How can you be the spiritual leader of your house? The Biblical model that God gave us of men being the spiritual leaders in the church and home is not being followed by many Christian men today.
“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 11:3
Countless married Christian men have become “spiritual sissies.” TThese men have their tail between their legs, and their wives have them by the collar. Many of these men have allowed their wives to call all the shots, and they just follow them around like a lost puppy waiting for the next treat. In many cases, it’s not because the wife wants to act this way, but because she doesn’t have a choice; her husband simply isn’t stepping up. This is certainly not how you can be the spiritual leader of your house. This is the exact opposite!
Don’t get me wrong: I am not being a chauvinist with these statements. Women have a significant role to play in God’s kingdom and the home. They are equally gifted in many areas of ministry and the house. The Bible gives us many examples of women God used mightily for His kingdom.
But unfortunately, men are doing it all wrong! The stereotypical view of a Christian man today is someone who is too frail to stand up for their God, their marriage, and their family.
The Beginning of Spiritual Leadership
When I was married, in 1990, my wife was far more mature than I ever thought about being. Some might say she still is. But since I became a Christian in 2003, our roles have reversed.
During the first thirteen years of our marriage, my wife was raising me. I mean that in the sense of the way you raise a child. She always had to mold me, scold me, and hold me just like a kid. And I came to the point where I liked it. The day before I got married, my mom made my bed. The day after I got married, my wife made it. I had just gone from one mom to the other. I was the biggest sissy around. My wife was my mom, not my soul-mate. She spent many years training me to become a man. It didn’t work too well because that isn’t the biblical model, and I think over time she finally stopped trying and just let go.
In the early years of our marriage, when people asked us about having kids, I would jokingly say, “She has to raise me first.” What I later realized was that it wasn’t a joke. Not a good way to be a biblical husband.
Learning more about TRUE Spiritual Leadership In The House
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:25-31)
After I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I began to read what the Bible says about being a good Christian husband. What I found was that I wasn’t even close to the biblical model, and neither were most of the men I’d met in church. But after reading about what kind of husband I needed to be, I found out quickly, that doing it was different than knowing it. I had thirteen years of bad habits to get rid of and an old, comfortable routine that would draw me back way too often.
Becoming the husband that God wants me to be, thus far has been the biggest challenge for me in my Christian walk. I have made a lot of mistakes and have let my wife down more than once. So, for me to start trying to assert my newfound “spiritual head of the household” attitude…well, it was going to take time, a lot of prayer, and tangible actions that were much different than what I had shown in the past.
How Can You Be The Spiritual Leader Of Your House?
“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
In my marriage, as well as many Christian marriages, there is a misunderstanding of the text Paul gives the Ephesians about marriage. He tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to love their wives as they love themselves. He then tells wives to respect their husbands.
Unfortunately, the way that we tend to read this passage is like this: “I will love my wife when she respects me.” And the women read it as “I will respect him when he loves me.” This causes us to live in the vicious cycle of insanity.
You have husbands and wives, arms folded, back-to-back, telling each other that they will do what God commands when the other one breaks. In other words, there is a reward for obedience and consequences for disobedience. That’s not what Paul was talking about!
In verse 25, Paul says” love your wife as Christ loved the church!” The way that Christ loved the church was sacrificially, till death, even when He knew not everyone loved Him! In the same way men, we are to love our wives sacrificially. In other words, we love our wives whether she respects us or not! That’s true sacrifice!
Love Your Wife By Leading Her Spiritually
So, men, love your wives! Start doing something different than what you are currently doing. Stop the vicious cycle of insanity! How can you be the spiritual leader of your house? Sacrificially love her. Give up YOUR time to spend it with her. Give up YOUR hobbies, to share in her hobbies. Sacrifice YOUR rest to give her rest.
What you will see over time is respect! The closer you get to looking like Jesus through His word, prayer, and lifestyle, the more she will respect you! Make this your goal: Out serve your wife!
Author: Jody Burkeen is the Founder of Man Up God’s Way and Pastor of Ignite Church.
