Strong Women Need Strong Men

August 16, 2013

in 2013 Awesome Husband, Change, Headship/Submission, YOU4HER

There have been some interesting comments on my Proverbs 31 woman post.

J from Hot, Holy, & Humorous said, “I hear from more wives these days who wish their husbands were stronger and led more. I think they have an innate sense that if that happened, those women could be as strong as they wanted but still feel the security of their husbands as a foundation in their lives.

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I am well aware of this issue, and it seems to be increasingly common; she wants to follow, but he will not lead.

Why would a woman want her husband to lead? The easy answer is “God made them that way” but let’s go deeper. I think any wise person understands just because a feeling, thought, or desire is strong does not make it right. We all make mistakes, but the more wise counsel we have, the fewer mistakes we make. A strong woman wants and needs a strong man who will give her a safe place from which to do what she does. (As an aside, some who are perceived think as “strong women” are not – they are scared and desperate, and that makes them aggressive and harmful. Men can be the same way.)

Why would a man choose not to lead?


  • The world has told us men are mean, manipulative, abusive, and so on. A man may think if he just sits back and lets life happen around him, he can’t be accused of these things. Of course, many men do nothing and are still blamed. Regardless, they are ignoring something God told them to do.
  • A man may think, “What qualifies me to lead”? I actually think such a fear shows he is in the right place to lead, because if he does it in his own strength, he’s going to make a mess of it. If we turns to God, we’ll find amazing things happen.
  • Some men say trying to lead would result in their wife divorcing them. While this is probably true for a very few, I doubt it is common; especially if he leads as God intends.

Wrong teaching

  • The world teaches men and women are the same other than for a few minor differences related to reproduction. There are no difference in callings, abilities, strengths, or weaknesses. Based on that, no one should lead in a marriage.
  • The church has twin errors here. Some are teaching the world-view, while others promote a version of headship that is completely at odds with what the Bible teaches. Some men don’t lead because the church teaches them not to, while others don’t lead because the version of leading they have heard feels wrong or even abusive.


  • Some men just don’t care much about anything.
  • Other men don’t care enough about their wife to do what is right.

God didn’t say men could be the head if they felt like it, or if their wife signed on. God expects men to lead, regardless of how they or their wife feel about it. This is a “Just Do It” kind of thing!

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The Pharisees were good at "leading" people.  If you wanted to know the
minutest detail in your pursuit of God, they were the people to ask.  If
you wanted to know how far to walk on the Sabbath before it became work,
they were more than glad to tell you.  Leadership to them was a matter
of making check marks on their to-do list.  I think that sometimes
husbands have that same approach to strong leadership.  We look at
strong leadership as a recipe that, when all of the ingredients are
added, makes one a strong and effective leader.  All of those
ingredients are outward and projected on us by the management world.

Being a strong leader of the treasure that God has entrusted to us is
not a matter of what we do outwardly.  A man that is a quadriplegic can
still be a superb leader in his home even though he cannot do much
physically.  Jesus took the Pharisee's to do list and put it in the
round-file and threw them a curveball that they had trouble
handling...looks at a woman lustfully...hates his brother.  He made it a
matter of the heart.  Strong leadership is a matter of the heart and not
what we can check off a list.

I wish what worked in one relationship would work in all.  If I had the
magic bullet, I would be rich and would not be serving my country with
pride in the military.  I can only say what worked for me.  I consider
myself a fairly strong leader within the family.  My wife was abused in
many ways before meeting me.  When I knew that I wanted to spend my life
with her, I knew it was going to be a long "row to hoe" (because she is
a country girl).  It was about 3-4 years into our marriage before I
completely earned her trust.  It was not always easy, but it taught me
how to lead.  I lead by being a consistent gentle servant.  I tell my
wife that if she is not better in some way at the end of the day, then I
have not done my job as a leader and a husband. what
ways have you lead your wives to be better today?

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@HappilyMarried I never thought of it that way, but the Pharisees were certainly masters of micro-managing!

I agree it is a heart issue, that is where we make it or blow it.


A Caveat if I may ... Strong women who want their men to lead must be willing to let, and allow, their man lead.  That was one of the primary problems that existed between me and my ex wife, who, although she is not a christian, is very much like the proverbs 31 woman.  When we got married, she had a preconceived notion of what a husband should be like and how he should lead.  I did not measure up to that standard mostly because of personality differences (she is an extrovert and I am an introvert) so she stepped forward into being the leader in our home.   The more of a lead she took, the more I stepped back, and the more I stepped back, the less respect she had for me, until she had none at all.  It became a vicious cycle and lead to our divorce.  

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@AndrewTheLesser I hear what you're saying! I know couples like that where it works, but it is a stretch for him, and she does need to give him some room.


Exactly. What's the point in trying to lead, if she WILL NOT follow because her way is always better. I can't even choose a parking space without some comment about why I should have picked the other space and she doesn't "understand" why I chose the one I did.


@Heymikey  In spite of prayer and diligence, some husbands never gain the trust of their wives to lead them.  In these cases, no matter what direction the husband tries to go, the wife often says, "umm ... nope." In these cases often the husband slowly gives up and relinquishes control of the household to his wife because its easier and more peaceful to do so.

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