Setting Your Husband Up To Lead Well

Summer is almost gone.  But I couldn’t let it go without sharing this story with you.  We were recently at the beach.  And with kids who wake up at the crack of dawn, we try to show our extended family mercy by getting our kids out of the house.  Stat.  So, naturally, with my coffee addiction we head to a coffee shop.  My love for coffee increases with the quality of a coffee experience.  Translation: I LOVE local coffee shops.  Dunkin’ is fine if you must, but when there’s an option, I run to the local dive any day.

That said, we tip-toed down the stairs and headed out.  As we drove, I sleepily anticipated the sights, smells and tastes awaiting me at the local coffee shop I love visiting when we come to the Outer Banks every year.

As we approach the coffee spot on the right, my husband takes a sharp turn across the highway to the left.  Directly into the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts.

What?!?!  I could feel my blood pressure rising.  Didn’t he know?  I love local spots.  I hate chains.  Especially when there is a local option RIGHT.ACROSS.THE.STREET.  Maybe I’m slightly snobby about my coffee habits.  But really, I was tired and was very much looking forward to relaxing in the big rocking chairs outside of the coffee shop as our kids ate their homemade half-way healthy bran muffins.  But no. That wasn’t happening.

As we parked in front of the Dunkin’-mcfatty-Donuts to gorge ourselves on sugar, I wanted to open my mouth and protest, but I decided to breathe.  Deeply.  And again.  And then one more time.

I knew from past mistakes that directly undercutting my dear hubby as he is trying his best to lead our family does me no good.  So I had a choice.  I could pout and frump and huff and puff and nag.  Or I could swallow this tiny (totally first-world problem) pill and follow my husband, who was honestly doing his best to bless us.  (sidenote- What I didn’t know was that my favorite shop’s bathroom was broken, but he knew that from a previous trip with the kids and just didn’t mention it.  And he, of course, knew our 4 kids would need a potty break 5 times in the course of our outing.)


As I sat collecting myself from my all out 3-year-old-internal-temper-tantrum, a phrase flashed through my mind:

“Francie- it’s the small things that build a great marriage.

The small things (like respecting honoring and appreciating your husband’s choice, even when you’d have chosen differently) that are really the big things.”

I’m a slow learner, but I am learning that by honoring him in the small things that don’t really matter (where we eat, where we stop on a road trip, what park we visit, what parking spot we chose…), I build into our marriage, rather than tear it down.

I’m learning that as I let him lead in the small things (like planning a morning coffee outing) I am helping set him up to lead in the bigger things.  ~  Simply put, I’m learning to shut my big mouth and let him lead.  And it’s ridiculously hard to do that.

From the outside looking in, I’d assume it mostly matters that I respect and honor my husband’s leading in the big things.  Like buying a house or changing jobs or deciding on a church or where our kids go to school.  But I’m finding that in order to set him up to lead our family confidently in those “big things” it actually requires me to practice in the small things.

I’m beginning to see things like the Dunkin’ trip as an opportunity to practice respect in small ways.

Because it really is the little things that make a big difference in building a marriage of trust, honor, strength and substance.  I want a leader for a husband, not a doormat. And I’m realizing that I have something to do with the development of that leader I want.  I’m learning that the more I am willing to follow and support in the little things, the more I see him bloom as a leader in other ways.

(Because really, Francie, does it matter where we have breakfast?  Of course not.  But if I nag him and complain every time he steps up to the plate, does that matter in the long run?  Um, yeah. For sure.)

Lord help me and my coffee addiction.  And give me loads of grace, and the wisdom to breath in that grace and out words of encouragement over my husband, to be his biggest fan as my he tries this tight-rope challenge of leading in a world that hardly knows how to encourage our men to be real men.