Way back, when I was still a complementarian because that is all I learned, this is one of the things that started to make me doubt. I will demonstrate it with a few quotes I took from the Internet today:
1) Many, many women struggle with the fact that their husbands don’t pick up the gauntlet to be the spiritual head of the home as the Bible talks about…
“Start by asking yourself this difficult question, ‘Do I let my husband lead?’
…You might be a strong woman with a take-charge personality he finds intimidating, or you may unintentionally treat him like a child, make him feel incompetent, constantly question or undermine his decisions, step in or take over. Whatever the case may be, a man is often reluctant to lead because he has a wife who is reluctant to follow.
… support your husband’s attempts, even if you think you have a better way to do it. Pray about this issue and search your heart for insight about your role as a follower. Then give your husband space to lead.” – Marriage Missions
2) The wife’s response to her husband’s leadership is very important. Often the slightest resistance or displeasure from her is enough to discourage a husband and cause him to give up on his efforts in this area. However, a man’s fulfillment, goals, finances, priorities, and relationships are profoundly impacted by his spiritual leadership, and therefore a wife’s role in encouraging her husband is one of her highest callings. – IBLP
3) You Might Be Sabotaging His Efforts
Unfortunately, many husbands would love to be the spiritual leader of their families, but they aren’t able to because their wives get in the way. Do you ever criticize his decisions or insist on making important decisions yourself, even unknowingly? Many husbands desperately want to please their wives, and as a result, will often turn into peacemakers rather than leaders for the sake of their marriage. – Family share
In short, complementarianism/ Biblical™ Patriarchy claim that to make your husband a leader, a wife should step back “even if [she] think[s she] ha[s] a better way to do it.” The “slightest resistance or displeasure from her is enough to discourage a husband and cause him to give up on his efforts in this area.” And if you “ever criticize his decisions“, you are to blame that he is not a leader.
But someone who will withdraw if his decisions are ever criticized is not great leadership material – why would God decree someone like that the leader? Jesus does not give up on leading us at the slightest resistance or displeasure. (What is more, God gave the woman a brain, too – bad decisions should not be followed.)
Besides, most men really do not want to be “ultimately responsible” for the spiritual atmosphere of their families. How could you be ultimately spiritually responsible for someone else, if God says everyone will give account for themselves before God? (Rom 14:12) Jesus calls believers not to lord it over others, as they are all brothers – even the fathers and husbands in the church are brothers of the wives and children
“Biblical gender roles” does not work in real life. It sets people up to try and become smaller (women) or larger (men) to fit into boxes that were not made for them. Men should “man up”: What they are is not enough. Women should “woman down”: What they are is too much.
In Biblical gender roles, nobody is allowed to simply work out the marriage dynamics that fits their personalities and gifts. Complementarianism is one-size-fits-all marriage advice. And no married couple is the same as the next couple.