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Being a Minister's Wife

My Beautiful Mother-in-Law and Our Son

I started something new on my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page yesterday!  For those of you who prefer to learn by listening – I have posted a few of my first VIDEOS!  Now you can be in “my class” – even though you’re not at my church. 🙂  Let me know if you like that medium and if you find it helpful.  Thank you!

 

I have not been a minister’s wife myself.  But I have been a pastor’s daughter-in-law for 18 years, and although I was not quite as much under the spotlight and scrutiny that my mother-in-law was – I definitely was close enough to see how wonderful and how difficult it can be to be in the “glass fish bowl” – as my husband likes to say.

A number of ministers’ wives have written to me.  I know that being in this position of influence and pressure is a DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING place to be.  There is nowhere to go to hide when things aren’t going well.  Those who are in a pastor’s/minister’s family, but especially his wife – will be held to MUCH higher standards by those in the church, those outside of the church and also by God Himself.  So it is REALLY critical that the ministers’ wives out there become as godly, holy, mature and Spirit-filled as possible.

OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING

A pastor’s wife is under a great deal more scrutiny about everything than almost anyone else in the church (except maybe the pastor): her attitude, speech, tone of voice, behavior, habits, spending, parenting, modesty, cooking, eating, clothing – EVERYTHING is monitored.  She is constantly watched.  If she makes a mistake – everyone will know about it. Some may follow her ungodly example, or they may talk about her behind her back, confront her or the pastor about it or her husband may lose his job.  If she does something godly and sets a beautiful example, people will model after her, too – especially the women in the congregation.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO DESTROY

I have seen pastors’ wives (not my mother-in-law!) use their position of influence and exposure to completely and utterly destroy their marriages, their husbands’ ministries and entire churches.  One woman in the position of a minister’s wife can do all an incalculable amount of damage.  All wives can cause complete devastation and damage in their husbands’ lives on some level.  But for a pastor – his wife’s sins, rebellion, idolatry, discord, hatred, unforgiveness, etc… carry much more weight than they would in most marriages.

How could a minister’s wife destroy her husband and his ministry?

  • showing blatant and/or subtle disrespect for her husband in front of church members or other leaders in the church
  • gossipping about her husband or other church members
  • slandering someone in the church
  • using her words to tear down her husband in public and in private
  • calling people in the church and trying to handle personality disputes or leadership disputes herself
  • being very critical of her husband’s abilities as a pastor, demeaning his abilities, calling him lazy or a hypocrite (even if only in private – that is incredibly demoralizing)
  • correcting her husband in front of others
  • having hatred, resentment, contempt, animosity, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart towards people in the church or her husband
  • cherishing sin in her own life
  • wearing immodest clothing
  • flirting with other men
  • questioning her husband’s decisions constantly – especially in front of others
  • refusing to cooperate with her husband’s spiritual authority in church or in the marriage
  • trying to control the church herself or control her husband as a puppet for her own agenda and desires
  • having an emotional or sexual affair
  • undermining her husband’s spiritual authority at church, in the marriage or as a father
  • not having the love of Christ in her heart
  • having a critical, judgmental, condemning spirit
  • embezzling money or being involved in a scandal
  • refusing to go to the church service
  • arguing with her husband in front of church members
  • bad mouthing her husband to others

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully wives can see the idea.  This stuff applies to ALL wives – but ministers’ wives must ESPECIALLY be on guard against this kind of disrespect and any attempts to usurp their husbands’ God-given authority in the church, the marriage and the home.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO BUILD UP

There are wise pastors’ and ministers’ wives in the church who understand the enormity of their responsibility before God to obey Him and to show respect for their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ leadership.  They understand God will judge them more strictly.  They understand the eyes of the congregation and community are on them all the time.  They know that they are co-laborers with their husbands – they are teammates – to minister for the gospel together.  They know that their husbands’ ability to do his job depends on their wives’ ability to behave themselves in a Christlike way.

