On this edition of Truth in Love, Dr. Lambert speaks with Dr. Stuart Scott about godly leadership in the home. Dr. Scott shares some general principles of why it is important for men to lead in the home as well as some practical steps men can take to become better leaders.
Most of us live in homes and all of us have families. The Bible speaks very relevantly about the issue of family structure. One of the most important things that the Bible teaches in this regard is that God has called men to leadership in the home in relationship as husbands and fathers. Our special guest on the podcast today is Dr. Stuart Scott who is the professor of Biblical Counseling in the graduate program at Master’s College. He is also an ACBC certified counselor and the author of The Exemplary Husband. Dr. Scott, when we talk about men being called to leadership in the home, what do we mean?
Dr. Stuart Scott: Well, that is a great question Heath, yet it is hard to tell what each person means when they think of leadership in the home. They may mean, going back to Genesis 1, where God first made Adam and made Eve to help Adam. That theme runs all the way through the Scriptures, it surfaces again in 1 Corinthians 11 where Eve was made to help Adam as Adam followed Christ. Ephesians 5 is another passage that talks about the husband being the head of his wife – that is probably what they mean – but before you can really understand leadership and headship in Ephesians 5, Ephesians 1-4 would really need to precede it. Is this man rightly related to God through Jesus Christ? Is he living for God’s glory? Ephesians 4 talks about a man having a right attitude and then loving his wife as Christ loved the church. There is a lot involved in this headship and leadership, but they probably mean that God holds the man responsible for the decisions and direction of his marriage and family.
Dr. Heath Lambert: So this would be a very high and very noble calling that men are called to in the context of their homes. and many men might sense that they don’t know how to do it. Maybe they have never seen it modeled or they think they cannot lead their wife because they sense that she is smarter than they are or more godly than they are. What do you say to a person who struggles to know how to lead?
Dr. Stuart Scott: Well, I think a lot of men would say their wife is probably godlier than they are or smarter than them and most of us as men have married “up the ladder” more than we deserve. And so, to that, I understand what they are saying. If they have had no role models, that is another issue as well. For those kind of guys, God has given them the office of leadership and now they are really required by God to search out the Scriptures to learn to grow in their own spirituality and to love their wife. There are a lot of words that come with leadership that may help them to be a godlier man and lead their wife well. I mean, words like sacrificial loving; how are they doing in that area with their wife? Are they serving them well? Leadership is servant leadership. Are they initiating the right things to do and not waiting for their wife to initiate things? Are they applying God’s word to their life and becoming more wise? Are they being decisive or letting their wife make all the decisions? Are they working at growing in humility? Probably another word for leadership is being courageous and stepping up and fearing God rather than fearing man.
Dr. Heath Lambert: That’s good. Now some men as they try to do those things are going to be in marriages with wives who are strongly resistant to their leadership. You mentioned that they need to be decisive and not let their wives make all the decisions, but there is going to be some men who are in marriages where that is very difficult. What would you say to men who are in such marriages and they want to begin to address that problem?
Dr. Stuart Scott: You know, if a guy’s wife is resistant to his leadership and we know this, we would have to do some troubleshooting and find out why. We think of proverbs 18:13, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” I would want to find out why his wife is resistant to him and even ask the wife, if possible, as to why she is resistant to her husband’s leadership. It might be what he is doing that’s causing a lot of difficulty; he could be very domineering, maybe he doesn’t listen to her or doesn’t involve her in the decisions. Maybe he is extremely passive and it just frustrates her to no end that she has to initiate and make decisions. So I would want to troubleshoot on that end to find out why she might be resistant. If he is really trying to be a good faithful leader, as the Scripture calls him to be, and she’s still resistant, that might just be issues in her life that she is resistant to God’s authority. It might be that she’s got other issues going on that she is struggling with and what’s happening is she is taking it out on him and I would encourage them both to really seek some good biblical counseling to work through those issues so he can lead her well in that.
Dr. Heath Lambert: I think it might be helpful to some of the listeners to hear maybe a personal example of how this has worked out in your life and examples that you have seen. Could you share with us some personal examples?
Dr. Stuart Scott: Sure, I have been very blessed with godly parents who both my dad and mom were excellent role models. They came from homes without role models and had a very, very difficult upbringing. My parents came to Christ soon after I was born; then grew and studied the Scriptures and grew in their faith. My dad was an excellent role model of leadership and serving, but that doesn’t mean necessarily as I was growing up that I was going to emulate the same role model. I had an extreme fear of man, I mean it was a fear of man on steroids. It was so bad that I was afraid of what people would think. When I got married, Zondra would be very out-going and social while I was not; I would hesitate and I would let her initiate meeting people. I mean it was bad. And so what was a real help here was when we began to talk about it; that God needed to grow me in this area to be fearing Him more than man and that I needed to be reaching out and showing initiative in relationships and meeting people. She agreed that she would hang back and would let me take the initiative. She is naturally out-going so she had to really think through about holding back and letting me step up, meet people, be more decisive, and that has really been helpful. God’s grace was evident; I began to grow in that area and continue to grow in that area.