became victim to a web of someone else’s web of deception after many years of my godly friendship to them. The pain and devastation of having picked up your cross with them, giving sacrificially, dying to self, and being as obedient to the Lord as the Lord asked is unbelievable. My heart truly aches for you and I can only imagine what you have suffered.

    I will pray for you. I want to say to you only the little of what I have to give. No thing that you have given has escaped the eye of our Lord. Your years have not been wasted. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a fierce daughter of the most high.

    I don’t know or understand why you have had to suffer the way you have. But our Lord knows. I am praying for your comfort and your broken heart. I am so touched by your testimony. :( Please do not fall away.

    I am your sister in Christ and I feel so much his grieving heart to you. I feel that even in this you are fellowshipping with Christ in his sufferings. I also think of Abigail in the Bible for you. Even she had a horrible relationship with her husband and I am certain she suffered much. Yet somehow she did not lose the fragrance of the Lord in her life and eventually the Lord dealt with her husband in his wisdom. The Lord will also deal with your husband according to his wisdom.

    I send a cyber-hug to you. I feel that in many marriages each party will receive what they have sown. Unto righteousness or unto unrighteousness. You keep sowing to righteousness. Keep being wheat bowed down unto the Lord. Your husbands actions to this point looks like tare to me. But only the Lord knows for sure. :(

    May the Lord comfort you. My heart hurts for you. :( Always, in Christ, Hanne

    • David says:

      (USA)  My wife and I have come to a crossroads after 7 years of marriage. Dated 3 years before that. We are feeling divorce is our best route, but we are still married. Yes, we both believe in Jesus Christ. She said she does not attend church regularly because of how I make her feel. We do have a Bible study once a week from a couple at the church.

      Here is what my wife feels. I do not respect her, I stare at other women, I’ll help a stranger before I help her, I always have to know the reason when she asks me to do something and I do not do this to other people. I will open a door for her and still hold it for someone else while she waits. I’m selfish. I could say more things. We have no drug or alcohol problems. Yes, I have been faithful to my wife because the betrayl would be with God and not her.

      Everyone thinks I’m this mild mannered person and I do go out of my way to help others. She is so frustrated that instead of leaving she has lashed out by spitting, throwing knives, cussing me out, ripping all my clothes. I do need to be a more loving husband and really improve my relationship skills as these bad habits have been in my other relationships. How do I correct this or at this point. Do we both move on because the damage is too much? But I still need to improve me or try to fix this with my wife.

  11. Tony says:

    (USA)  Wow, not much comment on what I said/quoted. I thought someone would comment.

    • Gina says:

      (UK)  HI Tony, I must also point out that the Bible also commands “husbands love your wives.” While I do agree with you …Both husbands and wives have their part to play, the husband should love his wife no matter what she does and the wife whould respect her husband, no matter what he does, because after all, he is the man she chose to marry and in turn submit herself to.

      Respect does not mean following blindly; nor does it mean she should put up with bad treatment and verbal abuse or even adultery. So basically what your saying is a wife must to submit to her husband for example, physically, even though she knows he slept around, has one or two children outside of the marriage, and could possibly have an STD.

      I am sorry But I am sure the Lord Almighty gave us a brain to think for ourselves. I watched that very same situation happen to my God Mother. Her husband died from an STD, gave it to her and she died as well leaving behind 2 young children. I must disagree with you and say that submission is indeed conditional. God knows that we are not perfect, we live by his grace and mercy not by our works, because lets face it, we will never be good enough.

      • Tony says:

        (USA)  Gina, Let me see if I understand you. Men are supposed to love unconditionally, but women are NOT supposed to respect or submit unconditionally? It sure reads as if you are saying exactly that.

        So the woman is not supposed to submit unconditionally to the unfaithful husband, but a husband is supposed to unconditionally love an unfaithful wife? Is that what you are saying? It certainly looks that way. You promote unconditional love, but conditional submission. Seems like you are promoting a double standard, and not one founded on biblical principles.

        • Pavrone says:

          (USA)  “Submit” means to agree.

          If a man is endangering your life by sleeping around, no you should not give him sex. We are to submit one to another as the body of believers and when a man puts as much energy into his wife as he does all the other junk he’s lusting after, everything else falls into place.

