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Women Living Well Blog: Your Husband Is Your Spiritual Leader

Women Living Well Blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Your Husband Is Your Spiritual Leader

Last Wednesday, I posted a "Dear Husbands" post. It was a cry for husbands to step up and lead.  Now I turn to the wives.

Dear Wives,

Do you long for your husband to lead?  Some of you are married to a man who is mature in Christ, who has had parents role-model for him what a spiritual leader looks like.  Others married husbands who will not darken the door of the church.  While still others, have husbands who attend church every Sunday - but only if you wake him.  He might keep sleeping if you didn't do all the work to get the family there.

Sometimes as wives, we can create a mental checklist to evaluate our husband's spirituality.  It might look like this:

1. Did he sing loud at church?
2. Did he initiate Bible time with the family?
3. Did he pray with me before we went to bed?
4. Does he act like that guy in my small group - who appears to be a spiritual giant?
5. Does he read the Bible as much as I do?
6. Does he go to a men's study group? Cause I go to the women's study group?
7. Does he express with words how much he loves Jesus like I do?
8. Is he as giving with our money as I am?
9. Does he know as much about the Bible as I do?

And we come to the end of those questions and confirm - nope - he is not all those things therefore "my husband is not the spiritual leader of our home - I am."

While I do believe that there are many husbands failing in their role as spiritual leaders...I want to encourage you to not go down this very dark path - it will not lead to a spiritually stronger husband.  He will sense that you disrespect him in this area and rarely will a man be motivated by our disrespect.

I've been there - early in marriage, I looked over my check list and declared my husband was not measuring up. I had just graduated from Bible college - I (in my pride said) I certainly know more! I lead a Beth Moore study! What does he lead? He sings so quiet - I love to sing praises - loudly! In my heart I declared - I am more spiritual... I I I I I I I I I ! Ugh - so ugly...  My man is my leader - in every area.  He quietly reads his Bible every single morning using a "Read through the Bible plan" - but his walk with God simply does not look like mine!

It seems so easy for us wives to criticize our husbands in this area. We have an ideal we want them to meet - and we fail to realize that the day he walked down the isle - he became the head of our home.  Ephesians 5:23 doesn't say - he ought to be the head of the home - it says he is!

I hear so many women say - "he's not leading". The reality is - your husband is ALWAYS leading...he may just be doing a lousy job. And if he has abdicated his leadership to you - then he is still leading - leading by abdication.

Three areas I failed in, early in marriage, was 1.) to realize that he is going to mature (just as I have)- he's come a long way in 13 years! 2.) to evaluate myself as more spiritual is pretty arogant and ugly to God & 3.) to recognize that a man's walk with God looks different than a woman's!  Some men may be openly expressive and flowery in worship - but after 35 years in church I have seen this is the exception not the rule.

God made our men strong and fierce to fight battles, slay bears and make bold moves for his kingdom. My husband's faith is unwavering. His integrity stellar.  His courage to be a truth teller unstoppable.  His knowledge of theology deep.  But will he get flowery about his love for Jesus?  Not a chance. 

His walk with God looks different than mine - just like your walk with God might look different from mine. 

And here is a point I want you to take away from this post - if you take nothing else from this - hear me on this:

Leave room for your husband to mature in this area.  Do not treat him like he is less than you if he is not as spiritually strong.  Think of the first day you held your first child in your arms.  Were you a mature parent - ready to handle every issue that you would face in parenting? What if he had a mental checklist and you were not measuring up to his standards as a mom?  You'd be devastated.  If you need anyone's support as a mom - it's your husband's.  In the same way, he needs your support in his role of leadership. 

Give your husband room and time to mature.  Pray for his leadership rather than criticize it.  Take note when he does do something right.  Your husband is in a place of inescapable leadership.  That is a tremendous burden to carry.  Lighten his load, step back and let your husband lead. 

Walk with the King!

This post is linked to Raising Homemakers, Titus 2sdays, and We Are That Family.

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Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don't forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button to your post so your readers can find us here! (posts can include the topics of marriage, parenting, homemaking, finances, recipes, organization and more!)

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Blogger Theresa said...

"And if he has abdicated his leadership to you - then he is still leading - leading by abdication."

Hmm..not sure I am understanding what you are saying here. How can a husband abdicate his God-given role?

March 22, 2011 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Theresa - good question - a husband can run from this role. He can literally leave the house and seperate from his wife or He can let his wife wear the pants and lead him by his nose.

Others can see this clearly in their marriage and his leadership would be one defined by others as abdication.

Hope that makes sense.
Much Love,

March 22, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Olivia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 22, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Olivia (Her Noble Character) said...

So wise. God is still working on us AND our husbands (and future husbands if that's part of His plan for us single girls) to make us more like Him...and of course He cares even more than we do about our husbands' maturity! (What a precious picture up top of you and your husband, by the way.)
Love, Olivia

March 22, 2011 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This post has come in a very timely manner in my life! Today I spent all day being bitter and resentful towards my husband about his lack of leadership in our family. We have been married for 2 1/2 years and I feel like I have been the one to hold it all together and have held on to this resentment towards him the whole time. I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant with our second daughter and am finally getting the chance to be a SAHM and am so happy about that. But I still struggle with being frustrated that my husband just doesn't seem to understand or desire to grow in the area of stepping up and leading us spiritually or at all. I have been very arrogant in my thoughts that I'm more spiritual than him and more mature in every way for that matter and it's humbling to read this and realize that I'm sinning in my pride as much as he is sinning in his lack of taking his role as head of the house hold seriously. My pride and disrespect definitely won't be winning him over any time soon and I need to step down from my pedestal and support him and pray for him. That's what he needs the most. Not my criticism or nagging. Thank you for writing about this and reminding us that our husbands are the leaders no matter who is actually doing the leading and we need to respect them as such because it is what God wants for our families.

