“I just wish he would be more of a leader in our home. How do I get him to step up more often?” Any time women, especially young wives and mothers get together, they learn from each other by discussing the ways in which their lives are working.
Or not working.
Discussions over coffee during Bible class have been one such time. Many heartfelt longings are revealed during any study about marriage or roles of husbands and wives. Women who love the Lord and learn about God’s plan for the family begin to long for their husbands to be true leaders of the family. Yet they do not know how to get their men to be the spiritual leaders in the home.
Consider a man, we will call him Bob. He is a hard worker, dedicated husband and father, good provider, faithful friend. He takes his family to church. Yet in his own home he never leads his family in devotions or prayers or discussions about God. It begs the question: Why not?
Now we must realize every situation is different and depends on the perception and expectations of the particular family involved. However, for a lot of reasons, women seem to be more ready, willing and able to be spiritually involved than men in our modern world. Recent polls (Barna) show that 80% of volunteers at church are women.
Before we knowingly nod in mutual agreement, consider the reasons.
“Men have been marginalized in our culture and have shrunk back from taking their rightful place before God in servant leadership in the home and the church. A recent poll of men on the street reveals that men in America today feel emasculated; they feel like women are running everything; and that they don’t know what their roles are anymore.” (Pete MacKenzie, The Influencers, 2006)
The task before us is to help the men in our lives get back on track, and back to God. Probably no statistic we have seen sheds a clearer light on the value, power and the need and influence of a man than this one from a study done by Southern Baptists. They found that if you lead a mother to Christ, 17% of those families will follow her in the faith. If you lead a Dad to Christ, 93% of those families will follow him in the faith. (Statistics from Focus on the Family Publishing, "Promise Keepers at Work.")
If this situation is on your heart as a wife, here are the first three of six ways in which we urge you to support and influence your husband God’s way.
- Pray for him to be the man that God desires him to be
Prayer is the most powerful source of assistance available to us as children of God. Pray daily for your man. He has a burden on his shoulders to provide and lead, whether he wants to or not. He often has no support at work. He may not have a good role model. If he’s not a pastor, he may not know much about the Word of God and the awesome resource for power found in its pages.
Pray that he finds the strength and encouragement to lead in God’s way through the scriptures. Here is a 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge that will put a focus on the things of God. Make your Valentine’s Day present really special this year.
- Set your husband up for success
Set him up for success by using your gifts of networking to find the best resources for him to learn the ways of a godly leader. Is there a particular book that has helped other husbands be better spiritual leaders? Is there a men’s bible class or prayer group at church?Are there children’s books that dad could read the kids at bedtime? Talk to you pastor and ask for resources.
Can you tuck the kids into bed together and teach them a ritual prayer, taking turns with them to lead prayers? There are hundreds of ways you can subtly involve your husband and nurture his leadership in the family. Please share (in our comments sections below) your suggestions so others can learn what works for you!
- Respect your husband’s ways of leading
Every person has been given different gifts and ways of leading. To find out what they are, we highly recommend taking the Gallup Strengths Finder indicator. It is an inexpensive tool and will require some study on your part, but the payback is well worth the investment. The results will reveal areas of strength and perspectives on life that God has given us to use for his glory.
Understanding these gifts will lead to more respect for our abilities. Showing respect to men is vitally important to their perception of worth as a leader. In my work in organizational development, I have worked with hundreds of men over more than twenty years. It never ceases to amaze me how men will step up to the plate and lead when they know you respect them for their contributions. But how?
- Point out where he leads well already, even if it is in a small matter. Encouragement makes a big difference over time, especially if your husband is already in the Word of God regularly.
- Remind him that Jesus started with the disciples who, by the way, were not known for their leadership qualities. They grew to be men of the Lord as they were influenced by his Word.
When we help men become more intimate with Jesus Christ, when they learn to hear God’s voice for themselves and connect with God at the heart, everyone benefits. Wives, children, families, churches, the marketplace, culture, community and the world are impacted by men who have been created by God to be His influencers to the people in their spheres of influence.
The times are growing more perilous every day. Our families need men to be followers of Jesus, guys with wisdom and confidence that Jesus is the Lord of life, the Lord of their lives. Pray diligently for this, support their efforts, and show respect as they are learning.
The world today needs men like the sons of Issachar, men who…
… who had understanding of the times, to know what... to do… I Chronicles 12:32
We have three more suggestions, but that’s another blog for another day! Stayed tuned for Part 2, coming your way in mid-February.
Heavenly Father, guide us in our pursuit to support our men to be more spiritually involved in the family. Hear our prayers. Give us grace to support and wait for you to perform a mighty work in their hearts. Bless our desire to bring our children closer to you and for our family to remain in you forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.