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Recently, my husband and I were having a late night conversation about our family. I thanked him for being the spiritual leader that he is. He responded with his usual sweet, “Thanks, babe!”
And then he said: “It can be really hard sometimes.”
It shouldn’t have startled me. I mean, of course it’s hard. He has the tremendous responsibility of leading our family on Christ’s path. And that responsibility is about to grow with the (any day now!) birth of our first child. I’m sure that, right now, the reality of this is weighing on him more heavily than normal.
So why did it startle me, then? I think it’s because, in general, my husband appears to shoulder this responsibility effortlessly. As a result, it’s a little too easy for me to forget that his role in our home is one that can bring many struggles, sacrifices, and hard decisions. His words brought these truths to the forefront of my mind.
I began to wonder, am I doing enough to support my husband in his role as spiritual leader? As wives, I believe our roles are incredibly important (not to mention difficult!) as well. We have an amazing ability to contribute to the spiritual health of our husbands, children, and homes. It’s important to remember that Christ-centered support, love, and respect do not just happen, we have to be active and intentional each day to support our husbands in a way that is glorifying to God.
Here are some things I believe will help us to better support our husbands in their roles as spiritual leaders:
Pray for your husband.
As you go through your day, keep your husband regularly in your prayers. Just as you and I do not have what it takes to be godly wives on our own, neither do our husbands have what it takes to be godly spiritual leaders. We all need God if we are to overcome our sinful natures for even an hour, much less an entire day.
As I’ve mentioned, Stormie Omartian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife has helped me in my prayer life for my husband. When we first got married, I didn’t know how to pray to support him. Stormie’s book really helped me to get focused and to become purposeful with my prayers.
Work daily to improve your relationship with God.
If you are actively pursuing Christ, then you will be much better equipped to support your husband. Read your Bible regularly, pray all day long, get involved in a Bible study, listen to and watch edifying things, do everything you can to abide in Christ (John 15:4). As you strengthen your relationship with God, you will become a better support and will strengthen your husband as he works to lead your family.
Demonstrate respect to your husband (and teach this to your children).
There are so many ways we can demonstrate respect to our husbands (and just as many that communicate disrespect!). Always discuss important issues with him before making a decision. If you have an opportunity to get involved with a new activity, don’t just say yes. Talk to your husband first. It isn’t a matter of getting his permission, it’s a matter of showing him that you honor his opinion, know he cares for your well-being, and believe he will give you sound advice. Don’t undermine his authority in the home (contradicting him in front of the kids or overriding him when he says no, for example). Don’t talk badly about him to others. If you feel that you both need prayers in a certain area, ask him if it’s okay to share and then go to a trusted prayer partner rather than sharing secrets with friends at lunch.
Acknowledge that his role is difficult and praise him for his hard work.
From my discussion with my husband the other night, I think it would go a long way for them to occasionally hear us say: “Your job as spiritual leader of this family is a tough one, but you handle it amazingly well. Thank you for all that you do!” And be specific. Did he suggest a family Bible study after dinner? Make sure you let him know you enjoyed it. If he prays with your kids, tell him how much that means to you. Does he go to work each day to provide for your family? Thank him for that. Have your kids draw him pictures or write him notes for when he gets home. Maybe it just says that he’s an awesome daddy, but I feel certain he would appreciate reading it! Make sure he knows that his hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Encourage his relationship with God.
If your husband isn’t getting quiet time with God, do everything you can to help him make this happen. Does he want one night a week to join a men’s group at church? Encourage him in that. Just as you need to remain close to God to support your husband, he needs to remain close to God to lead your family.
Love and respect him even when he fails.
Recognize that your husband is only human and will make mistakes. When this happens, communicate to him your unconditional love and respect. Make sure he knows that you still believe in him and still support him, even on his hardest days. Be his soft place to land so that he knows he can always come to you, even when he has failed.
Let’s use our God-given abilities to help and support our husbands, and let’s chase after Christ together!
How do you support your husband in his spiritual leadership? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!