Leaders initiate. At home. At work. In life.
Men and women can be equally formidable leaders in any setting in society. In a healthy marriage, women look to men for leadership, even when a woman is a better leader. As much as society today fights against the male leadership role at home in the name of empowering women, I do believe this is the order of things that God has set that best empowers women and men.
As men, how should we lead? How can we act in a way that shows healthy leadership to our wives which draws them to us? Here is one sure way: When we initiate, lead the way, start something worthy, this gives women a sense of security that they are married to a man willing to take a risk, be bold, protect them, and protect their marriage.
I remember my first date with my now wife, Joanne. I was so in love. I drove to Houston, where she lived, from Fort Worth where I lived, a four-hour drive. Once there, we drove to Galveston, an island one hour south of Houston. We had dinner at Mario’s, an Italian restaurant where in years past I had waited tables while I attended medical school. We had nervous, excited, anticipatory conversations as any couple would early in their courtship. Then, I told her I would like to take her somewhere. I had planned the whole evening in advance. I had initiated.
We went to the Tremont Hotel terrace overlooking the city. The hotel is a historic, beautiful building. Their simple, yet elegant terrace was a perfect ending to our evening. Joanne often comments about our first date, I think she thinks warmly about our first date because I had planned and initiated a special evening for us.
While I reference romantic and marriage relationships here, this is true of all leadership roles. Leaders initiate. Initiating requires courage. It is daring. It is risky. It takes guts.
By the way, I invite both men and women to lead strongly, yes, even at home. However, if I may offer this advice to women: Allow your man more room to lead at home. Encourage him and give him positive reinforcement when he initiates, not as a parent encouraging a child, but as a life partner uplifting her mate. While you maybe a more accomplished leader at work, don’t outshine him in initiation and leadership at home, which will set the relationship up for an unhealthy dynamic.
When we all initiate, whether in business, in marriage, or any area of life, we are viewed as leaders. We are not only viewed as leaders, we are acting as leaders. Come up with fresh ideas and execute them. Start something. Charge the darkness. Walk into the storm if you must.
We all are attracted to courage. When we see someone taking the mantle, facing dangers, and trudging up mountains, something innate inside of us says, I want to go too. We go along. We follow.
Initiate. Scale the mountain. Lead.
One last thing . . . In marriage, men, we need to continue to initiate beyond the first date and the courting season of our relationship. Suggest starting a new routine of reading the Bible with your wife, then lead the way. Plan a date that includes a surprise at the end, perhaps to the top floor of a hotel overlooking the city. May the Lord connect us to our God-given role as godly men who are strong, protective, and lead our marriages as our Lord Jesus modeled to his bride, the church.