A BEAUTIFUL, GODLY EXAMPLE

My mother-in-law has been an incredibly godly pastor’s wife for about 50 years now.  She was able to watch her own behavior, speech, dress, manners and respect for her husband and I have NEVER known her to cause a problem in one of her husband’s churches.  The beautiful qualities I observed in my mother-in-law that other ministers’ wives ( and really, ALL wives) may want to imitate:

  • She always takes care to dress in a feminine, conservative, modest way (beautiful long dresses or skirts with jackets and a blouse, usually).  She knows that she represents Christ, their church, her husband and their congregation when she is at church or even just out in public in town.  She makes sure she looks decent and put together because she knows she is a reflection of her husband and she wants to be sure she makes him look good.
  • She willingly plays the piano and/or teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is always a genuine helpmeet to her husband, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the needs of the church.
  • She doesn’t complain or argue in front of others.  I am not aware of a time when she complained about the church or about her husband or someone in the church to a church member.
  • She always upholds her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him and shows a united front at church.
  • She does NOT get involved in gossip or drama.  It is difficult to have close friends when you are the pastor’s wife – you know so much about what is going on and private affairs of so many people – especially in a smaller church (100-300 people).  But she was always SO VERY careful not to create divisions, contention, gossip or spread slander.
  • She always smiles at each person at church, hugs them, is friendly to them, welcomes them and shows as much hospitality as possible in every situation.
  • She always comes to church to support her husband – unless she was sick or in pain.
  • She doesn’t begrudge him the many, many hours he spends away from her and their family (when their children were at home) visiting the sick in the hospital or going to someone’s house where there was a death or counseling people or working on the leaky faucet at the church or someone’s house.
  • She is a wonderful cook and always had a delicious lunch and supper ready for her husband each day and enjoyed the time she got to share with him.
  • She lets her husband lead the conversation about spiritual things with people.
  • She doesn’t do anything that might cause someone to stumble – no alcohol, no working on Sunday, no inappropriate behavior or questionable activities – she avoids even the appearance of evil.
  • She is very responsible and takes good care of her home and was (and still is) a great mother to her boys.
  • She never tells her husband what to preach or how to preach.
  • She trusts her husband to handle his job and calling with wisdom.
  • She knows her husband is responsible, capable, dependable, intelligent and able to do his job well and she shows faith and confidence in him.
  • She always dressed her children well and made sure they behaved well in church.  They also behaved well outside of church, too!
  • She stands by her husband when there is strife in the church.  She is quiet and doesn’t try to defend him herself.  But she is there and offers her supportive presence, showing her respect for him and her belief in him.  But she doesn’t take over in business meetings or try to control things or fix things herself.

Lord,

I lift up all wives who belong to You, but especially ministers’ wives.  Help them to choose to live by Your power to be the wives You want them to be.  Let them honor You and their husbands in their speech, attitudes, behavior, priorities and choices.  Let them point many to You by their obedience to Your Word and their willingness to follow Your design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.  Bless these women richly in their walk with You.  Satan would like to destroy them.  Protect them and their husbands from evil.  Keep them close to Your heart.  Use them to gather a large harvest for Your kingdom and to teach, preach and live well with Your Spirit of power, love, courage and self-control.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

My Demon.

From Peacefulwife:

I am SOOOOO proud of this precious wife who is absorbing God’s Word and truth like a sponge and striving to obey Him and learn to respect her husband in ways that actually meet his deepest masculine needs.  She is learning so much!  God is truly at work in her heart and it is a beautiful thing to watch – even from over the internet! 🙂  I wanted her to share this post with all of my readers because I believe wives NEED to hear this.  This wife’s description of her “demon” is DEAD ON.  I wonder if husbands know about this stuff?

PS – I have my FIRST Peacefulwife VIDEO up on the Peacefulwife Blog Facebook Page today.  Check it out!  

I started the blog Lessons of Mercy as an accountability to myself, but also to those out there who have found themselves at a place where they see things in their life that need to be transformed into Christ-likeness, however, need a practical way to take the first steps.

Let me tell you a story about Wednesday night.  I really debated writing about this, because my husband reads my blog, however, I’m going to ask him to skip this one because I think the women reading this blog, need to hear about Wednesday night.

I’ve already posted on the this blog about discovering some major disrespect for my husband.  The kind that doesn’t even appear like disrespect in the world we live in today, that seems completely justified, and is so intertwined in my every day life that it’ll be like lifting boulders 100 times my own weight to remove these nasty habits. Yeah, that kind of disrespect.

Wednesday was just an ordinary day until my husband got home from work.  We haven’t been sleeping very well, and he’s been tired.  So he sat down in the chair and turned on the TV while I started fixing supper.

((There is too much back story about the TV “issue” to tell you everything but I will say that I do not have a TV addiction. I actually almost hate the TV.  I never watch it unless he is watching it. Though I have learned to enjoy a couple of the shows. We went 1 1/2 years without any television at all, and recently fixed our antenna so we get all the local channels, which is quite a few more than our parents use to get, but we still don’t have satellite or cable. Even with the absence of TV, we did not take complete advantage according to *me* for what we could do with our time as a family, which tends to make me resentful toward my husband, and with it available in our home again, it is quickly escalating in more time being on and watched than I personally care for it to be on.))

