Dec 1, 2009

The Husband as a Loving Leader

I get a weekly e-mail from Dr Chapman, and I found a really great article which I have included below. I hope you enjoy it!

The Husband as a Loving Leader

In modern marriages perhaps nowhere has confusion reigned more than in the area of the husband's role in marriage. On one extreme is the concept of the dominant husband who makes all decisions and informs the wife as to what they are going to do. On the other extreme is the contemporary "don't count on me" husband who expects his wife to support the family and make all the major decisions while he spends his time at the local gym.

Somewhere between these two extremes there is a healthy middle road where the husband is responsible, dependable, leading but not domineering. He is deeply committed to his wife and family. This is the biblical pattern which sees the husband as the loving leader. Loving in that his focus is on caring for his wife and leading in that he takes initiative to look out for her interest; in the same way that Christ took the initiative to look out for our interests.

What Does A Loving Leader Look Like?

For some, the words loving and leader are anomalies; some people cannot conceive of the two concepts working in tandem. Their idea of leadership is the authoritarian dictator who rules with an iron fist, and their concept of love is mushy and weak. But in a healthy family, the husband fits neither of these stereotypes.

One the one hand he is able to express both pain and joy. He is able to relate to his wife on an emotional level. On the other hand, he is strong and dependable, feeling a sense of responsibility for the well-being of his wife and family. He does not run when things get tough, but looks for solutions that will benefit the whole family. He is a leader to be sure, but he does not lead in isolation. He recognizes that the most effective leaders are servants, not dictators. He values the partnership with his wife; he wants to be there for her, but he has no desire to dominate her. This is the biblical husband.

A Partnership:

The idea of the wife as partner is as old as human literature. In the creation account the man and the woman were instructed to subdue the earth and to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and other living creatures. The man was not instructed to subdue his wife. He was told to become "one flesh" with her.

In marriage, the man and the woman become partners. We are different physically and have different roles in the reproductive process. Our uniqueness means that we each bring something different to the table, but we come the table as partners. She may not think the way he thinks; she may not have the same skills he has; but the differences are assets, not liabilities. Together we are more likely to make wise decisions, become good parents, and accomplish exploits for God. Working as a team we reap the benefits of marriage. When the husband tries to dominate the wife, no one wins. When he takes the initiative to love her they both win. Marriage is a partnership.


Some research indicates that the average woman speaks 25,000 words per day while the average man speaks only 12,500 per day. There are certainly exceptions, but assuming this is generally true, it is possible that the average man uses most of his words in the workplace and arrives home with only one word left in his vocabulary. When the wife asks "How did thing go today?" his response is "fine." Such brevity will never build a healthy marriage.

I'm not suggesting we count our words, but I'm saying that some husbands will have to push themselves to go beyond what is "natural" for them in order to engage their wives in conversation. Life is shared primarily by means of communication. Without communication we become house mates rather than marriage partners. The husband must make time to keep connected with his wife. This may mean less TV or less time on the computer. Establishing a daily sharing time in which the two of you "connect" is the first step in being a leader.


All of us live by priorities. In our minds, we rank some things more important than others. These priorities are revealed most often by our actions. Answer the questions, "How do I spend my time? How do I invest my money? How do I use my energy?" and you will have the answer to the question "What are my priorities?"

For most men, vocation ranks near the top of their list. In our society, men draw much of their sense of significance from their vocation. This is not necessarily in conflict with a man's relationship with his wife unless the vocation comes to possess him. If your wife says, "He's married to his job. I only get the leftovers." It's time to sit down and talk. If that is the way she feels, then the loving husband will make some changes in his work patterns. Marriage is more important than vocation. Tragically, some men learn this too late. I've never met a man who regretted putting his wife at the top of his priority list.

Adapted from The Family You've Always Wanted: Five Ways You Can Make It Happen by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Dr. Chapman's resources, visit

Hope you enjoyed that!
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Godspeed & Kaizen

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