Why Dads Struggle with Passivity & How Moms can Help

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Episode Summary

God has clearly defined an important role for both Fathers and Mothers to play in the discipleship of their children, yet so many men seem to be succumbing to passivity and not participating purposefully in parenting their children biblically. Why is this? How can these Fathers be encouraged to rise up and lead confidently and humbly? Join us as we discuss six main reasons why men struggle with passivity and what their wives can do to help them.

We are excited to talk to you about a topic that we get asked about a lot and that is the passivity of men leading their families. 

So, we decided to dedicate an episode to why Dads struggle with passivity and how moms can help.

Passivity is a very real condition that started a very long time ago, all the way back in Genesis chapter three with Adam and Eve. 

This is a very important topic because men leading in the home is one of the key indicators of fruitfulness in a legacy. The man’s influence in the home is huge! Now, the woman’s influence is just as big of a deal but in this episode, we are focusing on the man and his role in the family. 

We wanted to encourage you that this episode might push you out of your comfort zone and the reason that should be encouraging to you is because often we can be willing to push ourselves out of our comfort zone when it comes to your job or providing for our family but when it comes to praying with our wife we won’t break through our comfort zone or when it comes to leading devotions with our kids or having deep conversations we tend to become passive and not break through our comfort zones. 

Women can have a hard time breaking through their comfort zones as well! But in this episode, we will be talking about the six main reasons why men struggle with being passive as husbands and fathers and how the wives can help their husbands and potentially bring them out of passivity and into true biblical leadership as the man of the family. 

Really what it comes down to is understanding what you are doing long term instead of acting upon what you are feeling in the moment. Its long term instead of immediate.

An example of immediate would be just focusing on yourself “let’s do the kid thing and get them to bed so that we can watch Netflix” this is narrow-minded momentary thinking. Momentary thinking gets you what you want momentarily and it’s selfish. Your tired and what’s most important is that you feel good instead of your kids being impacted by something powerful and positive by their father.

You must realize that what we do now at this moment has an impact in five years, ten years, twenty years and in the next century! It’s hard to pinpoint that and it’s not just this moment, it’s every moment, it’s the accumulation of how we live our lives every second. 

Someone once said that how we live our days is how we live our lives and it’s an interesting concept because we as finite humans tend to fall under the belief that “oh it’s just one day” but a day becomes two days and then a week a month and a year of you not leading your family and pretty soon you don’t know where the time went, all of your kids have moved out and your home alone stuck in the same funk you allowed yourself to be stuck in for years which is being passive and not taking up your God-given role and leading your family. You may have had good intentions but good intentions reap nothing if you are not willing to die to your flesh and do what you know you are called to do. 

So, it’s about today. Today is what matters, and we need to bring an important back to today which means rejecting passivity and leading as it is our God-given roles as husbands and fathers. 

Why Dads Struggle with Passivity & How Moms can Help

  1. We are Descendants of Adam & Eve

  2. Marriage Dynamics 

  3. They Don’t Read the Bible

  4. They have Not Seen it Modelled

  5. Cultural Resistance

1. We are Descendants of Adam & Eve

  • The number one reason that Dads Struggle with passivity is because we are descendants of Adam and Eve. We often refer to this as the Adam and Eve complex. You can read all about what we are going to talk about in Genesis three. 
  • So what happened is Adam become passive which allowed Eve to lead him and she gave him the forbidden fruit and they ate of it, and because they ate of the fruit that God had commanded them not to, sin was brought into the world and ever since then men have struggled with passivity.
  • There are many examples of passivity throughout the bible, one example is when Sarah cant give birth to a child and she takes it into her own hands and Abraham is passive and does what Sarah tells him to do, which was to impregnate Sarah’s servant Hagar.
  • Now, this is not a man-bashing episode, there are many examples of when men are not passive but you know what, a lot of the time when men are not being passive is when they are doing their thing outside of the family. A lot of the time men become passive inside the family dynamic. We might have just done amazing work that day and gone the extra mile to help someone with their thing but why is it that when we drive up to the house and we come home to our families that we become vegetables? Now, this doesn’t happen to everybody but it’s happened to us and we have to fight it! Sometimes it’s good to sit in the car and have a transition time from work to home where you can think about ways you can lead your family and ways that you can cherish your wife. 
  • Now it can be easy as wives to take it the wrong way when you see your husband sitting out in the car. It can be easy to think that he is being selfish and that he should be inside helping you and this is why you as a married couple must understand each other because everyone is wired differently and for some men, sitting in the car for ten to fifteen minutes before going inside is exactly what they need to be the best they can be when they are home, and you wives need to understand that and have grace. It wasn’t until we had a deep conversation about these things and how we are wired that we were able to understand each other and give grace where grace is needed.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 says “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.”
  • This scripture is telling us that we need to be watchful of the times when we might being passive as men and as women to be watchful of when it is our turn to step down in leadership when the father gets home from work. 


