No human has absolute authority over another human. This should be common sense but it’s not obvious to everyone, even some husbands. The dictatorial, authoritarian husband and father can put wives and children in a difficult place, which begs the question, should you correct an absolute boss husband?
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Supporting Member question: My husband is the absolute boss of our home. If I suggest anything to him, he will either yell or lecture me on how it’s not my place to tell him what to do. Should I correct him according to Galatians 6:1-2?
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- An unkind or immature husband is not a reason to divorce him. There are grounds for divorce but this is not one of them. If you use this article to justify leaving your husband then you’ve misused this article.
- An unkind husband does not imply the wife has been perfect. It takes two people to make a marriage bad.
- The most redemptive way to read this article is with a large log in your eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
- If your first response is to defend yourself or accuse your spouse, then you will not benefit from this piece or be positioned to help your marriage.
- If you want to discuss this article with me, please go to our free community forum and ask in our Content discussions forum. (If you do not already have an user account, you’ll have to create a free username/password or use your Facebook or Twitter information. This tells us you’re not a robot trying to spam us.)
Most wives know their husbands better than anyone else, especially if they have been married for a while. My wife is my number one discipler. It makes sense to leverage this gift from God for my benefit, her benefit, and for God’s glory.
To have a person to know you so well and able to bring correction into your life is sanctification gold. However, there are some husbands who do not perceive or receive this benefit of grace.
Should You Correct?
As for “correcting your husband” according to Galatians 6:1-2? You can’t really do that with an absolute boss who has made it clear that your insight or input is not welcome. The correctable person is a humble, teachable person who wants to change. The nature of a dictator is to rule, which is done, in part, by surrounding himself with people who do not disagree with him.
The difficulty in a marriage like this is the wife is stuck in the relationship. All of his other relationships will either acquiesce to his domineering personality style or leave. Eventually, he will be surrounded by “yes” people. The wife cannot leave, at least not because he is a dictator. (Read my content on divorce here.)
Therefore, I would be careful about bringing observations to him. He has a distorted view of submission in the marriage (absolute boss). Rather than seeing his role as the leader of the home who disciples (nourishes and cherishes) his wife to help her grow in her uniqueness for the benefit of the marriage and family (Ephesians 5:29), you sound more like the oldest child in the family.
I have dealt with these insecure, unaware, arrogant, domineering authority types for years and know it takes an amazing amount of persevering grace, wisdom, courage, kindness, and community to turn them into guys who love God and others more than themselves (Matthew 22:36-40; Philippians 2:3-4), if that is possible at all.
Diagnosing the Dictator
Insecure: Nearly all self-sufficient people are insecure, which is why they are self-reliant. They have to be in control because they are afraid (insecure) not to be. It is not in them to delegate control to someone else. For more on this read my article on self-reliance.
Unaware: Being ignorant of certain, specific things means you don’t know everything. We’re all that way. You can’t know what you don’t know. He is simply not aware of what he needs to be aware of. This should motivate you to pray for your husband (Proverbs 21:1).
Arrogant: This creates self-importance, which makes him feel better about himself. Egotistical self-importance stems from insecurity/fear. He has to create and control the world that makes him feel good about himself. He has leveraged his strengths to attain self-important status. More than likely he has a context where people do not disagree with him, just not in his home, which explains the yelling (James 4:1-3).
Domineering: This is the behavior you and the children are experiencing. His outward words and actions mask his fear and keep him in control. To control you is an absolute necessity because his ego must be fed (narcissism). He can’t/won’t let go of control.
The text you referred to is a good one. It says that your correction must be in a spirit of gentleness. If you’re not doing that, then that is something you can change now. The answer is not an angry correction or no correction. It’s gentle correction. Your husband is caught in a trap, as Paul teaches in the verse.
Sadly, most of the husbands like this don’t change unless God breaks them, which you should pray for, though praying that way could cause him to become angrier as he loses more control of his self-maintained universe.
However, on the other side of his anger (as he is being crushed by God), is a teachable humility (Think Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:33-34 or the prodigal son in Luke 15:17). Getting to that place of brokenness (Psalm 51:17) is hard and you would receive the brunt of his unkindness as he is being dismantled by God.
Call to Action
- Are you regularly praying for your husband? Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 and pay attention to Paul’s humble and grateful heart toward the stubborn and mean Corinthians.
- Are you a gentle corrector?
- Are you asking God to break him? Read 2 Timothy 2:24-25 and 1 Corinthians 3:6
- Learn how to bring correction: read my article, The most powerful way to help someone change.
- Become part of our community so we can serve you more effectively.
- Thursday, August 11, 2016, we’ll have a Member’s only Engage Live event that you can participate in. It will be archived on our Member’s Engage Live page so you can listen to it afterward.