My family and I were in an unfamiliar city for a sporting event the other day and wanted to go eat. So that my husband could help me navigate the unknown streets, he asked me to drive while he mapped out our destination. Every few minutes, my husband would tell me to take a right or left, in which I was very grateful. Then, we got into some heavy Saturday traffic. No matter what lane I was in, it seemed I needed to be in the other one. The kids were hungry and tired and I was frustrated and just wanted to get to our destination. This is when my temper got the best of me.
I decided to take a left turn to get away from the traffic and my husband suggested I take a right. Before I even realized it, I yelled, “Stop telling me what to do. I got this.” As soon as the venom exploded out of my mouth, I regretted it. Looking over to my husband, I could see that I had really embarrassed him. Looking into the rearview mirror, I saw two children watching all of this disrespect playing out in front of them. I knew I had to do something.
Upon parking the car, I turned to my husband, gently placing my hand on his arm and said three little words. I am sorry. I apologized to him for snapping when he was simply trying to help me. I apologized to the children for displaying such disrespect to their father. Being the strong, sweet man that he is, my husband leaned over and kissed my cheek. The tension evaporated immediately but there are some sweet lessons we can learn about our men and what we need to do to honor and equip them to be the leaders of the home:
Let your husband lead by his own strength
The biggest complaint I hear from other women is that their man won’t lead the family, be it in the area of discipline, finances or spiritual. I, too, have made those same complaints but when I pull back the veil of truth, I see that many times my husband couldn’t lead because I was in the way.
Wives want a man to lead as long as it’s the way they would lead. We want our husbands to be the spiritual leaders of the home, but only when it goes with what we want. We want our husbands to discipline the children until we think he is being too tough on them. Bluntly put, women like the idea of being led, but not the reality. Marriage is a give and take and sometimes you have to give more than you get back.
If all you do is fight your husband on every leadership decision he makes, expect him to eventually stop leading. In some sad cases, the husband will never even step up to the plate.
Back up your husband in front of the children
The eye roll or the long heavy sigh can be as disrespectful as vocally criticizing your spouse. Trust me when I say your husbands hear you loud and clear! Many times, your man is not the only one that sees the disrespect either. With children in the home, the manner in which you respond to your husband’s leadership is just as important. If your husband sets a rule for the children to follow, don’t roll your eyes or shake your head in disagreement in front of the kids. If you disagree with him on the decision, go talk about it and see if there is another solution. I have been guilty of contradicting my husband on disciplinary actions when I think I know better. He will tell the kids not to do something and I will turn around and let them do it. The children pick up on that type of division and will use it to their advantage. Don’t let disciplinary decisions divide and conquer your marriage.
Protect your husbands in your circle of friends
Too often, a bunch of girlfriends will get together and the next few hours a “husband bashing” commences. I have been in the comfort of girlfriends and used it as a time to unload on all the negative traits of my husband. The best way to describe it is a bunch of sharks in a shark tank. The first blood spills (aka negative comment about the husband) and everyone dives in for a piece.
Before you know it, you have made the man you genuinely love out to be a villain in front of your friends. How is that honoring your marriage?
While many women are seriously just letting off some steam, there might be a girlfriend in that group that is truly having marital issues. I was teaching a bible study and shared the importance of honoring your spouse with your words and actions. I told them about a time when my husband and I struggled in our marriage, but how our faith had mended what the world would have deemed broken. I shared how my husband had grown as a leader, a friend and a father. A young woman, that I am honored to call a dear friend now, told me that the positive comments about my husband made her realize what she had not been doing in her marriage. Instead of tearing your husband down while in conversations with friends, lift him up. It’s a good thing to remember what you appreciate about your spouse. When you remember the good things, you will respond differently to him and in turn, he will respond differently to you.
Protect and honor your marriage bed
A man’s love language is usually polar opposite of our own. Sex is very important and women have used it as their weapon of punishment for far too long. Don’t believe me? Think of the last time you and your husband got into a fight. I can almost tell you what did not happen in the bedroom that night. Men aren’t stupid. They know that in order to get what they want, they have to do what you want. It is called coercion and it makes me sad that we have distorted intimacy in marriage to be a game of give and take. Sex is meant to be shared between husband and wife, bringing them closer to one another, not just to a goal.
You might surprise yourself and learn that intimacy, just for the sake of intimacy, is a great thing!
When couples are connected, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, the marriage roles will easily fall into place without the coercion, the complaining or the dictating. Try it and see how much better your relationship with your spouse gets. I would rather my husband lead his home out of love and desire than out of some forced obligation.
How about you? What do you do to protect the integrity of your marriage?