I get it. You see who your husband COULD be. If only he prayed more. If only he led the family to go to church. If only he read his Bible daily. If only he was the spiritual leader that you know your family needs.
You look at him and see apathy. Laziness. It makes you sad, but mostly it makes you angry. You can see so clearly what he needs to be doing. Why won’t he just do it?
And, before you know it, you feel yourself beginning to lose respect for him. You start to resent him. You look at other people’s husbands and wonder why he can’t be more like them.
Your motives are good. You want your entire family to grow spiritually, to have a strong spiritual foundation, to love God and serve Him together. But, you often end up shaming your husband, airing your disapproval of his leadership skills.
Take a moment, dear Christian wife, and consider how many ways that you fail in your walk with Christ. Think about how often you have to repent, how many times you find yourself falling into the same old sin traps, how often you wish you had controlled your tongue. Think about how far you yourself are from perfect. And, then look at your husband through fresh eyes, with compassion for a fellow sinner, with admiration for all the things he does right, and with the kind of patience that you know God has for you.
It’s so easy for you to see the flaws in your husband. But, the truth is that if you want your husband to be a spiritual leader, you should pray more and nag less. You should verbalize all the ways that you respect and admire him. You should stop looking at the situation as you-are-right and He-is-wrong, instead taking the approach that you are both imperfect and in need of God’s guidance and care. And then, help your husband along with prayer, real encouragement (not criticism disguised as encouragement) and unconditional love.
You are an important part of your husband’s spiritual growth, whether you know it or not. But, prodding and pulling are not going to work. Pray for him. Love him. And, trust God to do the work that only He can do. You weren’t given to your husband to act as his personal holy spirit. God intends for you to love him deeply and serve him as a fellow traveler on the road to eternal life. If you want your husband to be a spiritual leader in your home, let yourself be led by humility instead of frustration, by love instead of pride, by prayer instead of criticism. These are the first steps in encouraging spiritual growth in the man that you love.
And never forget, dear friends, about all of the things about him that made you fall in love in the first place. Chances are, he really is a pretty great guy. Pray for him and love him well.
Note: Nothing in this post is meant to be a justification for abuse.
If you are in an abusive relationship, get out and get help.