Women often complain about a spouse who doesn’t do what he should. They gripe that he doesn’t take leadership, or is lazy, or doesn’t work enough. They complain that he’s not the spiritual leader in the home. They say he doesn’t meet their needs.
This isn’t uncommon. These issues are actual problems, all over the world.
Instead of bemoaning the sorry state of "husbandhood," here are ten concrete biblical things you can do to help him. Are you interested?
- Hands off! Don’t do for your husband what he needs to be doing. It’s easier said than done, but if you don’t do it for him, he will (usually) rise to the occasion and do it himself. I believe one of the major reasons men don’t take leadership is that women take it away from them. Women get frustrated and do things themselves. Then, the next time those things need done, the man figures if she wants to do them; he’ll let her. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). That term submit means "to arrange troops in a military fashion under a leader."* It’s a voluntary recognition of leadership. God put the husband in the office of general so that there’s order in the home. You are the colonel. You’re just as important, but you’re positioned under your general. Let him lead!
- Talk sweetly. When you talk to your husband, carefully watch your tone of voice. Make sure it’s positive, kind, supportive, and sweet. If you want him to do something, ask him to with a happy tone and a sparkle in your eyes. Tell him in plain English exactly what you want done and when’s the deadline. (It’s best to ask well ahead of your deadline, if possible.) Be clear. Don’t hint. Speak to him plainly and sweetly.
- Build him up. Never, ever tear him down. When you talk about your husband—to anyone—only talk about how wonderful he is. When you talk to your husband, only use words that build him up. Yes, talk privately about mutual issues, and be honest, but always build him up. Don’t criticize his person. Never tell others his shortcomings (except in marriage counseling).
- Tell him plainly you have confidence in him. Yes, I’m well aware we’re talking about irresponsible husbands, but this is magic! Tell him you’re confident he can do (whatever) well. Your words will make him meet the challenge, and he'll do it well! Afterwards, praise him for what he did. It’s a win-win.
- Be okay with his final decisions. This is part of respecting your husband. And the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33b). Even if he overrules your suggestions, accept what he decides. You may express your ideas, misgivings, premonitions, etc. beforehand. But, once the final decision is made, go along with it. (If it was the wrong decision and it flops, your husband will learn from it. You don’t have to say, “I told you so.” He already knows that! By the way, we all make not-so-good decisions, sometimes.)
- Get help—Divine help. Pray! Pray specifically about those things your husband doesn’t do that he needs to do. Commit them to the Lord. Ask God to remind him. Ask God to deal with his heart. Be fervent in prayer for your husband. Don’t ever quit praying for him.
- Don’t criticize his spirituality. You are not your husband’s spiritual leader. God is. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3). Many men are very private about their prayers and Bible reading. They may do those things, but they don’t talk about them. Maybe your husband isn’t as spiritual as he should be. But, he’s not responsible to you; he’s responsible to God alone. You’re not his judge. God is. Again, pray for him.
- Don’t nag. You aren’t your husband’s mommy. He doesn’t need you to instruct him how to do something or to remind him over and over again. If you are his secretary, you can ask, “Did you remember to call what’s-his-name today?” A question is less threatening than, “You didn’t remember to call what’s-his-name today.” That’s blaming. That’s accusing. That’s nagging. If your husband doesn’t do things as well as you do—cleaning, for example—accept the way he does it as quite okay. (Be happy he tries at all!) Don’t instruct him as to your “perfect” way of doing things. (That was his mother’s job, years ago.) A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike (Proverbs 27:15). Remember, your job description is wife.
- Use your manners. Every time your husband comes home, greet him. When he leaves the house, tell him good-bye with a kiss and “I love you.” If you notice he does anything, say thank you. When you want something, say please.
- Love him. Love him as he is. Give him affection. Flirt with him. Tell him how handsome he is. Compliment him on anything he does well. Adore your husband. Be his friend, lover, and companion. She that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:34b).
If your husband isn't a Christian, here’s encouragement for you: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (lifestyle) of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear (respect). (1 Peter 3:1-2) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Corinthians 7:13-14, 16) Your Christ-like living might be the catalyst that brings your husband to the Savior!
God bless you as you encourage your husband today!
* Online Bible.