How to be a spiritual leader in a relationship
Recently my wife told me some bad news about a friend of hers. Before I met my wife, this friend was a spiritual role model to her. A person who was excited about Jesus and who inspired my wife to seek out the Lord with greater passion.
This friend eventually married a Christian man and it seemed as though they were the picture of a perfect marriage. Yesterday, however, my wife found out that they had separated and that she now considers herself to be agnostic, no longer believing that Jesus is Lord.
I was shocked. “How could such a thing happen in a Christian home? How is it even possible?” I wondered. A short while later it dawned on me. I’m willing to bet, although I’ve never met the man, that he was not being a spiritual leader for his wife. In other words, he probably wasn’t taking the responsibility to lead his wife into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
So, what exactly does it mean to be the spiritual leader in a marriage? Pastors talk about this subject frequently at church, but it’s often one that sounds great while at the same time seeming vague in terms of its application.
Imagine a throne room, a long rectangular room covered with ornate white marble. The king of kings is seated on his throne at one end and at the other is a door. You open the door and step casually into the room with one foot, not even letting go of the door knob. You call out, “Hey, God,” waving your hand to get his attention. “Thanks for the spaghetti.” You then step back out of the room, shutting the door before turning around and walking away.
Simply giving thanks for your meals is not a spiritual leader. A spiritual leader is the man who opens the door, enters the room and humbly approaches the throne of grace. He then gets down on his knees before God and says, “Lord, I’ve come to spend time with you.”
For many husbands, becoming the spiritual leader in the home means turning off the television for an hour or so and spending that time with your wife in that throne room of grace. Pray together and ask the Lord to speak to the both of you as a couple. Seek God’s will, together.
Be interested in your wife’s spiritual growth. When leaving church, ask her what she got from the sermon. Before going to bed, ask her about what she read in the bible today and be genuinely interested in what it meant to her. Get yourselves plugged into a small group at church where the two of your can meet other Christian couples that you can become friends with.
As husbands, our first responsibility is for our own spiritual growth and maturity. You cannot lead from behind. Your second responsibility is for your wife’s spiritual growth. The two of you are one flesh spiritually. Make sure that as you grow, that she isn’t missing out.
(photo credit: flickr creative commons, Blenheim Palace Maze by Simononly)