March 22, 2011 at 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Courtney,

You remind me a lot of my cousin in some ways (I love her immensely, it's a compliment).

Anyway, I wonder:

If leading is so much stress for a husband, and submitting is so frustrating for a wife... then beyond a Biblical interpretation that it is necessary, what good comes of it? Men mess up as leaders all the time, and women can be great leaders. Why not lead together to share the burden and to support each other? I don't see how there is any reason to think men are inherently better at it.

Clearly to you the Biblical interpretation part is crucial because of your faith which permeates your life. So then I wonder how we can declare what is God's word if there are many parts of the Bible we DON'T take literally? There are many very disturbing Biblical passages.

Finally, I respect how much you speak from your own experience and talk about how your walk with God is different than that of others.

March 23, 2011 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

This is so good.
I remember when it hit me...reading Doug Wilson's book on marriage...that no matter what, the husband IS leading...either in a positive or negative way.

I know in our early years of marriage, I had a hard time letting my husband lead....even though I wanted him to.

And the root of that, really was fear...

But God tells us to entrust ourselves to Him.
And the more I allow him lead...the more he leads us toward the Lord.

March 23, 2011 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

My husband leads by abdication.

His inaction is an action and his not making choices is a choice. The phrase of the day is "whatever works".

We just have to push through, give them regular opportunities to lead and sally forth. I cannot move mountains, I leave that to Him. Meanwhile, there are still meals to make, clothes to wash and spirits-including our own-to nourish.
It looks and feels a lot like leading, though.

March 23, 2011 at 4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article the thought of being more spiritual did cross my mind and hearts because my husband walk wasn't how I wanted it to look.Thank you so much for this as this is pride that leads to such thoughts.I love the way u recognize men anew women's role according to the bible.The best thing a godly woman can do is pray for her husband as God sees and faithful to help you.

March 23, 2011 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger A Little R&R said...

Thank you so much. I have been guilty (as recently as yesterday) of keeping that mental checklist. Your comparison of the "mom" checklist hit me so hard - and I realized how very wrong I have been. My husband is such a hard, hard worker, great provider, excellent leader, and is trying so hard to do the best that he can. Once again, I have forgotten that he is wearing himself out trying to be my hero, and meet my impossible expectations. Time to lower them a few notches and make him feel like a success in our home. Thank for this very timely reminder!

March 23, 2011 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Yes, yes, yes! This post is wonderful. I have had to back off in my silent judgement of my husband's role as spiritual leader to allow him to mature. It is so important to let him grow!!

March 23, 2011 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Emmie said...

I have no idea what to make of this post, my husband is not a Christian and I don't know to what extent I should submit to him and let him lead. He is not the spiritual leader in our home and I can't expect him to be, can I? I try to let him lead us in daily life but when it comes to the spiritual side of things I am frustrated.

March 23, 2011 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

And, may I add (you already sort of implied it), LET HIM MAKE MISTAKES!!! So many wives cannot let go for fear their "incompetent" husbands are going to mess something up. I used to feel the same way, so I can say it. God had to bring me in my arrogance to my knees and I subsequently realized I needed to truly have faith that God was going to protect me through my husband's imperfections. What I realized is that when I made mistakes leading, I conveniently forgot them, but when he made a mistake, we were on the verge of catastrophe. When I allowed him to make mistakes, God ALWAYS protected me, I just didn't have the faith before that he would. God doesn't just give us a command to submit and then throw us out to the wolves- He's there for us. And while a situation may not turn out the way we want and expect it to, God will never abandon us. We claim to be Christians and have faith in God, do we? Do we?

March 23, 2011 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger A Little R&R said...

Oh my word, Diane - your comment is so awesome. I shared this post on FB, and I hope you don't mind - I also shared your comment in the "comment" section of my FB post. I just felt that everyone needed to read it. Thank you!

March 23, 2011 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Jennifer @ Just Peachy in Dixie said...

I have seen first hand the miracle that can happen when I stopped praying to make him more of a spiritual leader, and instead praying for how I can help when meant to and just listen when I'm not.

Great post. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer @

March 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I think this is one of your best posts EVER!!!!

March 23, 2011 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Thanks everyone for your great thoughts!

Anonymous - in regards to our husband's leading - there are many passages in scripture where husbands are declared the head of the home - starting in Genesis 3. But in this small space it is hard for me to give a full explanation - I will write a blog post on it in the future...

But let's look at the Ephesians 5 passage. Paul writes that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Our marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:32 says this s a profound mystery - so I understand that this is a difficult concept to grasp - especially in our times and culture).

We do not lead Christ - he leads us - and we submit to his authority and let him lead. In the same way, we are to step back (though we are very capable of leading we volunteeringly submit to our husbands - out of our submission to God) and let our husband's lead.

