Lately I have been hearing from more and more women a consistent desire that is burning in their hearts. They want and need their husbands to step up and be a spiritual leader to their family. They are weary of bearing the burden of leadership that they were not created to bear. We live in a time that feminism and equal roles are common themes in our households. But this is not what God has intended.

God has blessed us with a lot of scripture to help us fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. My favorite is Ephesians 5:22-33.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Scripture makes it very clear — God designed the husband to be the leader of the family. As most Christians learn, when God sets up a model of which to live by, it’s because that is the best possible way. It’s what will bring Him glory, how we will be happiest, and how our lives will function properly. Husbands, you are the leaders. Your wife is to be your helper, your counselor. Lead your wife lovingly and she will happily follow.

So wives, what do you do if your husband is not being the leader you need him to be?

1. Pray. Pray that God would convict him and guide him.

2. Equip him. We are the helpers, the supporters. Start by asking him to make the decisions, and then follow through with the decision he does make. You can also give him the tools and the encouragement he needs to be a good leader. Find a devotional the two of you can do together or with your family. Ask him to lead prayer at meals or bedtimes with the kids.

3. Encourage him. If he does step up and lead, it is probably out of his comfort zone to do so. If your first response is criticism, it will probably make him shut down. Encouragement will build up his confidence to continue leading. Keep in mind his style of leading might look very different from how you would lead. This is where you need to submit and surrender to his leadership.

4. Praise God. God deserves all the praise and glory. I think especially for women, it is easy to put our hope and faith in our husbands. But putting our hope in anything other than God will bring disappointment every time.

5. Don’t get discouraged. Leadership is a learned skill. He’s not going to turn into the leader you dream for your family overnight, and he might not fully step up at once. If he steps up, then falls back into letting you lead, keep praying and keep encouraging him.