How My Husband Leads…

Besides people writing me to ask about sex in marriage, the other topic people very often write me about is my own marriage. I have had many young people (and some older) express to me gratitude and thanks for writing so candidly about my marriage.

They have told me how reading about my marriage has encouraged them to believe in marriage for themselves and to not give up hope in thinking that God really can bring them an ideal spouse.

Along those lines, however, I often have young women ask me about the whole submission thing. They feel threatened, nervous, and defensive when it comes to discussing the topic. They seem unsure as to how they could possibly submit to a man and allow him to serve as the leader of their home.

Of course, these are two different subject and I am not going to attempt to address either of them today. Sorry. For today’s intents and purposes, I’m simply going to state that in my home, my husband is the head (if today’s comments prove titillating, I may write a separate post asking should husbands lead).

And to those women who question the thought of a man leading their home, I submit to you my very own husband. My husband leads and he leads well. His leading blesses me and our marriage as a whole. Here’s how he does it…

He is undoubtedly, every time, without question the first to apologize, even if I was in the wrong. He is the first to seek reconciliation.

He has never once raised his voice to me.

He tells me, and then shows me, that our marriage is his number one ministry.

He tells our children, and then shows them, that mom and dad’s marriage is his number one ministry.

He regularly checks in with me to see how he is doing as a husband and father. He asks where he can improve and always receives any suggestions with humility and kindness.

He knows when to be firm with me without ever demeaning me, fathering me, or patronizing me.

He fully supports my dreams, in all areas, and is willing to sacrifice his own needs to help me achieve those dreams.

He never speaks poorly of me.

He never speaks poorly of our marriage.

He never speaks poorly of marriage, in general.

He respects my mind and my body.

He submits to Christ.

He attempts every single day to love me as Christ loves the church.

He does not ask, “How can Nicole serve me,” but rather “How can I serve Nicole?”

He makes decisions with me and in prayer, not as some rogue agent.

He does not lead from a place of self-satisfaction or self-exaltation, but from a place of self-sacrifice.

He honors me. 1 Peter 3:7

He does not just lead his family, but he also pastors his family.

He prioritizes me and our children above work, friends, and other commitments.

He is consistent in his actions, attitude, and dedication to us.

He knows that parenting is a two-person job.

He emphasizes our children’s character, not just their achievements.

He is, at times, annoyingly patient and unbelievably kind.

He makes me feel safe and protected.

He never accuses me or brings up old wrongs.

He tells me he loves me again and again.

He represents Christ’s love to our family each and every day.

Now, I know, my husband may sound like he has a big “S” burned into his chest, but let me assure you, he’s not Superman. He’s not perfect, but he is perfect for me and he does make an effort to serve his family each and every day. And for that, I am beyond grateful. So now, I turn it over to you…

Wives, how does your husband lead? Husbands, how do you lead? Where can you improve and where has God grown you?

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19 thoughts on “How My Husband Leads…”

  1. Hi Nicole,

    I’ve been a husband for more than half my life (married 43 years now) and I’m almost beginning to get the hang of it.

    Sounds like you’ve won a prize.

    One observation of my own, a smart head realizes when his wife is smarter in a given area than he is.

    John Cowart

  2. Wow, your husband is Insanely awesome Nicole! Sounds to me like he deserves a Dove award. If there was such a thing as a Christian rock star, it would be him :-)

    For me as a husband, the main way that I lead my wife is by serving her. I try to the best of my ability to find out what it is that my wife needs and I do it for her. I find that she does a great job of being vocal about her needs but if I also pay close attention and read between the lines, then I can also find out other things that she needs that she isn’t necessarily vocalizing.

    I think as husbands we need to do a better job of not just hearing and doing what our wives are telling us they need, but we need to look at their emotions and their body language to better understand their communication. It’s not easy but with some training, I think it can be done.

