Because there is a tendency for men to misinterpret relationship situations, it is not uncommon for men to misinterpret what we at Christ Quest Ministries are saying. An expression that is most often misunderstood is, “We men need to learn how to lay down our lives for our wives like Christ did for the church”. Very often men think what we are saying is, “Whatever your wife wants or says, you must submit to her in order to lay down your life and be like Christ”. The biggest problem with a man making that wrong interpretation is that it leaves a wife in the position of not having a leader.
What a wife wants, does or says, is an indication of where her heart is. That knowledge in the hands of an effective spiritual leader can then become a definite means of his understanding how to care for her. A husband, laying down his life for his wife, does not mean: scramble to fulfill a wife’s every wish. Making a wife feel fulfilled and content is not achieved by catering to her perspective on life. True contentment and fulfillment can only come from achieving God’s perspective on life.
If a husband concludes that we at Christ Quest Ministries are saying that the key feature of Eph. 5:25 is centered around surrendering to his wife he will have totally missed what we do want to teach. If a husband thinks we mean that he should not even have or take a position on life’s issues, if it’s different than his wife’s position, then he has again totally missed what we want to teach. If either of these are conclusions a husband has drawn about our teaching, we want him to know that we believe he will not be providing leadership in his marriage. Rather he will have conceded his leadership. A strong indicator usually of a husband having conceded his leadership to his wife is that he will find himself
resenting his wife more and more. As he merely yields to her wishes or directions more and more without providing God’s reflections he will become increasingly resentful of her. The more he gives in to her, the more bitter he will become towards her.
A significant dilemma here is this: If a wife is insecure because she does not have a balanced relationship with her husband then her expressions are going to reflect imbalance (balance meaning that both are actively contributing to the ongoing betterment of the relationship). A wife, feeling unfulfilled in her relationship, will usually develop emotionally motivated solutions for life’s situations. The product of this kind of emotionally charged situation is that the directions she gives her husband will not necessarily be adequate. That means that her instructions could very easily not accomplish God’s will, which will produce further feelings of inadequacy or frustration in both. Concession does not work!
Spiritual leadership in the Christian home requires that a man be constantly evaluating what is going on in his home. And that he let all of the conclusions or directions which might be developed, be developed after evaluating them from God’s perspective. Proper evaluation in any home cannot take place without both the husband and the wife reflecting on life from God’s eyes. One of the jobs a spiritual leader has is to be able to discuss something without letting his personal opinions and feelings govern him.
Please notice that I did not say don’t have opinions or feelings about something. Rather, the focus is on not letting his opinions or feelings govern the discussion.