When Wives Emasculate Their Husbands

This article really upset people, but was cool truth for most others. Wendy and I are quite convinced that wives who recognize how harmful they can be to their man — and they work to overcome that — are wives who can have wonderful marriages.

Chris & Wendy Jeub

“If you’ve spent any time around horses, you know a stallion can be a major problem. They’re strong, very strong, and they’ve got a mind of their own. Stallions typically don’t like to be bridled, and they can get downright aggressive—especially if there are mares around. A stallion is hard to tame. If you want a safer, quieter animal, there’s an easy solution: castrate him. A gelding is much more compliant. You can lead him around by the nose; he’ll do what he’s told without putting up a fuss. There’s only one problem: Geldings don’t give life. They can’t come through for you the way a stallion can. A stallion is dangerous all right, but if you want the life he offers, you have to have the danger too. They go together.”   —John Eldredge, Wild at Heart

This quote is rich. I’ll put aside the obvious biological meaning. When it comes to marriage, this meaning is relationally deep.

I’ve had friends whose wives belittle them. There is little more emasculating to a dad than his children’s mother berating him. I remember one friend whose wife complained of how dopey, lazy, withdrawn he was. At work he was a dynamo! But almost prophetically, at home he was…

  • dopey,
  • lazy,
  • withdrawn.

Just like the gelding. The behavior these women complain of their husbands is the very behavior their husbands display. They have castrated their stallions, and the men in their lives are half the men they could be.

C.S. Lewis wrote in Abolition of Man, “We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Wendy is an awesome example of encouragement and support. I’m convinced that I am thrice the man I would be on my own. Her help and support never ends, always a cheerleader, forever an encourager.

I wish all my friends had supportive wives. That’s one of the messages Wendy continues to bring home to her friends, and she does it well.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Harriet

    It’s always the woman’s fault.

    • Chris Jeub

      Is your husband dopey, lazy and withdrawn, Harriet?

      • Harriet

        No, he is very masculine. And nothing can change that. Words from me cannot make him into a gelding.

        Who are these men who are so easily transformed into geldings by the words of a woman? In my view, a man is a man, he doesn’t switch between manly and emasculated depending on the words of his wife.

        • Ronstauffer

          “Who are these men who are so easily transformed into geldings by the words of a woman?”

          I’ve seen this happen.  The answer is that they are not “easily” transformed.  It generally takes years of fighting first.  Then the man learns that he cannot please his wife and that the only way to have peace is to no longer hold high the standard of a Biblical marriage, but to settle into his wife’s preferred feminist scoldarchy.  This is a self-preservation issue.  A man who cannot put up with it (and whose wife will not be taught or led) will either fight like a stallion, leave, or surrender and become a gelding at home.

          It doesn’t happen “easily” or quickly.  It’s tragic and is an indictment of the woman’s character, and possibly the husband’s ineffectiveness at dealing with her, or his cowardice to deal with her.

          And yes, if a wife tears down her husband and shames him in front of the family or his friends, or at any time, it is 100% her fault.

          • William Cody Bateman


        • Michael

          Yes, I have been watching my wife tear-down our marriage for the last 20 years. She is turning into her mother, the woman that she witnessed brow-beat , belittle and emasculate her father all of her life. What worse is that she lives in this private little world called Denial…
          I am not clay for her to mold into a form that pleases her, I am me. Love does not endure all things; it does so only in movies and poetry, but not in the real world. The demise of our marriage is on the horizon, and it sickens me, it tears my heart out…

          • David

            Wives do not behave like this unless they are REALLY hurting inside. Are you the husband God has called you to be Michael? Is she the most important thing in your life, always coming first? Have you layed down your life for her?

            It starts with you. Men are the activators, women are the responders.

            How is your relationship with God? Are you leading your wife and family how God would have you do so?

            There is a need of your wifes that you are not meeting; probably exactly the same need your FIL has not met for your MIL. Women tend to marry a man like their father.

            God bless you as you seek His face.

    • Anh61

      More true than you realize, Harriet. If we show our husbands respect, they will show us the love we need. If we give them what they need, they will thrive. 

      • Harriet

         I think men should take responsibility for their success or failure. Real men are adults who take responsibilities for their actions, and don’t blame it on their wife’s nagging or disrespect.

