Guest blog post by Rodney A. Wilson
Wise are we when we learn from our experiences, especially when those lessons are applied to other areas of our lives. Below are a few lessons I stumbled upon pertaining to both marriage and leadership.
Let’s look at four ways being a husband has made me a better leader:
- To have a sense of responsibility. Two weeks after we got married we moved 300 miles north to that “northern” city of Louisville, Kentucky. Those first few weeks I often laid awake at night pondering what I would do if someone broke into our home (apartment). I ultimately resolved that I would defend my wife, giving my life if needed. (I didn’t sleep very well those first few weeks!)
Responsibility. It’s part of being a husband. It comes with the territory. Marriage is a discovery that you are no longer alone. There is someone else in the picture and you are responsible for that someone else.
Responsibility also comes with the territory of being a good leader. An effective leader embraces responsibility for his/her team, protecting it from harm and disunity as a husband would protect his wife. For example, it is not always someone else’s fault. Let the buck stop with you. Settle the issue with team members in private if needed and move on. Be responsible.
- To be a servant leader. Ephesians 5:23 tells us the husband is the head of the wife. Part of what that means is following Christ’s example of love for His bride (the church). He gave to her. He served her by literally giving His all.
Jesus said “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26 HCSB). No better example of servanthood than the greatest Leader ever, the Most High serving in the most menial of tasks.
Jesus is essentially saying to the husband, “If there is going to be any serving, selfless tone in your marriage, you need to set that tone. So get over your lofty headship title and serve that woman.”
As a ministry leader, I have learned that this same spirit needs to apply. If there is going to be any Christ-like servant tone on my Marriage Planning Team, for example, it needs to begin with me as its leader.Effective teams like effective marriages, need to be led with a servant-leading temperament, not a domineering one. Want be a great husband? Serve your bride the way Jesus served His. Want be a great leader? Serve your team the way Jesus served His.
- To collaborate in decision-making. As a husband, seeking input from your wife is wise. It shows you value and respect her while providing you with a different perspective on an issue.
I quickly learned that I have the wisest wife in the world. While certain decisions fall upon me to make, I’d be foolish not to consult this vast source of insight God has dropped into my life. The writer of Ecclesiastes wasn’t kidding when he said “Two are better than one”!
Being a leader implies other people are involved, namely people you are leading. It’s not just you and you shouldn’t make every decision unilaterally. Just as in a marriage where the wife feels valued for being consulted, those I lead in my ministry also appreciate the respect I show them by seeking their perspective.
- To manage conflict healthily. Husbands and wives are different. And there is much value in those differences but that is where the conflict occurs. For a marriage to function well couples must learn to deal with their differences.
Managing conflict has by far been the greatest area of growth in our nearly 40-year marriage. (Praise goes to the Lord!) Since learning some basic principles early on, we found that we can process our conflicts and actually arrive at a deeper level of intimacy.
As a ministry leader, working with conflict is equally critical. To manage conflict in a constructive manner allows your team to function better. There is value in the differences on your team. And you need those differences. And dealing with the conflict those differences sometimes bring can build honesty and even trust. Like our marriage becoming more intimate on the other side of our conflict, team unity can become stronger on the other side of a solid resolution.
So once again thank-you Lord for the gift of marriage. The lessons we learn from it sometimes goes far beyond a husband and wife.