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What Do Husbands Need to Hear?

The first week of the year and I had no posts running on the blog. I was sad that I couldn’t get those out. I’m slowing down on the frequency of posting, at least for a little bit. LeRoy and I are pushing hard to hammer out the final chapters of the book we’re working on and I’m pouring most of my writing time into that.

Will you pray for us? Some of you have let me know you’re interceding for this project and that has been so encouraging. We are much in need of God’s grace, and He is responding to your intercession!

What do you think would be helpful for husbands to hear? (Maybe ask your husband to respond to that question!)

Tomorrow, I’ll give you a quick peek into the book, but today I’ll include a short excerpt from the chapter on tender leadership.

Excerpt from an unedited, rough draft version of: 

Men Who Love Fierce Women: The Power of Servant Leadership in Your Marriage

The snow was blinding and we counted more than forty vehicles in the ditch on our six-hour journey through the Ouachita Mountains. We’d traveled to Northwest Arkansas on Christmas Eve, and were planning to spend Christmas with LeRoy’s family, but by Christmas morning the news was forecasting an unprecedented winter storm.

The snow of the “2012 Christmas blizzard” piled up almost a foot, most of it falling within a three-hour period—the three-hour period in the middle of our six-hour journey through the mountain passes! We left Granny and Papaw’s house early on Christmas Day, to try to get ahead of the storm and make it home before dark, but about an hour into the drive we could tell the storm had caught up with us and was sticking with us all the way to the house!

I wasn’t afraid, though, I’ve been with LeRoy in worse storms and I have confidence in his abilities to navigate and lead us through any blizzard. But in the first years of our marriage, I didn’t do so well with accepting LeRoy’s leadership. I was a headstrong young woman and I was not a good follower. At least when it came to following LeRoy’s decisions.

I think some of it had to do with the fact that he was so different from my father (and from me). My father could assess a situation quickly, determine the right course of action, and go into execute mode with no hesitation. LeRoy’s process is slow, sure, and methodical. Also, my father had several years of life-experience under his belt and that put LeRoy in a rookie category.

In the early years, we had conflicts regularly. We saw things differently, and I felt like LeRoy wasn’t appreciating my input, wasn’t even open to it, and the more he distanced himself from me through the decision making process—the more I demanded to be involved and heard. I wasn’t intending to strip him of leadership, I just wanted him to value my contribution. I didn’t realize that my “input” was putting pressure on LeRoy to act before he was ready—when he was still in the early deliberation stages.

Typically, I took his slow process as indecisiveness and would jump in to “fix” the problem or find a solution—not even realizing that by doing that I was robbing him of the opportunity to lead. When that became a pattern, he eventually handed over leadership to me.

We claimed to be complementarians (theologically) but were functioning as egalitarians (practically).

Some men “lead” through harsh domination (which isn’t really leadership). They bull-doze their way through and set their agenda with no regard for anyone else. They don’t lead, they just function as a controlling bully. Woe to the man who tries that with a fierce woman. He is just asking for an explosion!

Thankfully, LeRoy took the tender route in leadership. He eventually realized the need to explain to me his philosophy and process for making decisions. LeRoy sat down with me one day to explain the difference in his leadership style. He told me why he was slow and careful in his deliberations, why “risk taking” was outside of his framework, and that helped me to understand that he didn’t intend to frustrate me with his slower pace, and that his quiet response didn’t mean that he was ignoring the problem.

When he took the initiative and really began leading me spiritually, that provided me with the security to allow him to lead me in other areas. As I released control and began to look to him for leadership, he eagerly invited me into the decision making process. We are a team. He values my input and I value his leadership. I am so grateful for the incredible changes we’ve seen in this area of our marriage, changes that God desires to do in your marriage as well.

*******

That is just a little scribbling from the book. We’ve still got a long way to go, so please lift us up. God has placed an urgency on our hearts for getting this resource into men’s hands—for His glory.

We would love to get your feedback—is this a resource you believe would be helpful?

What areas do you think should be addressed in a book challenging men to step up to lead their wife and family?

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

19 Comments

  • Becky Arnold

    One of the thoughts that comes to mind from our experience is often leadership just looks like initiation. My husband is a wiser, slower processor than I am and I wanted initiation quickly! If he didn’t respond as quickly as I would, he had to be wrong or weak. Over the years God has shown me exactly who’s wrong and weak (in following and a lot of other areas). There is great wisdom in how my husband responds. He was created by my wise and loving God and given to me on purpose. I made him “weak” when I either did not give him the chance to initiate (in his timing) — which means I needed to wait on him AND God — or let him know I didn’t like his initiation because it didn’t look like what I would do or my dad would do. What pride on my part! I believed my way was the best and only way. But praise God, 27 years later, I am finally learning to follow and often it is by waiting to open my mouth. Waiting by going to the Lord and praying wisdom for my husband. Waiting because I know HE leads through Wade. And he will initiate when he processes it a bit.

    I am excited about this book! God used Fierce Woman to change me and my marriage. I have put you guys on my prayer board to pray for you more regularly as you remember, seek the Lord, and write from your God story.