          Honor God, and in that love your wife as God instructs and none of this other horror would happen and all else would fall into place.

          I need and want sex as much as any man but I will not be abused nor endangered. I also refuse to dishonor my vows. I’m an adult and can honor boundaries and keep my word so can everyone else–they just don’t want to.

          Catering to “self”, that is why the devil fell to start with and those doing all this are, as God puts it “As your father the devil”- “Willful children of disobedience and wrath” and trust me, God has not missed one tiny detail and it will all be dealt with.

          Few men even give their wives the common respect they are due yet give all they can to every other “W” out there.

          The devil does that as it is his only goal to destroy all that God loves. Family, children, marriage, commitment.

          So many honor Satan by doing just as he desires and still call themselves “Christians”? That word means “to be like Christ” think about that.

          Where there is one bit of the devil or any other god. the one true God is absent. “Thou shall have no gods before me” Adultery is a violation of every Commandment and God says it is murder and blasphemy.

          You are spitting in His face, battling Him and you will lose.

  12. Coral says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  Awesome article, now just to put it all into practice… some days it just seems harder than others but thank God for His unconditional love.

  13. Warriorprincess says:

    (USA)  Men who cheat on their wives are cowards. Weak. They will spend hours on the Internet fondling themselves over some dip they don’t know, but won’t spend five minutes fighting for their wives, families and children. This is my advice to all the men who cheat and call themselves Christians: Find a mirror. Look at yourself. Now punch your face as fast and hard as you can until you bleed, because it will feel better than how you will feel if you lose your wife and children over your infidelity.

    Now, after that, pick yourself up, go do something nice for your wife and start leading your family. Man up. She needs you. You are better than this. This isn’t why Christ died for you. You need to wise up. Quit being weak. Fight for your faith and family. Stay away from the porn. The prostitutes. Guard your heart, mind and eyes from evil. Yes, do it. Or go run fifty laps. Semper Fi

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  Let’s not stop at men, WarriorPrincess. After all, these men are not cheating with other men, but with women. So let’s be intellectually honest and say BOTH the man and the woman involved in an affair are cowards. Don’t just stop at one party, as it takes two to have an affair.

      As a man who was betrayed by an unfaithful ex-wife, I’ve learned that women cheat in EQUAL numbers to men. There is no men cheat more than women.

      Furthermore, women who cheat are FAR less likely to return to their marriages compared to men. It doesn’t even take an unfaithful or abusive man to convince a woman to walk out. You’ll see Dr Willard Harley, of Marriage Builders quoted and linked here quite a bit. If you study his work like I have, you’ll learn that the vast majority of women who abandon and divorce their husbands are leaving men who are NOT unfaithful or abusive.

      In fact, Dr Harley says he cannot convince such women to leave their husbands. So the women who are initiating divorces are abandoning faithful, non-abusive men. Yet we keep reading how men are abandoning their families and other such lies.

      As much as 2/3rds to 3/4s of all divorces are initiated by women, and the majority of men being divorced are as Dr Harley describes, neither unfaithful, nor abusive, I’ll keep pointing out the lie. So how do you suggest a man lead when such a large number of women simply choose to break up their family because they are no longer content with their husbands?

      Should he choose to lead in a direction that is uncomfortable in the short term, with the goal of longer term happiness in the future, he runs the risk of being abandoned and accused of neglecting his wife and family, and ultimately divorced by those he was leading in a Godly fashion.

      Men cannot lead women who are unwilling to follow. Men cannot lead women who want unconditional love, but are unwilling to offer unconditional respect or unconditional submission. (And not ever I have advocated UNCONDITIONAL submission. I’ve clearly stated before one should not submit to sin, to be totally clear. But if something is not sinful, there is NO reason NOT to participate.)

      I think there are more men willing to lead than we are lead to believe. The question is, are there wives willing to follow such husbands, or do they do as the article I linked and quoted earlier in this thread, seize control before allowing their husbands to actually lead. Husbands can’t force their wives to lead. Leadership requires follower-ship. That was true when I was an officer in the military, and it’s true with families today.

