Rollercoaster Track

My son does not like roller coasters. Last summer we went to Universal Studios Florida for a day of family fun and it turned into a “fearfest” for him. It was not that most of the rides were too crazy for him, but it was a fear of the unknown that scared him beyond the fun aspect. The rides that we made him ride had already beaten him before we ever got on them.

My daughter who is younger loves roller coasters. On an earlier trip to an amusement park I can remember being on a ride and hearing my son screaming, “Let me off of this thing! Get me off of this thing!”, on one side of me while on the other side my daughter is screaming, “This is awesome! Can we ride again?”

This scenario reminds me of many marriages today. Many husbands have become passive in their roles of leadership in their family. At the same time many wives have taken the reigns of the leadership left void by their husbands and can’t let go.

Look at the roller coaster as a family. Many husbands have stepped out on getting on the roller coaster. Somewhere along the way they have become disengaged and fallen passively asleep in handling their leadership role. Somewhere in the process their selfish attitude has allowed them to justify being an immature, negligent, and irresponsible father and husband.

The wives of these men have had to get on the roller coaster and take on a leadership role. When the ride comes in for a stop, however, they have to stay on and ride again because they aren’t getting help from their husbands. They have to carry the weight of the family while they wait for their husband to get on the ride and help. It is no wonder that this burden leads the wife to feel resentful, angry, and alone.

We have trained a generation of marriages today to have passive husbands with eager wives. The eager wife has learned to operate her marriage alone without expecting help from her passive husband. Some might say she has become disrespectful, but with the lack of a Christlike love from a husband who is not providing any leadership, there really is not much for her to respect.

To throw out another word picture, I look at this as a patch of road. On one end there is a stop light. The husband sits here in his car and while the light continues to cycle from red to green he does not move forward. He is asleep at the wheel. On the other end of the road headed the same direction as her husband is the wife at another stop light. Every time the light turns green, however, she has to go. She has to take the leadership role. Because she has had to be the leader for so long she can’t stop. Every time the stop light turns green she has to go forward.

Somehow and someway, for the marriage to start to function the husband has to wake up and push the pedal of responsibility down. On the other end, the wife has to put the brakes on and even turn around in some cases. She has to let go of some of that weight that she has been carrying for so long. She has to be willing to forgive an embrace a repentant husband. We need to get the passive husband and the eager wife on the road between the stop lights. If we can get the husband to go and the wife to stop we might have a chance.

While I will leave the Peacefulwife to address the eager wives, I would like to address the passive husbands. In The Resolution for Men, Stephen Kendrick say, “God’s Word commands husbands and fathers to lovingly lead their homes. As men, we are to walk in honor and integrity and fully embrace our responsibilities as shepherds over our families. We are called to model a loving, Christlike example for our wives and children.”

So, you’ve screwed up as a husband. You may feel that you aren’t worthy to be the leader of your marriage. No matter what has held you back from getting on the roller coaster of your marriage there is hope. That may mean you have to step up. That may mean you have to change some things. That may mean you have to get rid of some idols that are keeping you from doing the job God planned for you. You may have to get real about your responsibilities as a husband and father. Quoting Stephen Kendrick again, “No man and no family is a lost cause when God gets involved.”

“No man and no family is a lost cause when God gets involved.”

Men have to grow up. We cannot be boys any longer. We have to start living like men. We need our priorities to be in order. We can’t let video games take up time that we should be spending with family. We can’t let being with “our” friends be a priority over our family. We need to be responsible with alcohol and drugs. We need to be responsible on our computers to not stray to pictures of porn. We need to be the spiritual leader of our family and get our families involved in a church. We need to set the example in our workplace to be Godly men with moral ethics. We need to be worthy of respect from our wives.

“Leadership determines direction.”

So, what are you going to do? Are you going to continue to sit outside the roller coaster line and not get on the ride? Maybe you will just continue to stand there and maybe occasionally look up to see your wife and family sitting on the ride. You might even occasionally wave as they go by. Or are you going to take that step forward and start becoming the husband and father you should be? Are you going to wake up and see what you are missing standing out in the fog? You know deep inside that you were made for this. This is God’s purpose for you. Get on the ride and let God guide your roller coaster on the track.