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Ep. 416 A Crippling Reason Why a Husband Does Not Lead His Wife

Ep. 416 A Crippling Reason Why a Husband Does Not Lead His Wife

Shows Main Idea – One hundred out of one hundred people struggle with the fear of man. Caring about what others think about us is part of our Adamic packaging. I have never counseled a person who did not struggle with this problem to some degree. Our secular community calls it codependency or peer pressure. It hardly matters as long as you can biblically define what is happening and apply God’s solutions. In this case study, I will address fear in the context of marriage—specifically, insecurity as the inhibitor that keeps a husband from leading his wife well.

Show Notes

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A Leading Sinner

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe (Proverbs 29:25).

Biff has had a lifetime struggle with the fear of man. He calls it a paralyzing sin. It has been so debilitating that there was a time in his marriage when he took the passive approach to leading his wife, Mable, which was not leading her at all. His reasoning was straightforward; he said,

I felt like a hypocrite. How could I lead Mable when I sin against her? I am not worthy of leading her.

According to his flawed theological thinking, his inability to live a perfect life was a deterrent to his view of a leadership model in marriage. He could not reconcile the fact that God called him to lead his wife while, at the same time, he occasionally sinned against her. He felt embarrassed to lead her. Naturally, this worldview created a significant problem since Biff is not an entirely sanctified believer.

The Problem

Biff had a high view of himself.

When he sinned, it was as though he was looking down from his lofty perch at that poor, pitiful sinner—who happened to be himself, thinking how he had to requalify himself so he could lead again. This self-imposed approval process could take minutes, hours, or days; it was an arbitrary legalistic system that Biff would determine.

Of course, it also had to do with the weight of his sin and the effect on Mable. Once he felt he had done enough to merit approval, he would begin leading again. Biff’s rigorous religious process opened the door to passivity rather than the cyclic pressure of approval, disapproval, and approval.

Repeat.

There was the added element of Mable’s approval. If she disapproved of his penance process, deeming them insufficient, he would have to wait until her opinion changed so he could start leading again.

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The Escape

Imagine the burden Biff’s twisted theology would place on anyone. It went like this:

  1. He does not meet his self-imposed standard to merit leading his wife.
  2. After he fails, he works through a penance process that is, in part, dependent on his wife’s approval.
  3. The rigor of his legalistic religion opened the door of temptation to find relief through escapes.
  4. Enter porn.

Pornography is primarily about the “theater of the mind,” a drama a guy constructs where fictional “cyber ladies” approve and affirm him. It’s a “perfect” world where Biff could find acceptance and satisfaction without concern for failing or disappointing someone.

It’s a risk-free, failure-free, always accepted world.

Though he could not control the ups and downs of his marriage, he could manage his craving for acceptance in cyberspace. He tells his fictional characters what to think, what to say, and how to feel about him.

A Double-Edge

This study about the complexity of corruption is where the sword has a double edge. A wife is never guilty of a husband’s sin, just as a husband is never guilty of hers. However, she must decide if she will be part of God’s restoration team (Galatians 6:1-2) or if she will complicate the problems he has created by piling on with reactionary sinfulness.

One of the hardest things for a wife in a situation like this to realize is the actual condition of their marriage and her role as a one-flesh, covenantal partner. Though it is a cold and harsh reality, she must adjust to the truth about what is happening with them—not just him.

As Mable begins to accept the reality of their marriage, she will have to guard her heart against anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentfulness. She will also have to protect against retaliating toward Biff.

Rejecting the realities of our lives will hinder us from getting to where we need to be in our journey with God and others. In Mable’s case, she will hinder her heart’s desire: a marriage that reflects Christ and His church.

Call to Action

The question then becomes, how do you proceed. I have several hours of training that I recommend for a couple in a situation like this to give them clarity and practical help. Several dozen free one-hour webinars on our site provide critical information to help this couple.

After each question, I have the recommended training to work through this case, seven hours of training altogether.

  1. Why is the fear of man such a formidable foe? How do you struggle with the fear of man? Watch the Fear of Man webinar.
  2. There are two primary issues with Biff. He does not understand the gospel practically, complicating that sin by choosing porn. Watch the Pornography webinar.
  3. How would you address Biff’s legalism? What is your specific and detailed plan? Watch the True and False Guilt webinar.
  4. How would you address his temptation to find relief through sin rather than Christ? Watch the Target of Change and Overcoming Self-reliance webinars.
  5. How would you walk Mable through the hurt she is experiencing, and how can she cooperate with God in restoring her caught husband? Watch the Idols of the Heart and The Doctrine of Repentance webinars.

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