One little thing like the TV being on, quickly invites my demon (yes, I believe everyone has a demon that studies them and tempts them constantly) into a conversation with me.  He says “you’re headed right back to the life where you only speak to your husband on commercials.  Even re-runs are more important than you and the kids.”

I know my Savior. And I can feel the Holy Spirit move.  However, I don’t hear from God like I hear from my demon.  I can pray and spend time in silence after begging God to speak, and feel like after a day of fasting, I still am clueless what God is saying to me, or if He is speaking at all.  But the very moment something pulls on my frustrations, fears, insecurities, or weaknesses, I can hear so vividly and clearly the voice of my demon and am able to carry on long detailed conversations in good or bad directions.

On Wednesday when my demon started talking to me, I spoke back.  But not in my normal fashion.  I said “Get behind me Satan.  I’m not going down this road anymore.”

My husband left to go play guitar.  He’s been doing this once a week after the kids go to bed and I LOVE it!  It gets him out of the house, the chance to play and grow in his talent, and me plenty of time to play around on the computer, crochet or do anything I want without the guilt of ignoring him or the kids.

When my husband left, my demon started talking to me again.  “He was tired tonight, but he has enough energy to go play guitar and stay out til midnight?”

For 11 years, I have taken the bait and spun totally out of control.  I’d spend HOURS at a time ripping my husband to shreds to myself because I let my demon control where the conversation went. But in the last month, God is teaching me things and exposing my sins in grave detail in a way I’ve been so blinded to in the past.

I took those temptations to rip my husband apart and I purposely did the opposite.  I sent him a text thanking him for folding the clothes.  How could I almost have missed that he did that for me?  Remember, it’s because I was being coached to be mad about the TV being on?

I spent time praying for him and thinking about how much we’ve grown in our marriage.

When he got home, I had just headed to bed,  which I don’t normally do.  I am always up waiting for him to get home.  But like I said, we haven’t been sleeping well and I was really tired.  (Which also could have been from such spiritual warfare going on in my heart.)

When he came to bed, he turned on the TV.  I know I know, the stinking TV is like the center of my Wednesday!!  See, we’ve fought quite a few times, jokingly and in some very heated and hurtful conversations about the TV at night.  I like total darkness and complete silence.  He likes the TV being on.

I bet you know what happened.  My demon whispered so tenderly to my ears it practically gave me chills down my neck.  “How come for 11 years he is the one who always gets to go to bed the way he prefers?  Why did he automatically decide *you* have to learn to go to sleep with the TV on?  Why can’t he learn to go to sleep with it off?”

I was so afraid of what I was about to do next that I kissed my husband on the cheek, said “I love you” and then told him I was going to go ahead and sleep on the couch.  When he asked why, I just said as respectfully as I could, “I can’t sleep in here tonight.”

I had to remove myself.  Do you have any idea how many times we’ve fought while trying to go to bed because I’ve had hours of husband bashing sessions with my demon and then I take the opportunity to slay him apart to his face for how awful he is, how bad he messes up, how much he hurts me and every other thing I’m TOTALLY justified and entitled to say?

I laid down on the couch and quickly heard “Why isn’t he out here?  He knows the TV is bugging you, why isn’t he saying you should jump back in bed and he’ll sleep on the couch? Oh yeah, and don’t forget about this…. even though you told him you really need it, he still isn’t praying with you.”  Ouch.  The most tender point of devastation and he HAD to go there.  I tell you what, my demon knows me SO well.  The TV has NOTHING to do with praying together, and he brought it up as a last resort to get me to walk back in that room and destroy our intimacy, respect, trust and unity in our marriage.

I prayed and I told my demon that I have so much sin of my own and I am called to respect my husband no matter what I *think or feel* in any given moment.  I purposefully for the VERY FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE took my thoughts captive, stopped the demon from talking to me, and went to sleep.

I woke up so relieved!!  I didn’t say a bunch of really mean or hurtful things I couldn’t take back.  I kept the TV in perspective and didn’t allow that to be the standard by which I measure him as a husband and father.  I took my thoughts captive and spoke truth over the lies.

I can do this with the help the Holy Spirit is providing.  These boulders can be moved and these habits can be changed.

