Who is more at fault: the woman who deprives her husband of physical intimacy, or the husband who deprives his wife of emotional intimacy? This one’s a no-brainer, guys. It’s you — the husband. You’re the leader of the home. You set the example. You create the environment and set the tone. You show your family how to walk with Christ through your servant-leadership. And your initiative in this regard will go a long way in eliciting the response of others. In other words, this issue usually comes down to a matter of leadership.
So what’s your first step in this? I think the Lord’s words in the 6th chapter of Luke provide a clue. My paraphrase goes like this:
‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your wife’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your wife, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? Don’t be a hypocrite. You must first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your wife’s eye.’
The bottom line, guys, is this: If a husband isn’t willing to serve his wife by making it a priority to be intimate and tender with her outside the bedroom, how can he possibly expect his wife to readily respond to his desires inside the bedroom?
Men, when I talk about becoming a servant to your wife, I’m not advocating a surrender of your God-ordained calling to provide leadership in your marriage. That would merely be trading one expression of unfaithfulness and one set of problems for another. Instead, I’m talking about giving up misguided and flawed styles of leadership for a more biblical pattern; a pattern that won’t trample your wife’s spirit, but will provide the context for your marriage to blossom.
Guys, the posture of your servant-leadership in marriage is two-fold. You’re both servant and leader. The balance is delicate. Overemphasis or misunderstanding of either aspect creates imbalance and distortion. For instance, if you lead by being a king of the realm, and lording that role over your wife, resentment is sure to be a result. At the same time, if in serving you abdicate your role of male leadership you may force your wife to assume that role and that creates problems in the marriage dynamics.
Both extremes are damaging because they distort God’s design for marriage’that is, marriage no longer parallels Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church.
Men, true, biblical, servant-leadership doesn’t promote either of these extremes. True servant-leaders lead, but do so in a manner that creates oneness and radiance in their wives.
Biblical servant-leadership: that’s what we, as Christian husbands, must give our wives. So today, I want to provide some guidelines for understanding a biblical picture of faithful servanthood within the community of Israel.
- The faithful servants of Israel cared about those they served, and constantly sought new and better ways to serve them.
- Faithful servants developed new skills to better serve.
- Faithful servants did all they could to build the esteem and prestige of those they served; and this prestige, in turn, brought the servant prestige as well. He took great pride and honor in his role as a bondservant. And he, though perhaps wise in his own right, treated the thoughts and opinions of those he served as being as valuable as his own.
- Faithful servants preformed menial, thankless jobs in order to make room for those they served to exercise their gifts. The servant made allowances for the weaknesses of those he served as if they were his own. And in that way, he actively protected them from shame.
- A faithful servant didn’t dawdle in seeking forgiveness and reconciliation when his own sin caused any damage or shame to those he served.
Not a bad life, actually. Of course, to American men, this senario may seem a bit strange. You might ask, ‘Who’d ever surrender his freedoms to enter such a relationship?’ But, in fact, guys, you did’or at least you should have on the day you got married.