      • Maria says:

        (USA)  Sad how it seems that women who are willing to submit with respect and men that are willing to lead don’t end up together… The bottom line, I think, is that people (me included) don’t spend enough time in courtship looking for these characterstics, but assume that because someone is a Christian they will want to live out these biblical principals…

  14. Lisa says:

    (USA)  I have been married 20 years to a man who was unfaithful early on, and has become a selfish, immature, incompetent, overgrown child, and his excuse is the failure of his parents to love and nurture him. He has read every book, listened to every tape, we have attended numerous marriage conferences and even attended a three year class for marriage… he has miesrably failed on every front.

    Deep down my husband is a narcisistic egomaniac with some very deep-seated issues rooted in his stunted emotional growth per the “professionals” he has seen. He will never change until he decides that he has a problem he wants to solve. I have sat back and been paitent, tried to be supportive, participated fully in every opportunity to make our relationship better. He is an expert at giving the dog and pony show and nothing ever changes for real. I have prayed for years, read the books, listened to the tapes about loving unconditionally, leaning on the Lord, submission as a wife, etc.

    After these many years I have come to this conclusion… God was faithful in his love for me and comfort in my longsuffering. He cannot however, make my husband change… he is a free moral agent who has chosen to defy God AND his life bears the lack of fruit and the spiritual desert of failure, regret, and shame. He suffers from physical disease and emotional turmoil… a victim of himself. It is very sad, but God is still good in spite of my husband’s hard-hearteness and stiff neck. Praise to the God of the Universe!!!

    I accept that he will never change. I have thought about leaving him, maybe I will at some point. I try to be grateful for the fact that he never has anything unkind to say, provides well and has no vices…he is simply a failed leader, a child in a man’s body. Even his children view him as an inept, immature oaf and that breaks my heart. He does two things… goes to work and watches sports…. NOTHING ELSE! He is a passive participant in his own life… he does ‘0″ parenting. We have not had sex in 4 years… he can’t perform. He sees a therapist for his issues of defensiveness, procrastination, avoidance, absent parenting, failed leadership, etc, etc… has five different times and nothing ever changes.

    If you read this… please pray for me. In spite of his failures, a damaged psyche, deep down I know he is a good person and I do love him. I am committed to my marriage. I just don’t like him that much and I have lost my respect. I think that hurts the most. Thanks for your prayers!!!!

  15. Emily says:

    (USA)  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My husband and I have been married for 3+ years (together for almost 8) and have a 4 month old child (ironically, named Elijah!). I get SO frustrated with him that he doesn’t seem to ever be happy or even content with our life despite our many many undeserved blessings! As a Christian, and a church-going man, I get so disappointed in him for just not “getting it”! He allows himself to wallow in self-pitty over past mistakes and failures that are still holding him back. His “escape” is flirting with other women, having inappropriate friendships and online relationships which all hurt me to no end.

    When I tell him how he’s pushing me and our family away by doing this, he admitted that he thinks he may be doing that on purpose because I deserve a better life than he’s been able to provide. Twisted! I will work to salvage our marriage by consciously building him up and never putting his role as a man/husband/father down.

  16. Connie says:

    (USA)  I am at wits end with my marriage. We haven’t even been married a year and have had so much hurt and turmoil. We lost twins at five months which put a huge strain on us. My husband won’t talk to me but will run to his mom and dad or his sister that has very clearly stated she dislikes me and has tried to make him leave me.

    We will only be married a year in October 2010 and he is so distant, the only time he will interact with me is if it isn’t about our problems, money or how I feel. It never matters if I am tired or sick or stressed, he doesn’t want to talk about it and feels “attacked” if I mention my feelings, but if he mows the lawn I hear about how bad he hurts for two days. We are a one income household due to him losing his job in January. We discussed the option for him to stay at home with my son who is disabled for one year and during this time he would go to school to better himself. None of this has happened. If I don’t do it for him, it won’t get done. His reasonings for not doing something is “I don’t know how” or you didn’t help me.

    I have prayed and prayed for God to help me understand and to help him. I try to encourage him and give him praise but he rejects it and resorts back to his school days when he was told he was stupid or worthless. I feel so alone. If I ask him to be a stronger spritual leader he starts a fight, he won’t even go to Church on Sunday anymore unless I push him (I work on Sundays and am unable to attend with him). The only time he even picks his bible up anymore is if he is mad at me.

