So you have been studying the word of God and you realize that there are some changes that need to be made in the way you and your household do things.
Perhaps you need to start implementing family worship.
You need to create a budget.
You need to put a regular schedule in place.
Maybe you come to a theological change. You believe that the bible requires your wife to wear a head covering in church. Or perhaps you now believe the covenant promises of scripture and thus you need to baptize your children.
Whatever the change, you know it needs to be done.
But you also know that this requires leading your wife through these changes. You would be a fool to think you can just come home and plop down an order from on high without someone kind of strategy to do so.
So what do you do? How do you lead a wife through changes?
Here are ten points of strategy for you to consider:
1. Remember two important truth: You first start by reminding yourself of two very important biblical truths.
a. It is your responsibility to lead the home. Genesis 18:19 says For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.... The man is the head of the wife. He does have a responsibility to lead his home including his wife in the way of the Lord. This is what you were designed for and delegated authority to do. You can't shirk this responsibility. You can't pawn if off on your wife, your children, or even your pastor. You are the man.
b. You are commanded to live with your wife in an understanding way. Just like God remembers our frame and is tender. You need to remember hers. You also need to be mindful that she may not have been with you on the journey of change.
In an ideal situation, you and your wife would be studying a position and come to that change together. But life isn't ideal. Often you study a position, wrestle through it, and then God changes you. This is where you need to remember that she wasn't apart of your inner thoughts. She didn't get it by osmosis. She didn't take the whole journey from A to Z and therefore you can't expect her to get it overnight either.
You must especially be careful if she must bare the brunt of the work for the change. Its easy for you to say the house schedule needs to change but hard on her to do so. This doesn't mean you don't make the change. But you have to be mindful that there is a cost. Therefore remember both her frame and that you are the man to lead her.
2. Pray: 1 Peter 2 says you are to live with her in an understanding way so that your prayers are not hindered. This assumes that you a praying. Pray for your wife. Pray for wisdom to lead. If you are like many men, you have a period of inaction, you learn something, and then bam you jump right into it with a flurry of action. But first in your action outburst must be prayer- prayer for your wife to submit- prayer for you to be wise.
3. Prioritize and Strategize: Before you come home from work and start changing everything what things are first priority and what is your strategy. If your wife doesn't believe God's word to be inerrant and the authority for all of life, you get that nailed down before you ever think about head coverings. If you want to start homeschooling, what steps need to happen to get you there. You can easily overwhelm your wife with huge changes when if you had made incremental changes towards the big goal, things would go much smoother. If you get convicted one day about not leading and you realize that your home is in complete disorder. Take a breath and start prioritizing and strategizing. Don't go from 0 to 120 mph in a second.
4. If it was sinful neglect you lead the apology. If it is sin that needs to be repented of then you lead the charge. A tender apology for not leading as you should have and acknowledging that it is your responsibility to have lead better is good both spiritually and practically. First repent to God. Ask him to help you and then repent to your family.
5. Set the vision. Again this is remembering your wife's frame. You need to let her know where you are going with this. What is the purpose for it? Your wife needs to know the why for the change. How will this be better for her and the family? You have to help her to see past the work required from her to the good gained from it. Don't forget your strategy though, and therefore, don't overwhelm her with too big of a picture. Make it digestible.
6. Be patient but don’t lose your focus: If this is a change that you believe God requires don't be sidetracked. Be patient. Take your time. Have the long game in mind but don't use patience as an excuse to not act.
7. Expect pushback and forgive: Someone once said "anything worth doing is worth failing at." I say anything worth doing is worth being opposed for doing. Your wife does have a sinful nature. If she is a believer, she deals with indwelling sin. She also may not quite get what you are saying. Therefore you shouldn't give up when pushback happens. You are not a bull in a china shop but you also don't wilt like a pansy. You got to keep pressing. If you fail, get up and try again. If you are opposed, remember Christ was opposed. Remember how often you fight against the Lord's leading. Remember He is persistent. Remember he forgives.
8. Rejoice and praise your wife: Your wife is an emotional creature. This is God's design. She is to be nurturing and caring. But this means she can be sensitive. She may be tempted to take your suggestions as an attack on her character. When you say that we need to develop a weekly menu she takes that as an assault on her ability to cook. When you say lets develop a daily schedule for family, she might take that as you saying she doesn't do anything. Yes its sinful on her part. But you can mitigate it by rightfully and wholeheartedly rejoicing in the wife of your youth. Praise her. Praise her work. Rejoice in what she does.
9. Don’t be a soft reed tossed to and fro. She won’t follow arbitrary half-assed changes. Be consistent and follow through. Don't chase every fad doctrine and practice. Be firmly grounded. Your leadership should be stable so that when changes come they come in a grounded world. Constant changes and inconsistent follow-through are like living on the San Andreas fault. Its quick sand and a house can't stand under it.
10. Trust the Lord. Love him more than your wife. If a change is absolutely required by his word and it’s not something you can slowly work through, you may have to press on with or without her. Don't let her sin keep you from leading. But first, get the advice of pastors, elders, and other godly men. Don't mistake your preferences for commands from God.
You got this men. Trust God and lead well.