  3. You and Jonathan were so blessed to “find” each other…that sounds as if it was almost accidental. I don’t think that is so. But you are certainly blessed to have such a husband. If only he could be cloned! ;-)

    1. Lucie,
      I am blessed! I admit it. I know he sounds like a perfect man, which he isn’t of course, but he is perfect for me. And as for cloning, that’s exactly what our single friends used to joke. I just want him to write a book.

  4. Thank you for this post, Nicole.

    I am currently a senior in college, and often, I hear young women seek to dominate those around them, including men. I am in full favor of women becoming independent and self-sufficient, but I think the doctrine of submission allows for a beautiful portrait of Christ and the Church. Of course, a man must also understand that he must earn his wife’s respect. Submission is a two-way street, and I think you’ve got it on target. Thanks again!

    1. Do you really think that a man must earn his wife’s respect? I’m just thinking about this and am not quite sure I’d agree, but would love to hear more of your thoughts on this and what you mean by it. I guess in the same way that I believe husbands are called to love their wives unconditionally, I also believe wives are called to respect their husbands unconditionally (which I also believe, for men, this translates as loving them unconditionally). I could say more on this, but would rather wait to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

      1. Right on, Katy!

        Both love and respect must be unconditional. I’m sure that most women would be horrified at the suggestion that they need to earn the love of their husbands. No, they need and want love whether or not it is deserved. That is what love is all about.

        I might not respect the individual who occupies a certain political office, but I choose to respect him because I respect the office. Even if his particular policies and actions are terrible, I do not denigrate the office. So, too, wives need to respect whoever occupies their office of husband, regardless of how much he still needs to learn and grow. The respectful support of a wife goes a long way in helping a man become the husband he needs to become.

      2. Hi Katy, I suppose what I meant is that in order for a wife to willingly submit, and man must understand that he needs to treat his wife well. If a wife is mistreated, it will be more difficult, maybe impossible, for her to submit.

    2. Sarah,
      You are so right. I agree that submission is a two-way street in order for it to work as God designed. I will say too though, that a woman has to submit whether her husband does or not and a husband has to love whether his wife submits or not. Both are commanded in scripture, not merely suggestions.

      The fact that you see submission as a portrait of Christ and the Church puts you far ahead many women already. You will be a blessing to your future husband!

  5. Nicole,

    Not to be snarky, but while many of those points you make seem like something everyone should do, there are some that hint you are the dominating force in the marriage

    You make him apologize, even if youre in the wrong? That right there is a sign of submission. Imagine it outside your marriage, think of you as a boss, coworker, friend, etc.

    But that is usually how it works for most married couples. Women are trained that they control the men in society. So they give an inch, take a mile. Do it in a fashion we dont mind and distract us when we do ;)

    Regardless, I appreciate the honesty – even if my opinion on your commentary is leading to different conclusions.

    1. James,
      Please re-read my sentence: “He is undoubtedly, every time, without question the first to apologize, even if I was in the wrong. He is the first to seek reconciliation.”

      “Make him”? How can you make someone apologize? I’m not even sure how that is possible.

      So I’ll paint you a picture:

      If I’m short-tempered or cranky and say I snap at my husband, he might not say the words “Nicole, I’m sorry for doing something to make you cranky,” but he will say something like “I’m sorry that you’re tired today or that you’re having a hard day. What can I do?”

      He doesn’t take the blame for my actions. He seeks reconciliation, which is a form of leading. The distinction is an important one.

      Thank you for commenting.

  6. Nicole:I like how you used the following words to describe headship in your marriage: “tell than show,” “pastors,” “consistent,” and “makes decisions with me.” I picked these phrases because they indicate relationship. Christ never separates Himself from His Bride,though He is the Head. He is in constant relationship with her-building her up/sacrificing for her etc. There is no separation between Christ and His Bride-there should be none between husband and wife even though he is the head…thank you for sharing this!

