The Husband and Spiritual Leadership
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8, ESV
Lastly, a loving husband should seek to lead his wife spiritually by helping her grow in her relationship with Jesus Christ above all.
Christ’s love is perfect. The husband’s love is imperfect. Jesus is the Savior; the husband is the imitator (Ephesians 5:1).
The Husband’s goal is to have his wife depend on Jesus, worship Jesus, and love Jesus far more than she would or should love him. Why? Because he can’t give her what her soul needs most! He must point her to Jesus Christ or the marriage will be unhealthy. When a wife seeks God as her first priority, and the husband seeks Christ first, the two will grow closer and closer as they do!
If she looks to her husband as her savior, she will not be satisfied! If she idolizes him initially, she will demonize him later. God never created the man to meet all the needs of his wife, nor did he create the wife to meet all the needs of her husband! Each person should find their fulfillment completely in Christ.
This is what was lacking in the story of the woman at the well (John 4). She was found as having a revolving door of men in her life, divorced and remarried numerous times. What was the real problem? She tried to satisfy her soul with men rather than the one man that could truly satisfy her. Jesus Christ alone is the true satisfaction that the soul longs for. If a husband tries to be the savior to his wife, he stunts her growth and starves her spiritually.
As a husband, you will need to help her grow in her faith. Consider opportunities for her to grow individually, maybe Bible studies with other women or personal devotionals apart from you. These can help her grow in faith as a woman and as a follower of Jesus Christ. She is a daughter to Father God and sister in Christ for you.
The Christian husband is called to be head of the marriage and family. This implies spiritual leadership much like that of how a pastor oversees his congregation, the husband should consider himself the pastor of the home, leading, and serving his little flock, his family, with the heart of a pastor. Caring to the needs of the family, especially the wife.
This means setting an example by getting into God’s word and participating in a local church. You will want to worship together, pray together, and serve together. There perhaps is nothing more special than doing these things together.
Leslie and I pray and read in God’s word most mornings. It’s the best thing I’ve done to provide for our marriage spiritually by simply providing a time where we can get into God’s word and pray together for 10-20 minutes a day!
It’s important that you not only grow together, but you both grow in your personal relationship with Christ with one-on-one time with God as well. As a husband, I encourage my wife to get away from time to time for a retreat to spend time in prayer and meditation. She often likes to go to a nice area to hike and enjoy God’s creation. Every time she returns from these trips her soul is renewed, and she’s got so much to share about the things she’s spent time thinking about and praying about. By financially investing into retreats like this for our wives, we are investing into their spiritual growth. Not everyone grows the same. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas reveals there are many pathways in which people grow in their relationship with Christ.
To assume that we all grow the same way would be not considering the uniqueness of learning styles God has interwoven into people’s lives. While some may experience God on a hike, others may not. While others feel God’s presence in serving others, many would rather read the Bible.
While many would say they love to sing, others would hate to. The goal is not uniformity but unity. We all need to be united as Christians to grow in a relationship with Christ and each other.
As husbands, we must seek to provide spiritually for our wives by making provisions for this. If it’s giving her personal time off, away from the house, buying books, attending a marriage conference, retreats, church services, small groups, or whatever it takes to help you and your spouse connect and grow, do that!
Take It Home
- Talk about what you enjoy doing as a couple or family to encourage your faith.
- Ask your wife how you can better lead the family spiritually.
- Ask her how you can better serve her to encourage her personal growth.
Got Questions? Want to Learn More about Marriage?
I am relaunching Real Life with Ryan on my personal Facebook page, which will have live videos starting with Marriage & Parenting on Thursdays at noon. If you have questions about our current series or just about marriage and parenting, please send them over to me at www.RyanRice.org, where I have a form that you can use to ask me questions that I might use in the Facebook live events. Join me beginning Thursday, August 25th at noon.