Awhile back, I was reading at a prominent Christian mom blog. A particular and common topic brought on a myriad of thoughts; I came over here to write them out, unsure if they would ever be published. I have been thinking about it a lot, though, so I decided to go for it. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.
The question was posed, “What questions do you have regarding your marriage relationship?” The readers were supposed to leave their questions by way of comment to be answered in future posts by a mom and daughter.
The overwhelming majority of questions dealt with how to handle a husband that isn’t the spiritual leader he should be.
This question at once resonated with and unsettled me. Of course, I have felt and wondered about this same thing at times, but there has been a huge change in how I think about this matter in the last few years. Besides that, it didn’t look as pretty coming from other women as it did from myself.
So… what does a spiritual leader look like?
There are three major thoughts that come to mind regarding this issue, but I’m just going to start with one of them. (I don’t want to be blacklisted by my gender!) = )
According to the Bible, one of my major roles as a married woman is to be the keeper (despot) at our home. Not just the figurative, emotional part of the home… the home: the toilets, rugs, baseboards, pantry, schedules, sleeping quarters, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I was no ready-made homemaker when I got married. In fact, quite the opposite… minus a hundred thousand. I am and always will be everlastingly grateful that my husband was patient with me regarding this. After six years, I’ve come a long way, but I have so much farther to go before I will even close to consider myself equal to most of the people I know.
Don’t you think that we as women might just be a little bit hard on our guys regarding this “spiritual leadership” issue? I mean, most guys don’t have any experience at spiritual leadership when they get married. So they gave a devotion in teen group? Were a prayer leader at Christian college? Led a discipleship group in their church? That no more prepares a man to “lead” an emotionally charged, newlywed girl/woman, then a high school cooking class prepares a woman to feed a gargantuan, hungry man… every day, on a budget.
How would you like for your husband to comment every time you left dishes in the sink too long? or were impatient with the children? or didn’t put much effort into making a nutritious, filling dinner? or for that matter, slept in and didn’t read your Bible? I know some women experience this regularly (thankfully, I’m not one of them); I doubt it’s a pleasant or inspiring experience.
Here, simply put, is my first question regarding husbands, wives, marriage, and spiritual leadership.
Are we too hard on our husbands regarding their God-given marital roles while giving ourselves unending patience and grace?
More than likely, yes.
A relationship has an atmosphere. Criticism and impatient waiting don’t mix well with love and support. Patience and grace can create an environment where small steps are encouraged, not avoided for fear of failure.
Besides that, we wives probably have enough work to on with ourselves for a while. When you take your eyes off of someone else’s faults and begin to concentrate on your own, things really do brighten up.
Has anyone else noticed this widespread dissatisfaction? What are your feelings on the matter?
4 thoughts on “What does a spiritual leader look like?”
My wife has always tried to surround herself with girlfriends who uplift their husbands and not sit around and hen peck them. It has been a real blessing to our marriage. Patience is a much needed virtue in marriage.
Thank you so much for adding this! How important it is for wives to guard the influences on our hearts and minds.
I disagree. And agree. First, I’m not the one that GETS to be hard on my hubby, God does. That handsome man is CALLED by God and ACCOUNTABLE to God for being priest (the man who goes to God on my behalf intercedes for me spiritually), prophet (goes to me on God’s behalf — feeds me spiritually), protector (keeping me safe spiritually, physically & emotionally), and as provider (nourishing me spiritually, physically and emotionally).
Choosing to be a husband is not about the perks. Its about a HUGE responsibility that happens to have some nice perks 🙂 . Its a huge responsibility that a guy says to God, “Yeah, okay, I’ll take care of this woman. LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR HER.”
As a wife, I have the right to biblically have those expectations, desires of my husband. I do NOT however have the right to be the one to be his Holy Spirit or nag him into it.
One of the most amazing things I have seen in my short marriage is my husband’s CONSISTENT, biblical, loving and firm spiritual leadership. I saw him purpose from the very beginning to incorporate habits into our daily lives that would keep him “regular” in his role as my leader.
I am not a place mat. (Have you noticed?). I was a single mom for 10 years and an extremely driven career woman. Submission to my husband has been two-fold: 1. A HUGE blessing. 2. It also reminds me I get to be a tool by God to give my husband opportunities to actually lead.
I love this topic simply because I have personally lived it by God’s grace and am saddened (and sometimes shocked) by Christian marriages of 15+ years where they are still struggling with this.
You should note: D and I both FAILED in our first marriages to non-believers. Neither of us lived our roles biblically in those marriages.
Ultimately, our marriage is our first ministry and its also one of the first ways we witness to a broken world.
Can you tell I love this topic TOO???!!!!!!
Jacqueline, thanks so much for the comment! You and Danny are such a lovely picture of a God-honoring marriage. I really appreciate (and agree!) with your thoughts. = )