When Your Husband Isn’t a Spiritual Leader - Sarah Geringer - A Wife Like Me

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When Your Husband Isn’t a Spiritual Leader – Sarah Geringer

May 1, 2020

When Your Husband Isn’t a Spiritual Leader

If your husband can’t or won’t accept his calling as the spiritual leader of your home, I understand your pain. But I can also offer you hope, dear wife.

I walked open-eyed into an unequally yoked relationship with my husband. We have always been on two different spiritual planes. When we got married, I had no idea how this would affect our relationship long-term, especially when we became parents.

My husband has always attended church services with me, but he has not been on board with being the spiritual leader of our home. From the earliest days, he has resisted doing spiritual activities with me or others, as in devotions, Sunday school, or small groups. These activities just aren’t his “thing,” and I’ve come to terms with that.

When our oldest son was born, I decided that if spiritual leadership wasn’t my husband’s “thing,” I had to step in and lead. But I wanted to do it in a way that respected my husband and honored God. 

These are the steps I took, and I pray they help you too.

Understand your calling.

If you are a Christian wife, you bring holiness to your marriage. The apostle Paul writes, 

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14 NIV

Your spiritual leadership in your home blesses your children and your marriage. This is a high and holy calling which deeply matters to God. Everything you do to promote the Gospel in your home is important, even if it must be conducted behind the scenes.

Grieve your losses.

Whether you knowingly entered an unequally yoked marriage like I did, or became a believer after you were married, this situation creates lasting heartache. My counselor once told me that he was proud of me for taking on the responsibility and understood the need for me to do it. But then he reminded me that I was not created to handle it on my own. He helped me walk through the grief process to reach the acceptance stage. You may need professional help to navigate this path, and it’s important to also grieve your losses before God so you can lead well.

Cover the situation with prayer.

Your prayers will invite peace into your challenging situation. Praise God for being the ultimate spiritual authority in your home and trust him to equip you. Never stop praying for your husband’s spiritual growth or your children’s faith. Ask God to give you wisdom so you can handle the situation with grace.

Find a mentor.

In nearly every church, there is more than one woman in your situation. Ask your pastor to recommend a mentor to you. You can also meet other women like this in Bible studies or MOPS groups. I was blessed to have several mentor wives speak wisdom and encouragement to me. Their examples can be a lifesaver for you. Your mentor can also be a prayer warrior on your behalf.

Lead with intention.

It’s important to lead with a “gentle and quiet spirit” (see 1 Peter 3:4 NIV) so you don’t offend your husband. In my home, I lead devotions and hold spiritual discussions with my children when my husband isn’t around. This helps feed my children’s spiritual appetites while not making a show of it. The children know that they can come to me with their spiritual questions and needs. Now that they are in the tween and teen stages, my quiet efforts in previous years have paid off. At the same time, they also have a good relationship with their father because God helped me pursue humility.

Honor your husband.

Years ago, I heard Dr. Randy Carlson speak to this issue on a radio broadcast. He encouraged an unequally yoked wife to “take a Sunday off.” He suggested that if she skipped taking her kids to church a handful of times per year, it would send the message to her husband that he mattered. I’ve applied this advice with good results. For example, I don’t make a big deal of attending church while we are on vacation. I’ve also taken the reins on driving the kids to and from church-related activities. These small tweaks remind my husband that he’s a high priority to us.

You can and should serve as a leader in your home if your husband isn’t a spiritual leader. When you lead with the right attitude and intentions, your efforts will glorify God, honor your husband, and bless your children.

Wife Step: Ask God which one of these steps you can take today to become a spiritual leader in your home. 

When Your Husband Isn't A Spiritual Leader

Sarah Geringer is a speaker, artist and author of Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus and three self-published books. She is on the devotional writing teams for Encouragement for Today, A Wife Like Me, Devotable, Hope-Full Living and Woman 2 Woman Ministries. When she’s not reading over 100 books per year, Sarah enjoys painting, baking, gardening and playing the flute. Her daily must-haves are hot tea, dark chocolate, and fresh flowers. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children. Sarah writes about finding peace in God’s Word at sarahgeringer.com.


