Leading by Example
Become a consistent example of what you want her to be. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:9) I cannot expect my wife to follow where I am afraid to enter. A true leader leads by example. This is what Christ did. God had every right to tell us to shape up and listen, but He went a step further. He became man, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). There is no honor in belittling our wives into submission. I call this the Al Capone method. We make our wives, “an offer they can’t refuse” by making them choose between submission or ridicule.
When I was on the high school basketball team, for conditioning we would have to run killers. These consisted of running and touching every line in the gym multiple times. After running several consecutive killers the whole team would be panting as they lined up to run another set of killers. Even though I knew the coach wanted me to succeed, even though I knew it would allow me to get into better shape, even though I knew the pain would not last long, I still remember the intense feeling of resentment and anger towards my coach. He would holler the most despicable words, “On the line!” The first few were really not that bad, but as practice wore on and we did more and more, I remember thinking, “Does coach have any idea how it hurts?” Those are the same questions your wife is asking every time you “coach” her on her attitude, her habits, and her thought process.
There is another vivid memory I have of running lines. And that is of the assistant coach. He was in his late forties with a potbelly, bad knees, and a shirt covered in sweat, but he was on the line. He never placed among the top runners, he never wowed us with his athleticism, but he ran the lines, and whatever he said after that, the team listened because he had earned their respect. Incidentally, that man was my dad, and he taught me how to run lines in more than just basketball.
Men, if you think your words are going to be enough to motivate your wife or your children to change, you will breed resentment and anger that will explode when your children reach their teen years, and your wife will never believe you care. The team needed to get in shape, but we all need a leader to show us how it’s done.