This last week we received what could be construed as bad news; it certainly wasn’t the news for which my husband hoped. What has occurred in the last week is the fruit gained from a long-term prayer, but not exactly as I envisioned it.

I have been praying for a long time that my non-believing husband becomes the spiritual leader in our home. My husband is still not a believer, but what he has is a more tender heart. He has been virtually gut-punched. I saw a quote this morning that encapsulates what I’ve been living out this last week: “Every wife is a king maker. She has the power to build him up or tear him down. How will you use your power today?”

We have discussed things; I’ve made some suggestions and I’ve watched while he looked at things from every angle, listened while he discussed areas where he recognizes that he needs other people’s expertise to show him things he may not see. This week I’ve been his sounding block, cheerleader, and the woman who shows him respect. I haven’t agreed with everything he’s come up with, I’ve respectfully let him know when I didn’t, but in the end, if he made a decision or suggestion for me, I’ve agreed. We’re not finished with the process yet, and won’t be for some time, but we are working together as a team, and a team with ultimately one leader as God intended.

If I want him to be the spiritual leader, then I must be willing to take the role our Lord gave me. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Eph 5:22-24) This morning I read a devotional about this that had a real life story in it.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on a largely unremarkable, yet poignant scene a photographer friend of mine witnessed as she snapped photos of a rather illustrious couple.

As she offered directions in a brief moment during the shoot, the husband became momentarily confused as to what to do. At that same instant, my friend noticed the slight pressure of the wife’s hand on her husband’s back, guiding him into the next steps fluidly. In that moment of grace, the man lost no dignity in not knowing what to do, thanks to his wife. She was silently, and wonderfully, his teammate and ally. One might even say that in this situation, she respectfully led her husband.

Thus far, my husband hasn’t stepped into the role of spiritual leader, but he is stepping more into the role as leader in everything. A big part of that, is that I am graciously stepping into the role of helper for the simple reason that God ordained this role for me and I know He knows what’s best for me. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) The devotional had more information about the role of “helper”:

You may have heard before that this term of “helper”, the Hebrew word ezer, elsewhere in the Bible refers both to the Holy Spirit of God Himself, and to military allies.

The concept is not for the faint of heart. Rather, it is endowed with innate strength. Acting as wingman is never a demotion. Neither is the Holy Spirit less than the Father or Son. His leading of us, of me, is always gentle yet also with pure truth. His guidance of me is always with my needs in mind.

Especially in a marriage, I’m reminded that we need to give the grace we both need from one another: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32) If we continuously remind ourselves that our partner needs the same grace that we do, it’s easier to work together. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.” (Eccl 4:9-10a)