Secrets of a Newlywed: Let Your Husband Lead

This is the next post in Secrets of a Newlywed, a series where I open up and share some of the lessons, insights and understandings—the little secrets—that have made my marriage the wedded bliss that it is. (To read through all the posts in this series, click here.) Like anything else, they are easier said than done. But I know from personal experience that when I do manage to live them out, I've seen what beautiful fruit they bear in my relationship with my husband. So, today, I share another with you: Let Your Husband Lead

Admittedly, I’m not the most decisive of women. There are many times, like when I was buying our washing machine, and I wished that my husband would just pick which one we should buy instead of letting me make the call.

You see, I’m happy to let him make the decision—as long as it’s one I’m happy with.

I believe that the role of a husband is to be a leader for his family, to be their shepherd guarding them in safety and guiding them to the best pasture. I believe this is the role that God has called husbands to and, in doing so, He will equip them to make the decisions necessary.

However, that all comes into question when my husband has the choice to say 'No,’ when I am looking for 'Yes.’ It’s in those times that I want to grab the shepherd’s hook from his hands and tell him, 'Here, we’re going this way.’ Essentially, I can be afraid of what his decision might be.

It’s been a journey for me to learn to let go of the decision-making ropes and watch my husband flourish as he takes up the reins. It’s been a journey for me to take this step of faith—to trust our lives in his hands—and watch how beautifully they’ve all worked out.

When we were first married, I was keenly aware of this need to allow my husband to make decisions for us. I had to make the choice to step back and let him do this for us. One of the first decisions I handed over to him was that of our finances. It was not because I do not like numbers; in fact, the opposite is true. I have tracked my spending for years, always searched out the best interest rates, and got straight A’s in calculus and economics.

But I knew that for my husband to grow into his own as a leader for our family, I needed to start learning how to step out of the way. At first this was difficult, especially when I saw how much we were spending on eating out and other miscellaneous purchases. I wanted to put my foot down and say, 'No, we are not spending money on that.

Instead, I swallowed the words and waited. We kept a budget and soon, by his lead, we were reigning in our spending. Soon, we paid off all our debt. Then, we rejoiced when we saw that our eating out budget had hit $0 for the month.

I trusted him with those financial decisions and then watched as they blossomed—and continue to do so—under his care.

When we were deciding on a church to attend, I made the intentional choice to let him make the final call. We talked about our opinions, I told him which ones I definitely did not want to attend and then let him make the final decision between the two that remained.

Truth be told, I had a favorite. But I did not tell him because I did not want to bias his decision-making. Because this was a big decision for us spiritually, and because I believe that his role is to be our spiritual leader, I deferred to him. And then he picked the other church. For a time, I was really disappointed, but today I know that he did in fact make the right decision for us as we’ve really developed a family at our church and been able to dig deep roots there.

Each time that I’ve consciously stepped back and let my husband make a decision for us, my trust for him has grown tremendously. I’ve seen how submission can be beautiful and how the Lord has blessed his decision-making skills. I’ve seen firsthand how he really does take my needs, feelings and future into account—his love manifested in his leadership.

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  1. This is so true, Carmen. Being an independent chic, I remember doing a 'double-take' during our pre-marital counseling hearing about the husband being the leader of the home. That was a hard concept for me to grasp, but I've noticed that the more I've allowed my husband to lead, the more faithful we've both gotten, and does seem to strengthen our marriage too! That's a win-win! Wonderful post :)

  2. I'm struggling with this. It seems like the descions he asks me to make are the ones I don't have an opinion on and the ones he wants to make alone or for us are things I want more of a say in! Like finances, I wish I had a bit more say because I do not agree with the way in which we are paying off our loans, but they are getting paid so I bite my tounge. I'm slowly learning!

  3. I know that marriage is a very personal thing, so I think it's great that you found a system that works for you. I don't think that this would work well for us, however, especially considering financial decisions. In those circumstances, I follow Dave Ramsey - one person shouldn't be the decision maker. We both need to be on board in order to be successful. We will have different opinions at times, but we like to voice those opinions and our reasoning before coming to make a decision together.

  4. While I agree that the husband should be the leader, I don't think that means you have to just go along with every decision he makes if you don't agree. Like Courtney, I agree with Dave Ramsey that both spouses should have a budget meeting and decide together how much to spend in each category.