    I feel so alone and unsure what to do next. I shamefully even threatened to grant him a Divorce since I was making his life so miserable as he has told me several times. He lashes out at me and I remind him I am not his ex-wife and have never done what he is accusing me of. I work hard and have not been in such good health lately, God has been the only thing that has kept me sane. Does anyone have any suggestions. I have done almose everything I know of and now am at the end of my rope. Thank you and God Bless!

  17. Anne says:

    (USA)  Hi, I’m already doing what you said, trying to catch my husband doing anything good, and reinforcing, and praising his actions. But he’s now having so much pride in himself that he is starting to put me down in front of friends and even our daughter :( Have I done anything wrong? He is starting to be disagreeable with me more and more. :(

  18. Geneal says:

    (USA)  I know this is a blessing from God. I felt myself spiraling into despression. I was reaching out for help while sitting at my desk crying. I typed into google what to do when you don’t love your husband anymore and I found this beautiful site. Just reading the comments here most of the day has truly lifted my spirits and given me insight on what it is I need to do to help my marriage.

  19. Brenda says:

    (UNITED STATES)  My comment relates to my own marriage and experience for over 19 years. My husband was sexually abused as a child. He is emotionally absent. He is an alcoholic and drug addict (recovering?). He does not know how to be a father or a husband. I am dying inside and wish I had walked away years ago. We have 3 children and I find myself clarifying his actions to them everytime he rejects them or is overly critical. He does not know how to give a compliment.
    It sounds like some of the previous comments are similar. I would wonder if there is not some secret in your husband’s past.

  20. Tami says:

    (USA)  WOW… I read this and all I can say is why do I have to do the work? I hurt too much to be a support to him – who is supporting me? He has not supported me nor cared about me, for the past 5 years of a 25 year marriage I have given up. I am here in body, but not spirit. He would rather make no decision, then possibly make the wrong one. I can’t deal with that so I make the decision. Does that make me selfish? I get ‘I don’t know’, the therapist said I should not leave him until I get an answer. Even if it may be ok right now, I will tell you tomorrow or a week from now. But I am to make him commit to some form of answer. This is all too much work for me. I would rather be distant – not talk, not ask questions than to be dissappointed in no answer.

    Funny thing is, he participates in church activities some times, then at Christmas Dinner at home I asked him to pray, and it was almost like he was forced and offended that I asked him do bless the food at a family meal. He would not have done it – if I didn’t force the issue. Now that is failure to lead! I pray for God’s help and grace, because I am empty.

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  Tami, You come across as wanting your husband to lead the way you envision him leading. If he does that, is he really leading?

      How did you approach him about praying at the meal? Did you go to him in private and ask him ahead of time to be prepared to do this, or did you just spring it on him in the midst of family, potentially putting him on the spot?

      I’m sure there are things you want him to do that he’s not doing. But I wonder if your approach is not working against getting the results you want.

      It’s a tough issue because if you really want him to lead, then that means you are willing to follow the direction HE chooses. If you want him to be the leader you envision he should be, then isn’t that really you leading, but having him do your will? If you are trying to mold him into your view of a leader, then you are not really making a leader, but rather just a copy of yourself.

      If you want him to lead, then you have to be willing to follow, sometimes even when you would do things differently. You have to take care that you don’t undermine him, or put him on the spot in front of others.

      • Tami says:

        (USA)  For the Christmas meal I asked him to pray for the meal while we were in the kitchen when we were alone. His attitude had never come across that way before. Normally prayers at special meals, in fact he used to pray over every meal, with no question, and not having to ask.

        Thanksgiving day he spent at least 10 hours looking for Black Friday deals on the computer. I fixed dinner, announced it was ready, and even went in to offer a personal invitation to come and join us for the meal. He said he wasn’t hungry. I ate with the kids, he ate alone about an hour later. (Advice from the therapist – not only let him know what you want or need from him, but invite him to take part in things with me and or us as a family.)

        Sad thing was that even after 10 hours of looking, missing Thanksgiving meal, I asked as we were getting ready for bed, “So what time are you going shopping?” He said it was too late, he was tired, and besides he didn’t find anything he really wanted to buy so he was not going out. I had to work the next day, so it didn’t affect me either way, except the dissapointment in a waste of the day on the computer. A waste of family time.

