See, I don't think our men are necessarily REFUSING to be the spiritual leader. What if, they just don't know how? What if, God's design in marriage is that the husband works with God IN A PROCESS to develop him into the spiritual leader? And, here's the catch... what if the wife is to be PART OF THAT PROCESS?
I'll agree that it would be so much easier if we all just married the spiritual rock... the guy that grew up in the most awesome family that taught and prepared him to be what his future wife and children needed him to be. It would be SUPER AWESOME if all women said, "I do," to the man ALREADY equipped to be EVERYTHING she and their future children needed him to be. That would be amazing! However, then he'd become GOD to that woman and her children; therefore, diminishing God's plan that HE actually be God.
There go's that plan!
So, we are left with our current state. Ladies, we ALL marry men that lack the necessary tools to be the perfect, spiritual leader of our families. In fact, we live in such a fallen state that most of our men have no idea what it even means to be a leader. Many don't know where to start. Therefore, in youth, immaturity, and selfishness, our men lead poorly or don't lead at all. This is IN NO WAY a men-bashing statement. Actually, I want to speak to the women of these men (myself included).
STOP POINTING FINGERS AND GET ON BOARD WITH GOD'S PLAN!
Pray for your husband! During the day, pray that God will capture your husband's heart in a way that gives him COURAGE to lead. If you haven't thought about it before, leading in today's world would be SCARY! I'm glad I don't have to do it. REALLY! It's a daunting task. And, if our husbands are going to do it well, they will have to SURRENDER and lead under the authority and guidance of God every step of the way. It WILL NOT be a natural surrender. So, PRAY with all you've got in you. We must take ALL of the energy we've been using to point fingers, complain, and grumble and use that energy to PRAY! I know that I am FOR Scotty becoming the leader he can be, but I wonder if sometimes my actions appear to be AGAINST him? When I'm regularly praying FOR him, my actions more often demonstrate that I am not against him in the everyday issues.
Pray for your heart in the process. I have learned something about myself over the past couple of years.... I HATE A PROCESS! I really, really do. I much prefer God just move and work in a MIGHTY, powerful, IMMEDIATE way. I want to pray for the miracle and watch it happen. I think most of us are that way. But, marriage is for LIFE. And, although we don't like it, some of the things God wants to accomplish through this beautiful partnership will take LIFE. You know where your husband struggles. We are most definitely praying for God to do what only God can do in those areas of struggle. I'd like to suggest that we add to that prayer, though. Let's ask God to strengthen US in the process. Only He knows how long the process will take and ONLY HE can prepare us to ENJOY it along the way. Ask The Lord to show you even the tiniest areas of progress. Those areas build hope, and we want to see them!
Pray for your cooperation in the process. For me, this is where it gets tricky. In our marriage, there are times when I need to have some time with Scotty and RESPECTFULLY point out an area where I feel he needs to lead better. When that is the case, I pray HARD and seek my words carefully. God has called me to be his helper; and sometimes, that means I have to initiate a difficult conversation. Sometimes, though, I see an area that I'd like Scotty to lead more in, and I KNOW my job is simply to pray more. In these instances I must face the fact that I'm not called to fix every struggle my husband has. He has his own walk of faith, and some things will be between him and God. I've got to know when to stay out of that. This is my struggle.... Where do I help and where do I stay out of it? I won't say I've figured it out. But, I will say I've found God, yet again, to be FAITHFUL! He leads and guides me when I confess my great need for Him.
Pray for endurance in the process!! What if you knew it was going to take FIFTY YEARS for your husband to become the husband God wants him to be? Would it be worth it to stick around and find out? I've got a little experience in this area. Scotty and I will have been married NINETEEN years this May. He tells people that my first husband was a real jerk. I'VE NEVER BEEN MARRIED BEFORE! He's talking about himself; and in some ways (not a lot of ways) he's right! The past 4.5 years have brought about REAL and HUGE changes in Scotty. He's not a PERFECT husband, but he's pretty awesome in all ways that matter. However, getting to this point has been a PROCESS. In 2011, I had BIBLICAL support in getting out! God (only God) gave me the endurance to stay and fight for our marriage. Looking back, I know He empowered me with that endurance; because, remember, I HATE A PROCESS! I'm so glad he did! I would have missed out on the beautiful work God has done in Scotty's life. He's used failure to capture Scotty's heart, and our family is stronger because of it. There will be struggles in Scotty's life that will take another 4, 10, 20, years for God to work through and work out. But, I'm convinced I want to be part of the process. When the battle is TOUGH, the victory is SWEET! And, the tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory. I want to endure until the very end! Prayer is the key!
Scotty and I know a man who STRUGGLED with all things good as a young person. In his teens, he struggled with having respect for authority and committing to purity. In his twenties, he struggled with being the young man God called him to be. As his thirties approached, all seemed to be caving in. Every area of his life was marked by this man's struggle; his marriage, his family, his work environment, etc. Life was HARD; and what made it even HARDER was knowing that his OWN choices created each difficult scenario. SELFISHNESS hindered his ability to SURRENDER his ways to God's ways. By age 35, he was going through a divorce, losing his business, and on his way to isolation and regret.
This man is older now, and God has taken hold (again) of his heart. He's not perfect. BUT, his life is bearing the fruit of repentance and surrender. His story isn't any different than MANY others. We all tend to mark our young lives with selfishness and pride. As we cooperate with God, He bends us and breaks us SO THAT we mature by losing the devotion to SELF and giving ourselves to HIS way. It's a process! What I find most tragic about this man's story is the fact that the "wife of his youth" is missing out on the beauty of what God is doing in his life. She gave up and gave in and had Biblical support to do so. However, she is missing this beautiful work of God. She doesn't get to be part of God redemption in this man's life.
I realize that someone may be reading this today that is in a difficult marriage. My brain is swimming in the different scenarios, and some of them are BEYOND tough. I'd ask you to commit your marriage AGAIN to the Lord. Acknowledge that redeeming the mess WILL BE a process... and it could be a very long one. Admit that the ONLY person in your marriage you can change is YOU. Ask God to work in YOU so that you'll be prepared for WHATEVER He chooses to do in your marriage. Be BOLD and HOPEFUL in seeing the beauty God can bring. Remember, the harder the fight the sweeter the victory. What better legacy can you leave for your children, your friends, the world than the legacy of SEEING THE THING THROUGH! Do what you said you would do, because God WILL do what He said he would do! And, you don't want to miss it.