Yesterday, we talked about how we need to start by letting our husbands take their place as leaders. If we are not willing to follow, then what's the point? It is not a fair expectation. But what if you are willing to follow your husband, but he doesn't want to take the lead? Either he is not interested, not willing, or afraid. What do you do then?
In our marriage, my husband did express that he did want to lead, but he didn't want to upset or disappoint or anger me, so he often just let things go. That is probably a sad indicator of the state of our relationship. I'm guessing that Dan isn't the only one that feels that way.
Whatever the reason, one of the things that I have found to be key is prayer. So often, I am so set on changing my husband that I manipulate and find ways to get my point across. That usually does not work, or if it does, it harms the relationship in some way that takes a long time to heal. Trust me, I've tried. Instead of trying to do it myself, one of the best things we can do is to realize that I cannot change my husband. Only God can do it.
So what can we pray for? Here are some starters:
- However, one of the first prayers I have had to learn to pray is "Change me, Lord." I wrote about this awhile ago. Sometimes the one that really needs changing is me, not my husband. To be honest, this is probably what did the most for our relationship, when I had to realize that my heart was the one that needed more changing. Interestingly, when I started to pray, God began to help me to see the error of my ways and make me more open to trusting my husband's leadership. Once I began seeing that my attitudes and actions were part of the problem, things started to change.
- Another thing we can pray for is that God would protect our husbands' minds from attack. Satan likes to play with our heads, filling them with lies. This is no less true for our husbands. If our husbands seem reluctant to take charge, even though they are fully capable and you trust their judgment, perhaps he is being kept from stepping up by the whispers of the enemy. One of the things we can pray for is that the Lord will help him to see the truth and to protect his mind from those things that keep him back.
- Pray that your husband will have a desire for the things of God. If your husband is not a believer or a lukewarm one, this may be one of our first prayers for them. Instead of nagging, we can lift them up and ask the Holy Spirit to revive their hearts and their desire for Him.
- We can also pray that our husbands would desire to be the leader. This may even be related to the previous point. As our husbands come to love God, they begin to love his ways. Some men have no interest and are perfectly content with their wives leading the home. After all, she seems to know better anyway. And we women are all too willing---being the helpers we are---to step into that position. Yet deep inside, we know that something isn't quite right. It works, but it's not the way we really want it. If this is your case, start praying that God would give your husband that desire to lead the family.
- Forgiveness--either on our part or his--is another area. Unforgiveness can also hinder a man from taking leadership. If we have hurt our husbands, then we need to pray that the Lord would help us to humble ourselves and seek restitution. If we need to forgive him or if we are holding a grudge against him, then we need to seriously look at this area of our relationship. Sometimes we feel fully justified to resent past sins towards us. Whether they are little sins or big ones, unforgiveness in a marriage is going to drive a wedge in the relationship. When husband and wife are at odds, there is little growth and progress. Instead, the poison of unforgiveness keeps us either stagnant or going backwards. There is not enough room here to go into this whole area, but it is definitely one to look into.
Praying for our husbands is one of the greatest gifts a wife can give. Sadly, I have to say that it hasn't been until this year that I have seriously made it a regular habit to pray for my husband. If you don't know where to start, Stormie Omartian's book The Power of a Praying Wife is a great one and gives many areas that we can pray for, along with Scripture. I have been using that as a springboard on how I can pray for my husband.
There is power in prayer. Let's invite the Lord in to change us, to change our husbands, and to change our families so that a watching world can know that there is a God.