When Christian women are married to unsaved men, they must move into the role of spiritual head of the household. Often it becomes their responsibility to take the children to church, to ensure that they say their prayers and behave in a godly manner. Carrying out this duty, they “wear the pants” in the home, spiritually speaking.
While many Scriptures remind us that our husbands are to be the leaders in the home, the Bible also says that if we “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Obviously, we cannot wait for our husbands to step up to their God-ordained plate and be the leaders they ought to be. Tick-tock, tick-tock. These children aren’t getting any younger. So, like it or not, by default many women are indeed the spiritual heads of their households.
What happens when our prayers are answered (as in Acts 16:31) and our beloved gives his heart to the Lord? What then? Do we joyfully jump out of the driver’s seat and give him the wheel? Do we jeopardize all we’ve accomplished spiritually in our children and in our homes and blindly allow a newbie to take over? Are strong, trusted women supposed to just drop the pants and hand them over to men who are brand new in the faith?
When Paul gave Timothy (I Timothy 3) the instructions for choosing elders (leaders), he specifically stated that “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” He simply meant that there are dangers which those newcomers will not yet be prepared to face. Peter said (I Peter 2:2), “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Growth takes time.
Take heart; there is an answer! God has already kept His promise to your family by bringing your hubby into salvation and He won’t let you down now. With you patiently by his side, your husband can expedite his growth through reading the Bible alone, with you, and with a men’s Bible study.
We can graciously step down and allow our newly converted husbands to take their rightful place. If we are nagging, pushy, or unkind, they might not be interested in leadership – or Christianity – at all. Remember that it’s not our talk, it’s our behavior that will draw them to Christ (I Peter 3:1).
Paul kept instilling in Timothy that prayer is of primary importance. If we continue to pray for God’s hand to be upon our husbands, He will continue to answer our prayers.
Search and find Scriptures that fit your situation and pray them with your husband’s name inserted. For example, Proverbs 12:21, “Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of Bill (the righteous).” Proverbs 21:21, “Jeffrey (He) who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.” Psalms 1:6, “For the Lord watches over the way of Ralph (the righteous), but the way of the wicked will perish.” These are just a few examples of how we can pray Scripture, thereby praying God’s best into our life, our mate’s life, and our family’s.
It comes down to faith. We can trust God. We can step back and let our husbands enjoy the privilege/honor/duty of leading devotions and praying with the family. We can encourage him to fellowship with Christian men who will be godly examples. We must lovingly communicate our concerns about our relinquishment of this momentous responsibility.
I Peter 3 talks about being submissive to our husbands and uses Sarah’s submission to Abraham as an example. Verse 6 says, “You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” Could we be fearful of losing control? Could we be afraid of following the lead of another?
Allow your husband some leeway to stumble. He cannot be afraid to make a mistake because you will yell at him or belittle him. If he falls, just help him up and encourage him. Remember, as it says in James 3:2, we have all stumbled; no one is perfect.
Perhaps you can start out doing things jointly. Without being preachy or showy, let him see how your family is accustomed to having Christ-centered time together. Quietly back away and allow him to be the godly head of the household God meant for him to be. His way may not be your way, but with Christ as the center, it isn’t wrong.
Drop your pants, Sister. It’s time. You will feel much freer and in line with the word of God. Hand them over to your husband and enjoy the thrill of going pantsless!
About Kelly Stigliano
Kelly J. Stigliano has been writing and speaking for over 3 decades. She and Jerry have celebrated more than 30 wedding anniversaries together—all proof of God’s redemptive power! Kelly made bad choices for years and shares the lessons she’s learned along the way, hoping to keep others from making the same mistakes. Because no one benefits when we wear masks, she tries to stay transparent. “Everyone has skeletons in their closets, but my closets don’t have doors on them!”
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