        A mare cannot tame a stallion, in other words. So true men don’t have to worry if the woman in their lives aren’t nice enough to them. They don’t get emasculated that easily.

        • Ronstauffer

          “Real men” can be beaten down by a constant dripping. and “real women” can be turned into mice by a browbeating husband who treats them like a doormant.  It may be true that we all need to not have a thin skin, but it’s also an obligation that we should be nice to our mates.

          Chris is commenting on the fact that many men will trade their boldness for peace in the home, or at least for quiet.  I could never do that, but many do.  I talked with a few pastors recently and they commented to me that what they see in America is over half of men “afraid” of their wives.  Sad.

  • Lynette

    I’m seeing the end result of this in a marriage near and dear to me.  The husband could do nothing right.  If he did do some job for some other home other than theirs, she was bitter and nagging and left notes of lists of things she expected him to do for her.  Old age has crept up on this home and he had figured out that if he sat down and did nothing he got less guff.  So that is exactly what he did.  She sort of liked that, (she likes to be needed as a sort of nursemaid,)  at least he wasn’t doing for other people, he also didn’t have such endless to do lists for home either.  So he sat and sat and eventually his walking deteriorated.  She started wiping his face off when they ate, eventually he couldn’t find his own nose to wipe it.  Now he is in a nursing home, he can’t walk anymore, he can’t feed himself.  He can’t wipe his spital, or go to the bathroom unassisted.    This didn’t happen overnight.  It took years, but he couldn’t be trusted to pay bills, or handle the money, or drive, it was all little things and they added up.  You do get what you expect out of people.  If we tried to explain to this wife what she has done she wouldn’t get it. 

  • Anh61

    powerful analogy

  • Amy Woolley Pederson

    Many women are guilty of tearing down their own homes with their words.  It is a sad thing to witness.  

  • Ginger

    This is so true! And I find that I am blessed when I ask my husband’s advice instead of seeking it elsewhere. The Lord gives our husband’s discernment that is so helpful. My hubby almost always has a  good solution to whatever schooling or parenting issue I’m having. It takes humility to ask him instead of just googling it; but what a blessing! 
    And when I brag on my hubby to my friends, he works even harder. My respect for him brings out the very best in him. Likewise, when I disrespect him, publicly or privately, it brings out the very worst in him. If they must choose to love us, we as wives can certainly choose to respect them. 

  • meagank

    I hope your next post is on men who tear down women…..

    • Anonymous

      Amen, amen, amen

  • Anonymous

    Honestly I think it comes down to one simple thing… respect. If you respect your partner you aren’t going to try and tear them down.  If you don’t have respect for your partner the marriage, in my opinion, is doomed.  Its a two way road  and not just a case of ‘that darn woman would have no problems if she didn’t talk to her man like that’.

  • Bob Shupe

    Great quote and follow up Chris.

    I find that this is frequently true even to a second and third degree with mothers and mothers-in-law. I personally come from a very troubled background and likely would have not have been a fraction the man I am or try to be today if it were not for my wife but also my mother-in-law (father-in-law too). They have been instrumental in encouraging me to fight hard when it was time to do so, to be assertive where I might have done otherwise and to have a much higher view and expectation of myself.  And of course we all know guys who not only have wives who tear them down but their MILs jump on that band wagon as well. (Lets not get started on mutli-generational issues with wives teaching their daughters how to treat men at the expense of their husbands). Some of my friends from my school years are literally still doing the exact same things they were doing while in school and I think it can largely be attributed to the expectations of their mothers and girlfriends and others.

    • Chris Jeub

      Very good point! Discussion on how in-laws encourage their kids’ marriages (or tear them down) could be an entirely new post. Or book.

  • Terri

    I have always appreciated info on how to have a better marriage. I’ve always perked up and listened. But I could never see it, understand it. I never saw it modeled. I was raised by my Mom and Grandmother who are men haters. What I needed was,” What does this look like?”. I found it in “Love and Respect” by Eggerichs. Cannot recommend it enough.  Husband and I now share the seminars every chance we get.

    • Chris Jeub

      An awesome book. Wendy and I recommend it, too.

  • Kristy Griffin

    So… what, if you marry a guy, suddenly he’s above all possibility of criticism, ever?  What if he’s actually doing something wrong?  I mean, I agree that in a relationship you need to work together and not actively tear each other down, but that doesn’t mean letting your partner do anything, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, because you don’t want to ever criticize him.