    I ditto Peter’s comments above. The best way Chad leads me is by being proactive. I am strongwilled, so I appreciate him being one step ahead in casting a vision for our family. He says he is able to do this b/c he is confident about who he is in Christ and b/c he seeks His counsel before laying a discussion before me. This makes submission simple, b/c I see His confidence in who he is and what he thinks is best. Blessings to you and Jonathan.

    1. Tracy, I love your comment! You are so right that Christ never separates Himself from the Bride. He laid down His life for her. It is, as you stated, a relationship of self-sacrifice.

      And from one strong-willed woman to another, yes! Our husbands willingness to seek Christ first is crucial. I submit easily and willingly because my husband submits to Christ.

      Congratulations on your ministry and Bible study too! What an amazing opportunity. You have such a voice to speak directly to the hearts of women. I am praying God tremendously blesses One Degree and uses you to further impact His Kingdom.

      1. Thank you my sister! Don’t worry, I will be knocking on your door for a guest post soon! :):):)You have a lot of “one degrees” that can/have already impacted countless readers. BTW-you are on my list for top women bloggers! Be encouraged:)

  7. As far as the respect angle, yes, it’s hard to respect when we don’t feel our husbands deserve it. Likewise, it’s hard for them to be loving all the time. I’d highly recommend Emerson Eggerich’s “Love and Respect” book, which very Biblically addresses these issues.

    Being a strong-willed child that grew up into a strong-willed woman, submission has always been a tricky topic for me. BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t try to submit. It was hardest when our children were little (3 kids under the age of 3 will drive you mad sometimes!), and my husband had to work long hours. I felt he wasn’t there for me, to help out and split chores 50/50.

    Sometimes a strong-willed woman needs to meet her match in a husband, and I did. Now, my hubs is the gentlest, sweetest guy in the world. But at this time, when I railed on him for not getting up w/the kids at night and giving me all the breaks I deserved, he said simply, “I’m the one who has to get up every morning and go to work.”

    You know what? He was totally right. He was the one earning the money so I could stay home with my kids and keep the clothes clean and cook the food he paid for. Because he stood up to my unreasonable (feminist-encouraged!) demands that everything be 50/50, I was willing to sacrifice my time and energy wholly for my kids. And I got a whole new level of respect for HIS sacrifice of hard work and long hours to provide for his kiddos and me.

    Just an example from my marriage! We’ll be married 15 years this year and I will say that it keeps getting better! Neither of us are perfect, and I often drop the submission “ball,” but give and take and learning selflessness is part of making marriage work.

  8. I remember struggling with the concept of submission when I was a young woman. One day, God painted this picture: Submission is not blind. It requires trust. To submit, you need to be able to trust this man with your life. If you don’t trust him with your life, you should not be marrying him or even continuing a romantic relationship.

    It sounds like you and I both lucked out, because my husband sounds similar to yours in conduct. He isn’t perfect, but he is perfectly wonderful.

    I love the picture of Fred and Ginger(?) dancing!

    1. Yes! I think trust is so critical to a healthy marriage and any woman being able to submit. I’ve have never trusted anyone as much as I trust my husband. I trusted him the moment I met him. i think it was part of what made me fall in love with him so quickly and easily.

      And I love what you said about your husband: “He isn’t perfect, but he is perfectly wonderful.” I feel the same way about mine… :)

  9. Wow you gave me something to think about. A man can provide all of that for his family . Thank you for that word.

  10. Palesa,
    I’m so sorry to hear you feel so discouraged and sad by your husband’s lack of leadership. While it may sound counter-intuitive, however, I’d encourage you to offer respect to him despite what he is or isn’t doing. Men crave respect (whether they have “earned” it or not), just as a woman craves to feel loved. I’d ask you to try an experiment and show him respect for one week and see if it doesn’t spark something in him. Respect begets respect in this case. You showing respect to your husband can very much help produce actions and behaviors in him that are worth respecting.

    I’ll be praying for you and your marriage in this area. Please come back and let me know how it went. Blessings.

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