4 Ways a Wife can Support her Husband’s Spiritual Leadership
In 1986 I was to present at the national ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) conference for Speech-Language Pathologists. The conference is held annually in the month of November. My presentation was to be a 45-minute session about my research on “The Effects of Metalinguistics with Language Impaired Children.” I used this research to complete my Master’s degree in Communication Science Disorders. My research won a national award. I say all this, not to brag, but to make sure you know, before I tell my embarrassing story, that I am a “little smart.”
My husband helped me make the travel plans. I told him the conference was going to be held in Chicago. In August, he booked my flight. Weeks went by. I prepared my presentation. The night before I was to leave, my husband was reviewing the conference program when he looked up at me and asked, “Did you not tell me your conference was in Chicago? This program says the conference is in Detroit.” I smiled, puzzled by his question and answered, “Yes, I know. Chicago, Detroit. Right?” He smacked his forehead with his hand pretty hard and corrected me, “Chicago is in Illinois! Detroit is the name of a city in Michigan!” Realizing my goof, I sheepishly replied, “Sorry, but they both sound like cold states; I bet I can rent a car and just drive up to Detroit after I land in Chicago.” I wish I could have snapped a picture of Jody’s face. His realization of my stupidity was big and written all over him. L
He then quickly called the airline and changed the flight … for a price … I am sure. Maybe he was given the “you have a stupid wife” pity complimentary ticket. I don’t remember. Neither does he, thank God! At the end of the day, I made it to the conference, did my presentation and even took a side trip to Canada – who knew it was so close! 😊 When I returned home, I was sentenced to learning the states via a 50-piece puzzle! I also learned the capitals too, just to redeem a few respect points with my husband.
I wish this was a made-up story, but sadly, it is not. Every word is true. It is probably one of the many reasons my wonderful husband went prematurely grey at the ripe old age of 27!
Life with me can be challenging.
We’ll just leave it there.
Needless to say, I am never the navigator on trips. I am the designated driver and Jody, my husband, directs how we get there. We’ve married long before any map apps or cell phones. We always had maps folded neatly in the glovebox of our car. When we travel, Jody will expertly read the maps, plots a route and keeps up with where we are along the journey. It gives me a headache to look at a map, even Google maps, to be honest. I have no sense of direction. But Jody thrives in the role of navigator. While in college at West Point, he enjoyed orienteering. Basically, you are dropped in the middle of some random woods with a map and a compass and told to find some random location. This is my idea of cruel and unusual punishment. If I were dropped in the middle of some random woods, I would just have to build a house there and call it home – I am sure I would never be seen again! 😊
Jody and I have very different skill sets. We recognize this in each other, and appreciate the differences, well, most of the time. I am very glad Jody has an excellent sense of direction, ordinally and spiritually. He keeps our family going in the right direction – after God! I have no difficulty following Jody’s spiritual leadership. He has proven himself over and over again. Jody loves me well. And Jody has no problems submitting to me in the areas that God has gifted me in. We trust the Holy Spirit in each other because we have seen a lifetime of fruit in each other. When I say I feel strongly we should invite this couple or that person over for dinner tonight, Jody replies, “Sure!” Even if he is tired or not in the mood for company, he follows me because he has had a first-hand look at how God has used my sensitivity to the Spirit to minister to hurting brothers or sisters in Christ. This didn’t happen overnight. This is something that God has been building in our marriage for the past 32 years. I’m not sure how long the journey takes, but I do know some spots along the path that you must visit in order to get there. Keep reading, my friend! These kind of directions I really do know! 😊
First, you must pray for your husband to take the lead and then when he does, don’t crucify him if he misses the mark. Leading is tough. Leading a complainer is impossible. Encourage your husband to lead and then applaud him when he attempts it. I remember when Jody and I first married and he would awkwardly attempt to lead us in prayer. I would literally have to hold my breath to keep from laughing. Today, I have to fight back tears at the beautiful way in which my husband talks to God. His relationship is intimate and faith-filled. When he tells me that he believes God is calling us to do this or that, I’m all in! I have no reason to doubt him. I only have to follow God’s leadership through my husband.
“But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).”
Second, you must be aware of the spiritual giftedness of your spouse. There is a great chance it is different from yours. There are many tests or inventories you can use to determine your spiritual aptitude. But I bet that if you have been married longer than five years, you already know. You will know your spouse’s gifts by the fruit that your spouse’s life produces. If there are not many fruits, it is time to fertilize the garden! Read the word together, pray together and obey God’s command to love your neighbor in the sharing of the Gospel.
Third, you must give your husband margin to seek God. I know this is tough. You’ve been home all day with the kids and you can’t wait to “tag out!” But, you must allow time for your husband to have time in the Word and in prayer. This is tricky at every stage of life; not just when your kids are young. Now that I’m retired, when I see Jody, I always have a list of things I want to do together. If not that, I am just plain ol’ lonely and want to bend his ear over this or that. Nevertheless, I have to make allowance for him to have time alone in his study before or after work to pursue God. I need to support his need for Godly male friendships too!
Fourth, you must celebrate when victories occur. Everyone needs someone in their corner! Be that someone! I have watched Jody be used by God many times. Most of the time it is when we get out of our comfort zone and follow Him! I am the first one to offer a high five and say, “Nice job following God in this situation.” But you must be doing something, anything, to be used. Pray about ways that God can use your marriage for His kingdom and then follow your husbands lead. Bring every gift God has given you to help! Even an attempt that becomes an abysmal failure can be a great lesson for you both, especially if you support him and do not criticize!
I am praying that your husband is the spiritual leader in your home. I know that I am very blessed. I am married to an amazing man! He is an exemplary spiritual leader, but this didn’t happen overnight. It took years of walking out the Gospel, day in and day out, and following these four directions. Today, the way he leads our family is not by chance, but is the result of my support, our dedicated prayer life and our pursuit of God through living a Word washed life! This can happen in your marriage too! Keep reading, friend!
June is coming to an end, but never stop praying for your spouse!
“It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 13:4).”