If we support them in this role - they will blossom and bloom into the strong man that God created him to be. If we lead him around by the nose - he'll be a joke - isn't that what all men are in sitcoms now? Jokes - stupid - need a smart woman to help them. That's how our society sees men.

I have many more thoughts on this - but I can't write them all here - read Ephesians 5 - it will encourage you.

Keep walking with the King!

March 23, 2011 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger DoleValleyGirl said...

Many years ago, a wise Titus 2 lady in my life encouraged me with these words when I complained that my husband wasn't leading: "But he is. You aren't following." Ouch. The truth hurts sometimes, but it can change our lives and relationships!

Thanks for you wise words, Courtney! I appreciate the truth I find here. :) ~Lisa

March 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

Courtney, thank you thank you thank you!! I am continually challenged and affirmed with your blog postings.

As a young lady, I was taught to "take care of yourself." I wsa encouraged to reach for the CEO's position and not be afraid of challenges "in the work place." Because of this strong attitude we struggled in the beginnng of our marriage. It was evident from our first dance lesson when the teacher told me over and over 'girl, let Him lead You!' That was the best advice she could have given me. Not only do I need to step aside and allow my husband to lead, I need to encourage him and stand with God as I follow my husband.

We still don't dance much because he's sick of asking for the reigns, but in our household I live in the passenger seat and no longer do I see this as weak like I once did. I am so thankful for the my role as his wife and love watching him grow in God and take our family to new heights!

March 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Friend said...


I so appreciate what you say about mental checklists... what a terrible way to confine a husband, or anyone we love, to a list! Each person is God's workmanship.

I did want to mention that Ephesians 5 doesn't define husbands as the head of the home, but rather the head of the wife. And when it says "head" we think "leader," but the passage doesn't mention leadership. The chapter is emphasizing self-sacrifice and submission.

March 23, 2011 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger vblogger said...

Thank you for this helpful post! When women feel they are "more spiritual" than their husbands, because they pray more, go to church more, or spend more time studying the scriptures, they might consider Jesus' example. In the New Testament stories, Jesus was most often found just out and about helping people physically. Although he was clearly a master of the scriptures, the gospels don't spend much time highlighting the time he spends studying--he's just walking around teaching and healing and feeding people.

In fact, the spiritual leaders of the day, were disgusted at his lack of "spirituality:" healing people on the sabbath, not fasting enough, etc.

It may be possible that men have a different, more physical kind of spirituality--that is every bit as legitimate.

As you suggest, leaders can only lead if followers willing follow.

March 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger homelover2 said...

I totally agree with you, but what IF your husband is not a Christian. ANTI-Christian, even? What then?

March 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Criticizing our husbands or comparing them to other people (men) will never make them the man we desire for them to be. Instead, we must be continually lifting them up in prayer.

March 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Flamingo said...

great easy it is to compare him instead of pray for him.

March 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger The Working Home Keeper said...

Thank you for this post! When I met my husband in college, he aspired to be a minister. Now, I fear he doesn't believe in God at all. God has shown me that deep down I've been resentful of my husband for not being the spiritual head that I've wanted him to be. And I that I haven't let my husband lead in his own way, for fear of the mistakes he might make and ramifications they may have on our family. I need to work on myself and trust God with my husband.

Mary Ellen
The Working Home Keeper

March 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...


You mentioned that head does not mean leader.

In the greek - "head" is strongs number 2776 and it's Definition is
the head, anything supreme, chief, prominent of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife
of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church
of things: the corner stone

This is an issue of order not superiority and inferiority.

There is much detail I cannot go into here - as I have kids to homeschool (we just got home from swim class) but I will try to write a blog post on this to further explain later.


March 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Some of you expressed that you have husbands who are unsaved - or not walking with the Lord and you are asking - what then. First my heart goes out to you - I know that this is a difficult issue.

Your husband is still the head of your home. This is a God given role to your husband.

When it comes to spiritual matters - if your husband is unsaved - he is leading by abdication.

I have a blog post titled "Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage" that I think could encourage you.

Please copy and paste this link in your browser and it will take you there:

Hope this helps.
Much Love,

March 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Let me try this again....too much info on my last post.
Is my husband my spiritual leader if he has not been born again? When we were married almost 12 years ago, he said he was a christain. But throughout the years, he has continued to live a lifestyle of being given over to his sin with no conviction. I try to show him love and respect but it seems to only make him angrier. We have seven children and would appreciate prayers.

Ladies, if your husband loves the Lord, please be thankful. This is my prayer. Thanks and God bless!!

March 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am guilty of those things the mental checklist and the thinking that I have a better relationship with God than him. This post really spoke to me, as I sometimes wish my husband would do more. I really do realize I need to pray about it more.

March 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Shannon - no your husband is not your spiritual leader if he is not born again - Christ is your spiritual leader until he becomes saved. You will submit first to Christ and then to your husband.

But do not confuse this with his role of headship - your husband is still your head. And he must be treated as such. As this is the way that I Peter 3 says that unsaved husbands are won over to salvation.

See the previous comment where I left the link for "How to Thrive in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage". I think it will help :-)


March 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Strong Man said...

A recent blog post explores alternative examples of spirituality here:

Men, Jesus, and a Physical Spirituality

Thank you for your support of men!

March 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I am convicted and encouraged at the same time by your post, Courtney. Thank you for being a wise and joyful example of a woman aiming to honor God and her husband. I've been married for just over a year and am trying to glean as much as I can from other women who can speak with wisdom, kindness, and humility.

