First off, did you know there is primarily a divine and glorious purpose for your marriage? Marriage is meant, primarily, to bring God glory by reflecting His love, covenant, and pursuit to a lost and dying world through your love, covenant, and pursuit of your wife. Do you feel the weight of that? Your marriage should save those around you because of your love of Christ and exaltation of the gospel in your marriage.
You need to plumb the depths of this every day, and when you are with your wife, ask yourself this question: “How does God love, lead, guide, and help me, and how can I do the same for my wife?” Does God love His people in a half-hearted manner? Does Jesus care for His bride and lead, love, and invest when it is convenient, or is it a daily, hourly, all-sustaining thing? How does God lead you? Ephesians 5:25 says – “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.…”. Jesus is the good Shepherd, and He leads all of us dumb sheep in a very specific way.
Jesus leads us well, and He is our model. He leads and loves us:
- Daily and Consistently.
- With kindness and gentleness.
- In wisdom.
- With patience.
- Always seeking my highest good.
- By constantly pushing me back to the Gospel.
- Truthfully, realistically, and lovingly while addressing my sin.
In the same way, this is how you should lead your wife.
Secondly, there is an inherent leadership role for husbands in marriage. Look, I know this is tough. Being a husband means being a leader. Some days I struggle with the mantle of leadership in my marriage. It’s heavy some days. You are the spiritual leader of your household, whether or not you are leading, whether or not it is convenient (and it will almost never be), and whether or not your wife appreciates your leadership. That’s why I tell my guys that if you are already spiritually leading your wife well, you could be a homegroup leader or coach, or even an elder. That’s why the Bible always discusses how elders are leading their families. Titus 1:6-9, 1 Peter 5, 1 Timothy 3:1-16….
When our Church looks to elect elders and leaders in our church, we look at how they lead their wives and children, NOT how well they run businesses or how much money they make or how successful they are at turning a profit. Being successful in business or sports or whatever field you may measure your success does not compute to spiritually leading and loving your family. And more often than not, if you are not leading, your wife will pick up your leadership. Honestly, can you blame her? How you lead your wife says things about you to the world and the church.
When I say “leadership,” what do I mean? Let’s look at Jesus. Jesus led the Church through service and His humility. Jesus defined leadership by stripping down to his undergarment, washing his disciples’ feet, and taking on the “very nature of a servant.” Because Jesus was a servant, you should be too (Matthew 20:28). So when I say you are to lead your wife, I mean you are to love her like Jesus loves you. He gave up everything for His bride, including His life. It does NOT mean you are arrogant, proud, and demanding. You are not a King in your home, you are a servant. John 13:1-17 shows us how we are to lovingly lead our homes.
- Leadership must be rooted in humility and a proper understanding of God’s ultimate authority, role, and leadership in your life (1 Peter 5:6).
- Find out what love is. Love is not self-serving and “taking,” it is others-centric and giving (1 Corinthians 13).
- You are the leader in your home, so do not neglect your role and responsibilities (Ephesians 5:23).
- Your wife is called to respect your leadership, so there better be godly leadership for her to submit to (Ephesians 5:24).
- You are to love your wife and “give yourself up” for your wife just as Christ did for the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Give up your wants, desires, and needs, and fight for God’s glory in your marriage. Fight for her greatest good.
- You are to press your wife towards holiness, just as Christ did for the Church (Ephesians 5:26).
- You need to be invested in your wife’s holiness (Ephesians 5:27).
- You are to love your wife as you love yourself (Ephesians 5:28).
- You are to nourish and care for your wife (Ephesians 5:29).
- You are commanded to look to your wife’s interests and needs (Philippians 2:4) above your own.
- You are to love your wife and not to be harsh with her (Colossians 3:18-25).
- You are to actively work on rooting out bitterness in your marriage (Hebrews 12:15).
- You are to actively work on honoring your marriage, your vows, your commitment, and actively work against temptations, lust, adultery, and immorality in your marriage (Hebrews 13:4-7).
- You are to provide financially, spiritually, and emotionally for your wife and family (1 Timothy 5:8).
- You are to be patient, a good listener, and not an angry man (James 1:19).
Yikes. How are you doing on these? I’m reading over this list with conviction. There are no shortcuts to leading your wife. It does not simply boil down to copying and pasting prayers, devotions, or encouragements to her over email and think you are leading your wife. Leading your wife is a daily, consistent, intimate, personal, struggle of a thing. So read the Bible, study, and grow in your wisdom and knowledge, because your marriage relationship is the most important and challenging relationship after your relationship with Jesus. You are going to need Jesus every step of the way.
