1. Simply or singularly a man's issue
Leadership is God’s design. It is a reflection of the interaction within the Trinity. Whether male or female leadership is a core heart issue and will ultimately reveal one’s dependence upon God. Both men and women will find themselves in places of leadership at one time or another and we must lead in a biblical and often counter cultural way. However, this article (as companion to this excellent post- 10 Things Submission is NOT) will focus on what leadership looks like in a husband to his wife.
Men can be tempted into believing that leadership somehow gives them higher standing. It does not bestow first-class status. Christ’s equality with God was secure in the godhead but it was his willingness to lay down his life according to his Father’s plan of redemption for his children that caused the Father to highly exalt him. It is a man’s highest calling to lead in a way that doesn’t exalt himself but reflects Christ’s example of self-sacrificing, humble provision and protection for his wife.
When leadership is depicted as loud and domineering oppression, both men and women lose. God stated that man needed a helper; another voice besides his own to listen to. When he attempts to use leadership to suppress the voices God has placed in his life he suppresses the very thing God declared he needed. A husband's leadership is careful not to make his mouth more active than his ears so he can listen to the words of grace God has provided from his wife.
A prideful man will have a very hard time leading his wife. A prideful man isn’t actively trusting God with his life which makes the chances of a woman entrusting herself to him nearly impossible. Prideful leadership leads a woman to fearful distrust.
5. A call to be master
Leadership is not the role of ultimate master. A leading husband is a serving husband. Leadership says, as Jesus did, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Even in the most difficult of circumstances, services flows out of the heart of a husband that seeks to lay down his life for his wife as Christ did for his church.
When a man’s leadership is so immense that his wife gets lost in it, it has diminished her. Leadership should be a place where a husband’s wife can blossom under his protection and care. A place she knows her heart will be heard, her gifts honored, and her dignity respected. A man’s leadership shouldn’t limit his wife but his leadership should encourage her to express her gifts and creativity for the glory of God and benefit of others.
Simply because a man is a leader does not automatically make him intellectually equipped. A man who understands the weight of his leadership will not seek to lead out of his own thinking but instead he will be one who is a diligent learner, looking to the Bible to inform him on how God has called him to lead.
Strength gives birth to strength. A husband’s whose leadership is humble, caring, loving and self-sacrificing will not weaken his wife but strengthen her. As she observes his loving, selfless leadership it will not reduce her to doormat status but instead will encourage her to continue to trust herself to his care and direction. A good leader will strengthen his followers in a way that encourages them to willingly be placed under the authority of another.
Leadership is not self-ruling or self-sufficient. Husbands recognize that they too are under the highest leadership and will have their hearts bent in conformity to God. A husband who leads wisely and winsomely will always have at his core a heart knelt in submission to Christ.
God honoring leadership doesn’t need to be concerned with taking care of himself. The leading husband does not ask, “What’s in it for me?” but rather, “How can I serve God and my wife with my life?”