The following is a guest post by Tyler Recker.
I have never felt qualified to talk about marriage. Even now, I’m only 2 and a half years in. However, I am confident that if I had to be perfect on everything I talked about, then I wouldn’t have much to talk about. (Meaning… maybe I could talk about how to tie my shoes.) I still am not especially qualified, which is why this is a discussion more than a teaching.
Lately, I’ve been studying and reading some pretty convicting stuff on marriage that I wanted to pass along entirely as a fellow sojourner, and entirely NOT as someone who is an expert. (Most of this stuff is a review of stuff we heard in the last marriage series, but I’m a little slow sometimes.)
Let me just leave you with a few snippets from “Reforming Marriage” by Douglas Wilson.
“Because the husband is the head of the wife, he finds himself in a position of inescapable leadership. He cannot successfully refuse to lead. If he attempts to abdicate in some way, he may, through his rebellion, lead poorly. But no matter what he does, or where he goes, he does so as the head of the wife.” pg. 24
Ouch. All of the above is grounded in the indicative statement of Ephesians 5:23 that “the husband is head of the wife”. Wilson points out that the verse is not the imperative, as if to say “Husbands, be the head of the wife”, but rather the indicative noting that this is the reality that needs to be lived out. For better or worse, I am the leader of my home. I may hit or I may strike out, but I am the one that has to step up to the plate all the same.
“One of the central difficulties we face in our culture today is the general ‘wimping out’ of the Christian men. Men have abdicated their God-given strength, leadership, and authority. They do not want to take the masculine role; they do not want to take the initiative because they have taken the easy way out.”
Ouch. (I read this whole book aloud with my wife…can you imagine how humbling that was?!)
So, having shared just a couple of quotes with you, let me begin a discussion on fleshing this out. The truth is that husbands are to be the leaders, but we will all lead with different styles. I think we would benefit from sharing ideas. In venturing to this, let us shy away from the foolishness of thinking that there’s one exact way that this should be done. Let us not venture down the road of legalism wherein we take our methods and impose them on our brothers as THE only way.
What do you do to lead your family spiritually? What are your best practices?
I’ll offer my two cents. (Which is really worth about that.)
-I found that reading a good book together at night before we went to bed was a great way to get the ball rolling of having more spiritual conversation in our home. This could be a book of the Bible, but at times it could also be solid books on particular issues.
-I have always resisted scheduled “date nights”, because a) it seemed too cutesy (What’s next? matching sweaters?) and b) I thought I shouldn’t have to schedule to do things that I really wanted to do, I should just do them. But with the busyness of graduating college, ministry, and her having to work full-time, I realized that sometimes you have to plan to do things that you want to do, or the things that you DON’T want to or only KIND OF wan to do will choke out the things you REALLY want to do. Besides, it’s great to have those on the calendar so that when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, you can reply “I have plans that night.” (I jest.)
Men, what about you? What are your wrestlings with how to live out the truth that you are the head of your family? What have you done that is been helpful in this area?
Women, what does your husband do as an effective leader in your family?