This is a tough topic to talk about. Some of us are lost when it comes to encouraging our husbands to lead. Many of us bristle at the thought of “submission” and letting him lead.
I know I have good intentions when it comes to wanting Jason to lead. But when push comes to shove, when I get tired and irritable, when it comes down to it…I often don’t let him lead or encourage him to lead how I should.
So what does it look like to let our husbands lead? And how can we encourage him to do so? That’s what we are chatting about today.
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This is a topic that I need to visit often because it’s really easy to forget these lessons. It’s easy to stay focused on my husband and encouraging him for a day or two but then life gets busy and he falls off my priority list.
I honestly don’t have a lot of real advice myself, because it’s something I struggle with. So today, I am going to be sharing some excellent advice from Christian women who are far wiser than myself and who have been married far longer than I have.
Encouraging Your Husband to Lead with Love
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a woman criticize her husband’s ability to lead. Whether he’s failing, in her eyes, to be the spiritual head of the household or just not appearing to want to take the lead in parenting, budgeting, or planning the family vacations, many wives believe their husbands are passive.
I’ve learned now to ask the obvious – but sometimes uncomfortable – question: Have you ever let him lead?” – When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin
Ouch. I have to quietly raise my hand here. In our early days of marriage I know I’ve felt that same thing or at least thought it. But through studying what it means to be submission and to let my husband lead, I came to realize that while yes, our husbands absolutely do need to eventually step up to the plate, I wasn’t really letting him lead.
I’m not naturally a quiet and gentle person. I’m more of a bull dozer who likes to jump in and get things done. It’s just my personality. What can I say? I’m the first born. But that’s not an excuse when it comes to my marriage and following what God teaches on marriage.
So I think that’s the very first thing we need to ask ourselves (or maybe even ask ourselves every 6 months or so): Are we even letting our husbands lead? Are we leaving room for him to do so? Giving him opportunities to lead? Quietly and lovingly encouraging him and letting him know that we have confidence in him?
It comes down to respect.
I think something that this topic comes back to again and again is: respect.
One terrific way to make the room for him to lead and to help encourage him to lead, is to make sure that he feels your respect. Men and women tend to do things differently. We do things on different time frames, we approach problems and subjects differently.
Sometimes, it’s really easy to jump in and take over if our husband isn’t doing something the way we would like or the way we would do it (I am very guilty of this!).
All of this is communicating to him that we don’t respect him. And honestly, if the shoe were on the other foot, I would not want him treating me that way.
Here are some real men who responded and shared what it looks like in their homes when their wives let them lead:
“Ask me for opinions and input on decisions.”
“Don’t assume I am always going to agree with your ideas or suggestions. Be willing to adjust or re-arrange your ideas so they are more in line with mine.”
“Ask, “What do you think?’ ‘What would you like to do?’ ‘Do what you think is best – I trust you.’ And really mean it.”
“If I make a decision and it flops, don’t chastise me or berate me for it – we all make mistakes. Talk about how the situation can be turned around or recovered. Think in terms of solutions, because that is how my work world operates.”
“You can let me lead by valuing my opinion, telling me you trust me, telling me your needs, bringing your concerns to me in a constructive way, making suggestions rather than demands, and respecting my point of view in front of others, especially kids.” – When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin
Learning your husband’s personality
My husband is more of a slow processor, I tend to make quick decisions. He doesn’t like change, I do. He doesn’t like to be pressed to make a quick decision, I tend to thrive under deadlines and pressure. We think and function differently and I’ve had to learn to respect that.
When he’s silent during a disagreement or isn’t making a decision as fast as I would like, it’s not because he isn’t leading, but rather because he’s taking his time, trying to make a wise decision. I however, want to pounce on him to decide now and can get frustrated because to me, it doesn’t seem like he’s taking things seriously.
For me, I have had to learn how to back off of him a bit. Give him room to breathe. Give my opinion if he asks for it, and then leave it alone. Even if I would have made a decision 45 minutes ago, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t the one who should be leading and in fact, he might even come up with a better solution or answer than I did because he’s thinking so deeply about it.
I’ve had to learn how to understand his personality more and how he thinks. It then helps me better understand how I can encourage him to lead. Of course, we both still have a lot of work to go in that area and I hope as the years pass, we learn those things about each other even more.
But that means you need to study your husband. How does he process things and take things in? How does he make decisions? Is he a slower processor or can be jump to decisions easily? This can be especially frustrating if your husband is different in these areas than you are because it’s harder to understand him.
But all of this leads back to giving him respect. Making him feel respected and thus, giving him that space he needs to lead. He doesn’t rub my nose in it when I mess up or make a bad call. Why do I feel like it’s okay to do the same?
“There may be times when your man is just as capable as you when it comes to dealing with a situation, but he isn’t able to verbally express himself as well. Or perhaps his thinking process is different than yours because of his personality, upbringing, or the way he generally works his way through matters. That’s when you need to know when to lighten up or back off altogether.
‘My wife is much more confident in her decision-making process than I am,’ Bob said, ‘So when we discuss certain problems, generally speaking, I’m coming from a less secure position than she is. When we discuss situations in the home, she knows when I’m feeling less secure, so she will step back and let me say as much as she had said, and she does that to give me the opportunity to lead.’
Ephesians 5:21-24 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” – When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin
In her book, Cindi gives three excellent ways that you can start encouraging your husband to lead more:
Provide Input – Graciously
“Your input is valuable to your husband, but how you provide that input makes all the difference in the world. I have, in the past, made my husband believe that I was so sure of my opinion that I had already decided how we should handle a situation and I was merely running it by him for his agreement with me that I had figured out our dilemma. Not a wise thing to do. I have since learned to look at a situation, ask him for his opinion, and then discuss with him what we should do. I have found that his suggested approach is often a perfectly suitable solution. Perhaps it’s not a solution I would have proposed, but what counts it that the matter is resolved amicably.” – When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin
Pray for Him – Continually
Pray for your husband that God would build him up and prepare him to lead you and your family. Pray that God would give him wisdom and that he would seek wise counsel when he needs it.
Pray for your own attitude and your heart that God would help you to be more submissive. That God would show you the ways in which you tear him down currently and to open your eyes and your heart to ways you can build him up.
Psst: Do you need some help in the area of praying for your husband? Download my FREE scripture and prayer cards for praying for your marriage and husband:
Praise Him – Unconditionally
Your husband needs to know that you believe in him and that you are cheering for him. Tonight, I casually made some comment that I was really proud of Jason in a certain area. It was an off handed comment and it was on something small, I didn’t think much of it. But Jason did. And he thanked me and said that my praise is worth more to him than just about anything.
It was one of those times, once again, when I realize how much my words and my actions have an affect on my husband and my household. My husband is stoic, he’s not overly emotional and so sometimes, I can forget that he has those needs too. And tonight, he really needed to hear me say how proud of him I am.
How often do I actually do that? He works his tail off for this family, but I don’t show my thanks enough. I always appreciate when he’s quick to thank me or praise me for a delicious dinner or a clean house. So I need to make sure I am going out of my way to do the same!
There is obviously a lot more we could dive into, but I want to leave you here because I really want you to start thinking through these things we’ve talked about here today. And if you want to dive more into these topics, if you are really struggling with this concept or in your marriage then I have two recommendations for you:
Resource of the Week:
14 Days of Praying for Your Marriage & Husband – FREE printables!
If you want to some help and encouragement in praying for your marriage and your husband, I’ve got the perfect resource for you! I put together these FREE scripture and prayer cards for you. All you have to do is download and print out (or view on your phone/computer to save ink) and pray through the Scripture and prayer prompt every day for 14 days.
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