    I think in our marriage, it's been more difficult for my husband to learn to lead than it has been for me to learn to submit. Despite my insisting that I WANT him to step it up and be the leader, he still (after a year) hasn't gotten used to that.

  5. this has been such a point of contention for us! i grew up without ever having the chance to have any sort of independence. and i also made a lot of mistakes when i was younger so i feel like i have a lot to prove to myself and the world. so i am CONSTANTLY wanting to take charge or put my say in, even when i know i need to let him be the leader. i'm happy to say we're working on it and it has gotten better, though.

    it was interesting to read about it from your perspective. thanks for the reminder as well! :)

  6. Thanks for the comments, ladies! I definitely agree with what the rookie years said: Many of us grow up being used to independence that when we get married we don't really know how to let go. It is definitely a balancing act for each couple and I know that it is only by the grace of God that I've learned how to slowly let go of my desire to control everything in our lives and trust him in making those decisions for us.

    As a sidenote, as far as finances go (and pretty much any decision we make), we always do make it a point to talk about the decisions beforehand together. My husband very much values my opinion. However, when it comes to making the final decision, that is when I step back and let him make that call. I do think that both of our voices should be heard and valued, however one person ultimately needs to make the decision and I choose to let that be his.

  7. Of all the aspects of being a wife, this is the most difficult for me, especially when I believe my way is the better way (which is most of the time, because, hey, I'm totally resistant to the idea that I'm not right 100% of the time - that just seems crazy, haha). I think it's important to realize that sometimes letting your husband lead also means letting him delegate responsibilities to you for whatever reason. I do the finances for my husband and I, but it's because that's something my husband has asked me to do -- I'm not better at it, but being "in charge" of the finances means I'm less likely to spend freely. That doesn't mean I make all the decisions about our budget; I'm merely the one who monitors it.

  8. This is most definitely something I have been working on.

    I absolutely loved reading this. I can so relate to wanting to take the hook from his hands...I had a good laugh at that.

    My husband is learning to take the lead, because it is new for him. He grew up in a very...well, his mother was more the head of the home, to be honest.

    I'm opinionated, yes. But I'm quite indecisive and I trust his decisions and I find comfort in following him. I've found that it's actually quite a relief to quiet my opinions and go in his direction.

    While we both discuss finances, and I know that he values my opinions and concerns about our money, I'm thankful when he makes a final decision.

    Great post, Carmen. : )

  9. @ Rachel - I agree completely that delegation can definitely be a way for our husbands to lead and for us to allow him to lead! And it shows how well couples can work *together* while still letting the husband be the one leading the way!

    @ Emma - I do think it can be very difficult for many men to be confident in taking the lead, which does make us have to be sensitive in how to encourage him to do so. I also agree wholeheartedly with your comment that you "find comfort in following him." I think that's what submission is really supposed to be all about!

  10. Hi! I loved this post- I found you thru my best friend Crystal's blog. it's good to know that I'm not the only other independent woman who is happy to let her husband lead! We have always made decisions together and have prided ourselves on one not controlling the other, but I would love to see him continue on as our family's leader.

  11. I'm glad this works for you, but in the case of my marriage, this wouldn't work at all. I'm basically the leader of the house. I work the money, I make most of the decisions (unless I'm having a panic attack). Before we got married, I told my husband that we could not get married unless we attended an Episcopal church after marriage and our possible child was baptized as an infant into the ECUSA.
    HOWEVER. My husband and I are both in the ministry. He just graduated with an M.Div and I'm following behind with an MAR. We both come from denominations where women are ordained. Actually, for both us, the heads our our respective denominations are both women.

  12. I shared this post with my fiancee as we are having wedding decision challenges. I think this will really help us from here on out because he knows I am on board with him leading and he knows that I expect and want him to lead. Your posts are wonderful and practical in everyday life. I always enjoy the read.

  13. Thanks for this, Carmen. I'm in a serious relationship that is going to eventually lead towards marriage and both the boyfriend and I are learning our roles in what a marriage would be. I know that the Lord has named the head of the household to be the husband and we pray about his "one day" role often. It's so hard for men to step up and be the "real men" they were made to be now a days. And it definitely doesn't make it any easier when their wives don't support the decisions they make. I work on building his confidence now so that he will be able to truly lead our family in the future!


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