It can be so easy for me to forget how ugly it looks when I to try and take the reigns in my marriage and I arrogantly assume I know what's best. I am beyond grateful for His grace and for my husband's grace towards me when I've direspected his leadership, character, and/or the man God has called him to be! Phew, glad to be back on the right track. :)

Thank you for what you do!

March 23, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger A Little R&R said...

I love what you said here, Courtney! So true. I remember a lady in one of our churches got saved, but her husband did not. And for all of her "evangelizing" and constant inviting him to church - he just grew harder. One wise woman (my mom) advised her to stop preaching, evangelizing, and inviting him to church. Just submit to him, love him, and honor him above all others - even her pastor. She did this, and it changed many things- and his heart grew softer. Then she did a very wise thing: when she had a genuine question about something in the Bible, she didn't turn to her pastor, she turned to her husband and appealed to his "male fix-it ego". Of course, being a man, he HAD to have an answer for everything (and I mean that in a positive sense - I DO love that about men!). So, since he had to have an answer, even for spiritual things, he began researching stuff out - and in his research he found the Lord! He is strongly walking with God today. She won him over by her humble, silent submission - as Paul advised. And then the final push, was her honor of his tendency to want to be his wife's hero. God did make men PERFECTLY! So, I totally agree with Courtney - I can only imagine how hard it is to submit to an unsaved husband, but in doing so - silently with out preaching and evangelizing - God will soften His heart.

March 23, 2011 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I let my husband be our spiritual leader, our kids would be fishing or watching cartoons on Sunday mornings instead of going to church, they would have no Bible time, and no devotions. If I let him be our financial leader, we would be bankrupt (we almost were before I took over the bills.) If I left it to him to make the money, we would live in a shack.
I know it is God's will for the husband to be the head of the house, but to protect my kids and our future, I have no choice but to take the leadership role.
I continue to pray for my husband and he does come to church, so I know that is a good first step. My pastor has preached on this very subject and tries to understand the role reversal in our generation.
I am faced with the choice of raising my children in the Lord or submitting to my husband.

March 23, 2011 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

I have recently found your blog and just love it! I love how you encourage women to embrace biblical womanhood. This is such a wonderful post and such an encouragement to me today! THANK YOU! ☺

March 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...


I don't remember saying that a head wasn't a leader. I was trying to draw attention back to the scripture and what it actually says. Strong's is a good resource, but it's more important to look to the Bible and let it speak to us. "Leader" isn't in Eph 5. Mutual submission and self-sacrifice are the virtues that Paul brings out as he teaches husbands about what headship would look like.

March 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Christin/Joyful Mothering said...

Great stuff Courtney! I skimmed through the comments because there are so many and unfortunately don't have the time to read them all. But it is a great discussion and you are answering questions so well!!! :)

I look forward to your future posts on the matter (and will be sending my readers here, too!) ;-)

March 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Anonymous - what I am about to type is going to be SO unpopular.

But what if...what if you let your husband fail financially...what if you did lose your house - God forbid - and by this terrible crisis your husband learned to step up and change.

What are enabling him to remain lazy by picking up his slack? What if you could trust God in this crisis - be content and at peace...even in your fear of the unknown - and your husband in the midst of this crisis - had a faith crisis and God used this very situation to change everything in your home and with your husband.

When we submit to our husbands - it must be out of faith - faith that you have a God who loves you and will take care of your needs (you may lose your wants)...and that he made this command for our good. It takes a massive amount of faith to do this...but I just wonder sometimes if women are too quickly "helping" their husbands - and in the process becoming imbittered at their lack of leadership - because we so quickly step into that role.

I see no problem in you handling the bills or earning money to HELP your husband in his role of leadership. Genesis 2 and 3 shows that our role is to be a helper...

Try to not confuse "helping" and "leading". Evaluate yourself - are you leading or helping. If you have stepped into leading - step back. If you are simply helping - I'm rooting for you because God made you perfect to compliment your husbands strengths and weaknesses - your husband NEEDS you and he is blessed to have you.

So really only you can say if you are enabling and leading or helping him. This may simply be a heart issue for you...really pray about it.

Much Love,

March 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Charlotte said...


I'm sorry your husband is falling down on the job. But remember that Paul doesn't say husbands are the head of the house, just the wife. In Eph 6 he clearly spells out that children should obey and honor their parents, fathers and mothers. You're not usurping to step up and mother your children. Meanwhile, for you to submit to your husband and stay faithful to him will teach your kids a lot about God's faithfulness and fidelity and it may make all the difference in your husband's relationship to God. Don't give up (1 Cor 7)!

March 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Friend - the Strongs is a Concordance that gives us the Greek word for "Head" - and the correct definition in the original language that scripture was written in.

You are trying to take me to "scripture" but you are taking me to the English version - I am going one step further and taking you to the original language of the scripture and saying that the word "head" in the Greek in fact means chief - leader - master even!

So it could read - the husband is the (head/leader/chief/master) of the wife. All of those words fit this scripture in the original text.

March 23, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...

I've read it many times in the Greek but I think we should focus on the scripture and look at exactly what it says rather than Strong's study materials or argue about the meaning of kephale. Paul is using Jesus' life to define "head" so that we don't need to know Greek or look it up in a lexicon. Instead, we can read the Gospel and see what he did for the church. Paul gives clues about what to look for: love, sacrifice, submit. Lead isn't mentioned anywhere.

