One of the most attractive qualities about my husband is that he doesn’t allow me to “wear the pants” in our marriage. He does not sit when I say sit, or jump when I say jump. No matter how frustrating it can be, he does not take orders from me when I turn into “Demanda,” nickname for the demanding, bossy version of myself.

This wasn’t always the case in my past relationships though. No matter who I dated there was a common theme: the guy was very passive and I always had to have the upper hand. This combination was fatal. It never worked out for long because we were each going against our God-created DNA.

So let’s back up for a second and remember who we were truly created to be…

Men, you were designed with the intent to lead and He gave you a backbone! Do not make it difficult for your wife by being passive. When you’re passive, she’ll naturally want to pick up the slack and that leads to all sorts of problems. Step up, take charge, and care for her. Women want to look up to their husbands. We need you to be strong, capable, reliable, protective, and nurturing.

Women, you were designed with the intent to be his helpmate and He gave you the brains to do it ;). Do not be confused by the term helpmate, your role is vital and makes this world go round. Know that you can be a leader, as well! Do not emasculate your man in the process, however. When you emasculate or try to run him, he’ll feel defeated and disrespected. This leads to disaster and a lot of arguing. Let him lead, be gentle, and build him up. He needs to feel like you have his back 100%.

I don’t typically come across as a meek, tenderhearted woman. I am take-charge, loud, intense, passionate, bold, independent lady; all of which aren’t bad qualities. In fact, God made me this way ON PURPOSE. He makes no mistakes.

When I vowed to spend the rest of my life married to E, I vowed away my selfishness. And so did he. He may find it easier to be passive at times, but he knows that I need him to step-up every day and be the man God created him to be. I find it a whole lot easier to take-charge over being a helpmate, but I see the damage it does to our marriage when I’m trying to fulfill a role that wasn’t designed for me.

So I confess, I don’t do a great job at allowing my husband to lead. This is something that 10 months into marriage I’m still working at daily. I have to consciously choose to let my husband lead.

Some of you may be curious of some practical ways that you can let your husband lead. Here’s a few that I’ve been doing…

  • Saying “I trust you” when he makes a decision
  • Consulting him before I make decisions for myself/us
  • Affirming that he’s made the right decision for us
  • Letting him make the final decision (we always discuss them together as equals though!)
  • Giving him the satisfaction of serving me: if he wants to open my door, I let him. If he wants to put gas in my car, I let him. If he tells me to sit down and relax while he does the cooking, I let him. *Believe it or not, I like to do it all and it’s super difficult for me to let go of control and let him take care of me, but I see how much it benefits us both when I do!

And if you want your man to step up and be a leader you need to be sure to encourage and praise him whenever he does step-up, so that it’s reinforced.

To us, the “happy wife, happy life” mentality just doesn’t cut it. E received a lot a lot of good advice from people when we were engaged, but one that he heard often and we don’t agree with is when people told him to always say “yes, dear” and do what he’s told and let me be right all of the time. WRONG! Though that may be the easiest way to avoid any conflict, it’s not going to work in the long haul. And it’s not nearly as sexy as a strong man who takes initiative! A healthy, beautiful marriage requires two people willing to sacrifice their selfishness every single day and live out the roles God intended for them.

In no way do I want this post to come across like, “Here’s how we do it! You need to get like us!” because we are newbies just learning and swimming in a pool of grace every single day. I share this because I am realizing more and more how crucial it is for us. I pray that it blesses you and that you would share it with your spouse or your friend who may need to read this as a reminder to build up her husband or for him to be the leader she can count on. <3

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15 comments

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Absolutely love this post! and we agree! Very well said 🙌🏻

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Thanks for reading, friend! Appreciate your constant support.

