We’re doing something a bit unique for CFYC this month. Normally we’re all about women encouraging women, but this month, we decided to shake things up a little. We’ve invited some godly brothers in the faith to give us their two cents. What would these men say to a captive audience of their sisters in Christ if they had the opportunity? What do they think we need to know? Join us this month as we bring you lessons from men of God just for women. Look for articles “From the Fellas” by Jonathan Crowell, Jeremy Sprouse, James Pasley, John Moore and Steve Minor.
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening” 1 Peter 3:1-6 (ESV).
How many times have these verses been read, talked about in Bible classes, and preached in lessons? Yet how many times have those giving the lessons or teaching the classes ever elaborated on how to actually fulfill these verses? How does a wife be submissive to her husband and yet he still be encouraged to grow to love the Lord more? That is part of a story that I want to share with you. You see I am a husband whose wife had to help me become the man that God calls me to be. I write my story for two reasons: first, to show my wonderful wife just how blessed I am to have her, and secondly, out of a feeling in my heart for my sisters in Christ who long for their husbands to become the men that God calls them to be.
I want to begin by telling you about myself. I am a husband of 11 years to a wife who has blessed my life beyond what I can express, a father to three beautiful daughters and a wonderful son, and a minister of the gospel. I have no problem with being a spiritual leader…now. But the truth is that this has NOT always been in the case. In fact, there have been times in our marriage when I would have been very content to be a follower. Let me explain…
I grew up in a single parent home, my dad left at the end of my fifth grade year in school. It was just my mom, my younger brother, my younger sister and I. We were those who were religious, in that we thought that the Bible was God’s inspired word, we tried to live “better than the world”, we went to worship somewhere pretty regularly, and we were involved with the Youth Group of where ever we were worshipping at the time. However, that was about as far as it went in my home. So as you can see the idea of spiritual leadership in general, and especially male spiritual leadership, was a totally foreign concept to me.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up in a home with both of her parents. Her father is a minister, and so as the daughter of a minister in the church she was used to having male spiritual leadership in her home. She was one who had spent much time in Bible classes and Bible study. She was knowledgeable for her age in the scriptures and tried to live it out as best as she could.
We started dating at the end of my senior year in high school, and dated all through my freshman year of college, at the end of which I became a Christian, and we were married my sophomore year. This is how we entered our marriage: as a young man who had grown up under almost explicitly female leadership, with no male role model, little actual Bible knowledge, and no concept of male spiritual leadership and a young woman who had a good amount of Bible knowledge, who had a male role model, who had grown up with and was used to having male spiritual leadership in the home.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you? If so, you are probably wondering how we reversed this situation and put things in the order that God wants them to be in. Well, I give a large amount of credit to my wife for getting us started in the right direction. I know that the specifics are not exactly a match because I had already become a Christian; but in my opinion, she lived out 1 Peter 3:1-6 in the situation that she found herself in, with a new Christian for a husband and spiritual leader. What did she do? How did she encourage me to take on God’s role for me in our home? That is what I want to share with you in the hopes that it may help some other precious sisters to do the same for their husbands.
Here are five ways that she helped me:
Served as the anchor
One of the first ways that my wife helped me was that she served as the anchor until I was strong enough to be that for our family. Truth be told, when we were first married, she was always insistent on going to worship and being an active part of the church. Personally, there were times as a new Christian when I would waiver in my faith. During these times she was always there, always ready to serve God. Eventually as I matured in my faith, I came to equal her in that desire, so now I can be the rock for our family.
Encouraged my growth
A second way that my wife helped me is that she encouraged me in my own spiritual growth. One part of this process that I will always remember is how she never failed to tell me how proud she was of me for doing spiritual things. This was also consistent, even if it was just a small step like leading prayers at home. For me having her do this was an especially important motivator because I really liked hearing her praise. As a result I began to step up more often just to receive her praise.
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
A third way that my wife helped me is that she corrected my misunderstandings with gently asked questions. She did this is a way that made me think and not feel totally stupid. There were no condescending tones or feelings of superiority that came from her. This was so major for me because especially when we were first married, I did not know my Bible and as a result I would often speak my thoughts and opinions with the scriptures taking second place. She helped me to come back to what they had to say as the foremost consideration. Eventually I grew to base my thoughts on what I had studied in God’s word.
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
Showed an interest
A fourth way that my wife helped me is that she showed an interest in whatever I was studying. Her continued interest fed my fire, which only helped me want to study more. One of the parts of this that I have really grown to appreciate is that it did not matter if she had studied it before or not. To her, my interest was important enough for her to spend time studying it with me.
Refused to take the leadership role
A fifth and final way that my wife helped me is that she refused to take the leadership from me. My wife was never mean or condescending about this, instead she would simply express that she was uncomfortable with doing whatever it was (family prayers, family bible studies, etc.) in front of me and ask if I would do it so that she would not be uncomfortable. I did not make this easy for her, there were many times that I would try to put the reigns right back in her hands, yet she would gently and consistently insist that I be the leader. Over time this became the standard expectation and I grew to lead in these areas without her having to ask or insist.
“For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.”
I know that her doing this was not easy at times, and I am sure, was downright frustrating at others. However, she kept it up and eventually I rose to the expectations that she had for me. From there I grew in my faith and my love for the Lord, so now I chase after the expectations that God has for me. Sisters, so that this doesn’t sound too good to be true, I also want to point out that this was not an instant process. It was about 3 years after we were married that I truly began to be the kind of spiritual leader that God calls a husband to be, and even then I had a long way to go. So do not give up! Just know that God is in control and all He asks of you is to do your part so that He is able to do His.
“And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening”
By Jonathan Crowell
Jonathan is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and the pulpit minister for the East Main church of Christ in Holdenville, OK. He is also an instructor for the World Bible Institute and the coordinator for the East Coast Bible Institute in Ghana, Africa extension school. He has been married to his wife, Lacy, for 12 wonderful years. Lacy is the Ministry of the Month editor for CFYC, as well as a co-host for the Fresh Blends podcast. They have been blessed with three daughters and one son, and feel blessed to be able to serve the Lord as a family.