Shows Main Idea – A wife can unwittingly motivate her husband to continue in his passivity. If she does not understand the dynamics of his heart she may be unable to cooperate with the LORD in restoring him (Galatians 6:1-2) to the leadership role that God has called him to.
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In one of our Engage Live events, the question was asked, how do you help a passive husband take the leadership role in the marriage? There are many angles to this. I am going to interact with one aspect of this problem in this podcast by talking about two specific personality types in a marriage.
- An insecure husband
- A secure wife
The husband was reared in an unstructured, non-nurturing environment. He was yelled at, let’s say. His home life as a child was dysfunctional. Ad infinitum.
It was also not a Christian environment, so he did not have Christian moorings. He was chained to fear (Proverbs 29:25), not anchored to God (Romans 8:31).
He never became comfortable in his own skin. He masked his inward fears with outward strengths, so if you knew him from a distance, you would think he was an okay dude. And, of course, he kept folks at arm’s length, so they would not get up in his business.
- Read my article: Mind Mapping: A Detailed Study in Self-Reliance
- Read my article: A Practical Plan to Break Free from Being Controlled By Others
He was relationally functional in the public domain but not relationally close or known by anyone. People liked him and he could perform at his various jobs because he always worked within his strengths.
Nobody ever perceived how insecure he was. Nobody ever really knew him.
His wife was not reared like he was. She also has been gifted by God with a personality that is more active, socially competent, and comfortable in her own skin. To make matters even better, she was reared in a loving environment, so she never had to strive to be liked, loved, or accepted by others.
In essence, she was reared the way a person is supposed to be reared.
She meets her future husband (insecure guy) and he’s funny, charming, industrious (working within his strengths), and handsome enough to be marriage material.
She becomes the first person to get up in his bubble without an exit strategy. He realizes this, which creates social uncomfortableness. He feels exposed. Vulnerable. He compares himself to her and perceives how he cannot do what she does or be like her (2 Corinthians 10:12).
He is intimidated by her.
- She is engaging, flexible, social, free, exploring, and enjoying.
- He is inward, rigid, distant, measured, cautious, and cynical.
He wants to impress her but feels inadequate. He becomes more reclusive. More passive. As he is shutting down she is expecting him to be stepping up. He gravitates to his old self (Ephesians 4:22) and she gravitates to hers. Polar opposites.
She does not perceive the kind of person he has always been and to make matters worse, she becomes critical of his passivity. She lets him know in different ways about her disappointment in him. This exacerbates the alienation he already feels, that he has always felt.
He turns to bad habits to make himself feel better about himself, which intensifies his personal bondage while his wife fuels the inward war he has in his mind (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; James 1:5-8, 4:1-2).
This scenario is not placing blame for his actions on her. It’s a common analysis of how two people can work against each other while never realizing the deeper matters of the heart.
Call to action
- Impetus: The impetus is on the wife to discern the problem since she is more spiritual (Galatians 6:1), more in tune with God, more insightful, and more proactive when it comes to problem-solving. In short, she has what it takes to lead her husband to be a more effective leader.
- Maturity: Therefore, she must be the mature one in the marriage, which would be evidenced by her discipling her husband to be her leader. Because she is coequal with him, as well as submitted to him, she can disciple him. Coequal, as in brother and sister and submitted, as in husband and wife. What’s in view here is their coequality. Read my article on how to lead your husband from behind.
- Leadership: A wife humbly leading her husband while submitted to him is not an unusual perspective or posture. E.g., a mentor can lead a young Timothy to be an excellent pastor, even while Timothy is the mentor’s pastor or an employee could counsel an employer while being submitted to him.
- Practice: The two keys for the wife to know and practice are modeling and encouraging: (1) She should model Christlike characteristics, e.g., Galatians 5:22-23 or 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and (2) she should lead her husband to change by motivating him by grace (Romans 2:4). Read my article on how to motivate a person to change.
- Assess: Two key questions: (1) Are you an adequate Christlike example to your husband? (2) Are you an encouraging wife?
- Repent: Even when you fail at leading your husband (1 John 1:7-10), you can confess that sin, which is one of the most effective ways you can “lead” him—by your humility. God will bless you for doing this (James 4:6).