Many questions I get as the pastor of NEHBC are not unique to just one person. Many people face the same struggles, don’t know how to face situations, need guidance in thinking biblically about a topic or just want to know what God thinks about something. I will take time to answer your questions on Tuesday afternoons. The best way to submit a question is via text to 24587. Type ASKNATHAN followed by your question and then look for the answer on Tuesdays. Below is the answer to a question many women face.
Q: What do you do when your husband doesn’t lead?
A: You are not in a hopeless situation. God can bring about change that will cause both you and your husband to fulfill His design for marriage so that His glory is on display. To the Christ following wife, married to a man – believer or not – that is not leading his family, I say focus your attention on these four things and then anticipate God’s grace upon you in your marriage.
Pray. God uniquely designed your husband and placed His anointing on him as the head of the home. God wants your husband to lead you spiritually and has already given him everything he needs to lead you well. Pray to that end. Pray that he will be wise and fear the Lord (Prov. 3:7); that he will lead wisely and sacrificially (Eph. 5:25-29); that he will have great strength in the Lord (Eph. 3:16).
Do not assume his role. You are most likely very able to lead your family in its daily tasks and keep it moving on the right long-term trajectory. But, in His sovereignty, the Lord set up the family in such a way that it thrives and honors Christ best when the husband is the leader. Our God-given roles that we see in Genesis are not based on our abilities. Though you can do it, don’t. It is too easy for a husband to abdicate his role when someone else is already fulfilling it. Allow great room in your family dynamics for him to have room to lead. Take a step back from decisions and give him opportunities to lead you.
Follow where you should. Leaders are leaders because someone is following them. You were designed as the helper fit just for your husband (Gen. 2:18) and he is more likely to try to lead you when he knows you will follow. By pushing back on his decisions and/or going your own way, you communicate that you don’t trust his leadership and he is easily discouraged. Unless he is leading you to sin, sincerely and with all respect, follow him (Eph. 5.) The command to respect your husband in verse 33 is not contingent on his abilities or his having earned it. So this means, sometimes you respectfully (not sarcastically or bitterly) follow him into a decision that turns out to not be the best one. Don’t hold it against him. Encourage him. Keep following.
Give God time and space to work. You do not know how the Lord is working in the heart of your husband. It may very well be that the Holy Spirit is already moving in him in ways that would knock your socks off. Let God’s voice be the loudest in the life of your husband, not yours. Let the Holy Spirit prompt him, not your suggestions or manipulations. Let God work out His perfect will in your husband. He wants to. It is part of His agenda, His design – that His glory would be made known through your marriage.
Marriage is hard work. Doing it God’s way – in the roles He created us for, is hard, but not impossible. Things may seem messy right now, but thanks to His grace things are NEVER hopeless. It is for His glory. Trust Christ’s design for marriage; focus your attention on learning your gender role in your marriage through faith based surrender and obedience to Christ, and watch Christ pour out His grace upon you.