‘One thing is certain – the degree to which you, as a wife, take the leadership in your home is the degree to which your husband will never step up and assume his God-given responsibility to lead.’ ~ Matt Jacobson
Have you ever heard a woman complain about how her husband does not offer spiritual leadership?
I watched my father lead our family devotions relentlessly when I was young and into my adulthood. He would make us read the Bible daily, even when we didn’t feel like it, and we prayed together. He ensured that we went to church on Sundays and encouraged us to participate in church activities. My parents attended (and cheered) most, if not all, the musical concerts I was involved in even up to my early thirties.
When I heard about a husband being a spiritual leader, it wasn’t hard to imagine it, since I had seen it first hand. A lot of that spiritual grounding has shaped who I have become today.
Many wives, at least from a Christian perspective, desire for their husbands to lead their families spiritually. This is what is preached in churches. It’s no wonder that many a Christian lady will look out for a guy who will be a priest of the home. This is a big test as to whether there is a future with the suitor. The slightest hint of his spiritual state in any positive way leads a lady to convince herself that a relationship may be worth it.
As a result, a number of men have known that one of the best places to look for a wife is in the church. Church attendance, a little prayer, hanging out with her Christian friends, using the Christian lingo, and boom! The man’s odds of getting a wife grow exponentially.
However, down the line, cracks start to show. Does the husband take initiative to lead the spiritual aspects of the family?
Why do husbands face challenges in leading their families spiritually?
It has been noted that a number of husbands are becoming passive in their spiritual walk. Take church attendance on a given Sunday for example. You will find more women on the pews than men. This is not to say that women are better spiritually. Perhaps a number of men are not working on building their relationship with God. There could be other factors e.g. many responsibilities, conflicting interests in pursuit of a better life for his family, frustrations of life, etc.
Does a family get affected if a husband does not exercise this privilege or responsibility? Though a bigger question ought to be whether a husband’s measure of spiritual leadership is adequate or not for the wife.
Being too critical of your spouse’s spirituality does not help. I have found myself criticizing my husband’s level of commitment to our family’s spiritual growth. At times, I’ve been critical of how family devotions or prayers were conducted, the number of times these aspects should be held, or even doubting if he is truly committed in his walk with the Lord.
The truth is that the criticism has done more harm than good. And there are times where he has felt that I should then take charge when I am too critical. This quagmire or stalemate ends up not helping the spiritual development of our family. I have had to admit to myself that there are times I am treating him like a child in this regard or thinking highly of myself than I ought to. Self-righteous is the right word to use actually. In my husband’s eyes, at that point, is a wife that is not willing to follow his leadership.
One Pastor Bob in his article ‘Spiritual Leadership in the home Is A Man’s Responsibility’ suggests the following:
“Basically, a spiritual leader sets the tone within the family. On Sunday morning he tells his family that they are going to church. His children see him reading the Word of God and spending time in prayer. Spiritual leadership in the home is modeled at church when a man raises his hand to God in worship, kneels at the altar to pray, and participates in ministry. The spiritual climate of the home is set when a man decides to put God first in his finances by tithing and giving to missions.
Spiritual leadership in the home is seen when a man says we are going to change the channel because this movie isn’t appropriate. It is seen when the dad makes sure that the kids are given a biblical education and instruction. It is the man’s responsibility to show his family what servant leadership is all about…..It is the man’s responsibility to honor his wife verbally and in other ways.”
In summary, a spiritual leader prioritises God above all other things. I wonder if the above sounds daunting, but with God’s help, it is possible.
What should you do if your husband is not leading spiritually?
- Avoid pressuring your spouse. It will do you no good. Pray that your spouse may have the desire to provide such leadership.
- Do not fall into the trap of comparisons – whether with your father, male friends or even pastors. I know this too well.
- Perhaps it might help to discuss and agree how to go about topics you would like to discuss as a family or the need to go to church together. Support him in the role.
- Be understanding of what his struggles might be and find a way of working out things together.
- Do not forget the power of prayer. Trust that God will help him.
- Assess whether you are being too critical of your expectations of him and celebrate or appreciate what he gets right.
Encouragement for the husbands
- Be encouraged to play your God-given role. Where you are in doubt about how to go about it, reach out to other believers or your spiritual leader.
- You don’t have to be a spiritual guru to lead the process. You only need to initiate the process and ensure the devotions are done or family’s spiritual needs are being taken care of. You don’t have to be better or spiritually mature than your wife.
- Listen to your wife and try to understand what her desires are in this area. There are those who have taken spiritual leadership because of the gap that is not being filled.
- Read the Bible together. Pray together. Asking each other what the highs and lows of each of your family members may help create conversations and prayer points. Sing hymns and other spiritual songs. Go to church together. Eat together.
I hope the ideas spur your interest and desire to grow in the right direction.
“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.” — 1 Corinthians 11:3