In my experience in marriage, there are just some things that become increasingly clear by the way our husbands react to our sometimes unknown behavior towards them. We may not realize it, but one of the biggest mistakes any wife can make is to undermine his confidence as a man. We will seek to explore this as the Lord enables 🙂
Undermining His Confidence
Whether a man is born from above or not—-one of the fastest ways to feeling alone in marriage is by undermining his confidence as a man. What this means is that we send the message to our husband that he is unable to keep his own life together, is unable to be an adequate father, and is unable to live as a grown up-WITHOUT OUR HELP!
The ways we can send this message are many, but we will see a few:
- by giving him detailed instructions on how to take care of the child while you are gone
- by making sure he eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and takes his vitamins
- by interrupting him folding the laundry and showing him the right way to do it (or any other household cleaning chore)
- by rolling our eyes at him when he tells us how to do something a certain way
- by doubting his advice in any situation
- by freaking out in the car when he’s driving you
- by keeping close tabs on his spending habits (if he is extremely bad with money, this is different)
- by giving him any kind of advice that he did NOT ask for especially about his job, life, relationships
- by not trusting him to do things for fear that he will mess it up, so you insist on hiring someone to do it
How do we as wives get to such a place as undermining our husband’s confidence as a man?
In my own experience, I believe that I acted this way unknowingly based off of mistakes my husband made in the past. As we started life together, I saw him make certain mistakes, and I began to not trust him anymore. I have seen this in other wive’s marriages where the husband lost the wife’s trust in certain issues, but it led to the wife not trusting him at ALL and undermining his confidence in every area all together. That is what happened in my experience too. Things happened and trust was broken, and it led to me not trusting him to do ANYTHING right. So at that point, unknowingly, I would constantly WORRY about making sure he knew how to do something right, or I would give my advice and assert myself in the situation to make sure he did it my way so that he wouldn’t make a mistake again.
The main point in it all, though, is that trust has been broken, and it leads to this unlovely dynamic in marriage. Some women undermine their men just because they think their man is wimpy and unable to do life without them. That is NOT what I am talking about here, I’m talking about when trust has been broken, and it leads to this type of situation.
The Results Of Undermining
Depending on the type of husband you have, the results will most likely be:
- him shutting down emotionally and in every way from you
- him getting really bitter and mad at you
- him purposefully not doing what you say to show he is not under your control leading to further mistrust
Now, just to be clear, I am not talking about situations where a husband is truly out of his mind or completely disregarding you as his wife and abusing in any way his authority in a serious way. That is a totally different thing. It would be foolish to trust a man who is literally untrustworthy in that way.
What I am talking about is when we are married to a man:
- who keeps a steady job
- truly cares for you and the marriage and family
- is in touch with you and wants to have a marriage with you
- is treating you with common decency, even if he has withdrawn
- who seeks to reconcile when he is hurtful in any way (that is not totally abusive and destructive)
- who speaks openly about the marriage and what he needs (like what is respectful to him or not, etc.)
In my case, yes, my husband may have had some extreme times towards me that were not nice or very loving—BUT— he generally loves me and wants a peaceful unified marriage that is godly. He keeps a steady job and is capable of life without me.
That is the main thing here—- if our husband was fine before marrying us, if he is capable of keeping a steady job, and taking care of himself in all necessary ways—then he does not need our controlling input and worry-ful ideas on how to help him in life!
Even if he has made mistakes that have caused us to lose trust—does that change the fact that he is perfectly able to live without us controlling everything to ensure it works out right?
Perhaps this is where grace truly comes in, and we see that actually, we are no better, and we make mistakes too! No one is perfect, and if our husband is well-meaning in the marriage, then there is really no reason to continually undermine his confidence as a man!
If we continually undermine his confidence as a man and seek to control his every move, he will most likely grow more and more bitter towards us, and eventually will start lashing out in anger at our controlling behaviors, and he will seek to rebel against them all together! I’ve experienced this!
But what I didn’t know at the time was what I was doing to contribute to everything! I didn’t realize that I was unknowingly sending him the message that he was incapable of living and doing anything right as a man, and that he needed me to control everything for him to make sure it was ok!
In order to truly deal with this issue, we must first bring it to the Lord, and seek to have our own hearts searched to see what our motives really are in treating our husband as if he is not capable of living rightly without our help. We might find that we are scared to lose things because of his possible mistakes if we don’t control his every move. We have other priorities than glorifying God in all of it. What we are doing is not going to produce anything for the Lord. It will only kill our rest and peace and joy in CHRIST! When we turn from every other thing in life and focus on Him and the fact that HE IS LORD, we will see that all this other stuff is unnecessary!
And then, if it is a case where something major happened that lost your trust in your husband, if it is appropriate, you could always talk to him about it and let him know, without blaming him or attacking him, that what happened really scared you, and made you lose trust in him. He will most likely be upset that you lost confidence in him, as this is what men desire from their wives, and he will most likely be willing to gain your trust back. That is when we have to let them know that it would be really helpful if they sought to be more careful next time about whatever it is that has made you lose trust in them. If he loves you, he will seek to make that right. If he is the forgetful type, and he continues to do the thing that scares you most, I don’t see how it is wrong to remind him, or maybe we could even ask him if he wants us to remind him if he knows he forgets stuff easily!
And what happens is that, over time, as he works in gaining your trust back, you no longer try to control anything, and in turn, he regains confidence as a man and in his life and decisions, and he seeks to bless us more and more because we are not constantly trying to control his every move.
If he makes a mistake again, it is crucial that we don’t go off on a tangent telling him “we told him so!” and anything hurtful in that sense. That is the time to keep it together in Christ, and not be swayed by fear or emotions at all!
He is human and he will make mistakes, and sometimes when we don’t get upset or ridicule him, that is when he sees his mistakes MOST, and seeks to change those mistakes!
I’ve experienced this!
The biggest mistake is when we question his choices and seek to control his every move so as to send the message that he can’t handle his own life! And the way out is seeking the Lord, and dealing with it in a godly way by either talking to your husband about it, and him seeking to gain your trust back, and continually letting go the Lord all the fear and things that you are prioritizing over glorifying the Lord!
I pray this might help us to represent Christ more and more 🙂