Every congregation should have the right to work out their ways of living out the Christian faith. I firmly believe that. No one can come from Belgium and tell believers in Bolivia how to take the Lord’s Supper. Or in the case of what we’ve been discussing, how to put into practice the Bible’s teachings about men and women.
In the same way, I believe every marriage is different. Yet I think every marriage is strongest when the husband is making an effort to be the spiritual leader of his family.
So what does that look like in real life? I can only answer in our case. Carolina and I have been married for 25 years. Yesterday I was trying to analyze our decision-making process and checked with Carolina to see if I was remembering right. I asked her if she could remember a time when I put my foot down and decreed what the final decision was. She almost laughed and said no. We make our decisions together. I can’t imagine doing it differently.
But she feels that I am the spiritual leader and that I should be. I see that leadership played out in many ways. I once heard Glenn Owen, in a Herald of Truth workshop, say that Ephesians 5 tells us that when sacrifices are to be made, it’s the dad that is to make them. That has stuck with me and been one of the guiding principles of how I seek to lead my family. I think leadership is about setting a spiritual tone to the things that we do, about ensuring that we are on the right spiritual path.
It also means that my wife looks to me for spiritual guidance. Don’t get me wrong… Carolina is a very strong person spiritually. You can view her testimony on the Hope For Life website and note that quickly. But she doesn’t want to lead her husband. She wants to know that she can count on me to move us toward spirituality, rather than having to drag me in that direction.
In practice, I would guess that our marriage looks a lot like those who feel that Ephesians 5 stops in verse 21. But the difference is the attitude with which we approach it: I with an attitude of sacrificial leadership, Carolina with an attitude of submission… submission out of strength, not out of weakness.