What does the spiritual leader of the home look like?
When God is the priority relationship for both the husband and wife, the marriage relationship will brim with health and peace. My husband, Craig, likes to say this about marriage, “As Christians, God is your one, and your spouse is your two.” But we all know that keeping Christ first can be a real struggle for many a spouse. Matthew 22:37-40
A complaint I hear quite often by married Christian women is, “My husband just isn’t being a spiritual leader in our home.” Okay, maybe not. But ladies, what are we really saying we want when we think or say this? Would we even know a spiritual leader in our husband if we saw it? I’m not sure if these wives know exactly what displays of spiritual leadership they want to see in their husbands. They just know that, somehow, improvement is needed. But to be fair to our husbands, I first want to say this to us wives: It is possible that we are part of the problem.
Here are a few possibilities that may limit a husband’s potential to lead:
- A critical spirit: Do you often criticize, complain, and see your husband like a glass half-empty? Is whatever he does not enough? This may be difficult and painful for you to recognize, but the sooner you take the log out of your eye, the sooner your marriage can thrive.
- Spiritual pride: Maybe you’ve been on a spiritual high from a ladies’ retreat, a wonderful book, or a phenomenal Bible study, and your husband doesn’t share your enthusiasm. Does his spiritual journey seem to grossly trail behind yours? Do you look down on him because of it?
- Unfair expectations: Are you wanting him to be someone he’s not? Maybe your small group of girlfriends connect deeply about spiritual matters in ways you and your husband never have, but it’s unfair to expect your husband to relate to you in a manner that isn’t him.
So what are we really saying when we say our husband isn’t being a spiritual leader? What does a spiritual leader of the home really look like? I asked a group of pastors’ wives, “What does spiritual leadership look like in your husband?” Here are a few of their responses:
- He leads himself to stay strong spiritually.
- He has an authentic relationship with God.
- He doesn’t complain, but has a positive outlook.
- He prays for his family.
- He establishes protective boundaries.
- He makes church a priority.
- He reads the Bible and obeys God’s commands.
- He is in God’s word and obeys it.
- He is an amazing father.
- He has a loving heart.
- He is respectful.
- He is thoughtful about my needs.
- He fights for our marriage.
- We pray together.
- I know that Christ is his priority.
Doesn’t much of this list sound like the fruits of the Spirit? A spiritual leader encompasses a whole lifestyle. And everything we both do in marriage is spiritual in nature. Read through the list above again and find your husband’s outstanding qualities or add his to the list. Like you, I know your husband isn’t perfect. In fact, he may be very far from God and that has, no doubt, put you in a very vulnerable place. I hope and pray many of you reading this are encouraged to look with new eyes at the endearing and virtuous qualities you may have been a little blinded to in your husband.