I was speaking to a very powerful business man about his marriage troubles. He said “My wife doesn’t listen to anything I have to say and my kids do whatever they want so I just gave up” “Give me some examples” I replied. “My kids don’t want to go to church with me and I want to sell my Mercedes to buy a cheaper car
because we are in great debt. My wife won’t let me.” he shared with embarrassment. “I am a great leader at work with great respect from my employees but when I get home, I have no influence.”
This is a far too common example of a man giving up leadership in the home because he does not have the ‘consent’ of his family. Because there is no ‘consent’ he thinks it is ok to stop leading.
It’s when your family doesn’t want led is when your leadership is most important.
REGARDING HIS CHILDREN
I asked this man “Who is in charge of your home? Them or you? It is clear that you have handed control over to your children. I understand you want to give them choices at times but you are the parent and they are the child.”
“LEAD them without their consent”. Meaning, make the major issues non-negotiable. My parents weren’t dictators but there were many non-negotiables.
Here were a few.
* We had to go to church with them.
* We had to go to bed by a certain time.
* We had to clean our rooms.
* We had to do chores.
* We couldn’t eat whenever we wanted or what we wanted.
* We couldn’t talk back or be disrespectful.
ANY infractions produced immediate consequences from my parents. This is what I call “leading without our consent”. If it were up to US, we would have chosen a different path with many of these items. They never asked for our ‘buy in’.
Compliance is not consent. Compliance equals obedience. Consent gives someone a choice. You get their buy in before deciding or leading. Parents should be careful giving young children so many choices when they are too young to make decisions and their discipline is lacking.
I asked this man to create 5-10 non-negotiable decisions (rules) regarding his children with specific consequences should they disobey them. I also asked him to pick age-appropriate areas he could let go of and start allowing them to make choices on their own when the time was right. (this is different for every parent and child)
I also asked him to review this list with his wife and get her ‘buy-in’ and to support these new guardrails.
Once the parents agree, lay out the new rules with your children.
* Expect some resistance for a while.
* Give some grace but remain firm.
* Honor the consequences or they will see your new direction as optional.
Lead your children without their approval. That is the job of a parent.
FAMOUS QUOTE: “I am your father, not your buddy”
Author: My dad.
REGARDING YOUR WIFE
This is a far more touchy area. The bible is clear that a man is to lead his family and his wife. It is also clear that husbands should be considerate with their wives.
1st Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Ephesians 5:33 requires husbands to LOVE their wives.
With all that, we are still to lead. 100% of the time I would challenge you to get your wife’s buy in on your leadership decisions. Be open and negotiable. Be willing to bend and compromise unless it be for reasons that are unsafe or unbiblical.
This approach will get her consent most of the time. Sometimes she will successfully change your mind for the better as God has given her wisdom and discernment as well. Pam has given me great wisdom and it fully altered the direction I wanted to go many times.
Occasionally, you will feel led to stand firm on a direction that she may refuse to agree to. This is where leadership gets tough.
Here are a few things to do:
* Move forward with love and softness. (stand firm)
* Insure she feels like you ‘value her’ even though you disagree.
* Make sure not to cower or relent just because it’s hard.
* Say “Honey, I love you and understand we disagree but I am going to move forward with this for the betterment of our family. I hope you can respect my decision”.
* Get help with mentoring or counseling if it becomes volatile or escalated.
Here are a few things not to do:
* Shut down and become passive.
* Give over full control.
* Get bitter.
* Passive ..aggressive. (go around her back)
* Blow up with anger.
* Come across demanding and uncaring.
* Belittle her.
Most women want a man to lead but sometimes that comes at a cost. If a husband is extremely loving and kind even when she disagrees it helps her continue to trust and follow his lead, even when his decision was a wrong one.
Ladies, trust God enough to give over the urge to ‘CONTROL’ your husband. Let him make decisions. Encourage him. Let him fail from time to time and encourage him when he does fail.
Let him know that you are glad he is leading your family and he will want to lead more. Be on his heels every time he fails and he will give up.
Make your home a safe place for him to lead.
Ask him to lead and give him time to fill the role.
Repent for getting in God’s way if that is applicable.
If he overrides you and heads down a different path but he is kind and considerate, compliment him. Tell him you ‘trust him and God’s ability to lead him’.
IF A HUSBAND MUST GET THE CONSENT OF HIS WIFE BEFORE HE EVER MAKES A DECISION, WHO IS LEADING WHOM?
Let him lead. Let him fail. Be his helper, lover, supporter and friend. Speak wisdom into him and then let God do the rest.
The man in this story sat his family down and laid out a plan. He was kind and firm. He implemented many large changes and got some resistance but it wasn’t long and his family complied. His wife appreciated his new stature in the home. Her bark was far worse than her bite and she nestled in his new leading style.
God really showed up in this home and his battle with depression slowly lifted due to the guilt he felt for not being a good leader in his own home.
It was beautiful to watch.
I would speak to hime weekly and say “Lead without consent, lead with love, lead with kindness but by all means….lead”.
He did. God’s blessings fell on those he loved.
Go and be different.
Matt and Pam