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I’m coming from a different perspective…I’m divorced. It was not my choice and I did literally everything I knew to do to save our marriage. And yet…it failed, and I’m far from perfect. There’s a lot I would go back and change, with the knowledge I have now. You hit the nail on the head with the biggest one. My experience was that, as he grew away from God, my former husband made selfish, manipulative decisions and I got tired of being hurt, and started protecting myself and my children. Its such a two way street and I wish I had done my part better, sometimes I’m still not sure what I could have done. In the unraveling process I’ve had almost daily conversations with my best friend, my sister. Raw, open heart to hearts where I share the things I did, so imperfectly, that hurt my marriage. She and I share a lot of personality similarities along with family of origin baggage…good and bad. It’s been a tremendous blessing to watch her dating relationship, then engagement, then marriage flourish by learning from my mistakes. The one I thing I tell her over and over again is to let him serve her, and lead by being sacrificial. If he is willing to go to her favorite restaurant, because he’s a picky eater but wants to serve her, don’t stand in the way. I’ve seen the happy life happy wife model of marriage up close in family members, and it’s not pretty! You’re newlyweds yet, but hopefully setting a good pattern for the years ahead. Thanks for sharing.

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Aw, thank you for sharing a piece of your story, Angela! I truly love the fact that this space isn’t JUST for me to always share and that we can all learn from each other. I come from a divorced home and have seen great examples of what NOT to do in a marriage. I say that not to disrespect either of my parents, but it’s the truth. E and I are doing our very best to be intentional in the way we pursue Jesus and each other every single day. I appreciate your encouragement and pray that you don’t ever feel excluded from my #MandaCarpMarriage posts (that’s how I refer to them on Instagram) because I think so much of these are good things for us all to apply to our relationships outside of marriage as well. 🙂

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This is too good! Thanks for the reminder!!

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Thank YOU for always encouraging our marriage, too! 😉

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This one is tricky for me to take in. The first time I read it I honestly felt less empowered as a woman by the time I finished. I decided not to comment that time because I figured maybe I misunderstood some things and didn’t want to react harshly with strong words that would come across not so nice. I guess I just really feel a 50/50 split with my boyfriend. I’ve never felt that he needs to “lead” the way. We are partners and that’s how we love it! We communicate with each other on decisions but I’ve never felt that he (or I) get to ultimately make the final call on something. Is this what you mean when you say, that you don’t mean this to come across like “Here’s how we do it, be like us!”? Because my boyfriend and I are both christians and firmly believe God has a role in our relationship but neither of us has ever thought that the man should ultimately be the leader. I guess I would just like to think we are a little more progressive than that and women and men can be on the same playing field. I hope I didn’t come across salty at all! I just wanted to share a bit of a differing opinion from what I’ve seen on the comments on this post, just in case anybody else had some common ground with my feelings. Also, how does this concept apply to people who are in a same sex relationship and don’t have a “male to lead the way?”
Thank you for sharing what works for you and E so bravely and honestly, always! Look forward to hearing any words you may have on this!

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Hi Breanne,

First of all, thank you for your honesty. I appreciate that you discerned whether or not to comment until now. The internet has become a place where most people click away spewing out hurtful things before they’ve taken even just a few minutes to pause and really think about what they’re saying. I’m so glad you and I can have different opinions and still be respectful in conversation. 🙂 I did not take offense to any part of your comment. It saddens me to hear that you felt less empowered as a woman by the time you finished reading it, but everyone receives things differently so I cannot negate the way you felt after reading this post.

That being said, I personally find this way of life to be so much more empowering than my old way of dominating and leading. Ultimately, I don’t think you and I are actually on different pages because I agree with being 50/50 partners and I agree with communicating together on decisions. This is the type of conversation I’d love to have in person because I think it’s too complex and layered to divulge accurately here, but I will say: E and I are both leaders in general. It’s just that I have chosen to fulfill a role I believe God has called me to fulfill as a wife; to respect my husband and allow him to lead. I think “allowing him to lead” becomes confused and muddied and that’s why a conversation in person more specifically would probably reveal how we’re partners and what exactly I mean by “lead.”

I grew up watching the women I love dearly walk all over their husbands. What they modeled I naturally picked up. I’ve seen firsthand how that doesn’t work and the devastating results. This post is really just a testimony of how I’ve grown and how respecting my husband has dramatically changed our marriage. It was intended to encourage those women/wives who, like me, have a tendency to dominate and control. It’s my way of saying “doing life this way has been a breathe of fresh air even though it wasn’t the most natural for me” and suggests that perhaps marriage was not to make us happy, but to make us more holy.

By no means am I advocating for women to stay quiet or take their place in the kitchen. In fact, those things make me want to barf. I am advocating for men and women BOTH respecting each other and finding what works best for them. I am advocating for two people chasing after The Lord and seeking His ways.

