Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lead Her


Let me begin by saying that I am in no way trying to give you a law. It is my pray and expectation that you will be led by the Holy Spirit in all you do. With that being said, you must understand that leading has foundational standards that should never change. Those are, but not included to, humility, love, forgiveness, confidence, effective communication, etc. The methods may change, but the foundation does not. Now, lets get started. 

Leading someone does not mean you have to control or dictate everything. In fact, effective leadership is seen when others are willing to follow without being manipulated. The concept of leading a woman does not suggest that she is without understanding or incapable of submitting to the Lord for herself. Also, a man should not seek to control a woman in her weakness. It should his goal to lead her in her strength. In other words, he becomes so much a light to her that she is overjoyed and compelled to follow. She should see his maturity and be excited to follow him as he follows Christ. And let me be clear in saying that Jesus was not a weak man as He lived on Earth. He was faithful, courageous, focused, unafraid, loving, truthful, etc. His ability to restrain Himself when others mocked, beat and chastised Him shows His strength, not His weakness. Any boy can respond in anger and wrathful vengeance when he is threatened.  It takes a man who is led by Christ to restrain his wrath and respond in love. 

The pursuit of a woman can be a beautiful thing. However, the pursuit and desire to know God more is more important. I do not believe women should pursue men. By pursue, I mean they should not take a leading role in trying to persuade a man to be in a relationship with them. Pursuing him should not be her focus; that role is specific to the man, which is identical to how Christ pursues His church.

Should the man lead/guide the relationship? Yes. Should he be the pursuer? Definitely. Could the woman make an introduction and begin conversation? I do not see why not. My wife reached out to me first to ask me if we could have honey for a church fast we were both on. I continued the conversation with her via Facebook chat for almost 4 hours. Although she made the initial contact, I took advantage of the situation. I ended the conversation by letting her know that I respected her enough not keep her up all night seeing that both of us had work the next morning. I gave her my cell number and asked her to text me her number IF she wanted to stay in contact with me. I wanted to make the process as simple for her as possible without being too forceful. She did send me her number, and the rest is history. Heather made the initial contact, but I took the “leader role” by the end of the conversation. She reached out first, but I became the pursuer real quick. I pray that makes sense.

There are times I hear a woman say she wished the man in her life would lead her. Unfortunately, many women do not know what that really means and what it really looks like. Many of them actually ask for it, but very few of them can actually handle it.

Leading your wife is not about domination or suppression. It is about love and respect. I have had to learn this principle in my marriage. I have always had a very strong personality--my wife does as well. I had to learn how to lead her without humiliating or condemning her. My responsibility is not to make her feel like a doormat; it is to make sure she feels appreciated and heard in our marriage. Before moving forward, it is important to mention that my leadership in our marriage is not possible without my wife being willing to submit. Her willingness to submit is based on her honor towards God and the trust she has built in me. Her willingness to submit does not make her weak; in fact, submission is a show of true strength. Submission says “I have the ability to rebel, but I choose not to.” Women run away from submission only because they do not understand it. Understanding helps with acceptance.

There have been times when I told my wife that she needed to follow me because “I am the man.” I should have been wise enough not to say what I said, but I was not. A man that has to demand others to follow him is not a man at all. He is just a little boy who is crying out for attention. My wife would quickly remind me that she is not an animal, and she is worthy of respect. A man should not seek to be dominant verbally or try to intimidate his wife. He should seek to lead as God directs him, not as he directs himself.

Leadership for a man in a relationship is fairly simple. The woman should follow the man as the man follows Christ. A man should never require or ask anything of his wife that Christ would not ask of him. He should be compassionate yet stern; patient yet progressive. There have been times in my marriage where I needed my wife to do things even though she did not understand why she needed to do them. One instance is when God told me to resign from my job and move Jackson, Mississippi. We were about four months into our marriage at the time. Although our marriage was fairly new, her willingness to have faith in my leadership was not. I allowed our courtship, the period between introduction and engagement, to define my leadership and build trust. In our courtship, I created boundaries like not kissing her until our wedding day, not going to late movies with her, not putting her in certain situations where she would be tempted, not sleeping with her, etc. Understand that I did not wait on Heather to set boundaries. I am the leader; therefore, it is my responsibility to set the boundaries and communicate them. Ultimately, I had to make sure my words matched my actions. I could not say one thing and do another. If I messed up, I had to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is a sign of humility, and it is important for a woman to see humility in her husband. I also had to make sure I did not make “messing up” a habit. I knew that my wife needed to see that I could be a man of my word. Continuing to break it would cause distrust and eventual disrespect.