  • Michelle Barrett

    Oh Kimberly YES! I am pausing to pray for you and LeRoy! I just Cannot wait for this new book. Oh Heavenly and gracious Father..our Holy God. Direct, guide and let your Holy Spirit provide the words to come forth out of their minds, and spirits so that they will speak LIFE to those who so desperately need to read them. Because of these stories, because of the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) being spoken, because of the honesty being revealed and the clear and apparent transparency being shared marriages are being SAVED! I Pray for you both and my brothers and sisters whose marriages are in turmoil. (2 Timothy 1:7)
    Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. ~Ephesians 5:21 <3
    In the most Powerful and HOLY name of Jesus our Christ (the anointed one) Amen *A very Fierce woman

  • Lori Ciaccio

    Hello Kimberly. I am excited to hear that you are working on another book and will pray that the Lord guide your insights and words. I am another who was led to “Fierce Women” and so positively effected by its content. I am a wife of a 35 year marriage and had reached a crossroad. I have had significant changes take place in my marriage from the insights I was “meant to hear” in your pages. I regret not having a marriage mentor earlier in our years together. I now have two daughters starting out in the first five years who share struggles with me at times. They are now in possession of your book as well. I intend to and have used it as an aid in mentoring them~there is some how redemption in the endeavor of helping them forward as I wish I could have been helped. I admit that I found myself asking “what about the husband?” several times during my reading. Even though I have seen very positive effects of a softening between us, (which are still in the works), I think it has created the potential for the husbands to be more willing to examine themselves, seeing the results of changes in their spouse through the book. So….Full Speed Ahead! I can’t thank you enough for your work and look forward to your daily posts. May there be a continued anointing on your ministry of marriage! God Bless You

  • Lily

    Will you address the situation when the husband is not growing in the Lord? I know waiting in the Lord and praying for the husband are two of the keys but will like to know your thoughts.

  • Carrie DeLong

    So glad you are writing this. Praying for you – but also that husbands will read it … particularly one, I’m thinking of … 😉 Love you, friend. It’s going to be GREAT.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you SO MUCH, Becky!

    We are grateful for your prayers!! Much needed! Thank you for sharing, great input, friend 🙂

    Getting back to work now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you so much, Michelle ~

    We are deeply grateful for your intercession. You’ve been on my heart and I’m lifting you up as well. Hope to connect soon. God is at work, even though you may not see it right now–He is faithful and He is able!

    Blessings, friend (from one fierce woman to another!)

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Lily ~

    Yes, throughout the book we touch on the need for that, but especially in the chapter challenging men to be the spiritual leaders in the home. The next post has an outline of the book with chapter summaries if you want to check that out.

    Also, I address that a bit in “Fierce Women” and have a pdf that you might find helpful “Challenging Your Man to Robust Christianity.” You can download it for free here:

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=1035

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hey, Carrie, good to hear from you, friend! Thank you so much for your prayers!! Thank you for interceding for us and for the husbands who will read. I look forward to hearing what your husband thinks about it 🙂

    Love and prayers ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Lori ~

    Thank you for sharing some of your story, that is so exciting to hear how God is working in your life! Thank you for your encouragement. We pray that this resource will be helpful to many couples. You made a good point, I agree, I think men will be more open to receiving the content of this book for husbands when they’ve been impacted by the changes God is making in their wife’s behavior.

    So glad you’re connecting on the blog, friend ~

    God Bless ~

  • Michael

    For the women asking about their husbands not growing in Christ, I don’t know your situation, but would like to suggest a possible answer from my own experience. Full disclaimer, I am a man accused of this by my own fierce wife. It may be possible they are growing in their faith, but just not in the ways you are expecting/looking for. They may not show the obvious signs of Bible reading, praying, etc, but may be attempting to change things internally or in other more subtle ways. Additionally, it may be that he is withdrawn from the relationship and is afraid to share that part of his life with you for fear of your reaction based on previous bad experiences. Again, I don’t know your situation and mean no disrespect, but just thought it might be helpful to offer some perspective from the other side.

    As far as what husbands need to hear (some quick ideas):
    How to handle fierce woman who are fiercely opposed to the idea that they may be fierce.
    How to lead a family when a fierce woman opposes any attempts by the husband at leadership.
    How to help children deal with the chaos born out of the power struggle for leadership.
    How to help daughters not become negatively fierce women.
    How to help sons identify and avoid women who are fierce in the wrong way.
    That there is hope.

    Thank you for your efforts thus far. I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  • Michelle Barrett

    Thank you Kimberly,
    Please check your FB messages (when you can) as I’ve shared like you requested <3

    Blessings!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Michael ~

    Thank you for your input! I agree, women often expect the husband to react to spiritual things in the same manner, but we are different and our spiritual growth, responsiveness, and fervor, will look different.

    Great input on what husbands need to hear, hope to cover those things! And as far as helping sons identify and avoid women who are fierce in the wrong way–you have the tool in your hands to do that (the book “Fierce Women” paints a pretty thorough picture!).

