The epidemic I see most often in biblical marriage counseling cases I am privileged to serve in are passive husbands and assertive wives. The two go hand in hand, unfortunatlely, and I blame the husband for much of this problem (though wives are not totally without some blame).
Most Christian men I counsel in marriage counseling are too passive. They allow their wives to do anything and everything for them. These men are sinning by omission in that they are failing to lovingly lead their wives and families. They are neglecting the spiritual needs of their wives and children and are provoking them to anger indirectly (Eph. 6:4).
I am not advocationg men to be dictators. Men think that being a dictator is being a leader when it is not. It is just further evidence of living in the flesh under the curse of sin mentioned in Genesis 3:16 – “your desire shall be for your husband but he shall rule over you.” It will take the power of the Holy Spirit to transform both the man and his wife to overcome this curse of sin in the flesh, but it can be accomplished by God’s grace!
Men do not need to go from one extreme to the other: dictator to door mat. Some men tell their wives what to do like a dictatorial ruler while other men allow their wives to run all over them like a door mat. Men who are door mats are sinning against their wives more than the dictator type of husband. These men mistakenly think that giving in to their wives and allowing her to be right when she might be dead wrong or in sin is ok. These men are living in fear of their wives not faith in God! Men must learn to speak the truth in love to their spouses (Eph. 4:15; 5:25-30).
There is a time to stand for Christ – not just to win an argument or to be right – but to stand for the glory of God! Too many men are passive and not active in their marriages. As a result, their wives and children are running wild, looking for direction and leadership while the man sits back and watches, permitting her to do whatever she wants to do. Men who fail to lead are sinning against God who calls them to lovingly lead their wives.
For example, a wife who takes on too many projects serving her child’s school may need her husband to set a limit for her own well-being: “Sweetheart, you have a good desire to help but you have too many other responsibilities to attend to right now. Please tell them that your husband says ‘no thank you’ and that you are going to honor and obey him.” Imagine how much glory God would receive from a husband and a wife who have this type of relationship! It would have an impact for sure!
That is loving leadership and men need NOT to be passive but active in loving, knowing, protecting, providing, and caring for their families!
-Mark (seeking to be active now against the lies of this world and of Satan – and active FOR my wife, my children, and the Lord!)