18 years, 2 kiddos (hundreds if you add in our student ministry kiddos), 10 homes, 5 states, 3 churches, and countless eye rolls, laughs, tears, and arguments over my driving. That’s how well I know the subject of this blog post: my husband, Kent.

This may just be the most comfortable I’ve ever been writing a blog. When Michelle had the idea to celebrate “love month” by asking our team to write about the leadership traits we respect most in our spouses, I wasn’t worried about figuring out what to share.

But I was worried about figuring out how to sum it up in one short blog. I’ve got a pretty awesome man.

My husband is one of the greatest leaders I know, but I was able to narrow it down to the three things I admire most about his leadership…and desire to work on for myself.

He leads quietly.

In fact, Kent leads so quietly that many don’t even realize he is the one leading. I know some mistake his quiet leadership for weak leadership. I confess: I used to. But I was so wrong. Kent doesn’t need a stage, or a podcast, or a title. He just needs people and an opportunity.

Kent’s leadership style is summed up like this:

He equips.

He empowers.

And then he gets out of the way.

Frankly, that last one drives me a little crazy sometimes. As his wife, I love to see him affirmed and encouraged, but he’s not into that so much. I posted a phrase on social media a few months back inspired by my husband that simply read “Do good quietly.” That is Kent.

What other guy do you know would give 18 years of his life to more cheap pizza than one should ever consume, late nights, small camp bunk beds, middle school boy stink, and the constant question “When are you going to be a real pastor?” [Insert eye roll mentioned above.]

Kent has shown me (and so many others) what it looks like to live for an audience of One. He is fine waiting for the recognition, and he’s not interested in worldly applause. He assures me that his reward is in heaven waiting on him.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever met a man so purely motivated, but I do know that this motivation is probably the reason why he’s been so “quietly” successful. I want to be motivated like that.

He leads and ministers to his family FIRST.

Kent has always taken his role as a pastor very seriously. He loves the local church and what God has called him to do there. He is so thankful for the adults and students he has the honor to serve. And he takes his role as the pastor and head of our home just as seriously.

Throughout his career, I can tell you with 100% truthfulness that our girls and I have never felt second to his ministry. Of course, there is pressure for him to be available and always working. Pastoring often means weird hours and a lot of after hour calls, but he manages to say yes when he needs to say yes and no when he needs to say no.

He understands at this season of our life, with two teenage daughters, that soccer games, dance, cello concerts, and family time are a priority. He reminds me often that our job as parents is to set our children on the right trajectory so that when we release them, they will live a life in the “direction” that honors God. And setting the trajectory for a person’s life takes a lot of time… (and a lot of prayer!)

Kent prioritizes us, but it’s not just because he loves us. Kent understands that we are his first ministry responsibility. Living my life as a ‘she works His way’ woman is easy because I’m blessed enough to be led by a ‘he works His way’ man.

He leads authentically.

Kent couldn’t be fake if he tried. Ironically, this has been the source of many arguments inside our marriage. Couple his significant gift of discernment with the inability to hide his feelings, and you have a guy who has strong opinions when it comes to protecting his church, his pastor, his family, or his friends.  If he doesn’t think something is good for you, he will tell you… and might I just implore you to listen.

And…he’s almost always right. (There, I said it. A lot of times, Kent, you’re right!) This one trait, though, is why I believe our daughters, Kennedi (16) and Lizzie (14), despite the many requests, have yet to step into a relationship with a handsome young fellow. Kent has yet to pull the whole “I’ve got a rifle” bit with them. But instead, from a very young age, he explained to them that he didn’t think this teenage dating thing was good for them, or more importantly, good for their hearts. His authentic conversations with our girls allowed them to see the “why” not just the “don’t.” This is simply the way Kent leads, whether it’s his students, our church adults, his friends, or us.

Authenticity is a characteristic that you don’t see often, mostly because we’re all trying so hard to be something we’re not. But it gets easier when you’re secure in who you are only because of who God is. And let me tell you, an authentic person that loves Jesus is a gift to be around. There’s nothing better than watching Kent worship, preach, or teach because in his authenticity, God is so clearly visible that there’s no question where it all comes from. I want to be that authentic.

Ladies, no husband is perfect! I want to be clear about that – but neither are we. Join our swHw team in honoring your own husbands this month. Go out of your way to encourage them. Let them know why you love and appreciate them. Find the best in them and affirm it as often as you can. Marriage is a gift; let’s treat it accordingly.