5 Ways to Believe the Best About Your Husband When You Feel Like He’s Failing

Dear Barbara,

How do I still respect my husband when I feel like his lack of faith negatively affected the plans God has for our family? Don’t get me wrong; my husband is a strong believer. And there’s not a big sin issue.  I just feel like he isn’t believing and relying on God in several areas where we really need it.

Oh Friend,

I know exactly what you mean. I used to get frustrated with Dennis for not leading our family in what I thought was the right way. I believed we couldn’t be a truly Christian family if we didn’t have sit down family times regularly. In the moment, I felt we were failing. I was concerned our kids wouldn’t grow up to know God if we didn’t teach the right way. When I questioned him he would reply, “There’s more than one way to lead and teach.” I felt dismissed.

But over time here’s what I learned.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t leading our family. It’s that he wasn’t leading the way I thought he should.

In our many very different ways of approaching family situations, I came to realize it’s often about mismatched expectations. So I have to tell you, you’re always going to run into those times where your husband isn’t believing as you want him to.

Which begs the question, are you always believing God as you should? Ouch!

Yes, there are many times where our husbands could have acted differently, responded more lovingly, considered reaching the neighbors more, been more patient with your mother or with his mother. And other times, even though your husband might not be outright sinning, there are many areas where his approach to life isn’t yet refined. It might be that his way of handling conflict, relationships, money, the children—or all of the above—are skills that must be grown and developed.  He’s not perfect!

Think about it. When you’re learning to ride a bike, what do you do? Fall. A lot!

Well most husbands have never done this husband job before. Especially with you!  Remember he’s still learning. He has never been your husband at this season of life before. He has never been a dad to these kids at these ages before. He was never responsible for another person 24/7/365 until he married you.

I know you’re thinking: being a wife is hard! Being a mother is hard. Yes. So also, being a husband is hard. Any man who is a believer in Jesus and has any sensitivity to the Holy Spirit feels a sense of responsibility. The God-given burden our husbands have for shepherding the entire family is a heavy one, whether they ever admit it or not.

So let’s start by acknowledging that he has a lot to live up to. There’s no way he could get it all right the first time around. He is practicing every day in his interaction with you and your children.

When we see his sin, or what we perceive as lack of faith, or even just his differences some days, it’s easy to forget that we are both growing into the person God wants us to be. Yes, even us women don’t have it all down yet either.  So rather than focus on the growing pains, let’s remember that God isn’t finished yet. What if you, as his wife, choose instead to give thanks that your husband is going through the refining process. And give thanks that God is refining you while he refines your husband.

A dear friend of mine often says, “Everyone has the potential to become who God wants that person to be if we continue to give grace and wait for God’s timing” (Susan Yates).

When you feel like your husband isn’t carrying his weight, you have a choice to make. You can complain about him and criticize him for his mistake. You can pray for wisdom to know the right time and right way to talk to him about it. Or you can let it go and continue believing in the man you married.  I Peter 4:8 says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Sometimes the best response is to say nothing and trust the Holy Spirit to whisper to him about the issue.

Dennis said for years that the very best gift I’ve ever given him is my belief in him. As a woman I still don’t fully understand the significance of this, but I believe him that this is true.  I’ve learned that when I choose to believe in my husband, I’m really choosing to believe in God. I’m stating that I believe in God’s sovereignty to change Dennis’ life and heart.

Here’s a thought for you to ponder. My husband can’t change his own life and your husband can’t either. Yes he can change behaviors by choice, but true life change is a work of the heart and only God has that power.

I can’t change Dennis to get the results I want from him. And I’m glad.  My changes would have produced either deformity or a robot! Neither would have been very fun! Every disappointment or clash of styles reminds us that God can and will continue to work in my husband to transform him into the likeness of Christ.  And He is doing the same for me too, thankfully.

Will you choose to believe the work of our transformational Savior and lean into the refining process?

Here are a few ways to do this in the day to day.

  1. Give thanks for the way God made your husband. Acknowledge that God is the creator of your man and the author of your marriage.
  2. Give thanks for the opportunity for growth even though it doesn’t feel like a wanted opportunity.
  3. Find something your husband is doing right and praise him for that. Don’t stop at just one thing. Find many things he’s doing right and tell him about them.
  4. Voice your belief in your husband. Tell him that you know he can land the job, support your family, disciple your children, love you well, whatever. Your belief in him is half the battle.
  5. Pray for your husband to respond to God’s work in obedience and pray that you can honor him through the process.

