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Have you ever played on a sports team—even a neighborhood pick-up game—where one of your teammates wasn’t giving their best effort? Perhaps they were barely trying at all.

In the meantime, you are out there giving 110% to the game. You want to win, but you need the effort of your teammate. As you see their passivity, you get increasingly frustrated and angry at them for not engaging as they should.

Men, that’s how wives can feel toward their husbands. She sees herself reading the books and articles on marriage. She talks to her friends about how to improve her marriage. She makes efforts toward conversation with you. A wife wants to connect—but her husband may seem content to simply be “on the field/court” of marriage.

Husbands become passive in marriage for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Once a man has his wife, the “hunt” is over and it’s time for new pursuits—like a career.
  • He may think, “Why put forth the effort when I’m likely to get it wrong?”
  • To him, everything may seem to be going along all right as it is. If it’s not broken don’t try and change it!
  • A husband may choose to be passive thinking that if he yields to his wife’s preferences (where to eat, what to do, dates, vacations, etc.) she’ll be happy.

But most wives don’t want a passive marriage partner. They want a husband who will actively invest time, energy, work, and heart into the relationship. They want a man who will initiate.

Consider Jesus’ example: the Apostle Paul writes that, “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). We were stuck in our sin, and Jesus initiated the relationship with us.

Husbands, are to be like Christ and initiate the building process in their marriage.


  • Conversation. Ask questions. Talk about your day. Invite her to tell you about her day.
  • Serving at home. Instead of asking what needs to be done, look at the world through her eyes. Find things you can do that would be helpful to her and simply do them.
  • Caring for the children. Instead of leaving the disciplining to her, step up to your role as a father.
  • Help with homework. Change diapers. Be involved in putting the children to bed.
  • Date nights. Come up with options for dinner or a date activity. Line up the sitter. Be willing to state your preference for what to do.
  • Spiritual growth. Invite your wife to pray with you. Take your family to church each week. Read a devotional with your wife. Pray with your children.

As a husband, you may not always hit the mark, but like any good teammate, you get up and keep giving your best. As you initiate, you will bless your wife and build your marriage!