I also had to learn what to say to Heather, and I had to learn how to say it. Communication is an important part of any relationship. A part of communication that she can do without is your constant complaining. Complaining is useless, and continuing to complain to Heather was and is useless. When we were courting, I had to tell myself to “shut up” many times. I have to do a lot of that now. I get absolutely nowhere when I complain. I get a chance to meet many of the people I know from social media as we travel around the world to preach the Gospel. They will say, “Cornelius, you really do carry all the bags!” Yes, I do. I will have my son strapped to my back, rolling two bags with one bag each on top of the two rolling bags. I’ll also have the diaper bag draped around my neck and shoulder. My wife usually has her phone in her hand and her purse. I do not do that to try to be superman. I do not do it to make me feel better about myself. I do it because I want to make it easy for my wife and son. She is fully capable of carrying the bags, but it is my goal to take the heavy burden so she does not have to. I also do all of the driving when we are together. My wife has only driven for me once since we have been married. She had to drive because I was under medication after having six teeth removed. I drive because I want to be responsible for anything that happens. If we get a ticket or get into an accident, I want it to be my problem--not hers. My wife is the weaker vessel, and my son is a child. As a man, I believe that is my job to suck it up, stop complaining and get the job done. I want and need my wife to feel safe and secure when she is around me. In fact, she has commented before that she feels like she does not have to do anything when we are together. Some will say that I am spoiling her. Well, she is my wife, not a piece of fruit. Is she not worth my attention and strength? Is she not precious enough to treasure and hold dear? Is that not my reasonable service as a man? Does Jesus not carry the eternal burden that was meant for us?

I have learned many things as it relates to leading my wife. As I have stated before, many of those things were learned in our courting process. I will list ten things I learned along the way. I pray they will bless you as much as they blessed me.

1.     Put her out of harms way as much as possible. When walking along the street together, make sure you (the man) walk closer to the street. She is precious; therefore, you would not want a car to swipe her. Do what you have to do to make sure she is safe.

2.     Do not be afraid to tell her “NO!” My wife is a strong woman. While out on our first outing together, we stopped at Duane Reade in Manhattan because she wanted to see what kind of makeup they had. She walked in to browse. As she got to the makeup section, she started to grab different products. I asked her, “Heather, do you need those things?” She said, “No, but I want them.” I said, “Well, put them back and lets go. You do not need to buy that stuff.” The look on Heather’s face was priceless. It was one of confusion, anger and joy. She was confused because she did not expect it from me. She was angry because she felt like I was overstepping my boundary. She was joyful because she met a man who was finally able to “shut her down.” Those are her words, not mine. Be stern yet compassionate. (You could always remember what you said “no” to and go back to purchase it for her as a surprise. I have went back to purchase things when we could afford it, and she was so grateful that I remembered.)

3.     Do not be afraid to say, “I do not know.” You do not have act as if you know everything or give an answer for every question. In fact, admitting you do not have all the answers is another sign of humility. It is the prideful man who acts as if he knows it all. While courting, Heather would ask me questions about certain things, and my only response was “I do not know.” I did not want to give Heather a wrong answer or tell her something that was based on my emotions. I wanted to tell her what God was telling me. She was frustrated in the beginning, but she soon took comfort in knowing that she would know as soon as God spoke to me. Understand that you cannot make that a habit. If you have an answer, give it to her. If God has spoken to you or shown you a particular thing then move forward with what you have been given.

4.     Leave your “family” out of it. I know you love your family—especially your mother—however, you cannot allow for your family to run your relationship. YOU have to give your family boundaries. Do not allow your family to disrespect your wife/future wife and do not speak negatively about your wife/future wife with your family. When you argue, do not run to your family. Many times you are able to forgive your spouse after an argument, but your family is not always so forgiving. If you are forced to live with your family, which some couples have to do, be sure to keep strict boundaries up where your lady feels protected.

5.     Fight for peace and protect it at all costs. Christ is our peace, and my house has no other choice but to serve the Lord. You have to make that same declaration for your house. When my wife is on a stressful call, has to deal with a rude person or is involved in a stressful situation, I step in. I will not allow her to be distracted. I will get on the phone and deal with whoever is on the call. I will deal with the stressful situation. I will take the hits and ridicules from others—and we have many—so she does not have to take it. I stand in front of her as her shield to protect her from the darts that are thrown by the enemy. I fight for the peace in our house, and I protect it at all costs.

6.     Woo her in different places. This may not be a characteristic of a leader, but it definitely is creative and important for your relationship. Take your wife on a vacation. Plan it out and surprise her. Make it romantic. You may not be the “romantic type” but that does not mean you cannot be romantic. I am definitley not the romantic type. I enjoy sitting at home and relaxing. My idea of a good time is going to a nice city, reserving a nice room, ordering room service and relaxing. My wife is adventurous. She wants to go scuba diving and jump out of airplanes and climb mountains. I do not swim, and I do not have any desire to swim. Until the Lord gives me gills, fins and/or scales, I am going to stay on land. I do not have wings either. I am not going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And I am not fit for climbing a mountain. Mountains are to be moved, not climbed. I kid. I kid. Kind of. Sort of. Not really. My wife has made me more adventurous. Since being married, I have walked El Yunque in Puerto Rico, rode camels in Dubai, swam in the ocean in the Bahamas, took a subway in New York, and so much more. I think the scariest thing was the subway in New York. Again, I kid. I kid. You do not have to go to an island. There was a time that I packed my wife an overnight bag, and we drove from Jackson, MS to Birmingham, AL for a day. The goal was to be spontaneous. We went shopping, got some food, checked into a hotel in the city and had a great day and night in Birmingham. It was exactly what we needed, and it was another opportunity for me to woo my wife in a different location.

