Earlier this week, my mother and I went out to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory for a good heart-to-heart talk about this, that, and everything in the middle. One of the questions we discussed was what young men, including me, need to be doing right now in order to be the spiritual leaders of our future families.
It seems there is a great need for husbands to step up to the plate and be the spiritual leaders God has called them to be in their marriages. And as young men, we need to take this seriously and be doing what it takes now to be prepared to obey this commandment when we have families of our own. It's not a choice. And it's a biblical commandment, and it's also a big part of what our future wives will want and need from us.
In a recent article on lack of spiritual leadership by husbands, one woman described her frustration when her husband failed in this area: "I had visions of my husband leading Bible studies in our home, taking a leadership role at church, praying with me over our problems, and talking about godly things with our children. Instead, he stumbled over grace at mealtime and hardly ever brought up the subject of God or faith or church." (www.growthtrac.com).
It's enough for me that our God has called us young men to this. But on top of that, the fact that this is what my future wife will want and need me to be is more than enough to make me do everything I can now to prepare to be her capable husband in this area. This is not something you can cram for when your wedding appears on the horizon.
As we talked, my mother and I decided that for young men, this all starts with solid disciplines in our own personal relationships with God. Once this foundation is laid, we can build on it to become excellent spiritual leaders. In my view, I can't expect my spiritual leadership of my future family to ever be any better than my own personal spiritual disciplines. So if, at a given time in the future, I've been slacking on my Bible reading and my personal disciplines are only, say, a 5 out of 10, my spiritual leadership of my family during that time is going to be a maximum of 5, and likely lower.
That's why it is so important to build in those solid spiritual disciplines as solid non-negotiable habits now so that I will be prepared to keep them up later, because marriage is not the time to start up a deep spiritual life. In fact, while my life often seems very busy now, I can only imagine (or perhaps not imagine) just how busy it will get later when I have nearly all the same tasks to accomplish, plus the additional time requirements of raising a family and being a husband and father.
In Ephesians 5:25, we are commanded: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her." Young men, let's start obeying God and loving our wives now, by preparing to be excellent spiritual leaders in the future.