There are two main reasons why I am finally finding freedom and success.  And they have NOTHING to do with who my husband is, how he acts, or how he treats me. (Because ladies, I got a REALLY good one.  Bragging for another post : )

The first thing I’m really understanding for the first time in my life is that I have thought for 11 years that I’m better than my husband.  It comes out in a few different ways but mostly in the attitude that he sins more than me, and worse than me.  I’ve undoubtedly entertained this lie intimately with thoughts, actions and words that say “I would never have a TV addiction.”  “I’m so much better than him because I’d never do _______.”  “If he was really walking with the Lord he would do xyz.”

Hello pride.  No, I don’t have a TV addiction.  But I have an internet addiction.  No, I wouldn’t ever do _____ but I have spent multiple conversations “gossiping” to my friends.  No, he isn’t doing xyz right now, but I don’t do ALL KINDS of commands in scripture.   It’s disgusting how blind I’ve been to my own sin and how much pride has taken residence in my marriage.

And secondly, I will answer for my actions as a wife.  And God is not going to accept from me “Well, he did this or that.”  My sins will have no justification. And if I really love the Lord and want to serve Him in obedience, I can’t keep looking at someone elses actions and let that decide how I react to the commands my Savior has given me.  I have resolved in my heart that I want to live by the authority of God’s Word, not because of what I have or don’t have but because I have the opportunity to be obedient and give my life in service to become as christ-like as I can this side of eternity.

The Holy Spirit will empower me to live my life with purpose IF I choose to participate.  My only other option is to live my life in reaction to the way other people act by default. That really leaves me trapped and defensive. Feelings I’m definitely no stranger to, but have never been happy to claim as my identity.

Practical Application:

Stop having conversations with my demon.

Take my thoughts captive.

Meditate on the two truths I’m learning from above.

Own freedom.

Live with purpose.

Bring God glory by being obedient to the call on my life no matter if others are doing the same or not.

Respect my husband. Always. In ALL ways.

I had this same LOUD voice in my head all the time – every waking moment – that was constantly accusing my husband of evil – evil motives, evil desires, evil intentions towards me.  I trusted that voice.  I thought that was normal. Turns out the voice was WRONG.  I was greatly deceived.  Learning to respect our husbands involves silencing the demon and our sinful nature.  It means staying on top of sin and repenting for ever single thing that has the slightest offense in God’s sight.  And it means being empowered by God’s Spirit to do what we can’t do on our own.  This is a process.  I am so thankful for this peek into a wife’s thinking and into her heart.  What she is describing is the battle to slay sin and crucify ourselves so that we can live for Christ – it’s part of learning.  She does a FANTASTIC job describing this stage of the journey.  Thank you SO MUCH, Lessonsofmercy, for sharing this powerful piece with us! (PS – my demon had used ALL of those exact same lines on me for 15.5 years.  WORD FOR WORD!  The tv, the praying, everything.  He still tries it on me sometimes – but I cling to Christ and my husband and don’t listen to the accuser anymore!)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PLEASE check out the post my husband wrote in response to this “The Voice in His Head”.

SOMETHING TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER:

Demons are real according to the Bible and they are extremely powerful. It is dangerous to try to have conversations with them. God is much more powerful than demons are, but we are not. Here is what Scripture has to say about some false teachers and the casual way they spoke of demons:

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. II Peter 2

8In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. Jude

What Is Disrespect in Marriage?

UPDATED 6/24/2016

I am going to share about things that cause men to feel disrespected by their wives. (Many of these things would feel very disrespectful to wives, as well.) Every man has his own list of what feels disrespectful and respectful to him.  Some things are almost universally one way or the other to almost all men.  Some things are particular to your husband.  So – what matters most is what is respectful and disrespectful to YOUR man. That’s why it is important to ask him about his preferences and what bothers him and what speaks respect to him.  When things are not tense – you could ask him about some of the things on this list and get his take on the different items.  I wouldn’t ask him about all of them at once – but maybe ask about a few at a time every few days or so and REALLY pay attention to his answers.  Maybe print this out and check the ones that bother him so that you don’t forget.  You’ll need to custom-tailor your respect to your husband for best results!

Keep in mind, too, that a lot of the things that really feel disrespectful to our men are things God labels as sin. Sin is destructive, even if we think it is a “small thing.” Ultimately, the greatest goal is to please Christ and to bless our husbands. We have so much power to destroy our husbands or to build them up.  How I pray God will convict us and open our eyes and that we might learn to be respectful, cooperative wives who value our husbands’ leadership and who honor Christ with every thought, attitude, word and action!

