Have you ever noticed how many leaders experience marital problems? I have been in the ministry for over 30 years and I have seen many ministerial leaders experience adultery and divorce on so many different levels. Now that I am in the counseling ministry, I have seen the same is true for leaders in all walks of life. I have begun paying attention to some of the problems that seem to be prevalent in these marriages. No matter how good a leader a person is does not exempt him from problems in his life and his marriage.
Problem #1: Most leaders are task oriented people. They are Type A personalities or if you prefer, they are D on the DISC model. What that means is that they are driven and they over look people because of the task at hand. When a person is totally focused on the tasks at hand as well as thinking about the production associated with the task, he totally forgets about the people involved in the process. Or he thinks about what the others can do for him. Again, this leader tends to look at other people as assets or maybe liabilities and not necessarily as people.
Obviously this mindset is not conducive to a good marriage. The wife begins to feel nothing more than an employee at best. She does not feel like a life partner; rather she feels used and many times abused by this type of husband.
Problem #2: Most leaders are strong decision makers. In business it is imperative that the leader is able to make good, quick decisions without a great deal of hesitation. Many times the leader does not even listen to the advise of his advisors as he believes he knows what is best for the moment.
Again, I believe you can understand why this mindset does not work in marriage very often. The wife feels she has much to offer to the relationship and to the plans for the relationship. If she is never talked to nor listened to, then she will begin to feel unimportant and insecure.
Problem #3: Most leaders are workaholics. Leaders tend to spend most of their time “running” their businesses. They wake up early and go to bed late. They even eat at the office or on the road. They feel that they just cannot spare even 30 minutes of their day to spend with their wife in such a mundane event as eating.
This mindset also is not beneficial to a good marriage. The relationship needs to be fostered and cared for. A person cannot expect to have a good marriage if there is not time spent nurturing the emotional connection that is needed for the marriage to flourish.
Let’s look briefly at how what the Bible says about marriage.
Ephesians 5:25-30 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
There are several important lessons a leader can learn from this passage of scripture concerning his marriage. I will just point out a couple of these lessons.
Lesson #1: A leader must love his wife sacrificially. When you think about Christ’s love for the church, the first thing that should come to mind is the fact that he died on the cross to save His bride. He was not selfish in any way. His love for his bride transcended her faults and her inadequacies and He showed His love through the cross.
Another way Christ showed His love was through serving His disciples. The most poignant example of this is when He washed the disciples feet. I wonder how the wife of a leader would feel if he humbled himself to the point of meeting such a basic need?
Lesson #2: A leader must nurture and cherish his wife. These two words speak specifically to fostering the relationship. In order to foster the relationship, time must be spent listening to and caring for your wife.
Again, Jesus spent time with His disciples. He ate meals with them and invited them into His life. Jesus shared with His disciples many of His plans. Jesus’ disciples were shown that they were important to Him and never a burden to Him. Not one time did Jesus make the disciples feel less than because of the mistakes they made. He would lovingly correct them as needed, but He always let them know theta they were loved and needed.
I understand that husbands (leaders) are being compared to the Perfect Son of God. I also realize that no one else has ever lived up to His perfection. Yet, this passage of scripture tells us to use Him as our example. Many of us have to learn to put aside our decision making skills, our plans, and our drive so that we can listen, learn and love our wives. I promise when we learn to do these things, our marriage will flourish!!