Many women lament the fact that their husbands won’t pray with them and their husbands aren’t really the spiritual leader….but, here’s something I’ve observed over the years that may shed some light on your predicament. If you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your family, you have to stop being the leader yourself! Sometimes women, including myself, can be so eager to bring spiritual disciplines into our family life that we leave no gap for the husband to fill. Perhaps this is why God repeatedly instructs wives to be submissive! Titus 2:5 tells women to be “self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”.
In other words, instead of you jumping in and praying for the kids when they get tucked into bed at night, you could ask your husband for his help with that. If you would like the Bible to be read aloud after dinner, tell your husband you love the sound of his voice when he reads and ask him if he would read the Bible. After he has read the Bible passage, ask him what he thinks God is saying…and then listen attentively to his answer. When you’re not feeling well, you could tell him it would mean the world to you if he were to just lay a hand on your shoulder and say a simple prayer. Even a one-sentence prayer is fine. And when he does any of these things, be encouraging and thankful! Build him up.
When a woman takes over any area of leadership, many men will simply back off. So, if you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your home, you need to allow there to be a bit of a void in that area. Then ask him for his help. 🙂
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman. In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable. However, over the years of my marriage to Raul, I realized something very important to the health of my marriage. I needed to allow my husband to be needed by me! When I acted like he wasn’t needed, I could sense that he felt emasculated. Your husband might feel that way too.
Men are wired by God to be leaders. In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife! “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.”
So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead. Avoid making all the decisions for your family. Ask him to make some decisions. Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects. Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture. (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story. The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud. In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.
Husbands are like that little train. They face an uphill battle. The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough. Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys. As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually. They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families. Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography. But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men! We can say, “I think you can”. “I know you can”. “I believe in you”. “I’m praying for you.” “God’s going to give you the strength”. Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us. It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
You can help move your husband from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by your words of encouragement. Will you help your husband be the little engine that could? I think you can. I think you can. I think you can.
Most women love words. We love to talk. We love to communicate. Thus, for most women, praying to God comes fairly easily. After all, prayer is communication.
On the other hand, most men don’t enjoy talking as much as women, and many men find it challenging to express their deepest thoughts and feelings. As a result, when a husband hears his wife praying an articulate, expressive, lengthy prayer…he can end up feeling intimidated. The wife doesn’t mean to intimidate her husband spiritually, but she ends up doing just that!
If this could be the case for your man, seriously consider shortening up your prayers and using simple words. Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT saying your husband is stupid. I’m simply saying that women need to be careful that we’re not “showing off” our vocabulary as we pray! This reminds me of something Jesus said in Luke 20:47. He had harsh words for people who “for show make lengthy prayers”. So, let’s be super humble and pray concise, simple, heart-felt prayers. You may find that your man is more eager to pray with you in the future.