Wife won't let husband be spritual leader of house?

How does a husband deal with his wife when she will not let him be the spiritual leader of the household? I have to laugh when I hear single women say, “I want my husband to be the spiritual leader of the house…” I have yet to see a woman who wants to submit to any man. Anyway, I digress. Back to my question. How does a husband deal with a wife who has a very domineering personality and will not allow her husband to be the spiritual leader, even if it means teaching morals to their kids.

What do you mean by spiritual leader? What, exactly, would the wife be preventing the husband from doing?

I don’t think a spiritual leader has to be the person providing instruction on spiritual or moral issues, and sexist though it may seem, I do believe that spiritual instruction should be the purview of mothers (though fathers should be involved). I think spiritual leadership can be leadership by example - attending church and being an active member, praying at home, living a good life. There is nothing a wife can do that would prevent the husband from playing this role.

I’m also not sure how being spiritual leader of the home means the wife has to submit to the husband. If we’re all Catholics, and all follow church teaching, then I, as the wife, should have no reason to have to be overruled by my husband on spiritual matters - we both know the teaching. If my husband thinks it is “his way or the highway”, he isn’t leading in any case - he’s dictating.

Having the position of a leader does not guarantee that others will follow, not any more than being in the saddle determines that you will be the one who determines where the horse will go or that being made quarterback guarantees that your teammates will listen to you.

What do you suppose that a pastor does when his congregation will not follow? Think about those things, and do those, as that is an example of Christian leadership saddled with recalcitrant followers. As the saying goes attributed to Mother Teresa: God did not call me to be successful. God called me to be faithful. Stay in prayer, and be faithful. That is all you can do. Love those you lead, as Christ loves His Church and God has always loved His people, and join your trials to the suffering of Christ. (If you think you have it bad, read Hosea some time!!)

Could you elaborate? Your question is very vague. Perhaps we could offer more help if we had some examples of what you mean by your wife won’t accept your spiritual leadership.

The husband would probably need to somehow gain her respect, that she would believe he is capable of doing it better than she is.

If there are other issues in the relationship, those could also adversely impact on this.

The husband would need to demonstrate he is responsible, capable, competent, and all the rest, first. Even so, she still might just like to be dominant.

Interesting as I am aware of some of your history. To expect that you should become the spiritual leader in your household in such a short time is not very practical or prudent yet. You need to “prove” yourself by what you say, do and the way you live. If you want to be the spiritual leader you need to live as a spiritual leader. Are you in quest of the Holy Spirit yourself? You might be; I don’t know, but I think maybe you have some time to spend in prayer and reflection on the virtues and demands of what a spiritual leader should be and is. A:s far as having a dominating wife…ha ha…lOL! If it weren’t for dominating wives most men that I know would be happy to spend all their time in a big oi’ chair watching sports on TV while the wives carried the weight of the household 24/7. Tell me it isn’t true!:smiley:


A husband’s primary role is to serve and sacrifice for his wife and children. This includes praying with them, creating an atmosphere to allow everyone to grow in holiness (not forcing them), and learning about the faith. If the wife doesn’t want to be served, the husband may not be doing something right, or they need to talk specifically about how their marriage is going to work.

With regards to teaching the children, if the parents were married in the Church, it should be clear they are teaching the children Catholicism. If not, the spouses need to determine what they believe and what they want their children to believe realizing their souls hang in the balance. This would probably involve both parents doing some research and studying together.

Sometimes men mistake being a leader with doing everything they want to do. It’s my experience that being a husband usually involves not doing what you want but doing what God wants. This often comes in the form of doing what your spouse (whom God dwells in) wants (assuming it’s not objectively harmful to souls) and then supporting, teaching, being the example through that. You may not like it, but God may be doing what is best for your soul through your spouse.

This may be hard to hear but keep in mind that women often have a more intimate idea of what a family needs. Husbands have the big picture: get to heaven, protect your family from evil, set boundaries, create a loving stress-free environment in the home. Within that, trust the woman’s feminine genius guide your family. Husbands and wives naturally complement each other so don’t be afraid to work together.