As you give thanks, praise and pray remember that both of you are God’s work in progress. Neither of you will ever ‘arrive’ at a perfected faith this side of heaven’s gates. Accepting that truth is part of becoming a grace-filled woman.

More from the Blog

18 thoughts on “5 Ways to Believe the Best About Your Husband When You Feel Like He’s Failing”

  1. Forgot to mention that we are attending our second Weekend To Remember the first weekend of Nov. it’s an ongoing process of renewal, forgiveness, and making your promises true. Tearing down the walls of selfishness & pride in this busy world is an unending job but with the Lord leading our marriage it can be done. “The joy of the Lord is our strength!”Neh 8:10

  2. Oh my my heart breaks when I read so many comments of people hurting. Thank you Barbara and Dennis for all you have done & all you continue to do for families. I had so many of the same feelings of these people about 3 years ago but then I asked my husband to think about going to church with me. He went a little mainly Christmas & Easter. Then I got him to go to a Weekend to Remember and that was pivotal. Our marriage is by no means perfect but is rooted in daily prayer and devotions together. That has made such a difference. You need to pray together. As well he needs to be around other Christian men to help him grow. He is in a discipalship class with some very strong Christians and he reads the Bible more than I do now!!It’s amazing what can happen but don’t give up. Find a Good Bible believing church with good Christians to help on the journey. I pray this will encourage.

  3. Hi, Barbara! I think both you and Dennis are Terrific! I’m SO SO thankful that I’m blessed to enjoy, learn and grow from the two of you.

    That being said, Kelly’s comment above pretty much sums up my situation. The difference is my husband and I have been together for 4 years and married only a little over 3 years. He is in therapy for his issues. He attends Celebrate Recovery every Friday night and Wednesday evenings he attends his Recovery Step Group. He is faithful and diligent to attend every week but nothing has changed and according to him, I’m the only problem in our marriage.

    Oh, my! There is WAY too much background needed for you to help me. I certainly cannot put it all into this comment space. I know that you cannot respond to everyone, but if The Lord directs you to reply to me, PLEASE do not put it off. I’m just so numb I do not know what to do. Thank You So Much.

    By the way, I’m certainly going to consistently pray for Kelly as I know and feel her pain. My heart breaks for her.😢😢

    1. My heart is breaking for you. I know you wanted the OP to respond but know that right now I’m praying for you and your marriage.

  4. I NEED HELP,BARBARA AND DENNIS.WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE IN REAL LIFE?7136905629.LIKE TO SPEAK WITH SOMEONE ON THIS MATTER.

  5. Please help me. What do I do as a wife who husband professes to be a believer, is at church every time the doors are open, servespecially everyone at the church, but calls me worthless,, idiot. Tells me that I am the biggest mistake he has ever made, uses profanity whIle calling me names I won’t even mention. This has been going on for 5 years. Help! He comes and goes like a single man and won’t be accountable to me. I have gone to the Elders, but they will not talk to him. This is so very painful.

  6. Thank you so much, Babara, for writing this post and sharing it with us wives who need God’s guidance in our marriage. This is exactly what I need to hear today! Pray that God continue to help us when we have troubles believing our husbands’ way and God work that’s going to be done through the husbands.

  7. Dear Barbara, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Often I’m so focused on my husband’s failures and disappointments I don’t stop and realize the many good qualities about him . Honestly I do wish I saw more spiritual growth but mostly that he’d have the faith and desire to trust the Lord more. I’m far from perfect myself and I know I have room for improvement in in my walk with the Lord too. Thank you. This was very encouraging!

  8. ‘Give thanks for th opportunity for growth’ … Even after 28 years this is so hard but oh what truth…!!! Thank you for sharing.

  9. What a wonderful article no matter the state of our marriages! Thank you!

    I just sent this to all our Apples of Gold groups of ladies past and present. One whole week is spent on Loving Your Husband so it is absolutely appropriate.

    Blessings,
    Teresa Snipes

  10. Sandy Davis-Becker

    Both of my husbands are with the Lord, but i did practice the things you mentioned and they worked!!! Praise and encouragement are powerful tools in God’s hand, and we ALL need some of it in our lives! Being appreciated heals many a heart!
    Thanks Barbara for all your notes and thoughts!!! God Bless!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top