Being a spiritual leader in a dating relationship
For example, what about men who have the gift of mercy or hospitality or service or encouragement, and who are full of the fruits of the Spirit? Some women prefer that their partners initiate prayer and Bible study.
Do we devalue them simply because they’re not at the helm or out in front but rather operating alongside their partner? Of course, they’re free to have such preferences, and even to believe that such initiation is a “male” spiritual gift.
Is initiating devotional activities within a relationship really what it means to lead? But we, as the larger Christian community, should find ways to recognize the men who don’t initiate devotional activities and yet model Christlike leadership because they display the fruits of the Spirit.
The problem, of course, is that given this definition, any Christian who is being led by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit, is automatically a spiritual leader.
Marlena Graves seems to me to simply be redefining “spiritual leader” so that it will fit any man, just so that any man can be called that.
How many good Christian men, men who desire to be husbands and fathers, have found themselves in this boat?
The truth is that there are only two ways to respond to this teaching.
When I got engaged to my husband, I too thought he should be my spiritual leader, and it troubled me that he showed very little evidence of being one. But since the Bible said he was now my spiritual leader, I believed that leading me was exactly what he should be doing.
I prayed to the Lord about it, and I received the reassuring impression that Jeff was everything I needed him to be, and not to worry about the rest. But as we relaxed in my uncle’s cabin on our honeymoon, I wanted very much for my new spiritual leader to lead Bible study and prayer– so I asked him to. So I found myself in the ludicrous position of trying to him lead. Fortunately for our marriage, I decided this was ok, that he just wasn’t that kind of spiritual leader, and I backed off on the leading-Bible-study thing. Today, almost 25 years later, I asked Jeff to look back on that time and explain what he was feeling then.