As Christians, we have the Biblical conviction that the husband is to be the leader of the home. We believe that this is God's intention and healthy design for the family. However, although many Christians strive to have a Biblical understanding of family, many men fail to be the spiritual leaders of their home. When I first got married, one of the things I struggled with most, is leading my wife spiritually. To be honest, many churches fail to train the men in their church to be godly husbands and dads. As I've talked with other brothers, I've seen that many have had the same struggle that I've had. How do we practically lead our wives spiritually? It is a crucial question. Although I am far from perfect in this area (as my wife told me last night!), by God's grace I have grown in this area over the past 2 1/2 years of my marriage. Here are some real practical tips for how you can lead your wife spiritually.
1. You Can't Give What You Don't Have
This should go without saying, but I'm startled by how many men fail to understand this principle. How can you expect to lead your wife to the throne of grace if you are not daily going there yourself? If you hope to lead your wife spiritually, you must violently pursue Jesus Christ. You cannot expect to encourage and disciple your wife if you are not growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This means that you must prioritize studying the Scriptures every day. Make prayer a habit that takes place throughout the day. Find some good books to read that encourages you to grow and become the christian, husband, and dad that you need to be. You can't give what you don't have, and you can't expect to lead your wife spiritually if you are not vigorously pursuing Christ yourself.
2. Initiate Prayer with your Wife Daily
Husband, you need to make it a daily habit to pray together with your wife. This is so easy to do, but for some reason so difficult for us to initiate. Praying before meals doesn't count here. Husband, you need to grab your wife by the hand, ask her how you can pray for her, then….. You do it! Pray for her right then and there. In my own marriage, Kaitlyn and I have found that this happens best at night. We have been working on making prayer together a nightly ritual as a couple. We finish our day by talking about what is going on in our lives, then I lead us in prayer. This is so practical and easy to do, but so many of us struggle to just pray with our wife. If your wife is craving for you to spiritually lead the home (as she should!) start today by just taking your wife's hands and praying with her.
3. Read the Scriptures or a Devotion Together
Start reading a book of the Bible together. Read a chapter a night, and talk about what the Lord is teaching your through it. Discuss it and open up about what the Lord is teaching you. Maybe find a good devotional book together. For a while Kaitlyn and I were reading Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening together. Again, this is obviously simple, but sometimes we are so stubborn to see it! It might be awkward the first week or so, but make it a habit to read the word together and the Lord will use it to draw you closer to Himself and closer to each other.
4. Counsel your Wife with the Gospel
Every husband should learn how to counsel his wife. Indeed, every christians is to learn how to counsel other christians with the Word of God. A husband should learn to do this for his wife. A big part counseling her in the Word is actually listening, which is tough for us men. In a day with smart phones, TV, and iPads we are so quickly distracted. In order to counsel your wife, you need to listen to your wife. This means giving her your undivided attention and listening. It also means learning to apply the Gospel to your wife's struggle. Questions to ask are, What does God's Word say about this situation? How does God's grace change the way I think about this problem? How can God use this situation for his glory and our good? Questions like this can shepherd your wife's heart. Listen, be attentive, and apply the Gospel in your conversations.
5. Be Involved in Biblical Community Together
Notice that this does not say "let your wife drag you to church and hurry home to catch the football game". As a pastor I see so many men who get dragged to church by their wives and show no interest in being there. There is no love for the things of God and there is no love for his bride, the church. As a husband and the spiritually leader of the home, you should be the one that initiates belonging to the body of Christ. This means that you make it a priority to go to church on Sunday morning, but Biblical community is much more than showing up for a service on Sunday. This means that you make the initiative of getting involved in a Sunday School class or Small Group. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, take the initiative and get your family involved in Biblical community.
As a pastor, I've noticed a really bizarre and disturbing trend in some churches. So often I see husbands and wives going to two different Sunday School classes. I'm going to be honest, this doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, sometimes we need accountability with the same sex, and that's a good thing. But a husband and wife should be in community with the body of Christ together, learning and building relationships together.
6. Serve the Lord Together
One of the great ways God has grown Kaitlyn and I together spiritually is through serving the church. Kaitlyn and I have always done ministry together as man and wife. Whether she is helping me out on a youth event or I am helping out at the pregnancy center, we serve the Lord together. We are a team. I think many couples would benefit from serving the Lord together. Volunteer together at a ministry at the church. Go invite your lost neighbors over for dinner and share the Gospel with them together. Serve the Lord together as a couple. Husband, take the initiative here and take your wife by the hand and joyfully serve the Lord together.
Husbands, I hope you are picking up on a common theme throughout this blog. The key word here is INITIATE. We need godly men who take the lead in the spiritual life of the home. Husband, you have been given the biblical responsibility of pastoring your family. You are to lead your wife like Christ led the church. You are to lay down your life for her, just like Jesus did for you on the cross. The Bible makes this clear:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” (Ephesians 5:25–29, ESV)
Husband, you are called by God to lay down your life for your bride. You must give yourself up for her sanctification. To be the spiritual leader of the home, means you are to be the disciple maker in the home. You are to disciple your wife and your children in the word of God. As you sacrificially give up your wants, God will use your leadership for your wives spiritual maturity.
So how are you doing in leading your wife spiritually? We are faulty men who will struggle and fail often, but there is grace at the cross of Christ. Today ask your wife this question, and be prepared for an honest answer; How am I leading you spiritually? Have you grown in spiritual maturity since I became your husband? More than ever we need husbands who will rise to the challenge to be the pastors of their homes and shepherd the soul of their wife and children for the glory of God!
How have you lead your wife spiritually? What tips would you add or have worked well in your marriage? Why is leading our wives spiritually such a struggle? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!