Welcome to Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible and on all kinds of other subjects related to living the Christian life. My “day job” is counseling. I’m an ACBC certified counselor. I meet with couples, families and individuals to help them find God’s answers for the issues and struggles they face.
Besides meeting with people formally, I’m frequently asked questions at church or by email. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like to see answered you can submit it here.
I’m a new Christian and I’ve been attending a Bible study about being a godly wife. I realize I haven’t been the kind of wife I should. I know my husband is supposed to be the leader of our family. I have talked to him about it, but he doesn’t seem interested in being more involved. How can I get my husband to lead our family?
That’s a great question! I know God is honored by your desire to be the kind of wife and have the kind of marriage He has designed us to have.
You didn’t say whether or not your husband is a Christian. If not, one of the most important passages for you to understand is found is 1 Peter 3.1-4. Even if your husband is a Christian this passage contains a powerful principle. It says:
¹ In the same way, you 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, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 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. (NASB)
As wives our tendency is to try to convince our husbands of what they should be doing. And in the case of leading their families, it’s true, they should be. But it’s more important for us to be the wives God wants us to be and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them through our “chaste and respectful behavior” (v. 2).
Oftentimes in marriage the biblical roles actually get reversed. The wife takes the lead, sometimes by default, sometimes because of the model she grew up with, and sometimes because of personality. But often there is a sinful desire to be in control. It’s part of the curse of sin that came on the human race when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3.16).
The important thing for you is to do your part. Ask for your husband’s advice when making decisions. And when he makes a decision or even a suggestion, follow his advice. Let him know you trust God to work through him. Resist the urge to tell him how he should be leading or to criticize his opinions and ideas. Show him respect.
Respect is an elusive thing for us women to understand. We often disrespect our husbands in ways that, quite honestly, don’t seem disrespectful to us. Ask your husband how you might be showing him disrespect. And then really listen when he shares something. Have a teachable spirit in this area.
Many times our husbands quit trying to lead because we haven’t been willing to follow. Or we haven’t been willing to follow in a way that let’s them know we trust them to lead, that is without complaining or criticizing. When we trust our husbands’ leadership, we are really putting our trust in God who wants to lead through them.
Ephesians 5.24 says, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” The only exception would be if we are asked to sin.
Above all else, be patient. Remember how patient God has been with you and that He wants to work in your husband through your “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3.4).
If you would like to read more on this subject, I would like to recommend two books: The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace is one of the most practical and helpful books on what it means to be a godly wife. And For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn can help women understand what it means to respect our husbands and be more aware of the ways we communicate disrespect, sometimes without even realizing it.
If you have a question, you can submit it here.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.