9 Ways to Lead Out of Your Marriage

“Christian marriage—in contrast to secular marriage—is a paradigm shift so radical that it transforms our leadership.”

Christian marriage—in contrast to secular marriage—is a paradigm shift so radical that it transforms our leadership, our relationships, our parenting, our decision-making, our team building, our missional strategies, etc. Virtually nothing remains the same once we “get” this shift.

The following lists lay out the contrast between standard practice leading out of your marriage and emotionally healthy practice.

In standard practice, leaders …

1. View marriage as an important, stable foundation for the work in the industry.

2. Consider the integrity and impact of their leadership and teaching to be the most significant gospel message they communicate to the church and to the world.

3. Place the highest priority on building an effective and successful ministry that reveals Jesus’ love to the world. This is their first ambition.

4. Experience a disconnect between their oneness with Jesus and oneness with their spouse.

5. Invest little time, energy or money in equipping themselves to have a great marriage or to integrate their marriage with their role as a leader.

6. Rarely consider the impact a significant ministry decision could have on their marriage.

7. Overfunction in ministry and underfunction in marriage, giving their best energy to leading and serving others.

8. Say to themselves: “I want my spouse to make what is important to me important to him/her so I can serve Christ better.”

9. Draw on their gifts and leadership but not on their marriage to serve Christ. Leadership is separate from their married life.

In emotionally healthy practice, leaders …

1. View marriage as a prophetic sign of God’s love for the church and the world.

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2. Consider the integrity and impact of their marriage to be the most significant gospel message they communicate to the church and to the world.

3. Place the highest priority on cultivating a healthy marriage that reveals Jesus’ love to the world. That is their first ambition.

4. Experience a direct connection between their oneness with Jesus and oneness with their spouse.

5. Proactively and regularly invest time, energy and money to equip themselves for a great marriage, knowing this is central to leadership.

6. Consider the impact a significant ministry decision could have on their marriage as a key factor in discerning God’s will.

7. Do not overfunction in ministry at the expense of their marriage, but live a healthy balance between their leadership and their personal lives.

8. Say to themselves: “I want to make what is important to my spouse important to me so I can serve Christ better.”

9. Draw on their marriage as well as their gifts and leadership to serve Christ. Leadership is an overflow of their married life.

May God give us grace to develop marriages that are a sign and wonder that point to Jesus and offer a visible picture of the depth of God’s love for the world.

Pete Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and the author of two best-selling books: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church. This story was originally posted on Scazzero’s blog at EmotionallyHealthy.org.

Check out Outreach magazine’s interview with Scazzero, “Emotionally Healthy Leadership” »