In 2012 I wrote a post for the Internet Café. It remains still today one of the most visited posts on their site. I can’t write it better today. It remains truth and remains powerful. So in response to our confusion and the issues we face about spiritual leadership in our home, I share the post again today.
When I’m speaking or interviewed for radio, spiritual leadership of our home, often comes up as a topic for conversation. It’s really interesting to me that this question comes to me from other believing men (radio interviews) as well as women who are living unequally yoked.
My friends, we the spiritually mismatched, certainly live in the “in-between.” And spiritual leadership/direction is of monumental importance to us and we wrestle with how to do this well.
I struggled for years in this area of my marriage. Thoughts crossed my mind such as:
Do I wait for my husband to become a believer to set the tone in our home for prayer and Bible reading?
If I take any initiative to teach my kids about faith, will my actions be perceived as disrespecting my husband?
Can I be the Spiritual leader of our home and yet respect and follow my husband’s lead in all other areas?
Will my kids listen to me because I’m not the head of the household?
Does leading spiritually, make me the head of the household?
Am I up to the task all on my own?
Tell me I’m not alone in this. If you are in the midst of this confusing mess, today I want to set your feet on a path to freedom. I will share with you what I share on the radio.
First, hear this and let this truth resonate within you:
If your husband is unwilling or has abdicated his position as the spiritual leader of your home, then God expects you, the believing wife, to step into this role.
Repeat that sentence out loud.
I heard these words a long time ago. I’m not certain exactly where or when but what I recall precisely, that was the moment when cloud of confusion lifted and freedom flooded my heart. I needed permission to take leadership and to teach my kids and it came in those words. So, if you need permission to step up and to begin to model, teach, and love like Christ, my sisters, then you have it. Clearly God’s desire is for men to lead but when they won’t, God is delighted that his daughter’s will help the next generation.
How do you do it?
Motive, motive, motive. I think the success of our marriage greatly increases when we consistently check our motives. Does my desire for my husband to lead our home come from a place that is “me” centered or “Christ” centered. Let me be specific. Here are some of my own thoughts from a few years past.
If only he would believe, he would help me get the kids ready for church.
My life would be so much easier if only he would believe.
I wouldn't have to sit with each of the children tonight and pray with them. I wish he would help.
Going to church alone is so embarrassing.
Okay, these are tough but sometimes we need to move past our “self” and truly focus on what Jesus wants. When you have the right motivation, which is born out of love and humility, you will be motivated to get the kids up on your own and get them to church. Out of a loving heart you can say to your husband, “Sweetie, watch the television without me, I’m going to go tuck the kids into bed and say bedtime prayers.”
There are many ways to build respect for your man and still quietly lead your family closer to Christ. More than anything, I will always go back to the truth of 1 Peter 3, Win them over without words. Win your kids, your husband, your friends, the neighbor, a world that is lost and broken….
Win them over with your boundless, crazy, passionate, fervent, zealous and adoring love for Jesus. When you love Jesus with all of you, heart, mind, soul, strength, it’s irresistible over time. And that’s a promise.
Jesus modeled humble leadership. That is the key to spiritual leadership, even in the midst of a spiritually mismatched marriage.
A happy marriage (believing and unbelieving) begins with love and respect. With Jesus as our center, add to that large doses of laughter and a sense of humor, it’s a winning combination.
Be blessed, Lynn