Move Over, Honey, I’m Taking the Reins, Advent Devotion #8
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22-24
REFLECT: I’ll Be Home for Christmas caught my attention the other day. The Christmas song was originally sung by Bing Crosby in 1943, taking the perspective of a WWII soldier writing to his family overseas, telling his family to prepare for Christmas as he will be home… if only in his dreams.
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
There’s a saying “home is where the heart is.” I’ve shared this story before. I had found a place that I truly loved, someplace other than the place I grew up when I went away to school on the East Coast. I was returning from my summer vacation in California and as the airplane was landing at the Pittsburgh airport, I saw a sign that said, “Welcome Home.” I know that it was meant for the returning military men and women, but that day it felt like it was just for me. It was the first time in my life I felt like I was truly coming home. When I thought about being with Adam, I knew that I was “in love” with him because to be with him felt like coming home.
What I didn’t realize at the time when I recited this story at my wedding reception was how difficult it is to “make” a home, and make it work well. There were times of confusion and frustration, annoyance and anger, adjustments and disappointments. I don’t think any bride really knows what she’s getting herself into when she gets married… but the hard work it takes to make a marriage work is so worth it.
When you think about your husband, have you made a home with and for him? I remember the many things I had to adjust to when I got married – my husband’s wild sleeping habits, his eating habits, his shopping habits, his financial habits, his entertainment choices, his communication skills (or lack thereof at times), and his dirty socks and clothes on the floor. Over time, I began to understand him better,expanding my patience, learning to live with him and make our house a home. One place in my life that I struggle with giving my husband room in is spiritual leadership.
I’m not going to get into all the reasons why husbands don’t lead their families as they should. Jolene Engle over at The Alabaster Jar has a wonderful series on husbands and spiritual leadership. See below for links. But one of the reasons I believe, and have personally experienced, a husband has trouble leading is because his wife won’t let him. When you say, “Move over, honey! I’m taking the reins,” you are taking away his opportunity to be a leader – especially a spiritual leader. Enough times of saying that, your husband will give up all desire to try and lead. This communicates disrespect, and you dishonor God and your husband when you try to do everything on your own, tell your husband what to do, and demand he lead you better and do it on your terms.
Today’s JOY thought is from Jolene Engle’s 5 Ways to Help Your Husband Lead When You Don’t Want to Let Him from the article The Day I Didn’t Like How My Husband Was Leading Our Home.
- Study your husband. Find out what makes him soar as the head of the home and find out what it is that you do that makes him want to withdraw from his leadership position. Learn to recognize the difference, then move towards the positive and away from the negative.
- Continue to build your husband up as the leader of the home. (Everyone needs encouragement no matter what their roles are.
- Pray to be a wife who encourages her man rather than one who tears him down.
- Keep the bigger picture in mind for your marriage. The ultimate goal is to walk in the ways of the Lord in your marital relationship. By stepping back and allowing you husband to lead (aka, do things differently than you do) you’re ultimately bringing glory to the Lord. Not only that, but you’re giving respect to your man in the process, and every husband needs a wife’s respect. So now you’re strengthening your marital oneness through this process as well. The by-product of all of this is a better marriage! Your sweet actions and attitudes will make it easier for your husband to love you.
- Be intentional about strengthening your marital oneness rather than obsessing over the peas and pears!
So the question I’d like to ask you is: Have you made room in your heart for your husband’s spiritual leadership? Have you made a spiritual home for your husband in your heart? This Christmas season, make it a priority to take a step back, loosen the reins, and let your husband lead. Be a wife your husband can count on at home to follow his lead, and not just in his dreams, but in reality. Let your husband say to you, “Move over, honey, I’m taking the reins.”
For further reading, try The Alabaster Jar’s 14 Reasons Why a Husband Doesn’t Lead His Family, Helping Your Husband to Lead When He Doesn’t Know How, Helping Your Passive Husband Lead, 4 Ways to Help Your Husband When He Doesn’t Want to Lead, and 10 Things a Broken Husband Needs From His Wife.
The kitchen is where you prepare and cook your meals. This week, make room in your heart for your husband’s spiritual home by feeding yourself spiritually. Spend time in God’s Word regularly, meditating on the Word of God so you can call to mind verses when you struggle to accept your husband’s lead. Don’t neglect your first relationship with Jesus Christ. The more you spend time with Christ, the more you will imitate and reflect Christlikeness in your heart and marriage.
The living room or family room is where you entertain and relax. What’s one thing you can do to relax your expectations of your husband this week? Are your expectations too high or unrealistic? Consider your needs and wants through the lens of Scripture. Encourage your husband so that he is comfortable in his leadership role.
Who can imagine their home without a bathroom? It is an essential room for relieving and cleansing. This week, think of one thing you can cut out of your marriage that is taking away from your husband’s spiritual leadership (i.e. a critical tongue, unwillingness to listen, venting to your girlfriends, jumping to conclusions, etc). Pray that God would reveal ways to you this week to ax “said thing” out of your life. And cleanse this part of your marriage by replacing “said thing” with a godly character trait (i.e. encouragement, listening attentively, taking your concerns to God first, trusting your husband).
The bedroom is ideally to be a sanctuary, a place for much needed sleep and intimacy. Spiritual intimacy must start with the desire to grow. Spend every day this week praying for a willing spirit to follow your husband’s lead this week. Ask God to reveal to you practical ways to help you to encourage your husband in his leadership role.
RESPOND: Oh heavenly Father, how grateful we are for Your many mercies and Your many blessings! I pray for my dear sisters of the faith, for wives, specifically, to become shining beacons for You, to grow in Your grace and knowledge, oh Lord. I pray for a willing and humble spirit to accept Your leadership and my husband’s leadership. I pray to be a woman of grace – to extend mercy, to be patient, to be humble, to love unconditionally, and respect him with the fiercest devotion. I pray that You would show me how to be a godly submissive wife, and help me to grow in this area. I pray for those women whose husbands aren’t leading and for those wives who aren’t submitting. Lord, be with their spouses today and encourage them to continue being faithful and forgiving. I pray that You would empower men to lead their wives in a manner pleasing and honoring to You and to them as well. I pray that You would empower women to submit to their husbands in a manner pleasing and honoring to You and to uplift their husbands with their words. Help wives to make room in their hearts and homes for their husband’s spiritual leadership. To You be all glory, honor, and majesty.
REJOICE: What are you joyful for today? I am joyful for God’s continual grace and mercy, for my husband’s spiritual growth, and for his desire to spend time and invest time with me.
Your Turn! Share 3 Things that you’re joyful for (regarding your husband’s differences) down in the comments below!