Note: Today’s post is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can find the introduction and links to the posts in this series right here.
Most women who grow up in church have learned about the Biblical roles where the husband leads and the wife submits. While these are clearly taught in Scripture (see Ephesians 5:21-24 and 1 Corinthians 11:3 if you need a refresher), how to live out these roles can be a little less clear.
In general, I’m a pretty submissive person. I don’t feel so compelled to stick to my personal preferences that I demand my own way. Even so, I still find it difficult at times to submit to Jon’s leadership! I can only imagine that letting your husband lead is even more difficult for those of you who are more dominant and feel strongly about your own preferences.
Today’s assignment to let your husband lead will be easier for some than it is for others, and that’s okay. We each have our own areas we need to work on. For some of us, our sticking point is going to be here, whereas for others of us, we’ll struggle more with a different assignment (confession: I still need to go clean something for Jon). Whether or not we have to work hard at letting our husbands lead, I’m certain that we can all improve in this area!
Even though I’m a more passive person, I still struggle with letting Jon lead, because honestly, I don’t exactly know how to go about this. I’ve flip-flopped from letting him do whatever he wants without ever questioning his choices to demanding my way or the highway. Neither extreme is good or Biblical!
However, I have found a few things to do that help Jon lead our family well.
Ask his opinion
There’s a lot in life that I’m unsure of. Although I’m not necessarily a so-called “Nervous Nelly” about everything, I don’t exude a tremendous amount of confidence, either. So when I’m not sure what would be best, I go ask Jon! He has confidence in spades (which is probably one reason we work well together), and he’s also incredibly discerning (probably part of his spiritual gift). By asking his opinion on things, not only does this help me figure out what to do, but it’s also a gentle way to let him lead me.
Are there areas in your marriage and life where you can get your husband’s input? If you’re not regularly asking for his advice, you might find that this takes some getting used to. But you might also find that he enjoys offering his input and wisdom, too! Some ideas could include:
Your family budget (what are his interests or hobbies? Budget for them!)
Meal planning (what are his favorite dishes? Include them in your plans!)
Weekend outings (if you’re planning to be gone on Saturday, is there an activity he’d like to do, too?)
Which sports/classes/activities to put the kids in and which to pass on
What curriculum to use and which areas to focus in in school (if you homeschool your kids)
If we work at getting in the habit of asking our husband’s opinion, it will go a long way toward letting him lead our families.
Speak up when necessary
Although being a somewhat submissive wife can be a good thing in some respects, it definitely has it’s downsides, too. There have been numerous times when I should have spoken up and haven’t. This isn’t good, especially in a marriage!
Years ago, Jon wanted to move to the San Francisco Bay Area. Although I assumed we eventually would make the move, he decided we should do it just a year or so into our marriage. It seemed foolish to me at the time and felt like a hasty decision that we hadn’t fully fleshed out. But because I couldn’t express exactly why I had concerns (I’ve always felt comfortable writing but verbally tongue-tied), I didn’t speak up.
As predicted, the move went horribly wrong, and it was only by God’s grace that we survived. (You can read more about this story in my ebook, A Place Prepared.) We’ve now been able to talk about how we both feel that the Lord wanted us here in the Bay Area, but how Jon was too quick to dive in without praying about it and I was too shy to speak up and warn him.
From all of that, I’ve learned that it’s much better to speak up when needed (but be warned: much gentleness and grace is needed when doing so!). If your husband is making a decision that doesn’t seem wise, share your concerns with him.
Submit to his decision
One of the reasons I was hesitant to speak up about our hasty move was that I didn’t think Jon would have listened to my concerns. And he fully acknowledges that he likely wouldn’t have. He had an idea in his head, and he really didn’t want anyone to squelch his enthusiasm!
One very, very difficult life lesson I’ve had to come to terms with is that, sometimes, we as wives may suffer as a result of our husband’s leadership. But I guess it really makes sense; after all, I’m not always going to submit to him well, and he isn’t always going to lead well. Here on Earth, neither of us is perfect, and there will be suffering as a result.
So, if you’re in a situation where your husband isn’t making a wise decision, if you’ve spoken up about your concerns, and if his choices aren’t in direct violation of Scripture, you need to submit to his decision. And yes, it might be painful for a little while. But don’t add to that pain by lashing out at your husband. Instead, be a team and work through the fallout together.
I don’t have all of this figured out yet. I’m sure none of us do. But if we’re staying in the Word daily, praying continually for our husbands, and seeking to honor the Lord in our marriages, we will have open and discerning hearts to obey the Lord in letting our husbands lead.