7.     Learn in front of her. I love listening to Leonard Ravenhill preach. There are times when I will have sermons playing all over our house. I’ll also have my Bible open ready to learn what he is teaching. My wife has told me many times that she loves to see me learn. It shows her that I do not think I know everything. This is also a sign of humility.

8.     Study the Word and pray in front of her and pray with her. My wife and I go before the Lord differently. Our time of devotion is much different. My wife likes to put on worship music real loud and dance around the room. She likes to really enjoy the Lord’s presence. Well, I do not do that. I like complete silence. I prefer for the lights to be either off or extremely dim. I like to have my New American Standard bible out with a pen and pad. I will sit in the same spot for hours asking the Holy Spirit to lead and teach me. My wife and I had to learn to accept the differences in the way we have devotion with the Lord. Ultimately, my wife constantly tells me how much she loves it when I am studying the Word and praying. She loves it when I pray for her, but she loves it even more when I pray with her. Praying with her gives her comfort and puts her at ease. When she is stressed or burdened with the cares of this world, she comes to me for prayer. That means the world to me because it shows me that she trusts me to lead her spiritually. Before I became her pastor, I was already her pastor. (There is a message in that; hope you caught it.)

9.     Be responsible and reliable. When you say you are going to do something, do it. If you give her your word, make sure you do what you said. A man shows himself to be a man by his ability to be responsible. You must get to a point where no one has to tell you to pray, to work, to lead, to submit to God, etc. Be responsible enough to get to work on time, to make sure your family is being taught sound doctrine, etc. Be the responsible one, and do not base your responsibility or actions on what the lady does. Giving excuses is useless. Saying you do not know something is also just an excuse. There are so many books, tapes, mp3s, etc. out today that could teach you what you say you do not know. Stop waiting for someone else to tell you to do something. Take the initiative.

10.  Evaluate yourself often. Constantly ask yourself if you are worth following. You may be shocked by your response. Make sure you are not living in deception. Remain consistent in prayer and ask the Lord to show you what is in your heart that is not like Him. Your family will follow your leadership. They will do more of what they see you do instead of doing what you teach them to do. They will not respect a hypocrite, and hypocrisy ruins your witness. Point. Blank. Period.

Ultimately, be sure that God is leading you in all things. Be humble and loving. Be respectful and responsible. Be caring and thoughtful. Do not try to dominate or drag her. She is not your dog. No man in his right mind would injure his rib on purpose. Therefore, you should honor your lady in the same way. Do not put your friends, family or any earthly thing before her. If you purpose to honor the Lord with your life all the days of your life, you have no other choice but to honor her. Stay focused and lead her.


  1. I absolutely love this post and hope that it reaches several men out there and women as well. As a woman I often find it hard to articulate what it is I truly desire and NEED from a man in order to feel 100% safe in a relationship that is too potentially move toward marriage, and you have done a wonderful job of articulating just that in expressing how you lead your wife.

  2. I love this post. As a wife, it is an eye opener and confirmation for my role as well. Thank you!

  3. Love it! God bless your union!

  4. I am a woman but reading this has blessed me! I was never taught or understood how a man should love and treat his wife. Thank you for this Cornelius Lindsey!

  5. love this post! It truly gets me SO excited for my next relationship because it will be NOTHING like the past relationships now that I am more informed and purpose-driven. Reading about your mistakes and positive relationship traits is really encouraging.

  6. Amen. Praying I can lead in His Righteousness

  7. I always tell my husband, "Bae, you don't have to be "superman", but now I understand why he try's to take lead in all we do, now as his wife I must allow him to do and fulfill his desired role as my husband. Thank you Pastor Lindsey!

  8. Thank you for this information it was greatly needed

  9. I just read this post. And it is perfectly said and true. As a man of God, husband and father.. this post has put in front of me where I have fallin short and reminded me of somethings that I know but have allowed other things to distract me from my purpose.. to God be the glory Pastor Lindsey! Thank you for sharing..

  10. AWESOME post! This has truly opened my eyes to the purpose of being a man of God by changing my behavior, attitude, and conversation with the lady that I'm courting.... Right on the money, Pastor Lindsey!

  11. Great encouragement for me as a man seeking to honour God in my relationship.Leadership is a Godly mandate.

  12. Amazing. Am so thankful i get to read this before saying " I DO" . I pray the Lord will bless me with such a man to lead me.

  13. Great Article! I'm more fond of the part where you talk about "No man in his right mind would injure his rib on purpose." Now I'm not married but this definitely hit a home run with me. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  14. Great piece..Thanks Pastor