March 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Friend - there is no argument over the meaning of Kaphale - it means exactly what it means in the Greek.

But let's just throw out our lexicon's for a moment since you feel there is no need and just simply look at Christ as you said.

Christ leads me - he is my chief and master? So how does that change the meaning of headship - I never lead Christ? He is in authority over me.

I don't understand how you come to the conclusion that Christ is only a loving servant?

So you do not believe Christ is in authority over you?

March 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

Courtney, I love this. I posted it on Time-Warp Wife's facebook wall too. Keep up inspiring us. You inspire me more than you know. So incredibly blessed that our paths collided.

March 23, 2011 at 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is the head of our home but is not my spiritual leader. He is a non believer who allows me to live out my beliefs, despite how much it impacts him ad our home.

As far as your advice to anonymous with the 'spiritually and financially lazy' husband goes, you took the words right out of my mouth.

March 23, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger moreofhim said...

This was a wonderful post! It took me years to understand this concept because I was raised to "not let a man run me". That was some of the worst advise my Mother ever gave me! LOL Now that I let my husband lead, our home is so much more joyful and his walk with the Lord has become stronger because of my example. Praise God! What the Lord tells us in the Bible is really truth and it works!

Thank you for a wonderful blog that points the way to Christ with every post!

God bless you - Julie

March 23, 2011 at 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer G. said...

(Oh, I hope this makes sense and doesn't sound prideful because I really don't mean to be.) I've tried to let my husband lead in all things, and yes the 'worst' did happen. We lost our home and most of the things in it. We declared bankruptcy. We lived with his family (a REALLY bad time) and in run-down crummy apartments. BUT, he has learned and grown, and God has blessed our family in miriad ways since then. These things that happened happened because of his foolishness, not his purposeful abdication. (I don't think most men purposefully abdicate, they just never learned what it looked like to lead a family in love.) Had I fought him tooth and nail to save what I thought our futures should be or to save our kids from hardship, I would have not only ruined our marriage, I'd have ruined him. He'd have never learned to be a man. Our boys would have learned that they are useless and meant to be bossed around by women (as his mom taught him), all so I could take over God's role for ordering our lives and "save" us. I can't take any credit for it. I was raised by feminists, raised to be a power-bow wearing big shot. I don't know how I got this right. It was only by God's grace. I still mess up so often, but praise God, through Him, I got that one thing right. It has truly made all the difference. (BTW, to be clear, my kids never went without true needs or were in danger, that's a whole different ball game.)

March 23, 2011 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Jennifer G - Wow! You are one strong woman and your testimony speaks to the power of God's faithfulness - thank you for sharing!!!

March 23, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...


I definitely believe in Christ's authority over me and over all things. No argument there, sister!

I haven't concluded that Christ is only a loving servant. I was only pointing out what Ephesians 5 says & doesn't say. It says the husband is the head of the wife. It doesn't say he's the head of the home or leader of the wife or leader of the home.

I don't have a problem with husbands leading -- I can't stand wimpy husbands! But Paul doesn't mention leading in Ephesians 5. Instead he calls husbands to love their wives and sacrifice themselves. He focuses on how Christ loves & sacrifices rather than on how He exercises His authority. This vision for marriage is not for wimps. A husband & wife should enjoy the same one-flesh relationship that Christ and his bride enjoy. If a head gets separated from a body, it's deadly.

March 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Friend - this statement is false -"But Paul doesn't mention leading in Ephesians 5." and I have shown you in the Greek that head means leader...

If you are not willing to accept the language that Paul used to write Ephesians 5 then there's not much else to discuss.

You have asked me to leave the Greek and Lexicon out of this discussion and that is bad hermeneutics.

I don't blame you for wanting to twist this passage to make it more comfortable or culturally acceptable. Our generation has not been taught these principles very well.

So I hope in this discussion you are learning that what you have thought or been taught is not Biblical.

I only ask that you are more honest with the original text.
If you want to further discuss this - please take the time to look in the Greek for yourself to see what the word head means. Then we'll be on the same page.

Much Love,

March 23, 2011 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 24, 2011 at 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Friend said...


it's really unfortunate that you accuse someone of twisting, dishonesty, cultural conformity, and bad hermenteutics when they point out a small error in your post.

Was I mistaken when I pointed out that Paul doesn't say that the husband is the head of the home in Eph 5? I will not accuse you of twisting the text, but can you admit that it was a mistake on your end?

Second, kephale is the Greek word for head. It means head over 95% of occurrences. If Paul had wanted to emphasize the leadership role in this passage, I think he would have called him archon or oikodespotes. But the most compelling reason why I still believe that Paul is exhorting husbands to be self-sacrificial lovers in this passage is because he keeps repeating it.

You have made assumptions about my views. Never mind me. It would be best to go back to the text and read it and ask not what Friend thinks but what the Bible really says and how it speaks into our lives.


March 24, 2011 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger cindy said...

Amen and AMen Courtney great blog post and so in need of these reminders from time to time!!

God Bless,

March 24, 2011 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger Katja said...

