Christian Marriage: How to Lead Your Wife Spiritually
As I talk to men about their marriages, I notice a frequent pattern. It appears that most of us assess our wives as "ahead of us" in having a heart for God and pursuing Him. When push comes to shove, we would say our wives are "more spiritual than I am." So we wonder, "What am I supposed to do to lead her spiritually? I mean, what do you want me to do with her?"
A motivated guy might go to a Christian bookstore and find some type of devotional booklet with questions to answer with his wife: "OK, dear let's read this booklet, some Bible verses and try to answer these questions. OK, question #1, what does the Greek word metanoia mean?"
Such resources can be good for a season, but they sometimes feel "canned" and possibly not so helpful or practical. Over the long haul, this approach seems to fade away to nothing. I remember one friend telling me, "It was not comfortable, and it is hard to keep doing something that is not comfortable -- so our time together felt stilted and stale. So we ended up just quitting and doing nothing again."
I have a thought for you to ponder. One you might find freeing. I did! Your wife does not need you to disciple her! She does not need you to impart "spiritual information" to her. Yet she does desire and need you to lead her spiritually.
Your wife does not desire to "sit at your feet" so you can bless her with an unending string of spiritual pearls of wisdom and insight (as if we had such a string of pearls to offer). Rather, she wants to "sit at your side" and face life with a true spiritual perspective together. Remember that in Genesis, this whole thing started when God fashioned woman out of a rib from man's side. Our wives are not intended to be "under us," or "over us," but "beside us." That is Christian marriage.
Leading your wife spiritually is not about imparting information. It is about walking in relationship -- a relationship of three: husband, wife, and God. It is not about how much you know to impart to her. It is about who you are as her partner in life and your commitment to live in yoke together with her -- and with Jesus Christ.
We have an ill-informed view of discipleship. We tend toward thinking about discipleship as information-centric. That's a big mistake! Discipleship is relationship-centric. Discipleship is walking side-by-side with someone in the realities of life. This includes the mountaintop blessings, the curses of the deep, dark valleys, and everything in between. Leading your wife spiritually is just that -- walking side-by-side with her through the realities of life. You don't lag behind her in the journey or run ahead of her. Leading in marriage is not done from "out front." It is done from her side, and my experience has told me that the best way to do that is in prayer.
Sam Ingrassia is the author of "Just Say the Word: A Simple Way to Increase Your Passion for God and Your Wife." For more information about creating spiritual intimacy by praying with your wife, please visit justsaytheword.net.