That’s What Husbands Are For

Sometimes, as I’m sure you know, wives can take on more than they can  physically, spiritually, or emotionally handle.  It’s absolutely humanly impossible, but they manage somehow anyway, and the family survives the craziness after all. Survives. That’s an interesting word. But there’s a toll. And the family or the kids or mom herself pays it.

When a wife is carrying a burden of responsibility that is simply too much for her, her husband is the one with the responsibility to notice. He is supposed to protect her from her own rash commitments. In fact, somewhere in the OT law there is a verse about how if a husband hears of his wife’s vow on the same day that she made it, he can overturn it. That’s a good one, and I fully approve. Three cheers for the husband who says, “You said you’d do what? Are you crazy? I don’t want you to do that!”

Wives tend to underestimate the impact they have on their very own families, and, at the very same time, they also overestimate their own ability to carry far more weight than they were designed by God to carry. (Did you follow that?)  A wise husband will blow the whistle.

I remember when (and I know this may be a pitiful example) my husband stepped in and blew the whistle for me. When our kids were little, I had many women calling me to babysit their kids every week. I seldom said, “No,” and most of the time it was just great. But sometimes it really interfered with the how the household was running and how I was running. And I remember when Doug said that he really didn’t want me doing any babysitting for a while. It was so kind of him. Such a loving interference. I still bless him for that one. That’s what husbands are for. They are supposed to step in and call it quits on behalf of their wives.

Now I am not saying that men should boss their wives around, telling them they can’t do stuff that they really want to do. Shame on them if they do. What I am saying here is three cheers for husbands who are paying attention. Three cheers for the husband who says, “Honey, I don’t want you to take that on. I don’t want you volunteering for that job. You have enough on your plate. I don’t want a fried wife. I don’t care how much money it will bring in. It’s just not worth it. I’ll take care of it.”

Now I didn’t write this post to make women mad because they don’t have husbands who will do such things. I wrote it so women would not get mad at husbands who do. Bless God for that kind of husband. They don’t grow on trees.

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11 thoughts on “That’s What Husbands Are For

  1. I have been blessed with a husband who does exactly that. And it is absolutely wonderful, as I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to anyone. It happened this very day, which is why Dave and I laughed aloud as I read it to him. :)

  2. My husband is just such a one, and like Deborah, I also have a hard time saying “no” to anyone! I thank God for my Luke who knows how to protect me…often from myself!

  3. Great post. I struggle to judge the time and energy “things” take and I also, underestimate my impact in our family.
    Often, I want to fill a need, and thinking about what is necessary to make my home a place of peace and rest is not on my radar at the time I say yes.
    My husband is much more objective. He better judges our family needs and my needs. When he identifies my overcommitment -I feel a bit deflated, but, once the weight is lifted I appreciate being able to breathe easy.

  4. My husband has done that for me too and I’m so grateful. I eventually got to the point where I tell people I want to talk to him before I make a commitment (or end one), and he is more than happy to take the rap when I tell people that my husband doesn’t want me to ___________. He has even taken the weight of saying no off my shoulders!

  5. Too true. It can be very easy to be annoyed when your husband gently reminds you that you have things that need attending to at home. Defensively, we wives can be quick to assume he is somehow questioning our commitment or loyalty. We don’t want to allow that maybe someone needs to?

    It is all too easy to say yes to the needs of our friends and community because glory and praise for this service is usually much more forthcoming than thanks and adulation from our teenagers or two-year-old. The two-year-old and teenagers need us much more, however, and are so greatly formed or deformed by the loving work and attention we bestow or withhold at home. God is so good to give children two parents so that one of them notices when the other is stretched too thin. God bless the man with courage to say so!

  6. I think women lose perspective, too, and think that if they cannot “do it all” then they’re no good. Or think, “since I’m not working out the home earning money, I’m going to volunteer my socks off”.

    It’s okay to just enjoy your husband, your kids, and keeping house, and mastering that recipe. [It’s different, if volunteers are requested, and your husband (without advance prompting) says, “Honey, that’s right up your alley”.] I tend to feel like, I should volunteer now, because later I might be too busy.

    Do you think that the NT verses, referring to deacons/elders taking care of their own house first, is somewhat applicable to circumstances of “wives who do too much”?

    Recently, I’ve observed moms-of-teenage girls, whose daughters are becoming distant, while mom continues to spread herself more thinly organizing, volunteering, and ministering away. I want to send them anonymous postcards, blaring, “Take care of your own household first! No one’s going to want advice from someone who currently has kids in a downward spiral.”

  7. Great post, thank you.

    Just for the information you are refering to Numbers 30:3-13 and it applys the the children’s vows as well!

  8. Every time my husband “calls it” for me I am thankful. He always knows that I have a gift for saying yes to every thing, especially “good” things, and he is willing to take the blame for my “no.” I am gradually getting better at doing it without his notice. For instance this weekend I could have tried to haul the family to three or four “celebrations” for people and I just said “no.” And we had a great day at home. Thank you for this article.

  9. I just came across your blog from Mr. Wilson’s; this is the first post I’ve read here.
    As a single mom, I have a hard time knowing when to say No in time to prevent backtracking :)
    My tendency is to try to do everything: work, ministry, homeschooling, etc. I’m slowly realizing that if I only have time for 3 things – time with the Lord, time with my son, and time for work – my life will not crumble, people won’t think less of me (as if that matters), and my status as a justified child of God will not be in jeapordy.

    My perspective changes a lot based on how much time I spend in the Scripture. When I “see” my depravity and falleness spelled out quite clearly, I’m more likely to realize my complete dependence on Christ and less likely to think I’m superwoman. But it is still a hard mentality to break.

    I’m thankful for a God who cares enough to lead those without husbands and for husbands who follow the Lord in leading their families.

  10. Thank you, always a good reminder! This happened quite recently and I’m very happy my husband advised me to say no to taking on something because he realized better than I did that it would be a stressful burden for me to bear.

  11. Of course, I can gently do that for him too. I actually often have an easy time saying NO. I can occasionally over-commit on things I want to do sometimes, but it’s not hard for me to refuse something I don’t want to do or know I can’t handle at a given time even if I want to do it.

    Sometimes he helps encourage me to take something on that he knows I’ll do well and I appreciate his vote of confidence. Likewise, I try to encourage him to pursue things he enjoys, even if that means I need to give him up for a few evenings a week. But it’s also my responsibility to encourage him to manage his priorities well. If he seems to be over-committing, I might ask him where he would find time to do X or whether that is a higher priority to him than Y. Rarely would I exercise a veto over his commitments but I do try to ask him questions and help him be faithful to the commitments he’s already made. He responds so well to that too and really is grateful when I help him in that way.

    God has been so kind to give us each other.

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