I sat on the bed with my bible in hand. I was strategizing, scheming and sermonizing. Sermonizing? Well, something like that anyway.
I just put the boys to bed and the house was quiet. My husband and I had a nightly routine. We looked forward to grabbing a snack and turning on one of our shows. It was almost like a date night without the formal planning.
But tonight, like most nights, I wanted to pray together. I wanted to read the Bible together. Would he initiate it this time? If not, I was ready. I knew the chapter and verses I was going to share.
Mama was going to bring the heat!
As he climbed into bed and grabbed the remote, I still wondered if he was going to turn on the TV before turning to me for spiritual nourishment. “Doesn’t he know we need to pray together,” I thought as I felt my anger rising.
The room was dark but soon the darkness was interrupted by a flicker of light from the TV.
I let out a deep sigh so there would be no mistaking my disapproval even if I said no words.
“What’s wrong,” he asked.
He was truly unaware that he just canceled my speaking engagement without even knowing one was prepared.
“Aren’t we going to read the Bible together? Aren’t we going to pray as a couple? You’re supposed to be the spiritual leader of the family and you don’t even initiate spiritual growth between us?”
Dean’s face dropped and his demeanor changed. I could see his excitement regarding the evening ritual deflated as he violently pushed the buttons on the remote and reached for my hand.
He sat in silence as I prayed over our marriage, our home and our children. He agreeably listened to me read the bible, but he wasn’t happy about it. I’m not really sure he heard what I said.
We finished our night and eventually went to sleep. When I got up the next morning and prayed, I vowed I would never make Dean do that again. I didn’t say it in obedience to the Lord. I wasn’t being a good wife.
No. I was angry that he wasn’t rising to his position and that I had to take over. If he didn’t want to read or pray together, I wouldn’t make him.
I gave up and let it go. But I never stopped praying.
How many of you want your husband to be the spiritual leader of the home?
Girl, don’t I get it?!?!?
But I have learned a thing or two since those awful nights of spiritual leader tug of war with my husband, and I want to share those things with you.
I know your heart and your desire. More than that, God sees it too. And He loves your husband and wants him to lead more than you want it.
The first thing you must understand is that your expectations of spiritual leadership may be similar to mine … unrealistic.
Don’t get me wrong. God wants our men to lead, but He has designed leadership for a man and you and I cannot redefine it.
Many times, our expectations get in the way of what God wants for our husbands. He gave Adam the job of tending and keeping in the garden. That means a man has fellowship with the Lord and keeps his word, but he also watches over his family.
That may be different for each man. But that’s God’s job to lead him in that area and our job to pray.
So what can you do to encourage him to rise up and take his place? I’m going to share three things with you today that I hope will help.
First, pray … alone.
The most important relationship is your relationship with God. The Bible has many verses on prayer but pray specifically for your husband to be the man God wants him to be.
Prayer is powerful and it moves the heart of God. God works on the unseen and that is the heart of man. You cannot change your husband, but God can.
Making him pray with you is not going to get him to want to pray more. You see, I tried to be the Holy Spirit in Dean’s life. I tried to guide him to spiritual growth, and that’s not what God has called me to do as his wife.
The things I pray for Dean now are:
To be a man after God’s heart. 1 Sam 13:14
For him to lay his burdens at God’s feet. Matt 11
For God to lead him. Prov 16:9
I ask God to help Dean to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. Col 1:10
When we pray scripture over our husband’s, our prayers are focused and intentional. God will work on his heart and his leadership.
Second, encourage him.
My husband told me men need to come home and feel their wife is in their corner. Men have a hard job as provider, leader, father. They get beat up by the world a lot and are sent the message by society that men aren’t needed.
When they come home, they need the encouragement of their wives.
My advice is to praise what he does well. Does he go to work? Praise him for it. Does he help around the house? Praise him for it. Is he handsome? Funny? Loving? A good dad? Praise him for those things?
And then, when you have a complaint, he will be more likely to listen because of the encouragement you offer for other things.
Third, talk it out.
I put this tip last because let’s face it … women like to talk. We are good at talking (guilty!) and we don’t go to God first.
When I was upset with Dean, there were many times I would ask God for an opportune time to voice my complaint. I know that a kind word turns away wrath and a word fitly spoken (at the right time) was like apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov 25:11).
And trust me, God will open a door when your husband is ready to accept your words.
Bathe them in prayer before you tell your husband what’s on your heart. Wives have so much influence. Don’t underestimate it.
I want to challenge you today to take these steps and put them into practice. There is nothing wrong with wanting your husband to lead you and your family well. Nothing at all.
But, there is a right way to do it that will honor God, your husband and produce results that will help your marriage thrive.
My husband and I share a little about this on this week’s episode: How To Be A Man’s Man In A Woman’s World. Click the link to listen.
I’m also going to leave my link for Reflections of Eve. It’s a bible study about how God designed the woman and our role in the world today. I share many stories about Dean and I in the book.
You got this, my friend! I’m cheering for you!