    I’m glad you’re reading the book. I hope you find it helpful and I hope, at some point, your wife may become curious enough to pick it up as well!

  • Michelle Barrett

    It is very sad to me that husbands will not man-up and “Own their Own stuff”
    From what I have experienced myself and have heard from others sisters in Christ is that once the wife, “the fierce women” confesses, acknowledges and takes responsibility for her part, he just uses that against her.

    In my case, I had to fight for my right to be his wife. He is constantly putting his family (and friends) above God, above me and above our marital covenant with God. Provoking me and making me more angry each and every time- without a care in the world how his poor choices and bad decisions would affect me. We have been to counselors and sought out Godly wisdom and advice from several pastors, He dismissed it all and wouldn’t accept any of it. He was asked and told to set marital boundaries to protect our marriage from family and friends… He refused.

    *Not sure this marriage can be saved..He isn’t married to his wife.. my husband is married to his family 🙁

  • Michelle Barrett

    It is NOT always “The Fierce Woman’s” fault. Our counselor told my Husband…You sit there like you are a charmer, You are mean, evil and wicked. You provoke your wife and cause her anger.

    After many sessions, with several different pastors, and a lot of money…My husband refused to listen to any Godly wise wisdom and advice that was offered to him. He dismissed it all. He has basically said that he will not change,that this is who I am! He refused to set marital boundaries protecting his wife,(my heart) our vows and most importantly our marital covenant with God. His family sits on the thrown, His idols are his mommy and his grown kids (34 & 32) He has no fear of the Lord, he fears them.

    This gets a bit personal- to understand the magnitude of what I am dealing with- He has gotten (jumped) out of bed during our most intimate times 2 times, once to call a kid and the last time…seriously.. to call his mommy leaving his wife laying there!! Who does that?

    That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (means nothing to him)

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. ~Matthew 10:37 (means nothing to him)

    ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh, So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:5 (means nothing to him)

    Broken, sad, hurt, frustrated, disappointed, very lonely. I have had to be somewhat “Fierce” to protect myself from the pain and despair. I am in shock that is all.

  • Michael

    Michelle,

    That sounds very frustrating. I feel for you. Having experienced some of that myself, I can empathize with you. Below are some things I’ve done to help me cope, maybe they will help you as well.

    1 -Realize I can’t control my spouse. I can only control me, so I work on me and the stuff I have direct control over. I choose not to let my spouse get me all riled up anymore. We will both be accountable to God for our actions. I try to concentrate on how God would perceive my actions, and leave her to face God with the consequences of her own actions.

    2 – I know I have my own baggage/scars/demons to deal with from my past. As I try to deal with my own issues, I try to remember that my spouse has her own issues to deal with. She may fail to see them or refuse to deal with them, but I need to remember that she is a hurting, broken individual made in the image of God just like me.

    3 – With the other two items in mind, I pray for my wife, even when I really don’t want to (most the time). I pray for both of us, for both our hearts to be right, for us to see each other, ourselves, and the situation as God sees them, for hard hearts to be softened, for schemes to be foiled and revealed, for the kids to be protected from the situation, for me to have the strength to do the hard things that need to be done, for me to have the patience to react in a Godly fashion to anything my wife may do.

    To the best of my knowledge, these things have not changed my wife any, but they have changed me. They help me stay focused on God and not my spouse. It helps me have the correct perspective and lessens the impact my wife’s poor choices have on me personally.

    Ultimately, I don’t know what God may be doing in her heart, but I do know God is in control, and He wants His children to be praying to Him, bringing their burdens to Him. My home situation is still very bad, but all I can do is take responsibility for my part and wait on God to see what He may be doing that I am currently unaware of.

    Sorry for the long post. I can understand why you would feel the way you do. Although I have not had those exact experiences, I have had similar situations. The above is something I have only recently been made aware of and am working on. It was easy for me to intellectually agree to the above, but I find it incredibly difficult to embrace emotionally. I am working daily to fully embrace these things. They have helped me and I do hope they help you or maybe someone else.

    God bless,
    Michael

  • Michelle Barrett

    Thank you Michael for sharing you heart and being open, honest and transparent. You are so right.

    That is what I have been from the beginning, not so much on my husbands part.

    He runs away (literally) hides and escapes from his life (our life) its just awful.. he has felt me several times for days…no communication at all. He wont call me or answer my calls. He ignores me. (provoking me even more). he is checked out from reality and lives in constant denial.

    **Denial is the process of avoiding reality. Fear of our own painful emotions is the usual cause for evading the truth of a situation. Denial can involve direct lies and the avoidance of reality.

    But not any more I have to completely surrender and let go of all of this. I can no longer let him steal my joy and keep handing over my raw heart for him to keep trampling on. We havent spoken for at least 5 days now, I have lost track. I have no idea where he is or what he is planning (scheming behind my back) The lies (from the beginning) deceit, dishonesty and betrayal is more than I can handle.

    I will pray for you and your wife.

    Blessings!