“Hey, why’d you take the expressway at this time of day?? Don’t you know this is the worst time to take that route? Why didn’t you go the back way–we’ll be late!” Another husband crumples in defeat under his wife’s correction. Once again his mental recording plays in his head “Why even attempt to make your own decisions? You never make the right one; you’ll never measure up to her expectations . . . why even try??!”
If we could hit rewind and begin this woman’s day with the question “Are you planning to emasculate your husband and shut him down with your opinions today?” She’d probably reply with something like, “No way! I want him to be the leader in our relationship. I’d never treat him that way.” I don’t think any of us ever plan emasculation; it just seems to happen before we know it. Why do we do that?
I’m not talking about healthy observations or positive “constructive criticism.” And I’m not advocating ignoring sin or biblical confrontation (here are my thoughts on that issue). What I’m talking about is that irritating tendency to view his decisions through the narrow grid of my tightly-held opinions. It’s that kind of critical spirit that rears its ugly head to dismantle your husband’s confidence and cripple his desire to lead.
We’d probably all agree with the source, and sum it up in that catch-all sin: PRIDE. But why does emasculation come so easy? I’m wondering if it also has something to do with the way we are wired: as helpers!
Our intentions are honorable. The motive is to help our men improve. (I think I know the best way, and surely it’s helpful to let him know the “best way,” right?) But the end result is NOT helpful to a man who desperately needs to be given room to lead! Perhaps the best help I can give when he’s attempting to lead is to close my mouth and offer a supportive smile.
I’m not saying we should never give input or share our thoughts. I’m simply suggesting letting go of the little stuff. I’ve found that when I encourage his leadership in the small things, he asks for my input in the big things.
Consider this, why not let your husband choose the route and, if it takes longer than you like . . . so what? Is getting somewhere on time more important than your husband’s heart? He may or may not learn from his choice and take a different route next time, but isn’t it better for him to gain that knowledge as a “man on a mission” rather than having his wife tell him what to do?
“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Prov. 14:1).