Leading from Beneath and Letting Him Wear the Pants

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May 18/2015

Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

As I shared yesterday, the first 10 years of my marriage, I struggled by fighting for leadership. The second 10 years I learned to lead from the middle and support my husband’s role as head of the wife. But in the last 10 years of my marriage I have learned the most important lesson yet:

How to lead from BENEATH.

During our middle years, I learned how to cuddle just under my husband and use my leadership to support his. We were unstoppable.

It is sad, but true, that in the last 10 years of his life his leadership capabilities diminished. Not just his ability to walk, but his memory, his ability to think on his feet and make decisions, and his small motor skills were all affected. It would have been a perfect time for me to step up and lead for us.

But God was very clear in letting me know, that even as my husband was slipping, it was time for me to GO LOWER to serve him wholeheartedly and not put myself above him.

Instead, I learned how to cover and support his gaps by having the children text him where they were going to be rather than relying on his memory, I always preserved his dignity and being able to care for himself, helping his skills by getting utensils and pens that were easier to hold and shirts he could button.

The decision-making was always laid out for him to make the ultimate choice even if I have to explain it multiple times. I never made him feel dumb when I had to repeat myself, or got frustrated with him for asking again.

I encouraged him in meeting weekly with guys from church (and even drove him) and traveling on Mighty Men trips with our pastor.  These amazing men also made it hard for him to be weakened or anything less than the man he was called to be because they never treated him as a weakling or disabled.

When it would’ve been so easy for me to take over, I passed my greatest leadership test ever: I learned to go lower and lead from beneath. It was the most rewarding time of my life and the the time of Rob’s greatest ministry. If you have ever met Rob and I in person, I hope you never had a question of who wore the pants in our family. He might’ve been sitting down, but he completely filled them.

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