In the first episode, we unpacked scriptures showing us how God designed order to the family unit.
In this episode, I want to help you understand why women don't want to be led but don't want to follow.
Before you get upset at the idea, please read it to the end with an open heart. God installed an order that brings you protection, comfort, and blessings to you and your family unit however your flesh (selfish nature) fights against that order. A wife truly wants her husband to lead but her flesh gets in the way and at times, won't let him.
I want to provide a deeper look at the curses God bestowed upon mankind due to their original sin in the garden when Adam and Eve fell to temptation and how those curses directly apply to your struggles in marriage.
After the fall of man (and women), God created consequences. Pay very close attention to those curses.
(Genesis 3:14-20) (God's curses after Adam and Eve sinned)
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel." 16 To the woman, he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor, you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam, he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat from it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust, you will return." 20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.22 And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
In Genesis 3:16 To the woman he (God) said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor, you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
Because of God's curse, the man had to work by the sweat of his brow, got kicked out of the garden and the woman would suffer childbearing pain and she would have a 'desire for her husband' yet he would rule over her.
Most theologians believe 'desire' for her husband isn't reflecting something positive, such as a desire for intimacy through sexual relations or love but rather something negative, she will desire control.
Some think it means she may have a desire for real intimacy with her husband however, begin to resent his role of leadership over her. Either way, the outcome is the same. It's negative.
I think it means either she will have a 'desire' for his position of authority or resent his authority while she has a 'desire' for him.
Notice in the second half of verse 16 it says "and he will rule over you''.
It wouldn't make sense if in this array of detriments that God would place a positive reinforcing statement of blessing, meaning the term "your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you" is a consequence of their eating the forbidden fruit. It's a negative outcome.
In simple human terms, it makes sense for women to feel angry at the idea that they should fall under the leadership of their husband. Who wants to be 'ruled over' by another person? Nobody, however your feelings should be irrelevant, God's word and his order should be your compass. Look at it through the lenses of blessings, protection and provision. When your husband leads, those are the outcomes.
If we can back up far enough, we would realize that if we follow God's order, amazing blessings occur. Here are a few blessings when a wife yields to God's design and allows her husband to lead.
- He rises up to the occasion
- He feels respected and is incentivized to do well
- She respects him more (even if he isn't perfect)
- He puts in more effort at protecting, providing and loving her
- It stimulates real intimacy
- She feels more secure and cared for
By no means does this mean he can run over her like a bulldozer. Not at all. Again, as a disclaimer, I do not teach wives to follow their husband's lead when they are abusive, on the contrary, they should get out from under the abuse and get help. With that in mind, let's talk about all other cases.
Other Reasons Wives Don't Want to Follow Husbands
- He isn't leading at all or is leading poorly
- He is too slow
- He is too fast
- He is a poor decision maker
- He takes too many risks
- He isn't a Christian
- He is irresponsible
- He is selfish
- He wants control
- He is lazy
- He is horrible at managing money
- He is a sinner
- He isn't leading the way I would lead
These are all real issues that prick your heart. By no means do I think this is easy. If your husband is struggling with any of these things, I am sorry.
The root problem in your mind is 'he isn't doing his part'. Maybe that's true. If it is, it doesn't make God's order null and void. It just makes it more challenging for you.
Sure, you can take over. Sure, you can lead. Sure, you may be a better leader than him but after weeks and months, you will grow weary and begin to disrespect him with imbittered feelings even when he becomes submissive and lets you do whatever you want. You won't like it. Something inside of you knows it's broken but you aren't sure what it is or how to fix it. If you stay on this path, nothing will change, he will never lead.
The solution isn't for wives to take charge, that only offers temporary relief.
The solution is for you to double down on following him. Nothing will inspire him more. Nothing will challenge him more. Nothing will push him more than if you say "Regarding the financial, spiritual and relational develop of our family, I am putting it in your (and God's) hands. I will try to follow you fully. I will share my thoughts carefully but it's up to you from now on".
You can pray for him. You can respectfully give him your opinions. You can still lead parts and pieces in the relationship that make sense but you must let go and put the heavy burden upon him, then give him time to adapt. Encourage him. Praise him when he does good. Carefully share with him your concerns when he does bad.
When you let him lead, he is on the HOOK. When you take charge, you are letting him off the HOOK. Later in scripture, especially after Jesus dies on the cross, there is much teaching on how husbands must lead with love, kindness, consideration and patience and how wives can follow their husbands with gentleness and caution. (1st Peter chapters 2 and 3)
So, there you go. Hopefully, this helps you understand why you want him to lead but don't want to follow. This explains the internal tension a woman has regarding the word submission. She has a God-given feeling of relief when she follows her man however her flesh often rages against this order that God created, reminding us of the consequences of the original sin, "she will have a desire for her husband and he will rule over her".
Encouragement to wives: Please have an open heart and understand the spirit in which I am delivering this post. It's not to be legalistic, dogmatic or lobby for selfish outcomes for me or for husbands. It's to help you see why this tension is inside of you. It's real and for many, it's fierce. Most of it has nothing to do with your husband's performance, it's mostly a reflection of the original sin and it's an internal battle between your flesh and the spirit of God that's in you.
Not letting your husband lead, even if he isn't a great leader is hurting you and your family. It isn't motivating him and probably never will. I would ask you to have a short conversation with him then for a few weeks, months journal his changes. Here it is.
"Hey babe, after learning more about my role as your wife, I have realized I need to follow your leadership better. Starting now, I am going to let you lead our family fully. I am asking you to take the lead, relationally, physically, sexually, spiritually and even as a parent to our children. I am excited for you and will commit to my role as being your helpmate as best I can. Lastly, I will lift you up in prayer as we make these changes."
In future episodes, I am going to give you some specific steps to take on how to follow your husband more, even if it's hard. Even if he's not a great leader and what to do if it backfires and he fails to put any effort into it. The outcome will be amazing as God will give you comfort and blessings beyond measure, even if your husband flounders.
Hang in there.
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