“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity….” – 1 Timothy 3:4. 

Perhaps you have heard the story of a man in heaven who sees two different signs. One sign said: “ALL THOSE MEN WHO HAVE BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” That line of men seemed to stretch into infinity. The second sign read: “ALL THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” Only one man stood under that sign. The man went over and underneath the sign stood one man. He asked the man, “what’s the secret, how did you do it? That other line has millions of men and you are the only one standing in this line.” The man responded, “my wife just told me to stand here.”

No this is not a devotional about who should wear the pants in the family. If the marriage is to deepen with time, the man has to take the lead in some key areas as the song by Sanctus Real says so eloquently. Doing nothing or deferring to your wife doesn’t eliminate our responsibilities as husbands and fathers. 

God placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband. But being the head or leading does not mean the man lords over his wife and demands her total obedience. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that:  Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Scripture does more than assign leadership in a marriage to the husband, however. Those same passages you just read also provide a model for that leadership. Firs , we must love our wife unconditionally. Secondly, serve your wife. Jesus is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples’ feet. The Son of God took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife’s top three needs are right now? What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures.

My prayer for each husband reading this is reflected in the lyrics of the Lead Me song:

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do would you rate your ability to lead? Is it something that comes naturally? Why or why not?
  2. How would you rate yourself as a servant in your marriage?
  3. What practical steps can you take to better lead your marriage?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you be the leader in your marriage.