For more materials on Godly leadership and leading your family, we recommend reading:
I had just finished one of your (Uncommen) any devotionals on the Bible app and happen to click on the link to the website to see if there was a email list to sign up when I found this article and no doubt it was God leading me here. With your testimony, unfortunately I have found myself in the same place. This article has been a blessing and thank God He had you write and share your story. I’m sure it will other out as well but I wanted to thank you for it and to God as well as showing me that I am not the only one who has struggled with this but it can be changed and overcome with the help of the God of impossible.
That is what led me here as well. Thank you TM12 for your post & honesty… just know that you are NOT alone in this brother!
More and more of a challenge in these days. The wife is told in the bible to submit, but and us fellas to submit to Christ and one another. It’s got to be their (or our) choice, it can’t be forced upon especially by the spouse! However, ladies you could make it easier for us and be supportive to us. Encouragement when we’re on the right track is worth it’s weight in gold. 10 positive to 1 negative should be our ratio, sadly both sexes seem to get this ratio the other way around, but let’s not give in but strive for better.
Did you not completely read and understand this? Just curious… Biblicly, it doesn’t matter if she supports you or not, LOVE her. Who said that things were supposed to be easy? LOVE HER! PERIOD, end of story.
Thought I had. Was not implying any lack of love more that encouragement works better than nagging! Applies equally to both sexes.
I agree and in most cases, BOTH have taken their focus and attention off God and focused on self. As long as God is center, all else will fall into place. God bless.
Very real and marriage saving info thank u
I find myself struggling with spiritual leadership. I have a hard time setting the time aside to study the bible with my wife. So often we caught up in the activities of the day. I have been “raised” by my wife as well and I am starting to take over the reins that gave me to begin with. I am asking you brothers to pray for me in this area. I am praying for you. Thank you for this article.
David, thank you for sharing. Leadership takes some time to find what works for you. You may find some good info in out Leadership Devotional. We will be praying for you in this area. https://www.uncommen.org/product/uncommen-leaders-devotional-pdf/ As far as reading the Bible together, maybe you should read a chapter to each other over dinner? We all make time to eat. I know I do 🙂
Praying for you, brother. A man’s strongest self is when he realizes his weakest self. Humbling to have a caring, loving wife.
So much a blessing and a helpful experience to learn from.Usually the challenge comes in when we’re required to sacrifice some habits,time,rest and so forth that we hold dear to ourselves when instead to give to the benefit of the other.
Help! What do I do? I am trusting God for my husband’s salvation. We are each others worst nightmare at this stage. We’ve been married for 8 years. Some advice would help please. My husband can’t live without alcohol and this has made me feel somewhat bitter toward him. And I’m sure he feels bitter towards me too. I trust God to make us into the husband and wife He intended us to be.
Thank you for your testimony. Mine was very similar. I later shared with others that she was the spiritual leader for the first five years of our marriage. When i share that now, and have chosen to now lead my family, she responds “He was the spiritual leader, Him choosing not to do this does not negate the fact, that by design, it was his role. God has done a miracle in our 17years together and we are now, by His grace very involved in helping others along. My only advice in your article is this. As believers we often share our testimony, yet we give no direction as to how to grow in a specific area. I would have loved to see some direction as to how that would look practically in the life of a believer.
I’ve been married to but neglecting an amazing woman for about 18 years and God has finally managed to wake me up and save me.
I’m struggling now that I see our bookshelves covered with new age books and christian(ish) literature that do not line up with scripture.
I acted like a bully and drove her away at first. Now I’m staying in the Word, praying, fasting, and trusting that He will help us both heal. He is bringing us together, and showing me what it means to love her as I should.
Thank you for this article
I’m sorry to say that i too have to man up in my marriage and be the spiritual leader. With prayer all things are possible. Thank you for sharing your testimony.
Most of these posts are older, but we have a sick daughter and I am searching for how to step up as a father and husband. Been kind of selfish and shallow for lots of years. Time to change! Thanks for the encouragement from other struggling men.
He is a god-fearing person and a selfless father to his children and his wife. Thanks for sharing this