UNDERSTANDING MARITAL LEADERSHIP

In every organization, there must be a leader. What makes it an organization is not the organisms, by this, I mean that it is not just about people being involved. Until there is a leadership structure, it can’t be an organisation. This is how the family is and God never designed the family to function well without a good leadership system.

When we talk about leadership, we aren’t just talking about what we know as the head, it also talks about everyone who has a role to play. A good leader identifies his or her role, gets better at it and command influence from his or her office. It is not necessarily about being the sole director of affairs.

So, when people ask “who is a leader in the home?” Both the husband, the wife, the children and even servants are all leaders. Some are leaders in training and some are already ordained leaders. But then, there are hierarchies, not necessarily because they are more important or superior but because there can’t be an organization where every leader is on the same role. Understanding how God designed marriage and family will also help in understanding how important it is to stick within the frameworks of our roles and function effectively.

God designed man to lead the marriage but God designed both the man and the woman to lead the family. The man and the woman are the board of directors of their own family but on the board table, the man presides except where he has left the duty for the woman either because of death, separation or even sickness. This way, we can understand that children don’t submit to their fathers alone, they submit to their mothers too!

This is why the Bible says “honour your father and your mother…” The father and the mother are leaders of the family in equal capacity. They may deliberate on things in private, disagree, debate and finally come to a mutual understanding. But when they come outside, they implement it together as one voice. The Bible records that the husband and the wife have become one flesh by the virtue of marriage.

Whenever my mum makes a quick decision in the absence of my dad even without his pre-approval of which she knows he will always approve of if he was present at the moment, she would always present it to us by saying “I have discussed with your father and we have agreed to do this…” She was making us understand that she isn’t just speaking on her own but the behalf of the leadership board! If he still eventually disagree with her, they debate it in private, make resolutions and reach a common ground! Then mum comes openly to say “well, your father and I have changed our mind.”

The Bible says that except two agree, they cannot walk together. But we must understand that there is no agreement without one submitting to another or one dropping some differences aside. Being in an agreement doesn’t mean being without differing opinions, it means that in a particular cause, goal or vision, there is an agreement to work it out together. For an agreement to happen, one must submit to another person’s ideas or they may both find a common ground to agree and do away with some harmless differences.

For example, the man may want to buy a fifty thousand dollar worth of car but the woman would prefer that the money be used for something else. They may argue this for a while and the woman may realize how important a car may be to the family but her idea on how the money should be used may also be perfect. They can both reach an agreement in which the man may purchase a twenty thousand dollar car while the rest of the money is used for the other stuff or at least get it half done if it was going to take all the money. Now you see, they reached an agreement but dropping the differences and finding common ground.

Talking about the man’s leadership as the head, it is often misunderstood and abused. First of all, man is endowed with the ability, physique and emotion to lead. Man is also designed to interpret submission as love. The leadership of man is not a bossy relationship but servant leadership, the kind we saw in Jesus. The leadership of the man in marriage isn’t such that dominate the entire affairs of the woman and subject her to unfair treatments. The woman is not a subject, she is actually like a co-pilot!

A man who doesn’t understand the office and role of a wife cannot lead her well or even give her the chance to function effectively as a wife. The husband is not General Commander in Chief of the family. In the army, you are asked to obey the last order but marriage isn’t like that. The leadership of the man is implemented in the frameworks of friendship and love. Men are meant to protect their wives and not subdue them! That is what their strength is for

What some interpret as leadership is coming home late in the night, shutting the woman up when questions are asked and living without accountability. It is wrong! It is easy to identify men who would abuse leadership privilege even before marriage. Any man who places a demand on submission will abuse their office a husband at every slightest opportunity.

When the man leads his home the way Jesus modelled leadership and the woman submits to this leadership with all sincerity, they will both have the greatest influence towards each other and see the goal of that marriage fulfilled tremendously.

The office of the wife only makes sense in submission. Being submissive to the man’s leadership in the home is how he interprets love and being very attentive, considerate and caring to the woman in marriage is how she interprets love.

For the sake of clarity, a woman whose opinion counts to you will always cherish you. Leaders aren’t people whose opinions are final. By being attentive, they also make good use of a differing opinion when it will yield more result than that which they hold. On the other hand, even when the differing opinion makes no sense, they appreciate those opinions, making the other person understand why it has to be the other way round.

Marriage is a union and therefore cannot be productive when the couples are independent of each other. Until a woman also understands what submission is, she may not do so well in marriage or as a wife. The wife is also a leader and she is wired to be positively emotional, creative and multi-tasking. These attributes are very important and with it, they can make an untold impact on the family.

A man needs those emotional, creative and multi-tasking quality of a woman to lead the home well. Most men who neglect their wives don’t do well, they feel taking care of the children is all about spending money on them but that is just one out of many! When the man understands the role the woman is playing in his life, he will pay attention to her, stay accountable to her and carry her along with all that he is doing.

The woman submits unknowingly not just if she loves you but when you love her. The beautiful thing about loving her and showing it intentionally is that it triggers a sense of security in her making her fall blindly into your arms without fear, knowing that you’ll protect her. Perhaps, you should see submission as a woman willingly falling into your arms.

The question is, does she trust your arms? Have those arms disappointed them before? Earn that trust and you will never have to say “don’t you know I am the man of the house?”

Women are great but greatest when loved. Genuine love brings us the best of a woman. Now, a good leader knows how to bring out the best of others. When she isn’t submitting to you, while checking other factors, you may also want to look back and see where you aren’t getting it… Bring out the best of her and the key to this is genuine love!

Do you see that? Leaders should be accountable and when a man is accountable to his wife, she will trust him enough to submit to him. Let me give you another perspective on what submission is. It is not slavery, it is not acting in the capacity of a housemaid. It is a voluntary act of giving in to the leadership of another. As I started, in every successful organisation, there must be leaders and upcoming leaders but there must also be a hierarchy in the leadership system that must be respected.

Being the head doesn’t mean disrespecting another, seeing yourself as superior and seeing others as your subjects. When both men and women understand this, they will find joy staying in their place of assignment as couples and parents, knowing that they aren’t inferior but very important! While the leadership of the man makes him respect his woman and bring the best out of her, the leadership role of the woman makes her willingly follow the lead of her man, putting the best of her to the course of their relationship.

Let me put this thing in another word so that it makes more sense to you. 

Love is the only true means a man can exercise leadership in marriage or relationships and submission is the only true means a woman can exercise leadership in marriage or relationship. It sounds so simple but when we look into this from a practical perspective, we’ll realize that with love, a man exhibits all the virtues of a servant leader and with submission a woman has enormous influence both in the marriage and in the family.

I hope you find this portion of the Holy Bible very useful.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do 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. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:22-23, 25-28

Blessings.