        He confuses me. He will spend a Saturday on a door knocking campaign with other volunteers from the church, but fusses when asked to say a prayer in his own house. It is like his ‘Christian’ side is all for the show of others. All I want is a real authentic person to lead in a biblical fashion. What kind of example is this relationship giving our children for them to mold their life after? We have had both good and challenging times, but these past years are beyond compare for me.

        I am drained and burnt out feeling like I am pulling the family along behind a dead horse.

        • Tony says:

          (USA)  I see. I’m sorry you must experience this. It certainly does sound frustrating and emotionally draining.

        • J. from United States says:

          My pastor told me once about a Christian woman who had three children. Her husband was absuive in every way, and was not saved. She raised her children and taught them to respect their father, etc. because of her godly example all of the children are legitimately saved and actively in ministry. I spoke to one of the daughters (missionary to Japan) and she commented about how she feels badly for people who have two Christian parents because she was able to see the light and dark lived out before her eyes on a daily basis… Because of her mother’s example all of the children got to see the humility and goodness of Christ.

  21. Cleo says:

    (RSA)  I’m about to get married to a loving & God fearing man. We’ve dated for almost 5 years & I’m content with him being my life partner.

    The challenge we’re constantly facing is I tend to bottle up stuff, though I’m not sure what the course is. This is really destroying/killing our relationship. As patient as he is, there are times when he gets weary or runs short of grace to put up with this.

    Please advise on what I can do as I’ve been praying & there’s no improvement. I’m also tired of this & sometimes get angry with myself.

  22. Marie-Rachel says:

    (USA)  I stumbled on this mission website by accident, while looking for a sermon on not limiting God. This article is what I needed, for a while now, even though I am feeling hope and discouragement at the same time: hope because this article is giving me an action plan while turning me back to God, discouragement because I am afraid of finding out my husband’s passivity is more serious than what I can see. After reading some of the heart-wrenching stories/commentaries, he suddenly doesn’t seem so bad and our couple doesn’t seem beyond help, which I am thankful for and praying this is the case.

    I realize this thread is many years and months old, but may God bless all of you who’ve poured your hearts out here, and may He provide the miracle of healing and of change you’re crying out to Him for.

  23. Albert says:

    (PHILIPPINES)  These principles will also help your marriage. http://www.albertkents.org/principles-marriage/ Be Blessed

  24. Barbara says:

    (AUSTRALIA)  Number one rule: if you suspect you are in an abusive marriage DO NOT have couple counselling. If you have couple counselling, the abuser is likely to manipulate the counsellor so they take his side and blame you, the victim, for most of the problems (if not all of the problems) in the marriage.

    If you are in an abusive marriage, the victim is not at fault, the sole fault lies with the abuser. And abusers are master manipulators.

    I have heard of couple counselling that dragged on for NINE years –the marriage only got worse, the victim got more demoralised and depressed, the abusive husband was excused, exonerated, and had wound the counsellor (in this case, it was a pastor) round his little finger. For more info, go to http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com

  25. idowu says:

    (NIGERIA) I WAS FOLLOWING THREADS OF COMMENT ON SERIES ONE OF YOUR ARTICLE, AND I AM STILL READING ON OTHER SERIES. I WANTED TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE SITUATION IN MY CHURCH.

    RECENTLY WE DISCOVER THAT THE MEN (FATHERS) NO LONGER COME TO CHURCH, SO WE DECIDE ON A PROGRAMME FOR MEN IN THE MONTH OF JULY 2012 TITLED, “WHERE ARE THOU?” PLEASE HELP ME WITH ANY OBSERVATION CONCERNING THE ABSENCE OF MEN IN THE CHURCH AND HELP WITH SOME BIBLE REFRENCES TO SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM. THANK YOU

  26. CJ says:

    (UNITED STATES) My family needs prayer, as we all do. I have been married to my husband for almost 20 years, been with him through his drug addiction, financial and legal problems, and just about everything thing else. I have not been a perfect wife. I have not always prayed for him or wanted to forgive him. Yet the Lord has never allowed me to divorce him and when I try to leave, we somehow or other get back together.

