What Does It Mean To "Lead Your Wife"?

In a culture that is becoming more and more hostage to the fight for equality (not that I stand against that fight. There are definitely some changes that need to happen), it can be easy, as Christians, to see the growing feminist voice and to hold more firmly to our reins within the Christian world. I see it all around me. Christians who are getting deeply offended by the encroaching influence of the female Pastor (once again, a discussion for another blog), and men who are fighting harder and harder to maintain control in their marriages and in their households.

In generations past, women have held to the understanding that their husbands hold a divine authority over the household. Meaning that, although we operate from partnership, men have the final say in the direction of the family. Right?

Consider these two texts:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Colossians 3:18-19 (esv)

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleanser 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 (esv)

Jesus is our King, of this there is no question. If he tells you to do something, you are obligated to obey. Once again, an unchallenged concept. However, I think it is important to consider here the way in which He demonstrates His leadership. Is there even a single example of Jesus approaching His people and saying, “I want you to ____________ because it makes me happy.” Or how about, “Go and ___________ because I really think this is the best option for us right now.”

No, rather, John 5:19-20 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.”

Being our Bridegroom, for Jesus, meant being a conduit of God’s will. It meant that, for the sake of humanity (His Bride), Jesus sacrificed His divine authority and instead took up a position of leading us in obedience to God.

That’s really what I want you to get here. Yes, God designed us, as men, to lead our family. But that does not mean he gave us authority to always get the final say. In fact, biblical leadership means we never do. Biblical leadership within the marriage means sacrificing my right to rule so that I might lead the charge in my family’s obedience. It means that I am a conduit of God’s will in my marriage and in my family. It means that when God speaks, I am the first one out the door with my sword drawn, passionately setting an example of obedience and passionate pursuit of God’s will. It means that as my wife and I partner in the plans and purposes God has for our family, I am fighting to knock down walls and equip my wife to satisfy her purpose within our family. It means I am the first line of defense. It means I am the one taking the arrows the enemy launches our way, and the one holding her up as she does what God has instructed her to do.

Jesus, although our King and Lord, did not spend His life making decrees and giving us orders. Rather, He equipped His Bride to be who God said she was, and to do what God told her to do. That is what leadership looks like in the body of Jesus. It means that there is no struggle for power, because God. Has. All. Of. It.

Neither of us are in control. We are partnered in obedience. So instead of pushing for control and demanding to be respected, begin chasing the purpose that God has set before you. Lead the charge in obedience. Obey God as if nothing else matters. And serve your wife by helping her to develop into her gifts and to satisfy her purpose. That is what it looks like when a man leads his household.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share in the comment section below!

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