Hi Courtney

You are so right and thanks for that wonderful post! I can just say - I have been there, too and sometimes still be! My husband does not like to go to church on Sunday morning because of many reasons, I used to be nagging and trying to get my will on that but of course we were only fighting but there was no real success. After reading your blog for a while I realized that if I am stepping back and have my husband lead more we will have a better marriage and yes, we are doing much better now. And this not only in this one matter (by the way, he now offers to go!) but in many others, too. But it is so hard to say this officially these times as women are not allowed to step back behind their husbands anymore - in our society women have to stand right next to them - and then both of them go in different directions...

March 24, 2011 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger Lora said...

Brilliant! This is just what I had been doing until God straightened me out while I was away from my husband on vacation with our son. I was challenged to trust God with my husband the same way I trust my son to Him. Awesome advise!
thank you for your ministry.
You fill my life with the light of Christ shining from your writing and encouragement.
Blessings Courtney.

March 24, 2011 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger ShannonFoster said...

Thank you so much for posting this very relevant topic. I made and still make this mistake many times with my husband, and you are so's arrogant, ugly, and not fair. How would I feel if he did the same to me? And yet, he's NEVER made those kinds of judgments on me...Praise the Lord!

March 24, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Lora said...


You actually sent me back to Ephesians wondering if I was loosing my mind. Thankfully, it is not so. :)

I don’t believe it was an accusation but an honest deduction when Courtney implied that you were sounding at first as if you believe one would not be led by Christ as the head.

If not allowing Christ the head to lead us, the church, then what are we doing instead?

And if not allowing our husbands to lead us when the Word specifies the given role stating that husbands are to wives as Christ is to the Church... then what do you suggest?

As you stated in your original correction, you feel that this scripture is “emphasizing self-sacrifice and submission”.
And I would agree because those are a couple of things asked of me in following as well.

BUT, those words, "self-sacrifice" and "submission", are not used in the scripture anymore than the very word "leader". So could you agree that your heart received that translation from the Holy Spirit? That your interpretation comes out in words not specifically used in Ephesians 5:22-24?

I don't think anyone needs to "admit" their mistakes. We all fall short.
We’re all growing and moving. At best, in Him.

I do want to say that Courtney is not alone in the interpretation she has taken from the Holy Spirit for her role in her marriage in accordance to this scripture. I feel that God has led me in the same direction.

I think this blog space of Courtney's, the light of Jesus beaming from her example, and the obvious fruits of her marriage and ministry speak volumes about her God moved sharing of her heart. For a tree is recognized by it’s fruit. :)

I’m sure grateful for her words and encouragement.
Let’s not pick her apart, eh? :)
In love.

March 24, 2011 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Friend / Alan -
Let's take these verses in their context: Ephesians 5:23,24

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

So the definition of the greek word for head here means leader, chief, master. When you get a definition in the greek - that means you could use these words interchangeably.

This text could read that the husband is the master of the wife - I'm assuming that makes you culturally uncomfortable? It would to most so I don't fault you for that.

So head - works nicely too. Now you want to throw out the greek and look at Christ you say.

So we did that together - and Christ is the "head" of the church - head in the greek means leader, chief, master - but I forgot - I can't use greek...

Okay - so we look at Christ - you see him as servant and sacrificial leader. And you also said he is in authority over you and all things.

But you choose to pick in this passage - without the greek - ignoring his authority over you - to believe that Christ's headship here means only that he is serving and sacrificing for the church...sounds like an a la cart picking and choosing to me.

So my conclusion using your hermeneutics is that the husband should serve and sacrifice for his wife (sounds like how marriage is in this culture to me?)...which leads for some chaos as the woman is to submit to her husband "in everything."

How does the wife submit to her husband in "everything" when you strip him of his ability to lead - I'd be one frustrated wife if my husband tried to only sacrifice and serve me - I LOVE that he is a real man - a leader! (and read what other wives shared in the comments about their longing for their husbands to lead and the joy that came when they did.)

You do so much hermeneutical gymnastics that you make this passage of scripture make no sense.

Also, in regards to not calling the husband the head of the home...then who is the head of the home? If the husband is the head of the wife - (I think you agree that in this passage in the greek the word "head" means "head" right?) So the husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to her husband in everything and the children are to obey the parents - would that not by simple logic put the husband at the head of the home. The only people missing in this passage are the children - are you suggesting the children take the "head"? That's culturally more acceptable too these days -so maybe that's the route you are going?

In any case, Friend - or should I call you Alan? I know that you are not going to reply to this comment by saying "oh now I see - you are right." Most likely you are going to argue with me but what you do not understand is I will not change my viewpoint as I have seen it for myself in the original text and in the wholeness of the Bible and am confident that this is what God's word says.

So let's agree to disagree - and move on from here...any further comments of yours I may choose to delete - simply because I don't have time for someone who is not teachable and wanting to truly learn the true meaning of this passage.


March 24, 2011 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Lora - I just saw your comment after I posted mine - thank you so sincerely much for your encouragement!!!

You are a blessing.

March 24, 2011 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Missi said...

Friend and Courtney,

I wanted to add to the discussion that the heading in many Bibles for the discussed scripture is "Instructions for Christian Households." I fully understand that this is not God-breathed and other headings are used as well, but it does reflect mainstream and understood interpretation of the passage. I guess that's more of a "food for thought" kind of thing.

In verse 24 it goes onto say, "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." If we are submitting to our husbands in everything, naturally we would be submitting to our husbands within our household as well.