2. Marriage Dynamics

  • It is so important that you understand the dynamics of your marriage, the strengths, weaknesses and how you are different because it can be so easy to become frustrated with each other’s differences if you don’t understand that God placed you together and made you different so that you can work together as a team, make up for the differences and become one. And that beautiful picture of oneness cannot be accomplished without great communication and purposefulness.
  • Men, you need to be purposeful in leading your family, and that might mean getting intel from your wife and dealing with certain situations, or reading scripture to your son or daughter, or if you missed devotions in the morning making it a priority to do it in the evening and praying everyday not the same monotonous prayer but authentic spirit lead prayer. 
  • Ephesians 5:22-24 says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
  • Sometimes you may not think that your husband is worthy of being submitted to but the bible doesn’t say obey your parents if you think they deserve it, the bible says to obey your parents. The bible doesn’t say submit to your husband if you think he deserves it, the bible says to submit to your husband. As a wife it is your responsibility to submit and that means not disrespecting your husband in front of the kids so that he can lead, it means allowing for your husband to have the opportunity to rise up and lead and you need to realize that if you are discontent your husband can tell, and your lack of contentment has the most magnificent impact on whether your husband will have enough confidence to lead his family. If your husband senses that he isn’t good enough, that he doesn’t know enough of the bible to lead, he can’t pray as well as you or whatever it may be then his self-esteem and confidence is going to be way down in the gutters. Now, of course, we all need to take our own thoughts captive but you as a wife are supposed to be your husband’s partner you are supposed to support each other and lift each other up and when that’s not happening both of you will know and it will negatively affect your marriage. 
  • Men, you need to understand how much influence you have. Your wife could listen to ten podcasts on religion and potentially be more versed in the bible then you but if you were to read two sentences from the bible and then take ten minutes to talk about it with your wife and kids they will be far more impacted by that then the ten podcasts they listened to earlier. Why is it more powerful? Because God gave you the role of father and spiritual leader on purpose and he made you the pastor of your family, nobody else. So every word that comes out of your mouth is way more powerful and influential to your children and your wife. 
  • If you are a wife you may be wondering whether you can speak or lead at all, of course, you can and you should! You and your husband are equal. Equal in value but different in your roles. When your husband is gone at work, guess who is in charge, you are, and when the spirit is prompting you to pray, read scripture, or lead your children in any way you should do it. You and your husband are called you work together to raise your children and to leave a legacy that is glorifying to God. 
  • When you as a wife have a biblical understanding of your role in your marriage everything will change. Because then in the moments when your husband is leading, you will shift into the gear of helping him to lead. You are not helping him to lead, you are helping him to be able to lead. It is important to ask yourself hard questions like are you coming across as competitive because of your Eve complex, are you interrupting an interjecting too much? And just because you can say something better, understand it better and bring more meaning to it doesn’t mean you should if it is going to discourage your husband. 
  • You also want to be setting an example to your sons of what their role will be one day and if you as a wife are domineering and leading family bible time instead of your husband you are not setting a good example for your children. If you are partnering with your husband and supporting him as he leads the family you are setting a good example of marriage and the different roles in marriage to your sons and daughters. That should be your goal. 


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3. They Don’t Read the Bible

  • The bible can be intimidating. First of all, it’s a big book. Probably longer than anything you will read and if you are not used to reading it then it can be hard and a lot of people have a difficult time deciding where to start. We encourage you to consistently be in the word and if you don’t know where to read just read John or James or if you want to teach something but you don’t know what to teach just go to proverbs its full of wisdom and it’s easy to talk about but the reality is you can’t go wrong with any of the Bible, just open it up and get into the word. A good way to lead family devotions is to pick a book in the bible and slowly go through it and study it with your family that way you know every day what you will be reading next and you can give your family something to look forward to. 
  • If you don’t read the bible how can you teach something in the bible? Now, you don’t need to be this super-smart theologian or the pastor of a megachurch all you need to do is open up the Bible, read the word and discuss it. That’s it! 
  • Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
  • This is the core of parenting. To be able to discern the thoughts and intents of the hearts of your children so that you can correct when needed and encourage when needed and then raise up your children to be lights in a fallen world. 
  • If you want more peace in the home, if you want more obedience, if your wife is struggling with something then you need to bring the sword of the spirit which is the bible, God has given us this amazing tool so that we can run the race well. And it’s nothing you do that makes the bible powerful. If you were to simply read the words in the bible God can do amazing things and in many situations that is the perfect thing to do. You do not need to be a modern-day theologian in order to disciple your family!
  • Here is a question for you women out there that want their husbands to be better spiritual leaders. Are you making time for your husband to study the word so that he can be equipped to lead your family or do you fill his time with all these different things so that when he is home he doesn’t have time to study the bible?
  • Proverbs 1:8 says “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.”
  • You could read this verse and then say to your kids, “your life will go well if you listen to your parents” and boom, you have just edified your family and influenced obedience in your home. 