Some of these things will seem like small things because we have been desensitized to disrespect in our culture. Disrespect for men is mainstream now. But just because this is how all of the other women at work or even at church act – that doesn’t mean that is how God desires us to act. The way I treat others is about my character and whether God’s Spirit is in charge of my heart and life or my flesh is in charge. And honestly, most of the things on this list of sin in one way or another – either with our attitudes, motives, words, or actions. As believers in Christ, we are called to live in holiness – not for our spouses, but to please God. And He gives us the power we need to live in victory over sin and in obedience to Him in Christ.

NOTE – I am not writing this post for wives whose husbands have severe issues like major uncontrolled mental health problems, is involved in an active addiction, is truly abusive to you or your children, or is involved in unrepentant infidelity. If you have really serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, one-on-one, appropriate counsel from someone you can trust.

A GENERAL LIST OF THINGS THAT TEND TO FEEL DISRESPECTFUL TO HUSBANDS/MEN:

– constantly questioning him
– having a critical/judgmental spirit toward him about many things
– acting like he can’t handle his life and responsibilities
– treating him like a child
– using an “angry mama” tone of voice
– scolding him
– frowning a lot
– lots of negative emotions almost all the time
– making demands
– giving directives (bossing him around) rather than polite requests or suggestions “You should,” “You better,” “You need to…”
– freaking out rather than trusting God and trusting him (whenever possible – men tend to respond much better to our trust than to our worry or fear)
unhealthy boundaries where we try to be responsible for things for which they are actually responsible (their spiritual choices, their emotions, their decisions) or we try to make them responsible for things for which we are actually responsible
– humiliating him, especially in front of other people
– being very negative about him in private, but especially in public
– biting sarcasm that is meant to cut him down
– using our words to destroy
– bringing up things from the past that were supposedly forgiven
– keeping a record of every wrong thing he has ever done or said
– attempting to be his conscience or his Holy Spirit
– telling other people negative things about him (If we really have a problem, we should go to God first and then to our husbands. If they are involved in serious unrepentant sin, we may have to involve a trusted counselor, mentor, or pastor. But this stuff doesn’t generally need to be shared with our coworkers, family, friends, church members, neighbors, or Facebook friends.)
complaining
– arguing rather than respectfully discussing
– forcing a very important conversation when he is not ready yet and still needs a bit of time (minutes, hours, maybe days) to process his thoughts or strong emotions
– leaving the room in anger
– criticizing him to the kids
– rolling my eyes
– sighing in exasperation
– undermining his authority to the children
– jumping in to help him when he didn’t ask for help
– giving unsolicited advice
– pride/self-righteousness – looking down on him, thinking I am so much more spiritual than he is
– labeling his sin/temptations as much worse than my sin/temptations
– bitterness
– insulting him
– playing the martyr
– trying to put him on a guilt trip
– manipulation
– refusing to believe him when he is actually trustworthy
– making plans without checking with him (especially big plans)
– spending a lot more money than you had both agreed to, blowing the budget, being irresponsible with money
– not appreciating his contributions to the marriage and family
– demanding sex when they are sick, hurt, exhausted, or feeling extremely disrespected
– withholding sex as punishment
– doing nothing to show respect for our own appearance
– acting like things that are important to him are not a big deal
– taking over and making decisions without giving him a voice
– sharing nothing ourselves and giving up all of our thoughts, opinions, insights, and wisdom – giving up our personhood and expecting him to handle absolutely everything as if he is the dad instead of the husband
idolatry of him, the marriage, happiness, or romance
– expecting him to fail
– expecting him to be perfect and to meet the deepest needs of our soul that only Jesus can meet

REALLY SERIOUS DISRESPECT:

– screaming
– cussing
– throwing things/destroying property
– threatening physical harm
– actually trying to physically harm him
– purposely alienating his children from him
– lying (especially about really big things)
– flirting, infidelity
– total refusal to cooperate with him
– initiating a divorce (unless I have biblical reasons)
– very public extreme humiliation
– comparing him to other men sexually
– insulting his abilities sexually/his manhood
– insulting his abilities to provide financially

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?
My Husband Shares What Really Speaks Respect to Him
25 Ways to Respect Myself
25 Ways to Show Real Respect to Your Husband
Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
Abuse
Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved
23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

If you have a really difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?

