It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to this topic, as there is such a large continuum of stances on the roles of men and women in marriage, and even amongst the readers of this post there will be people all over the board.
No matter where you stand, I believe for many of you, knowing how to bring things like the desire for family worship to a husband who is not leading your family in it already, can be difficult. It can easily come across as nagging, legalistic, and even a failure to be (here is that that pesky “S” word…) submissive.
Oh how twisted our society has made this scenario, and handcuffed the women God has put into our lives as men to help us see more clearly and to bring more glory to our Heavenly Father.
Don’t be silent.
Let me start with the end in mind, wives don’t be silent and passive when it comes to the spiritual health of your family, putting water on a fire that God has started through the gifts and talents he has given you.
In the six years Leigh Ann and I have been married, learning to lead my family well has been challenging for me. Leigh Ann has a very dynamic set of gifts that God has given her, and they have been a blessing to our family in growing in the intentional approach to both our life and our faith. Sometimes though it can be challenging for Leigh Ann to execute her intentional mindset into our family life without feeling like she is bulldozing me and taking over the “lead role” in our family.
And I will be honest that there have been times when I felt inadequate in my leadership of our family when she “recommended” an idea to me.
The reality though is that the only thing hurt there was my pride, and it was not a wrong of hers. Could she have taken a slightly different approach to make it easier for me to swallow? Possibly, but I believe God was using it to mold me and shape me.
There have been times that I have felt my role as leader of the family threatened by her great ideas, and I have even written them off as her self righteousness. I am sitting here laughing at myself as I type for how STUPID that was. I guess what I am saying is that I am no expert at this, just a guy who has been blessed by a wife who has been faithful to seek God and challenge me with really good ideas, biblical ideas even.
The humbling reality is that I am weak at times and distracted by seemingly more important things. I have come to realize that I often overlook some very important aspects of leading our family in spiritual matters and discipline. Through gentle and humble request, Leigh Ann has opened my eyes to some incredibly important facets of our family’s life that as I look back, I could not imagine where we would be without them.
Let me be more specific…
A couple of years ago, Leigh Ann brought up to me the idea of doing family devotions together in the mornings. She had come across some examples and recommendations from some others, and it made her realize that this was a missing aspect of our family life. I even vividly remember when she brought this video to me and we watched it together and I thought, “Man, that is so simple but so profound.”
My heart desired to have what I had just watched, but my laziness and twisted priorities would quickly get in the way. I immediately (like seconds after my heart hungered for that type of devotion) started to think of all the reasons why not … my work schedule, the difficulty of holding my son’s attention, etc.
It has taken some time, and some sanctification of my heart, through the truth’s of the scripture, but I can honestly say that now I truly look forward to this time together as a family every day. It has been so encouraging to see the way it is shaping my son, and through the shorter catechism we have been working through, the daily reminder of why God made me and how I can glorify Him is pretty helpful for my own walk with the Lord as well.
I have now taken ownership in and responsibility for making sure our family devotions happen each morning, but it was Leigh Ann’s prompting that started it all.
This reminds me of a quote I have heard, but I am hesitant to use it here because it can be misunderstood. But what is life without some risk?
“The husband is the head of the home, but the wife is the neck, and turns the head where it should go.”
I cannot find who should get credit for it, or what their motives behind the quote may have been, but I love this depiction of the marriage relationship and think it is spot on for how God designed it.
God designed husbands and wives to work together in marriage to glorify Him more as one than if they were two separate parts. Not one above the other, or one more important, but two become one, creating what neither ever could have alone.
Husbands need the help of their wives!
Wives, when you feel God calling your family to a more intentional approach in the the spiritual training and devotion of your family, but it isn’t coming from your husband, here are the three things I recommend you do.
1. Consider your motives
Before taking new ideas to your husband, prayerfully consider if the idea you are bringing is from God.
Will it bring Him more glory through the implementation of this request, or is it just another “want” on your list to make you feel like a better Christian, or that you saw another person doing so you want to do it now too?
I don’t mean to be harsh or insensitive, but just honest. These are tough questions and ones worth considering each time you bring a request to your husband.
2. Do your research
Do some research on the front end to flesh out your thoughts and reasoning for your request.
Make sure you truly understand what God it prompting you with and what you are requesting your husband to consider. Don’t be flippant bringing every idea and wave that comes to you to your husband. Test the idea against scripture thoroughly before bringing it up to your husband.
For me, knowing that I can trust my wife to do the best she can to test the idea against scripture makes it easier to listen when the time comes for a new idea.
3. Gather specific examples
Put together some resources and specific examples to help your husband understand your vision. Your research and resources will help him make an educated decision on how to move forward and not be road blocked by another “project” on his list.
Your prepared plan will enable him to tweak and implement the plan alongside you.
I cannot guarantee how this will play out for you and your family specifically, but what I do know is that God made you for a purpose and one of much importance.
Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”
If your husband is anything like me, he has his weaknesses, and he has a capacity that gets reached pretty quickly. There will be many things that he may not do as well as you would prefer, but instead of becoming bitter with him, be one who is for him and will be the helper God created for him. It will bless you, your husband, and your family for years to come.
I hope and pray that God would continue to grow and shape the Christian men in this country to lead their families in all aspects of the Christian life, and I pray that wives would be the helpers who can come alongside their husbands and encourage a more Gospel centered home that is saturated by the truth of scripture.
Pull out your journal and consider these questions.
- What keeps you from bringing spiritual matters to your husband?
- What have you tried already?
- What is your heart like when you bring ideas to your husband?
- Are your requests made with humility or a heart of manipulation?
- What do you need to take to God in prayer?