God gave husbands the role of leadership. There are Scripture passages that confirm this, but I’m not going there today—mainly because those verses have, in my opinion, been abused by many over the years and thus have a negative connotation to a lot of women. I didn’t say I was never going there, just not today. When we think of a leader, many things can come into our minds. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leader as “a person who has commanding authority or influence.”* That definition works well on the battlefield of war. One person leads and the others follow. There is no room for hesitation or argument.
Now let’s bring that word leader into a marriage. If we go by the military model, most women in our culture today would probably at least hesitate before following or quite possibly not follow at all. So is this a joke that God has played on all the men on the planet? Are we destined to fail in this role as leader? I think not, and the reason is found as God defines the role of a leader for us. In Luke 22:26, Jesus says these words: “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves” (ESV, emphasis added). The word “serves” in this verse changes everything. Jesus gives us His definition. Lead like a servant, but not just any servant.
Lead like Jesus. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says, “The Son of Man [Jesus] did not come to be served, but to serve.” Jesus served us by dying for us. We serve our wives by dying to self and serving them. For me, it plays out this way: When making decisions, I listen to Nancy and value her input. I don’t force my will on her. My goal is for us to make a decision that is mutually agreed on. Then I want to know her needs and do my best with God’s help to meet those needs.
Being a servant leader means that I would never use physical force with her. It also means that I pray with and for her, that I go to church with her, and that I encourage her to grow closer to God. Is being a servant leader a tall order? Absolutely. But our God is there to come alongside us and help us and guide us. He will always have the answers for us. No matter what kind of a leader you have been in your marriage in the past, that can all change today. You can be the servant leader God designed you to be. He is waiting to help. Take your first step and ask Him in.