While I am definitely not a huge proponent of his daytime program, have you ever caught the last few moments of the Dr. Phil Show? If you have, you will notice a subtile phenomena that happens right before the closing credits on every show-Dr. Phil will exit the set hand in hand with his wife Robyn McGraw. The question I would ask you is why would Dr. Phil who has galvanized millions of fans to “get real” make such a frequent and I am sure, at times, inconvenient commitment with his wife? (She probably has a few places she could be besides listening to him dole out the usual counseling fodder.) To date, I have been unable to uncover their full story behind this practice, but it does provide a teachable moment for every couple that is striving to effectively influence others!
Please understand that there are definitely times where a Christian couple in servant leadership must be in two different places, but that should be the required exception and not the assumed norm. Too often I catch my wife and I riding in separate vehicles, operating on separate schedules, and even leading other people in separate spaces-that is what “just happens” without careful oversight. Why would we, as servant-leaders, count the necessary cost to get the return of our marriage working more cohesively?
Here are a few thoughts on why every influential man should “walk out with his wife”:
You gain much greater repertoire with the other half of the world in your home, church, workplace, community-women. (There are just things that we men just cannot say or do and expect to be heard by the fairer sex.)
Ti 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
You provide visible, sanctified boundaries as to whom you definitively “go home to at the end of the day” to every other woman you have the privilege work with or serve. (Isolation over the long haul tends to lead to emotional/physical infidelity.)
Pr 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
Pr 31:28b …her husband also, and he praiseth her.
You expand a tender, motherly reach and remembrance to the little children in your midst. (Like Eli in 1 Samuel, we men are just too ham-fisted to meet or even sense the “little” voids in the hearts and lives of kids.)
1 Sa 2:19 Moreover his mother made him (Samuel) a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
You gain the tremendous labor and skill that only come from female hands. (Men, she will make your collective influence look much more refined and timely if you’ll let her.)
Pr 31:29-31 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
And the greatest is…you add a more demonstrative evidence of God’s power. (This unity unleashes God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!)
Mt 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Check out this bizarre but also insightful story recently on AOL News: “Japanese photographer Hal Kawkuchi has this project or trend where he guides couples inside a plastic sheet and then vacuums out the air for the perfect shot of you looking like leftover chicken cutlets. The couples have to hold their breath for about ten seconds or more while the process takes place. Thankfully Hal actually keeps an paramedic with him while he takes the shots just in case he isn’t fast enough. It started as just an art project but has since exploded with interest from people wanting to work with him. Hal says the point is to show the power of love by showing two people as close to one another as he can get them. Adding ‘the less distance between them the stronger the power of love.'”
While we don’t need to mimic the Japanese couples getting vacuum packed together for the most extreme wedding photos ever, we do need to reverse the trends that hollow out our marital synergy. Remember that Satan’s standard modus operandi has always been “divide and conquer”…which he started in the Garden of Eden…with the first marriage made up of man and wife who were supposed to be tending the garden together.
There is no setting where these benefits are more missing than in the local church setting where fragmented families are running on isolated fumes. In my own personal space of pastoring, Heidi and I have determined to be accessible to the people for which God has called us to minister. While we are not perfect at it, we have noticed the compounding energy and effect that is produced when we work together. If you were to stop by North Pointe Baptist Church on any given Sunday morning at about noon, you would be warmly greeted and smiled at by both me and then who everyone would rather see, my dear “help meet.” To the praise of the Lord we also have two sincere, sharp couples that lead our corporate worship. Do you know what makes them so effective-both husbands are able to lead the singing while being accompanied at the lead piano by their wife. The difference is striking in every couple that unlocks this secret!
While thriving ministry/influence can tend, by default, to separate ministry spouses, we need to intentionally push back with shared space and time ministering as the COUPLE God has providentially brought together. What could God do if we abandoned the male-dominated, Lone Ranger mindset that often characterizes pastors, deacons, fathers, businessmen, and the list goes on? May God help us to do His will with our most important partner-our wife at much as possible! Men, when you get ready to lead, don’t “walk out ON your wife”; walk out WITH your wife into complimentary, fruitful influence for God’s glory.
Mt 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
What other benefits have you observed in the “coupled influence” of your marriage or others?