Lead your wife spiritually | A guide for husbands
This is the fifth post in a series from A Guide to Biblical Manhood. Download the whole guidebook as a free PDF here. Read also: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 of this series. A significant, but often under-emphasized, area where you are called to lead in your marriage is as a spiritual leader.…
A significant, but often under-emphasized, area where you are called to lead in your marriage is as a spiritual leader. You are to disciple your wife and serve in her sanctification. This is true of all believers according to Hebrews 10:24 that says, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” but it’s especially true of husbands who bear the responsibility to lead in a marriage. Your marriage should be a significant source of your wife’s sanctification. Consider Paul’s words to the Ephesians again:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28)
Clearly, you’re not Christ. There is a sanctifying work that only Jesus can do, but as you model your love on the sanctifying relationship of Christ in the church, you do have a role in your wife’s sanctification. Even if your wife is more spiritually engaged and mature than you are, you still have a responsibility to lead. Your leadership is not directly tied to your biblical knowledge or spiritual engagement, but to the fact that God has given you responsibility as the head of your marriage (Ephesians 5:23-24). If you are not doing anything to lead in this area, you need a plan and a trajectory toward leading.
That starts with growing in your own sanctification. Seek the face of God each day before seeing the face of man. Rise early and call out to God for your own growth and then for wisdom in how to serve your wife in her growth. It’s important to stay focused on your personal sanctification as a reminder that even though you’re the leader, you aren’t the standard for spiritual maturity — you are called to help your wife conform to God, not to you.
How can you lead your wife spiritually?
You don’t have to set up a pulpit in your bedroom or schedule intensive discipleship classes before bedtime. Instead, make it a natural part of your life together:
- Show leadership in getting your family actively engaged in your local church.
- Recommend books that you can read and discuss with your wife.
- Lead in finding conferences to attend, messages to watch online, and other means to grow in the Word together and to spur each other on in the faith.
- If you have children, take the lead in creating opportunities to worship together as a family in your home. This can be as simple as extended family dinner time to include Bible reading and prayer or can be expanded to be a mini-church service in your home.
- Finally, pray with your wife. It’s tragic how many husbands never do. The simplest and most regular way to lead your wife spiritually is to pray with her every day — to help her bring her burdens to the Lord through your intercession on her behalf.
What Does Your Marriage Say About the Gospel?
Your marriage is supposed to say something and it’s supposed to say something about the Gospel according to Ephesians 5:22-33. Actually, you’re marriage is already saying something about the Gospel. But is what it’s saying true? Is it accurate? The furthering of the Gospel is at stake here.
People are watching your marriage. In fact, they can tell a lot from the countenance of your wife’s face. Do they see the joy of a wife who is flourishing because her husband is leading well and caring deeply for her? If you treat your wife harshly, if you don’t live with her in an understanding way, or if you don’t honor her, then you are saying something that’s not true about the Gospel.
God give us the courage and resolve to lead well — to accurately portray the Gospel in our marriages — not just so that our prayers may not be hindered, but so that the Gospel would not be hindered and that Jesus Christ would be exalted.
A Guide to Biblical Manhood
– Randy Stinson serves as Senior vice president for academic administration and provost. He is also associate professor of leadership and family ministry. You can follow Dr. Stinson on Twitter at @RandyStinson.
–Dan Dumas is senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary. He is a church planter and pastor-teacher at Crossing Church in Louisville, Ky. You can connect with him on Twitter at @DanDumas, on Facebook or at DanDumas.com.