Q: I know I’m supposed to be the spiritual leader in my home, but I’m just not comfortable doing that. What can I do?
A: The Bible clearly indicates that a believing husband should accept his God-given responsibilities to love, lead, and honor his family. This kind of leadership is a balance between leading and serving. When a man steps into this role, he protects and provides for each member of the family. Biblical leadership is a responsibility that God has given to you. It’s an opportunity for you to serve your family. Jesus’ words in Mark 10:45 beautifully illustrate biblical leadership: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus left his place of honor at the right hand of God and came to earth in humility to save the world and show what God is really like. Your role is to learn from him and demonstrate the same humility to your wife. Serving your wife at her deepest needs and sacrificing so that she might see more of Jesus will bring a comfort and security that she has never known.
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—and patience—on your part to be able to read the complex emotional needs of your wife. But that’s why God gives you a lifetime to do it! It takes 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.
Servant leadership leads to spiritual intimacy, and this attainable goal can transform you from a husband and wife struggling with egos and battling for control to a loving couple that experiences marriage teamwork at its best!
Just read what this husband had to say:
“If every married man was told that there was ONE exercise that he could do on a daily basis that would improve his life, improve his attitude, improve his health, improve his marriage, improve his looks, increase his joy, decrease his stress level, and decrease his blood pressure—and that this ONE thing would take about ten minutes a day (give or take a few minutes), and that these improvements were GUARANTEED, and this one thing is available to everyone, it’s FREE, it’s painless and easy, WHY WOULDN’T EVERY MAN JUMP AT THE CHANCE? In addition to the aforementioned attributes, this ONE thing will also: soften a hardened heart, regenerate affection, enhance a gentle spirit, rekindle that flickering romance, restore trust, revive the passion, revitalize the affection, reclaim the love, rebuild the marriage, and resurrect the vows. Just what is this ONE thing? How is this exercise performed? Well, it goes like this . . . the husband takes his wife’s hand into his own, looks tenderly into her eyes, and says, ‘Let’s pray together.’”
Of course, leading your family in prayer can be difficult to get started if you’re not used to it. We suggest that you start with you and your wife privately. Sometimes a man will get a greater sense of success and will feel more comfortable when he does it one on one. If you have kids and they’re all different ages and all sorts of different demands and schedules, sometimes trying to work out prayer time against all those odds can undermine even your best-laid plans.
Start tonight. Go to your wife, but don’t say, “We’re going to do this every night for the rest of our lives.” Don’t set up that expectation. Just say, “I desire to pray with you this evening. Can I just have a few minutes with you?” Take her into a quiet place of the house or maybe take her on a walk. Take her hand and say, “Can I pray over you and just ask God for a blessing in our marriage and a greater sense of understanding together?” Allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you as you pray.
Find a time that works. Not when she’s trying to make dinner. Not when the kids are clamoring and she looks exhausted. If she’s a morning person, do it with her early. If she’s a night person, do it before you go to sleep. Pray out loud for things that you are thankful for in your wife’s life. Then try it again tomorrow night and the next night.
As the two of you are developing the spiritual discipline of prayer as a married couple, your children will see that. They may be a little surprised, but it’s a good thing. You can invite them into your prayer times. The key is to take it slowly.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!