For the husband:
- Spiritual leadership in your home involves loving your wife. The apostle Paul gives clear direction: “Husbands…love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her hold and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.” (Ephesians 5:25-28) This kind of leadership is a balance between leading and serving.
- Since you are given the responsibility to be the spiritual leader, you must cultivate your spirit to be sensitive to the gentle leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. But the challenge doesn’t end there. Before you are really able to minister to your wife, you must be sensitive to her spirit. It takes real discernment to read the complex emotions of your wife. It takes real humility for a man to become sensitive to the Spirit of God, as well as to his wife. As he learns this humility, however, he’ll enjoy his marriage more than he ever thought possible.
- Leading your family in prayer can be difficult if you’re not used to it. We suggest that you start privately with just you and your wife. Sometimes a man will get a greater sense of success and will feel more comfortable when he prays one on one.
For the wife:
- First, pray about the situation. Ask God to touch your husband’s heart. Ask God to shape your husband into the spiritual leader of your home.
- Any time your husband initiates any kind of spiritual leadership – prayer, Bible reading, walking into a Christian bookstore and looking at a good devotional, getting everyone to church – encourage him. Even if you could have done it better, encourage his initiative and keep your thoughts to yourself. Be patient. Keep praying.
- Deepen your own personal relationship with the Lord, and continue to pray and encourage.
- If you feel he would not be defensive, talk with your husband about your desire for him to take initiative. Tell him how it makes you feel when he does.
- Buy a family devotional book and ask him if he would read it to the family at mealtime. Just reading the meditation and the prayer might help him find his footing.
- If, in the end, your husband is not at all comfortable leading your family in prayer or Bible reading or other spiritual activities, then you will have to continue to initiate. Who knows? Maybe he’ll grow into it in a few years.
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