When looking for ways to serve our wives, many of us would rather lay tile, or fertilize the lawn, than lead her spiritually. Why is that? Simple. We like to function within areas where we’re competent and comfortable. Unfortunately, providing spiritual leadership often isn’t one of those areas. Yet the fact remains: providing spiritual leadership is a vital aspect of our calling as husbands.
So where do you begin? How about developing a deeper understanding of God’s word. Men, as you become committed and competent students of Scripture, it’ll help establish two important things in your wife’s heart’both of which are crucial for your effective leadership.
First, your knowledge of Scripture will create a sense of security in your wife’s heart. She’ll be able to live in peace knowing you have the ability to bring the light of Scripture to bear upon those areas of life that are confusing, difficult, and scary.
Second, your understanding God’s word will raise your wife’s level of respect for you. As you wrestle with scripture, and demonstrate your commitment to bring God’s truth to bear upon the life of your family, your wife will have reason to respect and rest in your leadership. She’ll know she can trust you to do the best possible thing for her and your children.
Men, resources abound to help in this endeavor. Your pastor and local Christian bookstore will get you started, and Bible study groups can help you persevere.
Our fragile male egos can easily present a barrier to oneness and intimacy with our wives. One woman made this candid comment that makes my point: ‘Most things in our marriage are his plans and desires.[He never shows me any of his deep feelings, and I can’t say that I’ve ever felt one with him. He once said, ‘If I let you in and show you my feelings, I’d be vulnerable to becoming hurt.”
A husband’s refusal to be emotionally vulnerable is a sure sign that his fragile male ego is presenting an obstacle to marital health.
Another sure sign that the fragile male ego is at work is when a woman’s gifts and talents are perceived by her husband as a threat to his competency. This is an issue I’ve seen come up time and again in marital counseling.
My point, men, is that an overly sensitive male ego undercuts our ability to be vulnerable and humble’two necessary characteristics for strong and growing marriages.
One of the church’s great theologians was fond of referring to marriage as ‘the school of character.’ That’s because marriage, by its very design, will teach us things like vulnerability and humility’that is, if we’ll only commit ourselves to becoming attentive and teachable students.
The lessons we need to learn aren’t always easy. Yet they’re profoundly rewarding.
Men, no one in your home should be better and quicker at submitting to what Scripture teaches than you. In a recent marriage class several women were asked, ‘What’s the one thing that impresses you most about your husband?’ One woman responded, ‘[My husband] is much quicker to submit to the teaching of Scripture than I am. He’s quick to fix anything in his life that he feels doesn’t line up with Scripture. He has always been submissive to God’s ways, and this makes me trust him and feel one with him.’
This woman’s husband leads by example. What could possibly be more fitting or effective? And did you pick up on the security this woman feels because her husband is receptive and responsive to God’s word? Guys, this woman’s not the exception; she’s the norm. When you submit to Scripture, it fortifies your wife’s trust and respect for you. And note the irony here: even though Scripture exposes your flaws, your wife’s trust and respect grows’as does her willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt when needed. So long, that is, as you’re submitting to God.
On the other hand, your failure to submit to Scripture invites disorder, confusion, and fear into your home. It puts a formidable stumbling block in your pathway to oneness’not only with your wife, but with all members of your family. To put is plainly, men, God is not pleased with spiritual leaders who harbor sin.