    • Chris Jeub

      Great questions, Kristy. I’m going to pass this onto Wendy. She’ll be better able to give a good answer in a later post.

    • Diane

      Read Fascinating Womanhood. 

      • Charlie

        “Fascinating Womanhood” can be a good book IF a woman is in a relationship with a mentally healthy, non-manipulative, non-abusive spouse, AND if she remembers that this book, with all it’s good qualities, is NOT the infallible Word of God. I am much more prone to recommend “Captivating,” which offers a much more balanced, Biblically sound version of womanhood that does not have us stamping our feet and simpering all the time. There is a great diversity within Biblical womanhood, and while none of it tears man down, not all of it is shy, flirtatious, and child-like.

  • Penny

    Chris, please visit my blog: and share your thoughts. I recognize I have great lessons to learn regarding how to be more precious than rubies and how to be my husband’s helper, but I am completely desperate to discover the stallion within my husband. To be quite frank, I fear I am loosing all hope.

    • Chris Jeub

      Thank you so much for posting, Penny. Wendy and I read your blog post together,
      and a good conversation followed. We’d like to save the bulk of our reaction for a larger post, to give it some real thought.

      Real quick points of clarification:

      1. Others have said you tear down your man, as this is something you admit to struggling with.
      2. Leadership comes naturally to you, and it is something your husband took to before you married.
      3. You believe your husband is a gelding: lazy, slow, a poor leader. He is “a thorn” in your side.
      4. You fear that if you let your husband lead, you’ll go too slow, perhaps lose the ranch, etc.

      Are these correct?

    • Penny

      Goodness. I failed to articulate myself well, and am quite ashamed at how much I assumed my audience understood regarding myself and my family, even our ministry. First of all, anyone and everyone that knows my husband knows he is not lazy or a nincompoop. He is most certainly one of the more fabulous men in the world, and the most serving man I know. Those that know me appreciate that I am an advocate at heart and too often create a martyr of myself, using the term “we” far too liberally as I empathize greatly with those facing trials. However, the greatest error within my post was not making more clear which attributes were genuine to my husband, or even myself. Instead, I wore the scarlet letter for women I can identify with on some level, and voiced many concerns that were beyond my own, yet I appreciate. While I have certainly spoke unkindly towards my husband and have made decisions without seeking his counsel, I would disagree on a personal level with most all your points below. I do though, empathize with women who do berate and belittle. As a midwife, I am often privy to much more intimacy within the relationship than most and recognize her pain, disappointment, and bitterness…and her shame. Again, my miserable attempt to demonstrate the cultural trend of blaming the woman for being controlling and castrating her man, rather than a few decades ago when a man would have been blamed for not controlling his wife, failed along with my attempt to question why the church doesn’t recognize that potentially the fix is reaching out to the lost man and encouraging him, shepherding him in leading his family. Either way, because my post was so poorly executed, I am going to delete it in effort not to appear as if I am dishonoring my husband and I would ask that you would as well, delete my comments. I’ll have to pray for a bit of discernment with how to articulate my conviction regarding these thoughts before I take another stab at it. (By the way, my husband and I saw another movie by the producers of Fireproof, coming out this fall, that speaks to this very issue. We are very excited about it!)

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the man and the woman should take responsibility for their own actions and that any man that berates a woman or any woman who berates a man should and will be accountable in the eyes of God.  The bible say for the man to love his wife as himself and for the woman to reverence her own husband.  If we do this we should be good in our marraiges.  In My life I have been witness to both sides of this abuse and it is sad both ways.

  • William Cody Bateman

    This post is dead on.

  • Anna

    So glad to find this post! I was searching via google for something about this and wallah! It upsets me so much to see women around me belittling and breaking down their husbands! And it happens in the church as well. It has become a cultural thing as well with it being in commercials on tv. It amazes me, because for me it is so easy to see how the constant belittling actually creates a negative effect. I pray continuously that I can be an encouragement to my husband. From the perspective of a wife, it would break my heart if my husband felt degraded because of me! I feel like there needs to be an awareness of this in our culture and churches. Men need to be able to be men! They need the chance to lead and fight without fear of being belittled if they fall down. They need a partner to help them up.. Not to kick them and yell at them when they’re down. I find it is most sickening when women do it in public as well. If there are concerns within the relationship.. It should be discussed, in private. Public humiliation is discusting!

