How To Give The Guy A Chance To Lead


I believe it all began in the streets of Paris.

I was younger, single, and relatively free from responsibility.

Back then I was studying in France and getting lost in the Louvre.

Later I would meet the man I’d marry and we returned to Paris on business. Not that it was all work and no play. We spent our mornings sipping lattes in a local café and then one afternoon determined we’d head out to the Eiffel Tower.

We both stared at the Metro map to see which train we should take. I waited a long time – maybe 10 whole seconds – for him to figure out our route.

And then I stepped in.

Stuck out my elbows and made the plan.

Two metro changes and voila! We’d be there.

Rather pleased with myself, we boarded the train together.

But somehow I wasn’t feeling the love, if you know what I mean? I could sense the tension between us reaching across the crowded train.

What? What was going on?

The 15 minute train ride seemed to take hours, but we finally got off and waited for our next connection.

Then I heard him say it, in perfect English:

“You never gave me the chance. You just had to jump in there and take charge, didn’t you.”

I defended myself, “But I know the language better. I’m more familiar with the Metro system. I am quicker, faster, better….

(Okay, so I didn’t actually say that last bit, but I might as well have.)

Without saying one word – at least directly – I was communicating that I had more confidence in my abilities, than I did in his.

And isn’t this often the case?

We express our concern, our disappointment, our disgust even, that our man isn’t taking his responsibility to lead in the relationship, or to lead in our home.

But have you ever really given him the chance?

Or, are you like me and quick to jump in if there’s any lag time. Stick your elbows out and take over. You’re more confident in your own strengths than you are in his.

I frequently hear women complain about this situation: He simply won’t lead. How can I follow him, if he won’t take leadership?

So I have a question for you:  How can he lead . . . if you won’t follow?

Most guys – they give up. They don’t want to fight for it and they don’t want to go up against you in order to do the hard work of leading.

Maybe you don’t even realize that you’re doing this. You might want to try asking him about it.

Or, better yet, ask a good friend who has observed the two of you together – the kind of friend who is willing to give you the straight goods. Ask if you have a tendency to jump ahead of your husband. To speak for him. To make the decisions. To take charge whenever there’s an opportunity.

If so, you might want to try holding off and stepping back. 

What if I had been willing to wait and stare at that Metro map for hours, if need be?

Or let’s try another scenario.

What if he had taken me in a completely different (as in “wrong”) direction and we ended up somewhere other than the Eiffel Tower?

What if. . . . we had found ourselves on a new and unexpected adventure altogether?

I probably missed out on an exciting discovery that day. Yeah, we got to our destination alright, just like thousands of tourists do.

But if I had to do it all over again, I’d zip my lips, tuck my elbows in, reach for his hand, and climb aboard whatever train he picked for us to travel on.

I guess I’d give the guy a chance to lead.

So from now on . . . it’s going to be bon voyage!

Lisa Jacobson,  Club31Women

100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyCheck out our books – now availabe in both print and digital format – 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson


  • Denise Hairfield

    Good advise I will certianly try this. I am guilty of this. I am one who will takes charge very quickly and my husband knows it. I don’t give him a chance. We will celebrate our 25th anniversary this month. I love your posts, it has given me such amazing advise along with the guidance of the Lord.
    Thank you so much

  • tlm

    20 years later…yes, that’s me, doing all the planning, orchestrating our lives. This summer, our boys are in individual traveling baseball teams. My husband has done ALL the research, printing, scheduling, and I am loving sitting back and letting him go. “Just tell me what time we have to leave” has been my motto this season. I hope this is just the beginning of him taking charge!
    Thanks for your insight in this article. We girls don’t ALWAYS have to outdo the boys!

  • Erica

    Wow. I’m not sure words can describe what this post has done for me. I think my husband has been trying to tell me the same message for quite some time, and I never seemed to have gotten it. This blog post hit home. My tongue can be my worst enemy and needs to be held back way more, even if I know I’m right. How much I’ve belittled him. Thank you for this post. I believe with prayer and hard work, a big change is about to be made. God’s blessings!

  • Terry @ A Mom's Many Lessons

    Again, the proverbial nail gets struck!
    Oh, this is what God has been convicting me of these recent years/months/days. But I am so slow to learn!
    Thanks for being bold to tell it like it is. We are in a feminist world, so these words strike fear in us. We fear we’ll lose our identity, or that our path was shorter, clearer, more direct…..but…..what really are we reaping as we get our ‘way’? Do we get the best of our man? We really need to understand how we each function and live in that reality.
    Thanks again!

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    I think that as wives and moms we get so used to managing the kids, the schedules, and the house that this becomes second nature. I think that this is an excellent reminder that it is fine for us to operate in that mode in the areas that we have been given that freedom. However, you bring up an excellent point that we should step back and let our husbands take the lead in the other areas. Thanks for the great reminder! I know I have some work to do in this area.

  • Rainshadow Noba

    What happens if you’ve always had the “he should be leading” mentality and attitude and he just isn’t doing it? It’s really hard to continue to step back after years of not being lead. He is great in our church, he has worked hard for his degree in ministry and works hard for our church, for the Army, for everyone but us. I feel like he spends all his time leading the world and has nothing left for us at the end of the day… I’ve been responsible for it all for the past decade and it’s exhausting. At least he tells me “You’re doing great with the kids” and “you’ve done a good job training them up”, but I’d like for him to be able to claim some credit for the spiritual lives of his children too, ya know? It can’t be all on me all the time, can it?

  • Chelsea

    Thank you so much. God is so good to provide the perfect posts at His perfect time. This is one of those for me.

  • mel

    Probably you could have handled that more tactfully, but I’m not sure how well your husband would thank you for letting him wander blindly around Paris, when you could have helped him! I’m not a person who wants to lead anyway, which can be just as obnoxious as wanting to, but I still point out to my fiance when he might be about to make a mistake – and he appreciates it! It’s out of care, not impatience. And he’s secure enough in his manhood that it’s not immasculating for me to notice the street sign he did not.

    • Frooky

      Exactly my thoughts, thank you! I am all for letting the man lead, but in the case above not saying a word, I’d feel like a liar. I think it’s just the way you utter what you want to say that makes you either the leader or the helper that you are intended to be in a marriage.

    • Jacque

      I agree. These can be tricky situations. We had an incident where we were driving somewhere new and I tried to let my husband lead. He figured out the route and was driving along, everything going fine, when I noticed us coming up to the street we were supposed to turn on. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make it seem like I didn’t trust him to follow the directions. But then he drove by the street. We continued along for a few more minutes and he said “oh wait I think we missed our turn”. At which point I said that I thought we went by it already. I’m pretty sure he was more upset that I didn’t say anything than if I had pointed out the street in the first place. A long discussion ensued where he made me promise to never keep it to myself when we miss a turn.

      I think it’s a fine line between leading and helping. you don’t want to just stomp all over his plans or ideas, and I love it when my husband figures out directions and leads us places, but then I’m also there to help too, so I need to learn when that can happen. We’ve only been married a year so I have a lot to figure out!

    • Elizabeth

      That’s refreshing! Sounds totally normal, right? But not necessarily. Not everyone accepts help easily (no matter how it is offered). Sometimes defenses and insecurity are too high to allow it. It’s so frustrating.