The winner of Stormie O’Martian’s book, The Power of a Praying Wife, is April who posted on March 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm. Please contact me with your mailing address if you are the winner!
In the first few years of our marriage, my husband and I had different ideas of what marriage was supposed to be like, and when those two worlds of thinking collided, friction resulted.
Even though we were both Christians, neither of us were actively living out our faith, yet I still longed for a ‘spiritual leader’ in my home. Unfortunately, I had a skewed vision in my heart of what that term “spiritual leader” meant, and many women carry that skewed image in their hearts as well. Since we often look to our pastors, sunday school teachers or elders of the church as our spiritual leader role models, we may set expectations on our husbands that may not be realistic.
I used to think of a spiritual leader as a man who was on his knees every morning, with an open Bible, pouring over scriptures, leading bible studies, and treating everyone in his life with extreme compassion and selflessness. I had a mental picture of a perfect husband, who never hurt his wife’s feelings, never betrayed her trust, never made her feel neglected, met each and every one of her expectations, and fulfilled all her needs. A husband who fit the bill as the perfect dad, never disappointing their kids or losing their temper.
But one day I heard a speaker share a message about faith and marriage which shattered that mental picture completely.
I sat in my seat, listening intently about what God expected of men and women, and how we are called and equipped to fulfill our roles as spouses and parents. Then when the speaker began talking about the spiritual leader of the household, and since I had decided that my husband was seriously falling short in that area, my ears perked.
I was ready to have my opinions fully validated by this godly communicator, whom I was sure shared my mental picture of mister perfect. I was fully prepared for her to even express some sympathy for those of us who felt they didn’t have a spiritual leader in their homes, and maybe even offer to pray for us.
However, what this speaker said was not what I expected to hear. She did not describe a spiritual leader of the home with the description that matched the vision in my head. Instead, she simply said, that a husband who is the spiritual leader of his home is one who loves God, loves his wife, loves his family, and provides for their needs.
Say what? Wait a minute. What about all that other stuff? What about what I want him to do? What about how I want him to be? What about my desire for a truly Godly bible-toting husband? One who prays with me and our children daily. One who goes to bible study every week. One who memorizes scripture. One who meets my expectations? One who……
Friends, God really stepped on my toes big time with that one. Ouch.
You see, until then, I had only been looking at the churchy-spiritual things that my husband was not doing. I had been so focused on the ‘Godly-man mold’ in my head that he was not fitting into, I had been taking for granted the things that he did do that found favor in God’s eyes.
I had been so consumed with frustration and resentment over the stuff he was doing that God would not look favorably upon, I never paid attention to the little things that made him the good man he was.
I read once that a spiritual leader is simply a servant leader. One who is tuned in to his family’s needs and concerned for its spiritual welfare, while providing love and encouragement. One who is willing to help and defend his family and protect their well being at all costs. And hopefully, one who helps his family grow in the ways of Christ. But not one, who is perfect.
My husband certainly needed to strengthen his walk with the Lord, as did I. He certainly he needed to make some changes in his lifestyle and habits, as did I in different ways. And certainly he was not living a life that was fully devoted to Christ, and although I was trying to make Christ the center of my life, I certainly had room for growth.
But he was a good man. He loved me. He loved our children. He would always protect us. He helped keep the nursery at church and served on comittees. He donated his time and money to people in need. He was a hard worker. He came home from work every night to his family. He was loyal to his friends. He provided food, shelter, necessities, and more.
Not perfect, not without fault, not without mistakes, not without room for improvement in some areas – but nonetheless, a leader in our home. A servant leader, in his own ways.
God impressed upon my heart to try to begin looking at my husband through His eyes, instead of my own stained looking glass. He called me to see him for who he was, not who I wanted him to be, and to appreciate the ways he did lead, while praying for the areas of leadership where he needed to grow spiritually.
It is probably safe to say that the deepest desire of every Christian woman’s heart is to have a husband who loves and serves the Lord, and lives each day with his priorities in check, basing all of his decisions and actions on whether or not God would approve and be glorified. That has always been my hearts desire, and based on the hundreds of women who expressed that desire in the comments this week, it is obvious we all share that longing.
I have seen God answer many prayers with regards to my husband’s faith walk, and at times, a lot of hardship had to take place before true growth could begin to sprout. The faith of my husband, along with my own, has come a long way in the past few years. But we are both still a work in progress.
I feel very blessed to have a husband who knows the Lord, but I recognize that not every woman has that. In fact, I have friends whose husbands are not believers, and it’s hard to see them struggle. These are good men, and good husbands, but they are lost.
The truth is, spiritual leadership has to begin somewhere, and if your husband is providing for your physical and financial needs, loves you and your family, protects you and cares for you, and treats you with kindness, then he is on the right track when it comes to meeting Gods expectations of him, and a wife should never cease praying that God will grab his heart one day in a powerful way.
If your husband is not a believer in Christ, I encourage you to never give up hope that God can open his eyes and orchestrate events in his life that will help him begin to realize how desperately he needs a Savior. I have witnessed God going to great lengths to help a man develop that spiritual hunger, and sometimes it is a hard and painful journey. Yet in the meantime, let us wives hold steadfast to being the Godly woman we are called to be.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:1b, “…if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
Whether your husband is a believer or an unbeliever, you may have spent years praying for him with no signs of a true heart change. I want to encourage you, sweet sisters in Christ, to not give up. Believe that God can reach his heart, and during the wait while God is doing His work behind the scenes, we can choose to see our husbands through a new lens. A lens that is wiped clean of condemnation and unmet expectations, so that we can see the positive leadership traits that our husbands are exhibiting.
When a wife prays, God listens, a mans heart can change, and great things can happen. Lets change our perspectives today about the most important men in our life, and “see” what happens.
DAY 3 CHALLENGE: PERSPECTIVE
Your challenge today is to ask God to help you see your husband through HIS eyes. To look at him with the expectations of what God expects of a spiritual leader, and not the mental picture we may have in our head. To not compare him to other husbands who we think are more spiritual, Godly, or perfect, but to pray for God to move in our husbands heart so that he can begin to embrace his role as spiritual leader, as well as physical leader. To keep praying for his heart if he is not a believer, and trusting that God is working in ways you cannot see yet.
Going forward, seek out the Holy Spirit’s guidance to clearly see the little ways that God is changing your husbands heart, instead of only looking for the obvious, outward, more noticeable changes in behavior or actions. God may be at work in small ways, that can eventually turn into big ways, and it will be well worth the wait.
Please remember that if your husband is abusive in any way, seek immediate professional help. Never allow yourself to stay in harm’s way.