Support and Encourage His Hobbies

the deck my husband built at our old house

SC State House

A man receives a great deal of his identity from his work. He often thinks of himself in terms of what he does and that he has value in the world because of his career and contribution to the world. Sometimes he also gets a huge part of his identity from his hobbies, especially if his work isn’t bringing him very much fulfillment at the time. He may think of himself in terms of his dream that is outside of his career – his ministry, his athleticism, his remodeling/handyman abilities, his musical abilities, his gardening talents, his artistic and creative streak… All people need and deserve time to recharge and do something they love. Like Laura Doyle says in “The Surrendered Wife,” everyone needs time to dream big dreams and not have their ideas stomped on. But our men ESPECIALLY need this outlet. God designed them to conquer the world and make their mark. A supportive wife makes ALL the difference in the world to a husband in this area!

Notice your husband’s dreams. What are the things that energize him and really give him a love for life? Even if his hobbies don’t get you all excited, I want to encourage you to do your best to support his hobbies, dreams and desires. Who knows? It’s entirely possible that if he is allowed to follow his dreams and make big plans that he might find a new career path that he loves, or add another source of income, or build you a dream house, or just plain enjoy his life to the fullest and have the most to give to your marriage and your family.

If you find yourself being jealous because you don’t seem to have time for your own hobbies and relaxation, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his time to himself! But it might mean that you need to be more proactive about finding time for yourself, too. Then both of you can be at your best and have the most to give to each other and your family. Husbands and wives both need time to do things they enjoy on their own, to develop their interests, and to take good care of their own souls, minds and bodies. If we are spiritually/emotionally/physically depleted, we don’t have anything to give to our loved ones. We must take responsibility for filling ourselves up and taking good care of ourselves in these areas so that we can bless our families. In fact, if a wife is feeling particularly frustrated and irritable, it is a good idea to look at your own needs and make sure you are getting the rest, nutrition, time with God, time with friends, time for hobbies that you need to be at your best – then little things won’t seem like such a big deal.

Think of the things he loves. Honor what he loves. Listen to him talk about it. Be excited with him. Dream with him. Don’t criticize or put him down about his hobbies and passions. Don’t tell him to hire someone else to finish the house if he wants to do it himself – that is SUPER disrespectful to a man! He wants to complete the challenge and prove to himself that he can do it and he wants you to smile and applaud him and have that wonderful look of pride in your eyes about his abilities. He doesn’t need you to tell him how to do things, just to tell him that you have faith in him that he’ll figure it out, that you trust him. That little bit of encouragement and trust from you will motivate your husband like you cannot imagine! Give him some space to think, dream and work and you will be amazed what he may do for you and your family!!!!

One time at our old house, Greg and I were talking about getting a bay window to replace a picture window. There was a very unkempt crepe myrtle tree outside that window. I asked Greg if he would mind trimming the tree and maybe he could put some pretty white rocks and a bench under the window so that the view would be better. He shocked me by announcing that he was going to build a deck. He had never built a deck before. But I knew he was a super resourceful, intelligent, talented guy, so I said, “Ok!” Then he drew out a design. It wasn’t just a 10X10 deck. He had a 4 level 1000 square foot deck in mind. Wow! That was A LOT more than I had asked for. But I said, “Great! That would be amazing!” He built that whole deck all by himself and it was stunning. He even painted a compass rose on one of the platforms later that was accurate with true North, South, East and West pointing in the proper directions.

When I was pregnant and found out that we were having a boy, I told Greg I would love to have the nursery painted half as night time and half as daytime sky with the tops of pine trees along the floor. He said, “I’m going to do a mural of Columbia.” I said, “Ok!” He had never painted a wall anything but one or maybe two colors before. But I knew he was super talented and gave him all the space he wanted to do what he thought was best. We spent a few weeks riding around town taking pictures of the most beautiful landmarks in our town and deciding what would be in the mural. Then I would sit in the glider rocking chair in the nursery every night for 5 months and feel our baby kicking in my belly and watch while he painted the most incredible mural. It was GLORIOUS! How I hated when we moved away and couldn’t take the mural with us. I was tempted to cut out all the dry wall and move it to the new house!

What dreams does your husband have? What if I had squashed my husband’s dreams? Imagine the beauty and the priceless gifts he has added to our lives that I would have missed!! I pray that we might give our husbands room to soar and do all that they can dream of doing. I pray that we might encourage and inspire them with our trust, faith, admiration and confidence to reach heights we could never have fathomed! A man can move mountains when he has a wife who believes in him!


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