I know a pastor’s wife whose spirit is crushed because of her husband’s constant criticism. Another wife feels like a single parent while her husband can’t be bothered because he needs to “study and pray.” Yet another struggles with loneliness because her husband never engages in spiritual activities with her.
Writing to husbands is a little like writing to another species. And I don’t presume to understand all the ways God works in your male hearts.
But I do know some of the things women feel when men use spirituality to crush them, ignore them, control them, or put them down. Your wife is a treasure from God. If you want your own prayers to be answered, treat her with the same loving care with which Christ loved – and loves – the church. (See 1 Pet 3:7)
A few do’s and don’ts to put things in perspective while you’re making God first:
- DON’T depend on your wife for the entire spiritual direction in your household. She may look and sound more spiritual than you at times, but that doesn’t let you off the hook. And it doesn’t mean she has any closer a connection to God than you do.
- DON’T belittle your wife – to her face, or behind her back. Cutting down her spirit will close off her heart to you, and perhaps even to God.
- DON’T demand that your wife feel, think, or pray exactly as you do. While you are her spiritual leader, you are not her Holy Spirit. Her different personality means God works in her life differently than He does in yours. Enjoy it!
- DON’T immerse yourself in “spiritual” pursuits when your wife needs you. If your wife needs your help with the children, needs you to mow the lawn, or needs an undistracted listening ear, meeting her needs is serving God even more than it is serving her. Running off to “pray” when she needs you is not spiritual: it’s an escape, and it’s sinful.
And now, a few things that you can do:
- DO take a risk in being the spiritual leader in your home. Take the initiative to pray with your wife, even if it’s hard. You’ve done harder things before! Take her by the hand (literally or figuratively), and enter God’s presence together.
- DO spend your own time with God. Pray for your wife. Pray for yourself. Pray about how you relate together. Talk to God about what He wants to do in your heart and in your family. Let Him change your character.
- DO find ways to love and serve your wife, even without being asked. It’s the way God serves us, His people. Discover her love language, and speak it to her OFTEN. This will do more to lift her up and encourage her spiritual growth than anything else you can do.
- DO honor your wife’s spiritual journey. Yes, it will be different from yours. Look for what God is doing in her life, or how He has gifted her, and celebrate those things. Praise her for how God is using her, and encourage her.
If you are a man of God, your wife should be the most loved and cherished woman in the world. And God will honor you for treating her that way.
<pYour turn: How does your spiritual life affect your relationship with your wife? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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