Engage Your Leadership Energies Where It Counts Most
Apathy and lack of energy focused on our vital relationships is a huge problem for many people today, especially in marriages. We believe we can have it all -- a great marriage, brilliant kids who excel at everything they do, a dynamic, fulfilling career, an abundance of high-quality possessions, caring friends, excitement and fun... The problem is that those things end up stealing precious time and energy from our key relationships as we over work, over play, over spend, and over commit. Sadly, the marriage relationship -- the relationship that is supposed to be at the center of life (after God) -- is the one that is often sacrificed first. There just isn't enough energy left to make it all work.
I see marriages fall apart all the time because both spouses are distracted by the many good things in life and haven't engaged in the leadership energies needed at home. By leadership energy, I mean the hundreds of things it takes to run a marriage, household, and family: what it takes to pay the bills, ensure the house is clean, plan vacations, get the kids where they need to be, make and manage the money, plan and prepare meals, align work schedules, plan fun times with neighbors, family, and friends, not to mention grow the bond between each other.
There was a time when leadership was thought to be only the province of men, but that is not true in the Bible, and it is not true in modern-day marriages. In the context of marital leadership, I have found that both spouses want the other one to provide leadership into the marriage -- it's just that we don't really want them to lead us. What we really want is for our spouse to do the stuff in the marriage that makes our life easier and more enjoyable. That is leadership and the point I'm trying to make:
Marriage Secret #3: "I want my spouse to provide leadership into the marriage in an engaged way."
In order to make a marriage work and to be enjoyable for both spouses, the husband and the wife both need to pour their leadership energy into the marriage wherever it makes the most sense. Both people must adapt, discuss, and work together to create this wonderful team. Too many people ignore the need for leadership in marriage, because they view leadership as power and control instead of seeing leadership as energy directed at doing the right things. The Scriptures say clearly that marriage is an area where both husbands and wives must pour in massive amounts of energy to make a home, family, and marriage work. If because of work, kids, and sports there is apathy about leadership in marriage, then the marriage will eventually fall apart for lack of maintenance.
Marriage Secret #3 reveals the kinds of leadership that both a husband and a wife need to give and receive in order for the marriage to be great. To be maximally fulfilling for both spouses, one spouse needs to provide directional leadership energy, one spouse needs to provide organizational leadership energy, one spouse needs to provide relational leadership energy, one spouse needs to provide financial leadership energy. As a husband and wife, figure out how this balance of leadership energy works for you. Who is better relationally? Who is better with the finances? Who is better at managing the home or the yard or the laundry? Think about whether or not you have put enough leadership energy into the areas of your strengths, or if you are too distracted or unfocused to do your part? Especially important, think about where you could pour your energy to make your connection to your spouse better. If you were willing to listen to your spouse's ideas, activities, and attitudes, would your relationship be better? What is missing from your marriage that your leadership energy could provide? Aim your leadership there.
There are often so many exciting things to spend our time and focus on at work, or the gym, or with friends that we can put our marriage on autopilot assuming it will be fine. Don't let this happen! I've seen too many marriages end due to apathy or false assumptions. Your marriage and family are the most fundamental relationships you have, and they need significant amounts of leadership energy from both spouses. As you survey your marriage, ask yourself one question: "Am I using my leadership energy every day for my marriage, or something else?"
Next week, I will touch a little more on what this might look like for both husband and the wife.
(Taken from an excerpt from Dr. Gil's new book, Marriage Secrets, coming out soon.)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead. In His service,
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Marriage Resources by Gil Stieglitz
Marriage is hard! But there is help. Dr. Gil offers a variety of marriage resources for husbands, wives, and couples. Becoming a Godly Husband, God's Radical Plan for Wives, and Marital Intelligence are available in print and ebook formats in our online store and at Amazon.com. Order your copies today!