Regarding same-sex relationships, that’s probably best for an entirely different discussion. I can’t relate or share any insight on that because it’s not something I’ve experienced. I love the friends I have who are gay, but I wouldn’t know where to begin with that one.

Thanks for sharing your heart and listening to mine as well. These conversations mean so much to me!
-Manda

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I need to legitimately read this post WITH my fiance. You are so well-spoken!

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It’s a good conversation starter that’s for sure 😉 I hope it blesses you two!

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Wow! I so appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns with this topic so quickly and so in depth! Thank you so much for clarifying some of the things I had questions on, while also making the observation that some of these topics are so much easier to delve into face to face. If you ever find yourself in Fairbanks, Alaska, I would LOVE to take you out for a cup of coffee and drive around my town and talk your ear off (and listen to you talk your ear off) about Jesus and life! You are a huge inspiration to me in the way you’ve chosen to devote your life to spreading the mission of Christ, can’t wait to read more of your posts and use your words to help me strengthen my walk with Jesus . Xoxo

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No prob, Bre! I’m not sure when/if I’ll make it to Alaska BUT I would definitely take you up on the coffee date! 🙂 Sounds like so much fun. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my creative space here. Thanks for pressing in and asking the hard questions. XO

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Great post! My first marriage was to a guy who only wanted to make me happy, and let me tell you, that gets SO old after awhile! I was in charge of everything by default, and although it made me good at a lot of things, it also got very tiresome. My new guy (8 years now) is, thankfully, NOT like this. He’s a little challenging, in fact, which I realize is a good thing. Every relationship is different, but you gave really good, basic advice in this post!

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I have learned that my relationships need a balance of power. If I am allowed too much dominance, I tend to abuse it and then hate myself for it. It is imperative for a mate or friend to stand up for herself against me (which makes me wonder how parents handle their dominance over children).

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I don’t know how I came across this but I had to laugh at ” Happy Wife Happy Life” because I hear it on TV often and my husband hates it. I have been married twice, first year twenty years and this one for twenty-five. First marriage at juvenile court ( i was pregnant) he was a few months younger than me and had to have parents signatures. The judge had warned me that just because I was pregnant I didn’t have to get married and that the judge had been married 13 yrs at that time but he claimed it felt like 30. One quick point I hope if any teens happen to read this is to think your boyfriend is going to stay faithful at that young age (17) because he has a lot of growing up to do first. On to my current 25 yrs. I married a 33 yr old virgin man that never even dated a woman. He also is passive aggressive and I am co-dependent.bad combo but still together. He admired how outspoken I can be and I admired his patients but over the years we ended up not admiring the things we admired in the beginning. Now I am a ” getter done” kind of woman and he is the nice, silent type man that (as Dr. Phil has said ” wouldn’t put himself out, if he were on fire.” ) So in other words he was a ” go along with ” for years and than pouted as passive aggressive people do to avoid conflict. So to make a long story short I thought probably need to back off and let him take charge. So we needed some things replaced like a furnace for example and so I had him talk with the guy to get an estimate. When I asked about the estimate and how much it would cost to replace his response was ” I didn’t get one”. I found the price he agreed to was $2600.00 and so I took over and got the price down to $1800.00 So there are some men out in the world that aren’t outspoken and cannot take the controls if you let them. I am the wheeler dealer when purchasing vehicles, he is like a deer in headlights when given the chance to speak up. He is a calm, quiet, kind, gentle giant, and nobody would know by looking at him. But he hates conflict or debating or details and somebody has to step up to the plate. He is good at his job and a great financial provider but not a good communicator or problem solver. As far as happy wife? This wife makes herself happy because if I waited for him then he would just stand like a deer in headlights with the answers I gave him. I ignored the red flags that what you see is what you get. So in the end I do agree with you about ” The Happy Wife Happy Life” thing being overused but if I left my husband in charge things just wouldn’t get done around the home and I have given up on him knowing what to do for me emotionally he don’t. But he is good at his job. Last but not least when his Mother asked if I was slow or just stupid when playing a monopoly game first time after we were married and he didn’t stand up for me ( I was madder than a hornet) His response was ” how can I protect you when I can’t protect myself? ” I prayed ” Oh Lord what do I do now? For better or worse you find the better. Nice read and it rang a bell with me.

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