When I counsel men and women who are having marriage problems, one of the most common complaints I hear from wives is about husbands who won’t take the lead in their relationship.
He won’t help with the children. He won’t take care of the money. He won’t lead them in prayer or in the things of God.
She is upset that he refuses to be the leader she needs and wants him to be. On the other hand, the husband often resents the wife’s expectations of leadership.
Interestingly, men who will not lead are usually the very ones who begrudge their wives for taking on a leadership role—as though the wife is challenging his authority by doing the things he refuses to do!
Leadership is a touchy subject between men and women in today’s culture, so let’s take a careful look at it. I believe that, regardless of how passive or dominant a woman is, she has a deep desire to be led by a caring, righteous man.
But this natural desire doesn’t mean she wants to be dominated or controlled. In fact, a woman feels violated and insecure when a man begins to dominate her.
She feels the same way, however, when a man doesn’t properly lead. A woman desires her husband to show leadership in the spiritual life of the family, the finances, the discipline and training of the children, and many other areas. When a man doesn’t exercise such leadership, a wife becomes frustrated.
That’s because there is a difference between authority and leadership. Authority is what God gives. Leadership is what man does with that gift.
God hasn’t given the man authority in the home to make sure he gets the best chair in the living room or control over what’s showing on the TV. God has given him authority so he will lead.
Authority without leadership is like an engine without a car body to contain it: it’s useless.
Husbands, God has given you a position of authority in your home. Use it to lead. As you become responsible for the leadership of every area of your family, your wife will love it—and she will grow to love you more.
But be careful. Never use your position of authority to dominate your wife or children. Love them with the sacrificial love of Christ (Eph. 5:25).
Listen to what your wife says and how she feels about issues in your marriage. Ask her advice. Pray with her about major decisions. Seek the Lord, then follow his guidance in making those decisions.
I can assure you: Your wife will be very supportive as you adopt this attitude and take this action. Not only that, but God will reward you more than you can imagine for taking your rightful position in the home.
For the most part, women have gotten a bad rap for nagging their husbands or misbehaving in some way. The truth is that they are responding to men who have failed to take on the proper leadership roles in their home. Women will readily accept and honor righteous authority in their lives.
Men, if you lead, they will follow. If you don’t lead, you definitely will have problems. Your wife will be just one of them.