4. They have Not Seen it Modelled

  • Another reason that dads may be struggling with passivity is that they haven’t seen it modeled for them and they simply don’t know what it looks like to be the spiritual leader of a home. This is a very real thing, but frankly, it’s a horrible excuse to be weak. 
  • Maybe you weren’t raised in a Christian home or you didn’t have a father who modeled to you what a spiritual leader is but here’s the thing. You have an opportunity to leave a new legacy. If you make excuses, you get to keep them. If you keep making excuses you will replicate your past and bad experiences. Of course, if you were raised in a secular home and you haven’t had it modeled for you then it will be hard but you have two choices, you can replicate your past or you can leave a new legacy. 
  • As a man of faith you are called to be a biblical man, you are called to be the spiritual leader of your home and you are called to leave a legacy that brings glory to God. the purpose of parenting is the gospel, its bring people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior and if all you do is go to work, come home, play with your kids and love your wife you are doing nothing for the salvation of your children! You have to be purposeful and you can’t use excuses to finagle your way out of your God-given responsibilities. Everyone can make excuses, but not everyone will have the courage to reject passivity and leave a new legacy of fathers who lead their families in the Lord. 
  • Becoming a spiritual leader for the first time, praying for your wife, discipling your children anything that you learn to do for the first time is going to be awkward and sometimes painful just like going to the gym! But after a while of consistency, it becomes easier. Praying with your wife for the first time might be awkward but try not including God in your marriage, we promise you that in the long run passivity is much more difficult than being purposeful. 
  • All of this requires humility. If we think that we can parent and have a successful marriage without God and the Holy Spirit guiding our steps then we are prideful. If you haven’t gotten to a place where you just don’t know the answer and you go to the bible in search of truth then that might be a sign that there is some pride in your heart. 
  • James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
  • James 4:17 says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
  • If you are listening to our podcast then you know that you are to be leading your family in the Lord and you know that you are to be seeking God and reading his word. So, if you know that and we just told you and you are not doing these things then to you it is sin. 
  • Philippians 3:17 says “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
  • If you don’t know what something should look like then find someone who you can follow. You need to be walking in community with other people who are doing this well. 

5. Cultural Resistance

  • There is a lot of cultural resistance towards living biblically but believe it or not there is also resistance in the church. As you choose who you walk in community with do those people show more interest in conversations of sports or God and family and biblical things? Do you discuss how to be a better father or who you think will win the super bowl? Is there accountability and can you call each other out in love when sin is revealed and do you encourage each other to be more like Christ? 
  • If you don’t have these things in your community then maybe you need to find a new community or maybe you just haven’t been transparent enough with your current community. 
  • Comparison is another pitfall that you need to be aware of. Do you have a competitive nature? Are you blessed when your brother in christ is amazing at prayer or are you jealous and wish you were as eloquent a speaker as he is? 
  • God has his role, he gives us salvation and with that, we receive the holy spirit and it is not something that we can earn, it’s not works based but faith-based. There is nothing you can do for salvation all we have to do is have faith in the Lord Jesus as our Savior and God and he promises us salvation. Does this mean that when a kid accepts the Lord that we can let our guard down and stop be purposeful and discipling them? No, absolutely not. Sometimes the way things are taught can give leeway to parents and influence them to let their guard down because God has a grip on the children and nothing can separate them. But the reality is that sin can separate us from God and we have a responsibility as parents to protect our children and teach them to guard themselves so that when they launch into the world they won’t be ensnared by sin and leave the faith. God says that no power can separate us from God but it doesn’t say that we cannot walk away, and the sad truth is that many choose to walk away. 
  • If listening to this podcast has convicted you and made you realize areas that you have been passive in your life then you need to reject passivity. And when you do that the whispers of the enemy will be quieted and you will embrace your God-given role, you’re going to step into it and the first time you take a step towards leadership and purposefulness your wife is just going to smile with delight, she is going to be so excited and it is going to be the start of a whole new path for your legacy that is unbelievable. 

Scripture In This Episode:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 –Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.Let all that you do be done with love.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 –Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Proverbs 1:8 – My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother”

James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”


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Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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