Part of God’s plan for marriage is that it be mutually beneficial for spiritual growth. No one has been more influential in shaping who I am than my wife of almost 12 years. She’s helped me grow as a man and as a man of God. At the same time God has used me to help her grow spiritually. This is as it should be; especially since I’ve been given the weighty charge of loving my wife like Jesus loved the church and helping her become more like Him. (Ephesians 5:25-26)
Leading my family spiritually, particularly my wife, involves teaching. This means talking with her about the things of God and His Word. This means challenging her spiritually like an exercise partner would push you to become stronger and healthier physically. However, in all of this leading, talking and challenging I’ve learned there is one significant and often overlooked secret to lovingly, leading your wife towards spiritual maturity:
Knowing when to stop talking.
Mastering the art of knowing when to shut your mouth is probably the pinnacle of husbandly wisdom.
For years I tried to convince and persuade Julie to think and see as I did. She probably did the same to me. I did lots of talking. Lots of explaining. Little listening. Little modeling. Somewhere along the way I finally discovered Julie needed less of me talking, explaining, arguing, correcting and ‘preaching’. She needed less of me and more of Jesus. Too often I was a barrier to my wife’s spiritual growth because I wouldn’t allow her the space to grow in grace and faith on her own. Husbands – it’s possible your voice is drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering deep into the soul of your wife.
There are times when I can speak into my wife’s life most effectively by learning the art of listening and waiting.
Less arguing – more modeling.
Less solving – more serving.
Less of me – more of Him.
Ladies, I bet this works the other way too.