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With the Lord on the point of the home, the husband becomes the subordinate leader of the home, and after the husband is his wife. The children orient themselves under their parents as they humbly submit and follow the parents’ God-centered examples. Because the wife has two roles, there is a “double dependency” regarding how she relates to her husband and God. In one sense, she submits to her husband and depends on him in limited ways, while her ultimate authority is God Almighty. Every wife is double-dependent.
Her double dependency does not negate her equality with her husband. She is equal to her husband as she submits to him. Though she is a coequal image bearer of God, it is incumbent upon her to submit and respond well to her husband’s leadership and care. I realize this worldview creates tension and even anger among some wives because the Bible’s ideal is not their lived experience. I understand that human failure should not alter God’s plan. Perhaps thinking through inferior models for the home will encourage you to seek God’s solutions over fallen variations.
Proper biblical orientation of the home should look like a husband in vigorous pursuit of God, a wife who humbly follows him, and the children who come along in the wake of the parents’ leadership. This dynamic creates biblical, familial success. Anything else will lead the family into chaos, even leading to generational complications.
This conversation nearly always stirs one question: “What if my husband is not humbly and passionately following the Lord?” It is a relevant and sad question because many Christian husbands do not biblically lead their wives and children. I live in the real world where fallenness is all around us. To expect everyone to attain the aims of Scripture is naive. A husband’s lack of biblical leadership can be frustrating for a wife. It is also a challenging counseling situation when a wife is willing to submit to her husband, but he does not desire to fulfill his role of leading the family by passionately and wisely pursuing God.
In these sad cases, the wife still has a biblical leader in helping her: she can continue to submit to the Lord. If her husband refuses to lead her biblically, she can experience biblical leadership from God. The same perspective applies to the children. It took me a long time to realize this beautiful truth. I spent the first two decades of my life angry because those who were supposed to lead me—my parents—did not lead me well. Rather than submitting my heart to the Lord, I chose anger, victimization, and justifications for the misery that I was experiencing.
Their lack of gospel adherence should not have had so much power over my mind and behaviors. They did not make me sin in response to their nonsensical parenting; I chose to sin as I donned the role of a helpless victim. After relinquishing my desire for a better home life, I found freedom through the grace of God. I let go of what they would not give me and grabbed what the Lord offered. If you are sinfully angry toward anyone for what they have done or not done, you will never be free from their control over you, and you will never experience what the Lord is willing to give you despite what others have done to you. If this is you, I appeal to you to let go of what you are not getting and begin pleading with the Lord to fill this emptiness in your life.
Step One: Confess to the Lord how your good desire for a better situation has made you bitter, angry, cynical, fearful, and anxious. Pick all that apply while adding others that more accurately describe your heart. Plead with Him to remove this sin from your heart (1 John 1:8-10).
Step Two: Ask Him to bring contentment, even in an undesirable relationship (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). To do this, you must identify what you’re not getting from your husband or how he’s a disappointment. Please recognize that your desires are probably wholesome, like proper leadership.
Step Three: These hidden idolatries will mainly circle around fear and anger. You’re afraid of what might happen if he continues not to lead, or you’re angry that he won’t lead and how his lack adds to your responsibility to do your job and his too.
Step Four: Find a friend of the same gender to become a mentor to care for you, hold you accountable, and spur you on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25). This person must exhibit compassion and courage. If they only have compassion, they will coddle you. You do not need that. If they only have courage, they will be unkind.
Step Five: Tenaciously work to renew your mind. Your sin is complicating your husband’s sin. I did not say you’re causing him to sin, but you’re complicating the problems in the home. It’s like the sinfully angry parent yelling at the child for being angry. Firstly, the parent must repent of their sin before they can help the child.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).