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Why Wives Don't Want to Lead and Husbands Don't Want To Follow!

Matt Loehr • Marriage - Advice
Episode One: God Designed It That Way
Why Wives Don't Want to Lead and Husbands Don't Want To Follow!




I know this subject may provoke some emotions but before you cast any judgment, please read the whole post. We must begin by establishing a few biblical standards in order to proceed. I believe God created the earth and everything in it. If we don't believe that, the rest of this post will not make sense. When God created the earth, he installed an order to everything. I believe there is a natural feeling in women that are created by God shouting out "I want my husband to lead our family". Equally, there is a natural feeling in men shouting out "I don't want my wife to lead (control) me".  Both of these emotions are healthy and probably inspired by God and his design. 

Before you get sideways, here are a few quick disclaimers. 


  • Wives often lead because their husbands aren't. 
  • Wives can and should lead many functions within marriage even though they're operating under the overall leadership of their husbands.
  • A proper husband's leadership style does not equate to control, dictating and dominating his wife with no regard to her opinion or feelings. 
  • There are exceptions to the rule, some women may want to lead and some men may want to follow. We will discuss this later. 


With the disclaimers in mind, let's take a peek at some scriptures. 


Genesis 1:28

God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."


He gave authority and power to humans to pro-create and rule over the animals. 


1st Peter 2: 13-14

 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.


He commands us all to fall under the leadership of human authority, including our boss, our government and its laws. 



Genesis 3:16

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."


Ephesians 5:21-25

 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her


He established a leadership position for husbands within a marriage which provides a shield of protection over their wives. In Ephesians 5, Paul teaches us to mutually submit out of reverence for Christ. This is a general spirit of cooperation, that we would revere Christ in our actions towards each other, however, Paul elaborates even further encouraging wives to follow their husband's overall leadership and in return husbands offer an abundance of love towards their wives even unto death as Christ gave up his life for us. 





Now that we've established the origin of truth and why we feel the way we do, let's unpack it in a relevant way. Most women I meet (especially Christians) would say "YES" to the question "Do you want your husband to lead you and your family?". 


Why don't wives want to lead? 


First: God Designed It That Way. (as already stated above)


Second: Wives Are Motivated by Love and Security

Most women have a desire for security and protection within the context of marriage. When a husband has the initiative to provide (work), protect and lead his family she feels more loved and secure, especially when he initiates spiritual leadership. 


Third: Wives Want Husbands to Engage

When a husband takes a leadership role, that means he engages with his wife and children verbally. Wives (mothers) are deeply impacted in a good way when they see their husband verbally speak into the life of the children. 


Fourth: Wives Can't Do It All

It's exhausting. Wives have a thousand things swirling around in their heads every hour of every day. "Did I pack the kid's lunch? What time do they need to be picked up? What groceries do we need for dinner? Did I pay the bills this week? When am I going to vacuum, clean and do the laundry?" and on and on it goes. When a husband engages and takes on some things that are important regarding the family's success, it provides relief to his wife. 


Why don't husbands want to follow? 


First: God Designed It That Way (as mentioned above)


Second: They Feel Disrespected

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs couldn't have said it better when writing his book Love and Respect. Respect for a man is like fuel for a fighter jet. If his wife is in full control and he is passive, it's unlikely she respects him and it's unlikely he has any motivation to lead. Men don't want to follow their wife's direction, not because they are wrong. Not because they aren't smart but because God made men to lead and it's unbiblical for a man to be lazy and sit in the back seat with his wife running the family. She will do it but not happily. She will do it but as one person, she can't do it well because of the kaleidoscope of other emotions pulling at her every second of every day. She will lead if she has to, but she will become imbittered and start to resent her husband. Husbands don't want to follow because God made them that way and they are motivated by respect, however, if they aren't leading it creates a crazy cycle where she disrespects him and he becomes even more unmotivated to lead. We will unpack this cycle later. 


Third: Because It's Embarrassing

One time I saw my friend in the coffee shop of our church. Sam was a young executive for a world-wide company recently wed to his wife Jenny. They were halfway up a staircase going to a bible class when she loudly shouted at him, "SAM, go get me a cup of coffee, NOW!" He bolted down the stairs and ran to the coffee machine, poured her a cup and hustled back up the stairs. She stood still with a scowl on her face the whole time. After snapping the cup out of his hand, she rolled her eyes and stomped up the remaining steps. Sam followed sheepishly with his head down. Everybody looked on with amazement. 


I have yet to see a husband enjoy the feeling of being bossed around by his wife, especially when his friends are watching. It is embarrassing for him, even if it's warranted that she takes charge due to his lazy ways. It's also embarrassing for him when his children watch mommy tell him what to do all the time, coupled with complaints and criticism. It chips away at the core of his soul. Men thrive on accomplishments, seizing the hills of life, conquering the next challenge, building the next solution to life's problems. It doesn't matter if a man works at McDonald's or owns McDonald's, both men want their wives to feel proud of their work and their attempt to provide and protect. It's embarrassing for a man to submit to a strong wife of control sprinkled with her array of demands and criticisms. 


Fourth: It Deteriorates Self-esteem 

Outside of childhood experiences and the impact parents have on them, a husband's wife becomes the most significant person in his life regarding his personal self-esteem. He doesn't want to hand over the reins to her because he has a God-given sense exposing the detriment of not leading his own family knowing it will crush his own self-esteem. Even if he is a poor leader, he doesn't want her to run the show. Even if he is not leading at all, he doesn't want her to lead. Many husbands would rather pay the consequences of no leadership at all in his family rather than let his wife lead. I am not encouraging this, just disclosing my observation. Why? Some would call it ego, others would call it insecurity. Either way, his self-esteem is lessened every day he chooses not to lead or his wife doesn't let him because he isn't good enough. 




So, there it is. These principles aren't new. God designed them in the beginning. We must adapt to them and let them become a part of our life so we can receive the benefits. We will be unpacking this even more in the upcoming episodes. I want to inspire men to lead and wives to follow so God's promises and blessings will be poured out. 


Guard against liberal teaching, worldly concepts and all that deteriorates God's design. The equal rights movement is harming women more than they will ever know as it deludes the importance of husbands and their role in the family unit. Women lose out on the benefits of having a spiritually loving leader in their home and all the blessings that come with him protecting, providing and leading her family. 


Please pray that your heart is open to the following topics in the upcoming episodes.


How to lead a wife who doesn't want to follow. 

How to follow a husband who doesn't want to lead. 

Motivating your husband to lead.

Motivating your wife to follow.




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