Lately I have been seeing and hearing a lot of things about real men. Both Christian blogs about ‘biblical manhood’ and secular blogs about ‘real men’. I don’t think I have heard so much about this topic since every guy I knew was reading Wild At Heart my freshman year of college. I don’t know why this is creeping up everywhere, but it has reminded me (and brought up again) a question I get asked from time to time…
“Is it hard being married to someone who isn’t the spiritual leader in your home?”
My answer, “I don’t know.”
I think people ask this because Shane is incredibly quiet. He was never leading a team or bible study in our college ministry, and would rather do almost anything before he would talk to someone he doesn’t know. While being the person in front telling everyone about Jesus is a wonderful thing, I think we have mixed up personality type with ability to lead. Shane is an introvert through and through, but why should that mean he can’t lead me? According to the Bible the FIRST WILL BE LAST AND THE LAST WILL BE FIRST. Yet how often do we look at the quiet person serving and think THAT is how you lead? We don’t. Paul says a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church. When the church expected Jesus to stand up, yell and vanquish their enemies, Jesus died. Jesus is our leader because he scarificed everything so that we could live. Why then do you assume that my husband cannot lead me because he struggles to have idle conversation?
I have a husband who works all day then comes home and goes straight to Daddy mode. He does bathtime and bedtime and then does the dishes, so that I can have a break. You know what that tells me? It tells me that he values my time. He gives importance to the fact that I care for our daughter all day, do housework, cook meals and prep for my part time job. Shane goes out of his way to affirm what I do for our family. LEADER.
I have a husband who remembers others and where our help comes from. When we pray together I spend about 5 minutes asking for things I want and trying to remember a few needs of others. When it is Shane’s turn I end up listening to 15 minutes of every prayer request we have been given directly, heard through a friend, read on a facebook update or saw on the news in the last 6 months. He may not talk to you much, but he talks to God for you all the time. Just listening to him pray reminds me of his compassion for others, reliance on God and love for our family. LEADER.
I have a husband who puts my comfort ahead of his own daily. I am 39 weeks pregnant which means I haven’t slept for approximately 33 weeks. In the beginning I was sick, now I am in pain and from time to time I have terrible panic attacks. He holds me, prays for me, gets me water, helps to ice my back and anything else I could possibly need. I told him that he could sleep in the guest room, so he would be better rested for work. He never considered it. He knows how much it helps me to have him and that matters to him. LEADER.
I have a husband who supports my interests, even if he never would choose my activities on his own. Shane had never attended an arts event before he met me. Not a play, concert or a museum visit unless it was a field trip. That same man has never missed a performance that was important to me. I don’t just mean coming to my performances or things I have directed. I mean if I want to see a friend on tour he will drive to another city with me, so we can support her. LEADER.
I have a husband with a heart for people, even ones he doesn’t know. Shane hates presents, but I LOVE to give presents. Shane drives by a few homeless people on his way to work every day. So this year for Christmas Shane asked if I could have people give him things to put in supply kits for homeless people. LEADER.
I have a husband who has faith the size of a mountain, while mine is barely the size of a mustard seed. I am a doubter. I doubt my faith. I doubt my salvation. I doubt goodness and mercy. I lay awake for one night with more questions than most people ask in a lifetime. Shane answers every single one that he can. He points me to scripture. He prays for me. He reminds me of all of the amazing things God has done. He reminds me of the lies in my thinking and the truth in the Bible. He does not waiver, but he never makes me feel bad for my doubts. LEADER.
I have a husband who stands up for me. I am someone who often goes against the grain of my ‘group’. I am Christian in the arts. I often don’t vote Republican, but I believe strongly in reformed theology. I have changed the way we purchase food and clothing based on how those things came to our store, which means we spend more money than on those items than most. Shane supports me in all of it. He listens to my reasoning, searches for truth and always affirms my thinking, though not always my conclusions. He does not say much in a big bible study, but I will never forget feeling attacked by every single person in the room on an issue and Shane speaking up for me. Not because he was trying to tell anyone they were wrong. He didn’t care that they disagreed. He was angry because those disagreeing with me kept repeating ‘my words’ incorrectly. He was frustrated that I was being yelled at for saying something I didn’t say, rather than listened to for my concern. Shane doesn’t talk in groups often, but he will always stand up for me. LEADER.
I am not writing this because I want to brag about my husband, though clearly I have done that excessively. I am writing this because I want you to rethink judging anyone’s spiritual strength and leadership. Many times people have roles at work or at church because of their PERSONALITY TYPE not because of their SPIRITUALITY. The person standing up front may be an excellent leader, but their ability to speak in front of people is a very small part of that determination. If you feel insecure in your spiritual gifts because you don’t fill that mold, please know that God values the way you serve Him. He made you exactly as you are and He doesn’t want you to ‘fake it till you make it’. He wants YOU. If Shane could stand in front of a group of people and talk really well, but left me feeling unheard, disrespected, forgotten, not valued, alone, below him or weak then what kind of leader would he be? On that same note, what if I ignored all of Shane’s incredible ways of leading me because he doesn’t speak up in bible study, enjoy going to social events and start his own ministries? What kind of partner would I be?