I have had my share of women in my office who complain about their husbands. The common complaints are about how he fails to lead, how he disciplines the children, his sinful habits (pornography, gambling, drinking too much, irresponsibility, etc.), he yells too much, or he plays too many video games. All too often, the women before me are very convinced they are more righteous than their husbands. Sure, they will agree they are not sinless, and “make mistakes” but not to the degree of their husband.
The husbands of these women will tell my male counseling counterpart about how difficult their wives are. They will often admit they began in the marriage leading the home, taking charge of things and parenting the kids; but they gave up because (in their words) it was just not worth the ________ (hassle, fighting, problems, arguing, nagging) it caused. They will describe their wives as angry, bitter, controlling nags who think they are such great Christians and can’t or won’t see their own sin.
Pretty harsh words, aren’t they?
Unfortunately, they are often true words.
While it is true that some men simply abdicate their position of leadership in the home, I have come to believe far more of them are driven out of leadership bytheir wives.
Women who are constantly questioning their husband’s decisions, criticizing his actions, and undermining his authority as the leader and as a father are going to find themselves in this position.
So here are some things for you to think about this weekend. Do you question his decisions? When he makes a decision are you right there to tell him that it is the wrong decision? Are you supportive of him and the direction he wants to take you and the family, or do you oppose him? Opposing him doesn’t have to look like standing your ground, it can be underhanded and insidious. Undercutting him, going behind his back or around him to ensure you get your way in the matter.
When he parents the kids, are you intervening on behalf of the children? Do you correct your husband in front of them by saying things like, “Oh, that’s not how we do it” and, “Well, when I am in charge all day while you are at work and we…” When wives step in they often say they are “helping.” My wonderful husband says that helpfulness is the sunny side of controlling.
Often wives will say that hubby doesn’t know how things operate around the house because he is gone so much. They tell me, “Someone has to step in and lead if he won’t!” This is a huge mistake to make. It is not your place or your job to lead the home. That place and responsibility belongs to your husband; it is the job God has given him, not you. Oh, I understand you might not like that. You might be more talented and a faster thinker or more organized than your husband, but that doesn’t matter. Your responsibility is to support his leadership.
This requires discussion between the two of you. Talking (not over text, chat, email, or Facebook) with each other, and you listening to your husband’s thoughts and wishes about the direction he wants your lives and your home to progress is an important first step. As questions for clarification, encourage him, and thank him for taking leadership. Then, the hard part begins. You have to follow through without grumbling, complaining, criticizing, and rebelling. More on this next week.