30 August 2012

How the Wife can Help a Husband with a Quitter Attitude

Husbands who do not lead at home have one thing in common. They lack confidence. That may be hard to believe. These same men may have a truckload of confidence outside the marriage and the home. Their job titles tell the story. They are presidents of companies, politicians who speak on live television, doctors who make life and death decisions, store managers who command a big staff, owners of their own businesses, pastors, lawyers, and more. Yet, at home, they are whipped puppy dogs, afraid of their wives, and dominated by their kids.

The coin-flip mentality of a husband’s confidence may surprise most wives. They don’t see the lack of confidence in their men. What they see is an overwhelming sense of laziness. The men come home from work and put their feet up in front of the television, or slouch down at the computer. They don’t invest in helping their children with the homework, in exercise, in helping prepare supper, or in simple spousal conversation that will enrich their relationship. No, these husbands just don’t care about their families. They shut their wives and children out and slip into some virtual world of their own, the place their mothers-in-law call “Lazy Man’s Land”.

So can you blame the average wife for being surprised to learn that her husband lacks the confidence to lead at home? It is news to the wife to discover that at home her husband feels empty, useless, unworthy of the title of the “head of the household”. The image of a man is one of strength - discovering that your husband is actually quite fragile in terms of self-worth may take some getting used to. A husband that feels he cannot do anything right, anything that will be good enough for his wife, gives up trying. He shuts her out so he can protect himself from feeling even more of a failure today than he felt yesterday.

Is there anything a wife can do to remedy this situation? Is there anything she can do to help her husband grow his sense of worth at home? Can a wife say anything that will stop a man from hitting the “I Quit” button every time he is presented with the opportunity to take charge of his family?

One of a wife’s prime responsibilities is to create a safe, nurturing environment in which her husband will flourish, not just as a man, but as a leader. If he fears her judgment and grows to expect her condemnation for all he does and says, he will flee from leading her.


  1. This post seems to end with a question. It's hinted at what a wife should not do, but there's no information about just what a wife should do. And it isn't explained what could cause a man to fail in this way. Is it always the wife's fault? I hope you'll examine this topic further.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Kevan. You will find some ideas on what a wife can do to help her husband rise to the challenge of his leadership role in Part II of this topic: http://oldfashionedmarriage.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-wife-can-help-husband-with-quitter.html. Is it the wife's fault if her husband doesn't become the home leader he should be? Finding the origin of a problem can be helpful in developing an appropriate solution, but if the focus remains on who is to blame for things not working well, solutions will always evade the couple. The wife certainly plays a major role in making or breaking her man - she has more influence than she realizes. The wife is not, however, ultimately responsible for her husband not taking the lead. Taking the decision to lead, and maintaining the determination to lead every day, remains the responsibility of the husband. We will explore the responsibility of leadership and submission further, so we invite you to visit this site regularly, or subscribe via email to have new posts delivered to your inbox.