    We were apart for 2 years and have been back together for almost a year and he has started back disappearing and not explaining why and now his health is being compromised with high blood pressure. I have been angry and wanted to leave, but God is funny -my husband provides the financial support for our household after years of me being the provider. I pray for him to be the spiritual head of our home as we have three beautiful and intelligent children.

    I also need prayer as I know there is person revealed to me pulling on me who is on the dark side of the spiritual world. I have no idea what this person wants from me but I need my husband, myself and my family free from their hold or whatever it is that we are dealing with. In Jesus Name.

    • HDW says:

      (USA) There is a difference between being a faithful wife and a doormat. Place a GPS on his car and find out where he is. This is behavior similar to an affair. If he is an active addict you may want to visit a local AlAnon meeting

  27. SUE says:

    (UNITED STATES) I am married to a wonderful man (married over 30 years) and we basically have a very good marriage. Years ago we started to seperate but the Lord has kept us together and now we have a good marriage, by HIS grace. My husband is a hard working man, and I have no reason to suspect infidelity. He is helpful around the house and though we do things together we also allow each other freedom to pursue hobbies and interests alone. We do not in any way try to control each other.

    He has had some issues at his workplace, mostly from a supervisor who is constantly trying to undermine him and make him look bad to others. My husband has been commended by higher ups and I really think his immediate supervisor feels threatened by that. So I understand the battle he goes through every day, despite his quality of work and his good work ethic. He also has issues from childhood involving his father that left him with low self esteem and stripped him of confidence. I feel compassion for him and know that God understands what he is going through, and I really am grateful that he has come as far as he has, in spite of his childhood.

    My real complaint is in his lack of spiritual leadership in our home. As all of our children are grown and we now have grandchildren, our kids have spent their entire lives thus far never having had a great example of spiritual leadership in their father. It seems I could never in any way light a fire under him to get him to pray with me and them, to read the word with us, to attend church faithfully. I never threw the Bible at him, ever, and I learned early on that the battle would be won only by prayer and believing.

    If however, I had not brought my children to church when they were young, if I had never been an example to them in prayer, etc… they would have not gotten any kind of training whatsoever, because my husband was more than happy to let me do all of that alone. The few times he attended church with us he showed that he would have rathered be anywhere else but there. I thought it was more harmful for them to see him so disinterested in the house of God, that I actually encouraged him to stay home on Sunday instead. But I also waited on him to say that he wanted to go with no pressure from me. That has not happened.

    If I ask him to pray with me, he makes me do all the praying and sits there like he could not be more disinterested. In some ways he is more of a true Christian in his home life than some men I know that are in church all the time (their wives have confided in me). But how does that excuse him from being the spiritual leader in our home? God ordained him to do that. I will not be made to feel guilty because I “have taken up the mantle” in my household. I feel like in many ways, he has left me no choice. I have great respect for him, and I love him dearly, but he has left me no other avenue.

    This is what happens when a man will not do what he should spiritually. Some women have waited their whole lives on their husbands. It does not always mean they are not saved or not Christians. It just means they have made a choice. For our sakes and the sakes of our children, and grandchildren, we are left in a position that was never ours to have in the first place. Please pray for my husband to do what he needs to do. I feel like a flower that has never really bloomed.

    • HDW says:

      (USA) I think that you are making selfish demands upon your husband and making disrespectful judgements about him, as well. You write that he will sit and pray with you. But you are upset that he won’t lead the prayer. I think he is showing consideration for your beliefs by praying with you. He is being polite.

      Your husband is his own person. He is not a piece of clay for you to mold into the “spiritual leader” you want him to be. I encourage you to read the book His Needs, Her Needsby Dr Bill Harley.

    • Marissa says:

      (USA) Sue, I’m going through the exact same thing. I feel alone and feel like I have to pressure him into coming to church with me. And like your husband, at home he is very loving and humble (for the most part) and more Christ like than a lot of men I know. But he finds it hard to lead in our Christian life. I feel like I do most of the leading when it comes to spiritual. I don’t know how to feel anymore. I don’t known if I’m being selfish or not.