If we are submitting to our husbands in everything does this make him our leader? Yes it does! Are there exceptions? Yes (if our husbands are not Christians Christ is our SPIRITUAL leader, but husbands are still leaders of our households). Does this mean that you can't be a strong woman? No way! I'm a strong woman with an independent nature. My husband and I have both discussed that I'm a good leader. We have also discussed that one place I'm NOT going to be the leader is in our marriage or in our household because that is not what is commanded of the believer in scripture.

I hope hearing another heart helps. I don't want to be simply adding "fuel to the fire."

March 24, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger A Little R&R said...

What excellent comments on that scripture. I, too, stand with Courtney on her take on Ephesians. I fail to see how anyone can take that passage to mean anything other than the man is the head of his wife and therefore the head of his home.

Yes, a man's role is to serve and to "lay his life down" for his wife and family. He does that by taking on the role of servant-leadership. By leading, but not lording-it-over; by lovingly guiding, but not demanding; by blazing the trail, but not driving his followers beating them with a rod of leadership. So, while a man serves and sacrifices, he does so as he leads - and that is the style of leadership Paul wanted to point out here (in my understanding, anyhow) when he said that the man must love his wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her.

How the word "head" becomes disputable is a little beyond me. I was always taught anything with no head or more than one head is a monster. And that is exactly what you get in the home if no one steps up to the plate, or more than one person attempts to.

In most cases (if not all) if the husband fails to operate in his role as the head, there is someone more than willing to do so - either the wife or the children. Neither scenario is ideal - and oftentimes it is intolerable. Simply because it is not by God's design.

Anytime we choose to live outside God's design we will encounter chaos.

I like the illustration a great man of God once shared. The principle of authority is like an umbrella of protection. When we choose to live by the principle God laid out for us in Scripture we will be divinely protected from Satan's assault. However, if we choose to live by another principle, that umbrella is removed and our entire family is subjected to the darts the enemy chooses to throw at us. There is a reason why God lays out this plan in Scripture - it is for our protection. And a woman is never more protected than when she allows her husband to leads, and she and her children are in submission to his divinely given authority.

Thanks so much, Courtney. I sincerely hope that this is a first installment on the subject. :) I have thoroughly enjoyed this!

March 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Jodie said...

Thank you so much for being willing to speak the truth on a topic that is rarely discussed. I think I have so much to learn in this area. I have been too guilty of trying to control my husband and not letting go of him. And he is a good, Christian man! Thank you for the reminder. I would love if you would write more about a wife's role. Thank you!

March 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Courtney, I have a husband who is a Christian and in many ways a good,godly man. But the active instruction about Christ in our home just would not happen if I didn't initiate it. I've tried to not do it, hoping he would step up and that did not happen. I guess I feel like that my kids are growing up and time is precious. I cannot wait until he matures and starts stepping up. Well, I can wait, but my kids can't. My daughter will be gone in four short years and my son soon after. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing, but it sure feels wrong to miss opportunities to lead my children spiritually while waiting and praying He will become more proactive. So, while I certainly agree with what you're saying, I think it's not always easy to just "Let him lead" when that leadership (or lack of proactive leadership) is hurting your children. I think and pray about this alot.

March 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Melinda - Deut. 6:9 talks about the role of parents to teach our children along the way of life to love God with all their hearts, souls, strength and minds.

You are definately doing the right thing to teach and train your children in God's word. There are many Proverbs also that speak to this.

I would also say that you are filling the role of helper when you train your chidlren in God's word. I am a huge helper to my husband in this area since I am with the children more hours a day than he is. And he appreciates it.

So I think you are on the right track :-)! (you are not leading your husband - you are leading your children) And your husband and children will rise up and call you blessed some day for your faithful instruction Proverbs 31:28.
Much Love,

March 24, 2011 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...


Thank you for standing up for biblical principals. Being a SAHM is the most difficult job in the world, but I know it is exactly where God wants me.

I believe that letting our husbands be the Head of the home is difficult especially for those of us who God gifted with leadership abilities.

I think that I heard the following from a Jewish woman. "My husband may be the head of the home, but I am the neck that can turn the head." I believe that when we submit to our husbands leadership he is more willing to listen to our concerns. It is truly then that we are his helpmate.

Also, if we look at Proverbs 31, we find that a submissive wife doesn't mean she doesn't still lead within her home - just not with her husband. ;)

Thank you for your encouragement.

Rachel @BigLives

March 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...

Hi Courtney,

I want to answer your questions but it's hard to tell whether you want answers or not. Your tone has turned sarcastic. You've speculated about my motives. I've tried to focus our conversation on the scripture 100% and not make any assumptions about your hermeneutical abilities, your character, or your beliefs. I don't understand why you attacked. Could we hear some words of healing, please? Wouldn't it be best to finish well?

March 24, 2011 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

Friend, I think the question at hand was whether the word "head" meant leader or not. It's clear from scripture that Paul was using the word metaphorically rather than literally. In the same way if we say that someone is "heading" up a company we using a common metaphor rather than talking about a literal head.

Again we see the word used in reference to Christ, "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church." Ephesians 1:22

It's more than clear that leadership is the intended use of the word. If you're not using the word metephorically, these scriptures wouldn't make any sense whatsoever.

If you want to stay with the topic at hand--from scripture as you say--then you should do that rather than attacking Courtney on every side.