If there’s a major concern or conflict, talk about it together. You may not find an immediate solution, but you will gradually get there if you continue to lovingly talk and work together.

The male role is traditionally that of the breadwinner, and if the wife, say, needs to take on that role, it can already make it more difficult to respect the husband if he wants to be the leader in all the rest.

Are you a good provider?

If the husband doesn’t provide…or not adequately, I think, on some level, it can be more difficult for the woman to respect him, much less obey him as a leader. If she also has to provide, it puts her in the more traditionally masculine role, automatically.

I was once married, and my now, ex-husband, actually used to have a really good job at a university with nice benefits. He told me that the plan was that we would marry, that he would work 5 more years and retire.

We married, and within a couple of months, he retired from the university to work at a minimum wage job, no benefits…VERY early retirement. He also talked all the time about not wanting to work at all, just watch spiders make their webs.

I, as a disabled person, partly out of necessity, went back to work, working part-time, earning much more per hour than he did. My job was also, sort of like more prestigious.

I admit when he retired, it made it MUCH harder for me to respect him for some reason. Sometimes, I even felt ashamed of him, because he also could be sort of lazy in some ways, not want to work at all, want to retire completely like …before 60 y.o., do nothing!

I’d be doing the man’s job…getting up on a ladder, putting up insulation, and he would refuse to so much as hold a ladder when asked. To save money, I’d buy parts at the car place, change out, say, the car door handles. He would not even help me, even when asked, saying he “couldn’t” do it.

Yet later, he wanted…x, y, and z, and couldn’t understand WHY I didn’t want to make love…why our relationship was on the “rocks”. Truth be told, I was deeply ashamed of him.

OP please explain what does a spiritual leader of the house do?

Respect is earned and trust, as well. Those are the pillars you would need to build on.

Some folks just don’t have much in the way of leadership abilities. I know I don’t. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Some men, though men, may not be born leaders.

If people aren’t following them automatically in other areas, as well, they just may not have that gift…of leadership.

When I was married, I absolutely felt that I could NOT allow my husband to lead, because he was so irresponsible. I believed if he led, there would be absolute chaos!

He would not see the wisdom of routine maintaince on the house, cars, etc.

Once, he saw the roof was leaking…wiped away the drops so I wouldn’t see! That’s how responsible he was. Some men CAN’T be the spiritual leaders of a family. I don’t care what scripture says. For the good of all, these men CAN’T do it! They don’t have what it takes. In those cases, women MUST rise to the occasion and do whatever is necessary to save that family.

Many men who cite Scripture, and demand obedience from their wives, have immature views of relationships.

Read Proverbs 31:10-31 to see the value to a husband of a wife who is intelligent and can make decisions independently, and run a household capably.

   10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I think many women would willingly give up the leadership role, because it can be a huge hassle and responsibility. Some take it on only out of necessity, as I have said.

I think I would have been okay with my husband, at the time, leading, but because he couldn’t, I reluctantly did it. I don’t really like to lead, actually, but out of necessity, I did it, felt I absolutely had to.

I would laugh if my husband declared he was the leader (spiritual or otherwise) in our household.

We’re a partnership. Our marriage is a partnership. I will not submit, defer, or otherwise follow someone who is to be my equal.

Eph 5.

Submit: under the mission
Husbands mission is to get his wife to heaven, even if it kills him.

He has the harder job here. It’s an honor to place oneself under the mission.

That’s it. It’s a shock to modern ears, but men actually have a higher natural order. There is supposed to be a man of the house and he is to be the head of the household.

All people are equal in dignity but it no other way. Whether he is good at it or bad at it is another thing, but the real insult to women is the constant lie that society continually drills into her, that unless she can be a man she can’t be equal.

Of course all people aren’t equal. We each have different gifts. I defer to my husband when it comes to certain subjects because I know he is more gifted/knowledgeable in those areas and he defers to me in areas which he knows that I am more gifted/knowledgeable. We, of course, take each others opinions/feelings into account.

I have NEVER heard that unless a woman can be a man she is not equal. Ever. We’re equal because we’re thinking human beings.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.