  28. Cathy says:

    (BARBADOS) This article does not even cover what is happening in my marriage. I’m a Christian and some of you Christians think that wives should stay in an abusive relationship… that’s utter nonsense. I just woke up. I am in an emotionally abusive relationship! I never put a name to what he was doing until now. I made excuses, I prayed for him, I cried and begged, but to no avail. MY husband is into his third week of the silent treatment, and he includes our 15 year old son. He speaks to him sometimes, when he is outside with others. He laughs and talks but at home with me, only silence.

    There are times when divorce isn’t just an option; it’s a must to keep your sanity. My husband has been giving me the silent treatment for 22 years and each time he would come back like nothing ever happened. All you have to do is not agree with him or rub him the wrong way and that’s it. He’ll punish me! What do you want wives to do? Kiss your husband’s feet as he tramples all over you? Some people don’t understand Godly submission vs abuse. You should not give into abuse; it is never ok.

  29. Shelly says:

    (USA) This is a very interesting topic. I just married a man 2 months ago. He’s a hard worker, honest, God fearing,,,,lots of good things. BUT, after we got married, its like he’s refused to take the lead in our marriage. I have to make all the decisions. He’s turned into a little boy which in turn…turns me off. Every single thing that comes in the mail or e-mail, bill, or decision…anything…he looks at me and asks me what he should do or how to do it.

    Finally one day we got into an argument and he said I dont let him be “The Man”. I said, because you ask me to make all the decisions right down to what kind of oil should you use in my car! He didnt get it. I need him and WANT him to lead. He told me to ask him for more or ask him for what I need more. I tried that this week when I asked, he looked at me and said, “how should I do that?” This is all so frustterating. I was single for 26 yrs and know how to do that, and make decisions for myself. But I dont want to feel like his caretaker. How can I get him into the “Lead” mode, and role? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  30. Embry from United States says:

    I am SO sick of the church and spiritual gurus making the women responsible for the man leading! I AM SO SICK OF IT. I have been a believer for 37 years and I have heard this lie over and over again in churches… “men don’t lead because their wives don’t let them”. That is bologna! I don’t know ANY woman who wouldn’t gladly allow her husband to lead…to take burdens from her and to be responsible… I am not talking about taking out the trash. Some men don’t lead for the same reason that some women don’t submit… THEY ARE SINFUL AND THEY ARE INTENTIONALLY BEING DISOBEDIENT TO GOD.

    I have let my husband lead… fully submitted everything to him and he destroyed our finances. He neglects and avoids making decisions. He is passive aggressive and says he is going to do something and doesn’t follow through. He claims to be a Christian and has no problem working hard, advancing in his career… he is an AF Officer… and meeting deadlines, etc… But when it comes to taking care of business at home and providing a secure life for us…he won’t do it. I have given him the reigns completely for 8 years… those days are over. If I don’t take control, we are going down financially and we will end up divorced because he just won’t do it.

    I detest him because I HAVE submitted… I HAVE given him complete control over my life and he has stomped on it and spit on it. He has neglected us and and we are now in a precarious financial situation. He tries to blame me and he KNOWS what the Bible says about HIM leading. I loved him so much and he ruined us.

    If the churches would quit worrying about coffee shops and youth centers, giving seminars on Sundays instead of preaching THE WORD… maybe we wouldn’t be having these problems in Christian marriages… and for goodness sake… STOP BLAMING WOMEN FOR MEN NOT LEADING. MEN LEAD… WOMEN SUBMIT. IN THAT ORDER.

    • Deposed from United States says:

      In that order… where in the Canon of Scripture do find that?

      Maybe more men do lead, but are not leading in the manner their wives are demanding, so they are accused of not leading. In such a case a man desiring to avoid conflict with the woman he covenanted to love all his life will yield rather than contend. There is no “in that order”. There is only submit and responsibility -no order.

  31. Amanda from United States says:

    Me and my ex husband just got remarried. The preacher told me and my husband not to marry because he wanted to make sure my husband was ready. I thought I should have submitted under the authority of my husband because he did not want to listen to the preacher. So he decided to marry me the very next day. I thought for sure without a doubt that this is what God wanted me to do. And I could trust God and God loves me no matter how much my husband does not.