  • Pablo

    You are so lucky, I started my own business two years ago, my wife is been always there to tell me what a stupidity It was and what a big waste of time were all my efforts, business is going well now, and It seems like she’s starting to be happy with it now, but she wasn’t my cheerleader, she was the opposite, and I’m feeling so disappointed.

    • Chris Jeub

      I’m very sorry to hear this, Pablo. Thank you for commenting. It’s good for others to hear from someone who suffered from the emasculating. I hope your testimony will change hearts.

      • Pablo

        Thanks Chris, words can really destroy a man, especially if they come from you wife, after 10 years of violence and insulting, I just feel useless, even if I’m successful with my business it doesn’t matter how much effort I put is never enough, I just stop trying, I’m asking for instructions all the time, making my own decisions at home means troubles, I feel so trap in this situation, talking is totally impossible, no way to solve it,

        • Chris Jeub

          Yep, I’ve seen this time and time again in marriages. It’s more common than people like to talk about.

  • Truth

    The emasculation of men and particularly those in the church is a topic dear to my heart. As a single woman who has never been married I have grown up seeing my father be what I believe to be the kind of man outlined in scripture. My parents didn’t always agree and by no means was their marriage perfect but I never saw my mother belittle my father and my father treated my mother as a queen, I saw the love and respect they had for each other. For many years I assumed all other Christian fathers were like mine but I gradually saw the truth of how men were and continue to be emasculated. I have had so many discussions on this subject both with men and women saved and unsaved and it strikes me how often those who are born again have a mindset regarding men that is influenced by post modern thinking. Whilst I do not believe in trying new techniques to attract certain groups to the church as I believe that when we go back to the basics of scripture we will do well. I do believe that we need to re-evaluate the things that happen in our homes, and churches because these are symptoms of a way of thinking. Many can easily quote Romans 12:1-2 but all too few of us consider what it means in practice for us. Some women who demonstrate wrong thinking/ behaviour try to justify it because of how they feel they are being treated and things that have happened in the past and whilst their complaints may be legitimate God’s word remains.

    • Marco A.

      My mother prays often, reads many spiritual books, and deems herself wise in the ways of Christianity. But she has turned my father into something I don’t even recognize and I scorn.

  • Anna Grace

    Totally agree with the article, but you really shouldn’t have taken Lewis out of context like that….

    • Chris Jeub

      But it so ties with Eldredge’s quote. I wonder if his editors cut out this Lewis quote? I bet they did.

  • Stacey Hoffman

    Ummmm what if, in fact, the husband IS lazy at home! It is not ” prophetically” it is truth. What then??

    • Stacey Hoffman

      I just do not like assuming the woman is to blame for her husbands laziness. What if in fact hg is lazy? I am not saying it is right for her to berate him, I am saying perhaps he is lazy!

      • Chris Jeub

        I’d say you’re sort of answering your own question. Don’t berate, but deal with the laziness (or whatever issue is at hand). The point that I think Eldredge is making (and I agree with him) that often the laziness is just APPARENT laziness, an attitude that is sort of a reaction to being belittled.

        • Fannie Wolston

          Every adult should take a stand against being belittled, Stopping the behavior has nothing to do with stallions or geldings or with putting women down or keeping them subservient! it has everything to do with mutual respect. Men and woman who complain about being belittled need to stand up for themselves. Looks like you prefer to blame women in society for the behavior problems of men.

          • James Breckenridge

            I’m sorry, but I have to say this: Fannie, your response to this article is dumb: what does a person’s ‘standing up for themselves’ have to with changing an offender’s deviant behavior??? Are you suggesting that a man should knock out a wife who belittles him….or that a woman should perhaps take her car and run over her husband who talks down to her??? I know you’d better not be suggesting that!! Short of that, a husband or wife can spout all of the defensive words that he or she desires at the offending person in response to their denigration…it doesn’t mean that they’re going to change as a result. The bottom line is: no one can take responsibility for stopping your bad behavior but….wait for it…YOU! That’s why this article is important. Just maybe if you can understand the evil that you are doing to your spouse, YOU might be inspired to change…instead of thinking that someone should MAKE you change. YOU have to decide to be different…that is, if you care for your spouse…at all.

