Two leaders + one marriage = extra effort.
So today, we’re taking an opportunity to hear from seven of the swHw team husbands of what it’s like from their perspective to love a woman who leads. Lean in, friends. Even if you’re not married yet, there is a wealth of wisdom in these words.
Before you allow yourself to believe your husband doesn’t support you, recognize he just might not understand.
Michelle and I have different skill sets, so her work and my work don’t often look alike. For example, I struggled for years to understand how all of her time “playing on her phone” was work. Or I would wonder how I could come home from work, and even though she had been with our kids all day, she couldn’t get all of her work done. Now that we work together from home, I not only have a much greater understanding of what her day really looks like, but I have a much greater appreciation for what she’s done over the years. So if you feel like your husband is frustrated or unsupportive, you might start with a real conversation with the goal of simply understanding one another better.
Help him know how he can support you.
Being newlyweds, I’m still learning what it looks like to actively support my wife in her leadership roles. But one thing I have learned in our nine months of marriage is that, because a lot of her work is unseen and done behind the screens, I have the opportunity to be her loudest voice of encouragement. I wouldn’t have known she struggled with that if she hadn’t told me because I thought the impact she was making was obvious. So when you’re struggling, don’t assume your husband knows. Tell him.
Open your ears before you open your mouth.
When Somer and I first got married, we used to want to fix everything for one another… and got frustrated when we couldn’t. Now I’ve learned that my job as her husband is simply to be quiet and just listen. With God’s leading, she will ultimately figure out her way, but until then, it’s my ears that need to be open, not my mouth.
Refuse to merely be co-parents.
The nature of our lives, from working in ministry to raising young children, is that there is rarely “down time” throughout the day. As a husband, I see it as my responsibility to use the little down time we do have to connect and prioritize our marriage. If we’re not careful, we can default to just putting on a show and zoning out. There are times when that’s needed, but we have to fight for the health of our relationship and make sure we aren’t just “co-parents”.
Be aware of the load your spouse carries.
It’s sometimes easy to compartmentalize our own work, but it’s important to let each other voice what’s going on in our worlds and invite our spouse into the process to talk through it. I may not understand the jargon or technical terms Erica uses when she’s discussing a project, but I make myself available to her for debriefing each day. When there is an awareness of each other’s load, it puts us in a position of servant leadership instead of competition.
Fight the urge to make your spouse more like you by celebrating differences.
Sometimes, it would be easier to have a spouse who thinks just like you do, but God created your spouse uniquely, just as he created and gifted you. We have the opportunity to encourage our spouses’ confidence that they are fully capable of leading exactly how God wired them. So even though differences can be frustrating, it’s ultimately what makes us better together. So celebrate the differences God gave your spouse.
Pass the encouragement on.
Just last week, one of my newest associates at work shared with me that, since she joined our company and was introduced to my wife, Liz, she has been inspired to read her Bible each day, and she has installed the swHw app on her phone. When I shared this with Liz, her entire countenance changed. I was quickly reminded that when someone shares something kind with me about my wife, I need to make sure I pass the encouragement on. It’s not enough to be proud of her silently. I want to make sure she continues serving where God has her because I know her work matters.