    The first few months was doing well, then my husband started doing things that was hindering my growth. He became extremely jealous daily. We would get into it over being accused. Then due to the arguing one of my handicap patients did not want to go to church with us anymore. Our kids were following his lead and the oldest daughter started doing things he asked her to do just so he could make me mad.

    Then he told me to give him 600.00 a month. I had rental property and he told me to leave it empty and he wanted it in his name. When I got upset he would call me names and say I was the one that was not being a Christian wife or mother. I had to tell the leaders at the church I had to go. It was too much. I began being mean back. It hurts so much. I want to overcome!!!

    • Amanda from United States says:

      I think at this point it is easier just to live alone and pray for them from a distance. It is sad and horrible but I really think this is all I can do.

  32. Amanda from United States says:

    My husband does not work and tells me to pay him 600.00 a month while he knows what I want and the thing God has shown is for me to work less and be in the home more for the kids.

  33. Val from United States says:

    (USA) My husband and I have had a lot of positive discussions about why he hesitates to lead and what I can do to support him while he figures it all out. He admitted that his big issue is laziness. He has come to many conclusions on his own about how this flesh-issue is affecting us and ways he can fight against it. However, none has stuck and he keeps falling into the habit of making choices based on what is the last amount of work. Leading is work, so he often chooses not to do it. (He has said this himself.) I feel like we have a constant dark cloud of laziness hanging over our family, marriage, and home. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to fight against this “standard” that is being set for our household. I also feel under a lot of pressure to keep up with all of my own responsibilities, because if I let anything drop, he follows my “example” and drops many more of his own responsibilities.

    He has told me that he has a very “easy” job most days; usually watching TV while he waits for appointments to come in, and can handle current responsibilities. But he puts off many things for “later,” and later never happens. (This includes things like family time, financial things, intimacy, etc.)

    I pray for deliverance from this for my family, but I know that this is a choice that he has to make for himself. I am very ready to submit to his leadership when he finally makes that choice, but what should I do in the meantime? I’m very overwhelmed, stressed, and lonely. I need my husband. Is there anything else I can do to help him?

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Val, I’ve been there. My husband had a hard time leading (sometimes still does, but not very often at all, anymore). God gave me insight that my husband had a hard time leading because of his Phlegmatic personality. Plus, when he would try to lead, strong women in his life would take over and he would just fade in the background. I became one of these strong women because I couldn’t stand to see so much undone and thought that if he wouldn’t do it, then I would just step in. But as the Lord gave me insight (through a lot of prayer and reading), I realized that he was a leader waiting to happen, if he had a woman who would allow some things to go by the wayside, if needed. But more than that, to get under him, encourage him, and see how God would raise him up, as I ducked and got out of both of those ways. His “leading” legs were a bit shaky at times in the beginning, but eventually, I watched him grow in wonderful ways, and we, as a family, greatly benefitted.

      A lot of women would object to doing this, but I saw in my mind’s eye that this was necessary, if he would ever become the leader that he could be. My husband Steve has helped me in other ways to be the woman I can be, but even if he didn’t, I know it is my calling to help him grow as a man and godly leader. Eventually, through a lot of encouraging, getting behind him, helping him at times (instead of taking over), and cheering him on, it has been amazing to see what a good leader he has become. This wasn’t an instantaneous thing. It has grown over years. And even so, he (and I) can still fall into old habits… but for the most part, it’s been an amazing transformation.

      It seems that your husband will need you to help him to grow beyond his comfort zone. Be careful not to focus on his laziness, but rather to focus on the fact that he CAN do what he needs to do. And be careful not to get into the nagging, belittling mode –also grabbing onto self-pity. It’s easy to get into that. It’s a no-win situation if you do. Eventually, you very well may see him grow as my husband has and other husbands have.

      I can well appreciate your feeling overwhelmed… I’ve been there (and am still there at times with the responsibilities of Marriage Missions, family matters, etc.) but God gives us strength when we don’t think we have any left. I’ve seen and experienced this over and over again. Please keep asking God for wisdom, keep praying for your husband, and look for the insights God can give you to help your husband in the ways he needs it. You will be wonderfully rewarded. God has a way of doing that for us as we persevere and help our family when and how they need it. I hope and pray the best for you, in this.

Marriage Missions International