She Needs You to Lead

This one is for husbands. (I know; you’ll probably keep reading even if you’re not a husband.) Let me share a secret many wives wish their husbands knew and believed. It’s this; she needs you to lead. 

But this is not a push for just any kind of so-called leadership. Some husbands essentially treat their wives as property or an appendage, valuable only for housekeeping and sex. Some husbands manipulate, control, shame, and abuse their wives, or make every decision without consulting her. Those ways of being “head of the house” are the opposite of the kind of leadership Jesus advocated and modeled.

Your wife is responsible for her own behavior before God. And women can act just as badly as men. But I hear from many wives that they desperately wish their husbands would step up and lead!

God created your masculine soul, in part, to be the leader in your family. If you believe that means you can lord it over your wife, seeing leadership as something that gets you lots of “perks,” then stop right here. You need a reality check on the kind of leadership Jesus demonstrated. But you must step up and lead!

Our Western culture and some elements in the Christian church have often torn away men’s natural bent to leadership. The bad behavior of some men has given masculinity a bad reputation. But passivity is not the answer. God did not call you to be nice! You must step up and lead!

Pictures of Leadership

This kind of leadership means you go first. It means you take the risks for the purpose of protecting and serving your wife and family. It means you embrace the uncertainty and step forward anyway, inviting and enabling them to come with you.

Think of Mel Gibson playing William Wallace in Braveheart. He confronts the “powers that be” for the sake of those he cares about. He doesn’t send his followers into the battle in front of him. Instead, he’s at the front of the troop with a weapon in his hand, showing them the way. He’s the one most likely to get wounded; that’s what leaders do.

Think of a guide leading climbers up a mountain or a group of rafters through the rapids. The leader goes first, demonstrating, marking the path, doing what it takes to bring others safely along behind him.

God has a purpose for your marriage, your family. If you’re a husband, perhaps the biggest responsibility of all that you carry is to do what it takes to lead your wife and family toward that purpose.

Paul said it like this: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

How did Jesus love the church? By going first. By making a way for others to follow. By taking the risks. By absorbing the blows. By giving Himself. By doing whatever it takes to bring His followers along toward the desired future.

Leading in Your Home

So what does godly leadership mean in your home? That’s perhaps a little dangerous for me, a woman, to talk about. But take this as inside information on what your wife is almost certainly hungry for.

Godly leadership in your home means seeing yourself, as the husband, as there to serve your wife and family, not for them to serve you. It means your success as a husband is, in part, measured by how your wife and family are thriving. You see success not in terms of money or status at work, as important as those things are, but by the way you bring your wife and family along the journey God has for them.

Such leadership means you make it inviting for your wife to follow in the direction you’re going, not trying to control her. It means you study your wife, learn all you can about her, seek deeply to understand her. You change on your side if it’s in the best interest of your wife. You do whatever it takes to learn about communication, intimacy, and more.

And most important of all, you are first a follower of Jesus. That’s the only way you can be a good leader. As you follow Jesus, you intentionally seek to bring your wife and family along after you. That means your heart and character will be changed first, making you an appealing leader to follow. It may not always look like “family devotions”; personalities and families differ. But you follow Jesus deeply yourself, and worship together with them. You see to it that your wife and family are being fed and nurtured spiritually also. 

Just Do It

This picture of leadership in the home may seem daunting. Neither God nor your wife expect you to do it perfectly. But by going first, and making it immensely appealing for your wife to follow, you will be serving her as Jesus intended.

Your Turn: How has your leadership been in your home? Have you tried to “drive” your wife ahead of you? Have you in some way abdicated your leadership role? How are you going to step up and lead? Leave a comment below.

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  • If you’re a husband, your wife needs you to lead. Bad leadership has given the idea a bad name, but she still needs this from you. Healthy leadership in the home means your wife will thrive.  Tweet that

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