My husband and I married in the church. We were both baptized as children and have faithfully attended since we were children. A few years ago, something changed in my walk with Christ. I finally caught a glimpse of who I was in Christ and I began to want more of Jesus. I have shared these feelings with my husband, but he is content in his faith. We are growing at different rates spiritually and I don’t believe I can follow him, not that he is trying to lead. He is happy with the status quo - church attendance, tithing, and prayers before meals and bed. I deeply desire more of God and have spent hours on my own studying the Word. I don’t want to be disobedient, but I’m ready to get going and growing. My question is this: How do I follow a man who doesn’t want to grow spiritually or lead our family?
Praise the Lord for your growing faith and desire for more of Jesus! I love it when that spiritual switch is flipped and the faith God planted in your heart becomes your own! I believe I understand your predicament and I wish there was an easy solution. But I am sorry, the answer is long and complicated.
Nah, actually, the answer is pretty simple.
You are not the Holy Spirit and not the one capable of convicting your husband of his immature faith. Only God can open your husband’s eyes and draw him into a deeper walk.
So what can a believing wife do while she is waiting for her husband to start leading their family? I have a couple of ideas, keep reading friend!
PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND
I’m not talking about some cliché “praying for you” ease. I’m talking about storming the throne room on your husband’s behalf. Prayer is the answer to your out of balance spiritual leadership issue. I suggest you find scripture verses that pertain to God about your husband’s growth in Christ and pray them often. Consider these verses:
1 Peter 2:2-3
After you have chosen your verse(s), write each one on an index card, read and meditate on the words and as you pray for your husband. Pray with confidence. God’s plan is to grow all of us into more mature believers so that He can be glorified, and I believe that your new prayer life will mature you and that God will be glorified! Now, to tell your husband or not tell your husband that you are praying for him with new purpose is up to you.
A few years ago, I began praying purposefully for people in my life. I have a set of cards for all the people for whom I pray. Each person has their own card. On the card is their name, a list of prayer needs and a verse to claim and pray each time I lift up their name in prayer. My prayer life builds up my own faith in the word of God as I read the verses and witness God’s faithfulness. I have seen God accomplish amazing things through prayer. I do not believe any prayer is unheard, and I know that God is working things out even when I cannot see the plan (Mark 11:24, 1 John 5:15). Sometimes, I share with the person the verse(s) I have been praying over for that person. But most of the time, my prayers stay between me and God.
“I call on you, My God,
for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer (Psalms 17:6).”
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR HUSBAND TO PURSUE GOD
Most of the men my husband and I counsel in our living room express the overwhelming fatigue from the busyness of life. Make sure you give your husband space to study God’s Word; either on his own or with a group of Christian brothers. The more we read the Word of God, the thirstier we get for more of Him. Make sure your husband feels like these efforts are important to you and that he has time to pursue them. If he does not have godly friends, invite a godly couple over for dinner or a game night and pray for meaningful connections to take place. Or if your husband is not comfortable in social situations, download the Community Reading Bible app on both of yours and your husband’s phone and read the Word together. This is a free app that can assist you in getting through the Bible every other year. Each day the app gives you to read both an Old Testament (OT) chapter and a New Testament (NT) chapter. In the morning before work, or in the evening after work, or before you go to bed, you and your husband can discuss significant parts of the chapters you read that day. The bottom line is this: “Get into the Word!” The key to yours and your husband’s growth is the planting of the Word of God in your hearts.
CELEBRATE ALL STEPS
Look for the growth in your husband’s walk with Christ and celebrate it! When your husband takes your hand before a meal to offer up thanks to God for the food, thank him for taking the lead. When he asks you about what a passage or a part of a recent sermon meant to you, tell him. And, make sure he knows you desire to know his heart on the matter too, then thank him for asking. It is easy for a wife to take up the spiritual leadership role in the family. Most women that I know struggle with letting go of control, but it can be done. And if spiritual leadership is what you want from your husband, don’t pick up the reigns again. Because God calls Christian husbands to leadership, I know He will equip them. Warning! You may have to allow a temporary void to exist while your husband learns to embrace his God-given role.
LOVE HIM WELL
I see multiple places in scripture where we are commanded to love each other well. I also see places where wives are called to honor their husbands. I do not see anywhere in Scripture where we are called to “judge” our husband’s heart or his spiritual leadership. That job is one that we volunteer to do on our own. Huh? So, love your husband well, pray for him, encourage margin so that he can pursue God without feeling like he’s letting his family down, and then get off his case. Lay him at the feet of Jesus and prepare your heart to be amazed at God’s handiwork! Of all the things I am confident in, God’s goodness is on the top of the list.
“I found the one my heart loves (Song of Solomon 3:4).”
Thank you for your letter. I celebrate your love for Jesus and blooming faith. And I praise God for your believing husband and for the work God is doing in his life, too.
Stay washed in the Word, and keep reading!
“And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you
will carry it on until it is finished on the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).”