            • Fannie Wolston

              First, the suggestion of violence came from your mouth and your mouth alone, Perhaps you’d care to elaborate how one one finds inspiration to rise above the fracas without resorting to violence. You do realize there are options other than getting revenge, right?

              So how long do you suggest the victim of an “offender’s deviant behavior” accept the abuse from their spouse/partner? For howevr long it takes? I have nothing but compassion for those who cower in fear/shame of their spouses behavior towards them, too frightened to speak up, to weak to confess their awful living conditions.

              Yet YOU suggest to that victim to WAIT until the perpetrator is “inspired” to change on their own? Therefore the abuse remains within the control of the perpetrator.

              have you any other scenarios you care to project with a better ending than wait until your abuser decides to read jeub and get inspired by talk of geldings?

              • James Breckenridge

                Perhaps we need to clarify your use of the phrase ‘standing up for yourself’. My point is that merely engaging in verbal or physical combat will not make the offender change. Change has to come from within the offender in order to be real change. However, if after the offended party has expressed his or her displeasure to the treatment they’re receiving and the offending party seems to have no motivation within them to alter their behavior, then obviously the question becomes how long the victim is willing to endure being a punching bag – psychologically or physically. My suggestion is not to wait for the offender to develop feelings for your wellbeing that they obviously don’t possess. If they’d rather bash you than love you: get out…period.

            • Beardog1579

              what she is saying it that perhaps it ISN’T deviant behavior – perhaps it’s the man practicing passive aggressive behavior as a means to manipulate both the wife and the circumstances.

  • Charli Armstrong


    I am reminded of the lyrics to the song ‘He Can Do It’ from the musical Purlie. It is about what you speak of; encouraging the man you love. Uplifting him. Here is a link to a beautiful performance of a very powerful song that has a lot of truth in its lyrics.

  • Beardog1579

    perhaps it’s not laziness – but a complete lack of confidence – that was brought onto the man by his PARENTS – when they favored the second son and completely ignored the first – always demanding perfection and yet lavishing all the praise on the other child? Why are people always so quick to blame the wives? The wives wait and wait for the husband to garner initiative and do things other men seem to be able to do with their eyes closed – then when it never happens, the wives take the jobs onto their own shoulders – in addition to their own work – then are criticized as “emasculators” – total bs!

  • Sheloveshim

    I have watched several women destroy their homes with this kind of behavior. In order to keep your husband the leader of the household even when he fails tell him it’s okay and that you know he still can do it and encourage him. When he fails you should love him anyways not belittle and steal leader role away from him. Women don’t respect the man that they have to lead they end up resenting him for it. Woman are made to be with a man that knows what he wants and is sure of who he is and can lead the household. It’s in their DNA and it is in the mans DNA to lead changing that goes against nature and the reason why they go against nature is because of society telling woman that they should lead and train their men! This is destructive and do not listen to society, unless who want to be like most of the population get a divorce. Society doesn’t want you happy and they don’t want you to have a successful marriage. Society tells me I have a controlling husband for letting him lead, friends tell me I have a controlling husband for letting him lead, but I feel good being the supportive wife and I love him and respect him more and more each day. Don’t listen to the world listen to God and what his plan is for you, he has a role for each sex and if you do as he wishes it pleases him an your relationship with your spouse will flourish.

  • John Hintergardt

    Stay single my friends.

  • Dolmance

    Besides abusing their husbands, these woman ruin their children’s relationship with their fathers, by making them overcompensate through being cold, distant and punitive.

    What horrible women.

    • Marco A.

      Pretty much on point. My comment above:

      My ‘dad’ has been emasculated by my mother. I put dad in quotations because I am so ashamed of him. I don’t even recognize him anymore. He doesn’t stand up to her, and instead is like a robot and turns against me when she requires him on her side, its pathetic… bleh..”

      I despise my mother for it, and I brought it up many times with her. But she never changes.

  • Marco A.

    My ‘dad’ has been emasculated by my mother. I put dad in quotations because I am so ashamed of him. I don’t even recognize him anymore. He doesn’t stand up to her, and instead is like a robot and turns against me when she requires him on her side, its pathetic… bleh…