Sometimes when we disagree with a blogger as passionately as you do,
it's a good idea to start a blog and state your opinions there rather than going back and forth with arguments in a comment section.

You've asked Courtney to finish well. In my opinion her further silence on this issue would be the best way to finish.

Courtney, I hope that you don't mind me adding to the discussion.

March 24, 2011 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

AMEN! My aunt told me that she actually hindered her husband's growth by doing this. My husband is the quiet type. He's uncomfortable singing flowery worship songs to Jesus. But he leads our home by going to work every single day, even when he's sick. He always has, even when he wasn't a believer. He takes the kids to church even if I am sick, he has no problem going alone. He reads his bible everyday and listens to christian talk radio all day. He's faithful and I am so thankful for him. Personally, I like my man's man verses a flowery guy :) That's just me :)

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

March 24, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...


I'm not sure when I attacked Courtney. I stayed dispassionate throughout. That may have been why she became so disrespectful!

I see your point about headship. There is good reason to believe that Paul meant head metaphorically in the passage, suggesting leader. I don't have a problem with submission or leadership. He just doesn't come out and say it, and addresses self-giving love instead. But you can understand my point, too, that he doesn't call husbands head of the home. In 1 Timothy 5 Paul describes wives as oikodespotein, (leader/manager of the home).

If your Christian home is anything like ours, there's plenty of work and leadership to go around! :)

March 24, 2011 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Sarah beth said...


Your words are really powerful here.. I REALLY needed to hear this, thank you girl!

Sarah beth

March 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Wow I am so glad that I found your blog! It is awesome!!

March 24, 2011 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

Wow, that was an amazing post...One I really needed to hear - one we all need to hear.
First time visiting your blog - and I have been so blessed!
Thank you so much!

March 24, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Good job, Courtney! Good job!!!

March 24, 2011 at 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Bridgette said...

Courtney, I love God with all my heart and soul. I love my neighbor. Both of these above all other commandments. Why is submitting to your husband not a commandment? Also, my husband is not a Christian; he says so. In the last two years he has become verbally abusive calling me names and wanting to go to drinking parties and ASKING me to come, bring our young impressionable children to hang out and "have fun" and I objected and didn't want to go again because last time I SUBMITTED to him he vomited out our car in front of the children. He wants me to be his designated driver and subject our kids to bad examples. I wasn't a Christian until recently saved by God's grace. I am conflicted and think it is easy for you to give advice in an equally yoked marriage. Life is messy for us without your perfect life and friends and I know suffering has brought me closer to God than anything, but this is HARD and I don't feel like submitting ALWAYS is as easy as you make it coming from your comfortable home, life, loving-husband, etc. That said, I value your take on my situation and admire you so very much for the life God has blessed you with.

March 24, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Bridgette - I am so sorry that you are in such a terribly difficult marriage. These situations make this passage very difficult to live out - I fully agree. And I can't say it is easy (although you must know that we are all married to sinners and no husband is "easy" to submit to - simply because of our flesh).

But in the case of abuse - God does not expect women to take it -you must seek counseling and safety. You also have law on your side. You are first to submit to God and participating in your husband's sin is not pleasing to God and will enable your husband to pressure you further.

If you feel in danger - take your children and seek safety and press charges. If you are not in danger - tell your husband that being drunk is wrong and you will not participate it in period.

Ephesians 5:23 says "Wives submit to your husbands AS UNTO THE LORD." We must submit to the Lord first - so you must be very wise in discerning when your husband is asking you to participate in sin and when he is asking you to do something that is not harmful and permissable for you to submit to.

God's word does not change based on circumstance - but I do believe with prayer and staying close to God in his word he will guide you into wisdom in how to handle your marriage.

Remember that you could play a key role in turning your husband's heart toward Jesus and him becoming a loving husband.

I Peter 3:1 says "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the beahvior of their wives."

I am not saying this is easy to do and my heart goes out to the hardship that you face each day in your marriage...but the same God I worship you worship and he is faithful and able to do an Ephesians 3:20 in your life if you will obey him - he can do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever think or imagine.

Trust God and his word. Submit to your husband in areas that are not sinful and have faith.

Saying a prayer for your right now Bridgette.

March 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Came over from Walk with Him! Thanks for sharing!

March 25, 2011 at 12:51 AM  
Blogger ScottsHelper said...

Just a quick note to let you know that I am praying for you, Courtney, as you write and minister to the women on your blog. No doubt it is a challenge at times, when you stand for truth, to have the right words of counsel and wisdom. But I lift you up to the Father, that you will have clear understanding of scripture and a solid answer based on the Word of God.

Also, I just want to encourage the other women here, if you still have questions about the scriptures discussed here, to go to your believing husbands for his guidance in helping you understand. Your husband's vision for how this all plays out in one family may differ from another, and it's good to ultimately go to the spiritual leader of your home when dealing with doctrinal issues or for clarity of the scriptures in general.

So glad I found your blog several weeks ago. I'm enjoying reading through the archives! So much has ministered to me already!

March 26, 2011 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Zwieg said...

This was a great post! It is my hearts cry for more women I know to let their husbands lead and it is a major emphasis in our home that my husband leads and to also raise our two sons to be leaders of their home and in life as well. Thank you so much!

April 19, 2011 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger BeeMore said...

A tremendous blessing finding the post. Thank you for sharing!

April 26, 2011 at 9:53 PM  

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