Here are some further Scriptures on Marriage to look into. Now, this is not to say you are to read only these. All of the Bible speaks to our lives, so get deep into the Word. Genesis 2:22-24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14, Proverbs 20:6-7, Proverbs 31, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, 1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 2:4, Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-25, Hebrews 12:15, Hebrews 13:4-7, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Timothy 5:8
Scriptures on Leading – 1 Timothy 4:12, Titus 2:7, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Timothy 2:24, James 3:1-18, 1 Peter 5:1-14, Luke 22:21-30, Mark 9:33-37
Marriage Resources – I wanted to give you practical and accessible resources for you to study further. Below is a short list of some resources I recommend.
Websites & Blogs
- CJ. Mahaney, What every Christian Husband needs to know http://books.google.com/books?id=10CHaL6J_8AC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Divorce and Remarriage http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/divorce-and-remarriage/
- Husbands as Primary Breadwinners http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/husbands-as-the-primary-breadwinners/
- Women’s Responsibility and Authority at the Village Church http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/womens-responsibility-and-authority-at-the-village-church/
- John Piper’s Sermons: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/by-topic/marriage
- Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect?
- Jerry Meade, The Center for Christian Counseling
- Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect?
- H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts, Before You Say, “I Do”
- John Piper, This Momentary Marriage
- Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
- Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage
- Tim Gardner, Sacred Sex
- Piper and Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
- Piper and Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ
- Andrew Case, Water of the Word for Her (and Him!) – These are great to use to pray over one another.
- Noel Piper, Treasuring God in our Traditions http://books.google.com/books?id=0ljOGY-MztAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotionals http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.today.html
- My Upmost for His Highest http://utmost.org/
Thirdly, make your marriage an issue of prayer. Did you know that If you are not living with your wife in an understanding way, showing her honor, then your prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7)? Think about this. If your wife is not doing well, then you are not doing well. If you are not listening to your wife and honoring her, God is not listening to you. Wow. Chew on that for a while. The outworkings and implications are startling.
Ask God for wisdom, discernment, direction, and patience
- Ask God to make and teach you to be a better husband.
- Ask God to bless your marriage.
- Pray about getting counseling
- If your wife asks you to go to counseling with her, DO IT!
Getting Practical – There must be a plan and strategy.
1. Find 2 hours a week to sit down alone in a quiet place and plan your wife’s week
- Write letters, e-mails, and devotionals to send to her.
- Write questions you want to talk about during the week.
- Plan a date night.
- Plan special events.
- Get creative.
- Pray for your wife during this time, schedule times during the week (with iPhone reminders/alerts, if necessary)
- Do research and homework on how to love your wife.
- Then follow through on all of these plans!
2. Address areas of weakness in your marriage
- Are you struggling with communication or fighting often?
- Go through Recovery
- Go to affordable counseling – HOPE Counseling – People who need some counseling, there is counseling at the HOPE Center in Plano. Have them fill out the form first online. Once they fill this out, a counselor will contact them within 48 hours. Their address is 2001 W. Plano Pkwy, Suite 1000 Plano, TX 75075. http://www.hopefortheheart.org/ministries/hope-care-center/hope-biblical-counseling-services/
3. Go to full-time counseling
North Texas Christian Counseling
North Texas Christian Counseling Phone: (469) 635-22006021 Morriss Road, Suite 106 Flower Mound, Texas 75028
Metroplex Counseling Phone: (817) 571-4110Counselors: Jeremy Lelek • Steve Clay • Rachael Rosser • Tim Watson • Kathy Haecker • Kristine Price
Koinonia Christian Counseling Phone: (940) 783-8135Counselors: Linda Mason
Phone: (214) 728-5134
Counselors: Elizabeth Ritz • Sarah Gregory
Phone: (214) 223-1334
Counselors: Linda Buchek
Stepping Stones Counseling
Phone: (214) 213-1673
Counselors: Lisa Stephenson
Living Hope Ministries
Phone: (817) 459-2507
- Are you struggling in your sex life?
- Find a good book to read together
- Read these blogs
There are ways to educate yourself without falling into sin.
- Are you financially in trouble or consistently fighing about money?
- Join a Crown Financial class
- Go through Dave Ramsey course
- Establish a budget and stick to it.
- Agree on how to spend your money.
- Are you struggling in any area of your marriage?
- Get help!
- Talk to your homegroup leader/coach/area pastor.
My next and last post on this topic will discuss how to date and be creative practically with your spouse. But before you move on to fixing the superficial and the everyday stuff, make sure you get on your knees and ask God to reveal your heart to you, to open your eyes to how you are loving (or not loving) your wife, to convict you of your sins, and restore and forgive you. Ask God to direct and guide you as you seek to be a blessing to your wife.
Remember the words of Peter in 1 Peter 3:8-18
“8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered[b] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit….”