  1. Liz

    So many excellent nuggets in here! Too often Christians blame and bully women in unequally yoked marriages, so I’m so glad to see so much hope offered here! Blessings!

  2. Jenn

    I appreciate your thoughts on pursuing this w/ humility, walking through the grief of it, & remembering that it’s ultimately God Who is the spiritual leader. This normalized the situation. Thank u! ???? I’ll be passing your post along to some friends…

    • Amanda Davison

      I’m so glad this was encouraging, Jenn!

  3. Alexis Brouillette Jordan

    I realize that some of my depression is due to the lack of Godly guidance from my husband during trials I may face. When I am in need of support as God would respond, I am left to hunger for it. My husband is a believer and Christian, but my spiritual needs are sorely unmet by my husband.

    • Amanda Davison

      Hi Alexis, it is important to grieve and walk through the pain of realizing your husband hasn’t been able to respond how you’d hope he would. I do challenge you to re-think the expectations you’ve placed on your husband as the spiritual leader. I realized well into our marriage that I had placed certain expectations on my husband as the spiritual leader that were unfair and quite frankly based off of what I had idolized in other marriages/homes. When we study Scripture we don’t see a detailed description of what it looks like to be a spiritual leader – yet many of us have created one ourselves! It might be that what you desire during seasons of trial you face is support, prayer, and Scripture from your husband – and potentially, sharing this desire with him might help? It might not, and it might be again that you grieve this, and seek the Lord to meet you there. Anyway, just my morning thoughts today. Thank you so much for sharing with us!!!

  4. Emily

    I really appreciate your encouragement and am happy to have come across your guidance in my time of need.
    If there’s one thing I would disagree in this is about not making it a point to attend worship service during vacations. It is your time to take communion and have fellowship with the brethren. Sticking to it is one of the ways my parents always showed me how important it was.
    Other than that, I found your words very encouraging. So, thank you and God bless you for them.



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I’m not who I was when I got married.


It was less than three years ago when I stood at an altar in front of a cross and said, “I do,” to vows we wrote and vows we borrowed. And in less than three years, I have become a different person.


My heart has changed. I’ve grown closer to God. And I’ve learned to love myself more. I have very different interests and concerns than the girl who stood in a white dress at 24.


My husband isn’t the same person either. His passions have grown. His friendships have changed. The goals he has for himself and his family are vastly different than they were three years ago.


Maybe you’ve changed a lot since your wedding day, and maybe your husband has too. Maybe there have been some beautiful changes and maybe some that aren’t so lovely. And while sometimes the changes are positive ones, other changes can be difficult. 


Some changes threaten to steal away the promises we made on our wedding day.


When we base the commitment to our husbands on how we feel he has changed for the worse or for the best, we are putting our hope in a pretty shaky foundation.


But God. Our God never changes.


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)


When we put our hope in Him, and we plant our roots down into Him (Colossians 2:7) in our marriages, we stand on the firmest foundation there has ever been.


You’re not who you were when you got married, but God is the same God today as the day you made a vow to Him and your husband.


There are no coincidences and no accidents in God’s Kingdom. He works everything out for our good. Don’t believe me? Read Romans 8:28. He is working your marriage out for good, too.


Don’t let differences distract you from the divine gift God has given you in your spouse. 


When marriage gets hard and the fights feel never-ending, we look up. When we wonder who in the world we even married, we look up. When we think maybe we should have married someone different because we ourselves are so different now, we look up.


We’ll never be the same as we were the day we wore a veil and cut a cake, but we can make a decision to hold on to the same feeling of honor and respect we had for our husbands that day. We can take those promises with us no matter how many times we change in this life. We can continue to look up as the world around us and inside us shifts. Because our God never shifts.

We're Different Now

When we get married, we aren’t only agreeing to love the man in front of us for who he is that day, but for who he will be every day after that. Because we won’t always be who we are that day, and neither will he.


Wife Step: Write down three ways you’ve seen God remain constant and faithful throughout your marriage. Pray over those ways and thank Him for never changing, through the good and the bad.

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