As men, we carry the God-given burden and responsibility to lead our wives and families and to be the spiritual leader of our home. What does that look like to you? What type of leader are you at home?For many years Debby and I “played fake” and put on our “church face” whenever we showed up for services or ministry. Yet, inside we were being torn apart by the stress and strain of our marriage. It wasn’t uncommon for us to be engaged in a fight either on the way to or from church, but you’d never have known it based on our act at church.
We were very involved in youth ministry, small groups, and various roles throughout the church, and now we realize we had no business serving in leadership roles at that time.
Our home life was a wreck, and we saw our effectiveness in the church being minimized as well.
It wasn’t until we came to the realization that our first and foremost relationship needs to be with God that we began to grow and become the one flesh that Genesis describes. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Through godly mentorship and counseling, we realized that we were putting many other things above one another and certainly above God, on our priority list.
If you have not yet come to the realization that your relationship with God must be your number one relationship, even above that of your spouse, you will continue to miss the mark of excellence in your marriage.
When we repented and began putting Him first, in all things, we began to understand what true love was and we began to fulfill the God-given roles of marriage. Things in our life began to fall into place and our marriage began to grow and flourish, when it had been withering and dying.
Men, the Bible tells us we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25 (NIV) How did Christ love the Church? According to this text, He laid his life down for her. He died, that we (the Church) may live. That, my friends, is exactly what we must be willing to do on a daily basis. Not die a physical death, though that is precisely what Christ did for us, but to be willing to put our wives first and to “die” to our own selfish desires and needs. When we love and honor our wives, and put their needs before our own, we begin to experience the fullness of our relationship.
In order for our relationship to be strong and healthy, our priorities need to be in order. If we put God first, then our spouse, and then we focus on what we need, we will experience His blessing in our life and our relationship will grow and develop. However, if we put self first, and live for “me,” there will be a constant conflict as we make choices that affect the time we spend with our spouse.
Second to God, your spouse should be the most important person in the entire world to you! We began transforming the way we treated one another and talked to each other, and truly began to make every effort to put one another first in our life and we began to focus on meeting each others’ needs rather than selfishly meeting our own.
How you talk to your spouse – and about your spouse – will indicate whether or not he/she has that ultimate position in your life. When you are talking with your best friend(s), how do you talk about your spouse? In an uplifting and loving manner? Or are you constantly criticizing and berating them?
When you put the needs of your spouse before your own and treat him/her as if they matter most, you begin to achieve what we call an “amazing marriage.”
Make no mistake about it…an amazing marriage is not easy! It takes time, effort, and consistency on a daily basis.
Men, as we submit to God, we willingly serve Him and allow Him to work His purpose in our lives. We submit to God’s authority and we choose to serve Him. In similar fashion, wives are to follow the leading of their husband, in Christ. There is no getting around the fact that for Christians, God has placed the spiritual leadership responsibility on the husband.
Quite frankly, Debby often says she is glad for that. She doesn’t want to have to shoulder that responsibility. For her this is an easy concept to grasp and embrace. For others, you may see this in a different light. A factor in how women accept this fact is the manner in which her husband submits to God’s authority and how he loves, honors, and respects his wife.
In a Christ-centered relationship, both the husband and wife are to submit, willingly. Wives are to follow the husband’s lead and he is to care for her in a selfless way. If I put Debby first, and she puts me first, we have mutual goals and we both “win.” You see, part of true leadership is service. Jesus gave us the ultimate example in that because He was a servant-leader. When we submit to each other (Eph. 5:21), meaning when I serve Debby’s needs and she serves my needs, there is a unique bond that we have, and more often than not, we are of one accord.
When we follow these examples Paul writes about, our relationship bears fruit that others notice and want a part of. Others will see that you two have something different in your relationship when you follow the biblical principles of mutual submission. Don’t be surprised when people say that there is something different about you and your relationship, and they want to know what your secret is.
Until you and I take the responsibility of making our family our primary ministry, we cannot be effective in the ministry the Lord has called us to.
Take a few moments, even now, and ask God how you can make an investment in your marriage and ask what changes you need to make. Identify something you can change in your marriage today that will make a difference in the way your spouse views you. What can you change that will have a significant impact on your relationship?
That one thing will be different for each of us, but when you identify what “it” is for you, make a concerted effort to making a difference.
Then, see where He leads you!
God desires to do great and mighty things through you, but you can only be effective in ministry if you are an effective leader in your own home!
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.