Many women struggle with following the leadership of their husbands because their men seem to be controlling, manipulative, or inconsiderate. When is it proper to submit to such “leadership” and when is it appropriate to respectfully draw a boundary?
Well, according to the Bible, a godly husband will love his wife in a selfless way (Ephesians 5:25) and will treat his wife with consideration and respect (1 Peter 3:7). These verses give us a pretty clear picture of what a godly husband looks like. As a result, it seems pretty clear that a controlling husband, one who bullies or intimidates his wife and children, is NOT behaving in the way that God intended.
I believe a wife can respectfully confront a husband who is trying to control, intimidate, bully, or manipulate her. She may need to lovingly, but firmly, establish boundaries on what she will tolerate. This might mean simply walking away when he begins to start bullying or controlling. If he continues to follow you, it could mean even leaving the home for awhile. I would add that it would be very wise to consult with other godly women, a pastor, or a counselor before moving forward in establishing boundaries. It’s always best to make sure that you are evaluating the situation clearly.
Don’t you sometimes wish you could silence the voices in your head? You may hear the voice that runs you down and reminds you of your failures…or conversely, you may hear a voice that tells you your husband is a loser and you’re doomed to a life of misery. Either kind of thought is from the pit of hell!
We MUST examine every thought rolling around in our heads and determine whether it’s true or whether it’s a twisting of the truth that’s inspired by Satan. Remember, Satan’s mission is “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants to slowly crush you with the weight of his lies about your value, your future and your husband.
2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take every thought captive” and we really need to do that. The next time a self-deprecating thought enters your mind, stop and ask God if this is really true. (I bet it won’t be!) The next time a hopeless thought enters your mind, ask God if it’s true. (I know it won’t be!). The next time you have the thought that your husband is beyond redemption, ask God if that’s true. (Absolutely not!). It’s time we stopped believing every thought that pops into our minds! We must intentionally pause and ask God whether that thought is true or from the devil. Here’s a simple, but hugely clarifying, question to ask yourself in that moment: “Does this sound like something God would say?”
— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE
Have you ever had this thought…”I don’t respect my husband”? Honestly, I had that thought quite often in my first marriage, and because I didn’t FEEL respect, I didn’t ACT particularly respectful. Unfortunately, I just went with how I felt. I rolled my eyes at his ideas. I took control of most everything in our family because I didn’t think he was capable. I corrected him a lot. And…..after quite a few years, he turned to other women for validation.
I learned many lessons after that failed marriage. One of them is that a man desperately needs the respect of his wife. He needs to know that she believes in him and is FOR him. Now, this doesn’t mean she is supposed to ignore destructive and sinful choices in his life. No, she needs to gently but firmly confront him if he is caught in a pattern of sin. But, even then, she can be loving and kind and respectful!
In my 2nd marriage to Raul, I am pressing into this Biblical command (Ephesians 5:33) for wives to respect their husbands. And oh my, what a difference it makes! He has told me many times that he wouldn’t be able to tackle the things he’s doing in life and for God if it weren’t for me being FOR him. In fact, he will often get tears in his eyes when I treat him respectfully because this is a new thing for him as well…and he desperately craves my respect. All men do. Try it and see what happens in your marriage. Have you already tried it? How has it impacted your marriage?
If we could all truly embrace the Biblical principle of taking just one day at a time, we would all be better off! Yes, this is a Bible principle. Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” In other words, instead of worrying and fretting about the “what if…” questions, Jesus tells us to just focus on doing what we should do today.
How does this apply to you? If it seems overwhelming to you to put your marriage back together after betrayal, just choose to move forward, one day at a time. If you tend to avoid confronting your husband or establishing boundaries on wrong behavior because you fear the possibility of future tension, trust in Jesus and move forward, one day at a time. If it seems daunting to take off the 50 pounds you’ve gained in recent years, don’t think about how hard this is going to be for the rest of your life. Just choose to eat healthy today and take it one day at a time.
Worrying about the future is pointless. Being consumed by the “what if…” questions will only keep you trapped in fear. Let’s do what Jesus says. Let’s decide each morning to do what we know we should do that day, and let’s trust God to handle tomorrow.
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE
Proverbs 12:4 says “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Hmmm. Which kind of wife are you? Which kind of wife am I?
A crown sparkles and reflects light in a beautiful way. Are we a lovely reflection for our husbands in all we say and do? Think about it. The way you pray for your husband, the way you encourage him and help him, the way you take care of his home, the way you conduct yourself in public, even the way you respectfully confront any wrong behavior…all these things become like a crown to him. A crown is seen by others and causes others to treat that person with respect, honor, and admiration.
In contrast, a wife who demeans her husband, complains about her husband, doesn’t take care of herself or her home, enables sinful behavior by refusing to confront, and withholds physical affection….she becomes like rot in his bones. A person with rotten bones becomes stooped over and can’t carry his load anymore. He is crippled.
Let’s be the kind of wives who don’t cripple our men, but who so esteem them and help them that they become even mightier men of God. Then we will indeed become beautiful crowns! 🙂
God has given me a vision for Christian wives. I see Him rising up an army of strong but gentle wives who do specific things in such a focused and powerful way that their husbands are propelled to become mighty men of God! Don’t we all want that?
The qualities of these strong Christian wives are all Biblical, and if we press into them, I’m confident we will have a tremendous, positive impact on our men! As we encourage and pray for our men, our men will be much more likely to step up and become mighty men of God. Hallelujah!
The most important thing we can do is to respect, honor and love the Lord. But beyond that, catch this vision of the wife God is calling you to become. He is calling wives to be…
- encouraging (1 Thessalonians 5:11…encourage one another and build each other up)
- respectful (Ephesians 5:33….the wife must respect her husband)
- gentle (1 Peter 3:4 …the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight )
- compassionate (Colossians 3:12 …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience)
- courageous (Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)
- loving but firm confronters of sin (Luke 17:3 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him)
- prayer warriors (Colossians 4:2… Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful)
— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO HERE
I often talk and write about how wives were created to be their husband’s helper, and while that’s true, I feel it’s necessary to make a clarification. Yes, we should help our husbands by showing them respect, allowing them to lead the family, and assisting them as they seek to follow God’s promptings in their life. However, that doesn’t mean a wife should give up her own individual identity in the process.
Submitting to your husband’s leadership does not mean that you become a doormat which has no value. Helping your husband does not mean you sacrifice doing the things that bring you great joy. Respecting your husband doesn’t mean he’s always right and you’re always wrong. If you go too far in that direction, you will become an empty shell. It’s as if your heart doesn’t matter. God doesn’t intend that for you. In fact, He says in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”
Spend some time in prayer with God and ask Him to reveal if there are any areas of your life where you have lost your true identity. Have you stopped doing some things that bring you fully alive? Is it time to sit down with your husband and talk about how you can both live in a way that brings joy and fulfillment?