“I’m going to do what I want to and I don’t care what you think!”  Yeah, those words came out of my husband’s mouth during an argument early on in our marriage.  He’ll be the first to tell you that he wasn’t exactly Prince Charming back then.  Really, we both were pretty much a hot mess.  When we talk about those days, Marcus will bring the conversation right around to what the root of the problem was. He wasn’t a believer.  He was not leading his family in Godliness.  In fact, he was going in the opposite direction.  His view of ‘leading’ his family was worldly leadership.  Leadership that demands its own way.  Thankfully, that all changed in 2004.  Here are 9 Distinctive Qualities of Godly Leadership that my husband has displayed in our marriage and family.

What does it mean to lead your family in Godliness? How does a husband lead? Here are 9 Distinctive Qualities of Godly Leadership that I see in my husband.

You know that thing I said my husband said several years ago?  Well, he wouldn’t fathom saying such a thing now.  Why?  Because he has grown into a Godly husband. He has come to a strong understanding of what it means to lead his family in Godliness.  And guess what the fruit of that is?  A wife who joyfully submits to her husband.  Oh, yes, I know, Scripture doesn’t say for us wives to submit just when we feel like it or when it’s easy.  BUT…when your husband displays Godly leadership for his family, it sure makes the submission thing a whole lot more enjoyable!  

But, let’s get into these Godly characteristics of leadership.  

A Caring Heart

A husband who is striving for Godly leadership will have a heart to care for his wife.  He will ensure she has what she needs in order to nurture the family.  Some practical ideas are:

  • A hot bath with candles, soft music…and quiet.
  • An afternoon of reading – even fiction!
  • Make her favorite meal (my hubby is the chef in our home)
  • Write a letter sharing how much she is appreciated.
  • Ask her how he can help her.

These ideas won’t work for everyone…part of this is knowing your wife’s heart…and ladies, let’s not make this a guessing game for them!  Tell your guy what you need!

That is Godly leadership.


A Godly husband will protect his wife.  All the time.  Period.

Marcus has had to come to my defense many times.  When others were being cruel and hurtful, yelling at me and demeaning and humiliating me, he has had to intervene.  He’s had to stand his ground and set firm boundaries.  

While this did not change anyone’s behavior, it strengthened my trust in him and made our marriage rock-solid.  It helped us become one.

So, guys, protect your lady.  No matter who it is that is hurting her.  If she feels vulnerable, powerless, and unsafe, then step in and put an end to it.

That is Godly leadership.

A Sacrifice

Godly leadership is sacrificial.  It’s not all about him…or her.  I’m not in my marriage to meet my own needs.  He isn’t in this for himself, either.  We are in it together, to build each other up, and that means sacrificing our ‘wants’ in order to meet each other’s needs and to glorify God.

That is Godly leadership.

Accountable to God

He understands that he is accountable to God for how he treats his wife.  He is accountable for the health of his marriage.  Our husbands will stand before God one day and give an account of how they lead their family in Godliness.  Not something to take lightly, that’s for sure.

That is Godly leadership. 

A Humble Attitude

My husband is incredibly humble.  As you have read, he wasn’t always, hey?  What a difference having Jesus as Lord over his life has made.  That’s the key right there, ladies.  Jesus is Lord.  This goes beyond believing.  

Humbleness also means acknowledging when they are wrong and apologizing.  It means listening to my heart and not ignoring my thoughts and opinions.  It means knowing that I also have something valuable to say.  

That is Godly leadership.

Her Spiritual Health

I’ve had my fair share of spiritual struggles.  I thought I was losing my faith.  I worked through childhood sexual abuse.  Then there were broken relationships.  These were very painful events in my life.  And I know they were just as painful for Marcus because of his love for me.  Thankfully, he didn’t just sit back, believing he was helpless or my well-being was entirely up to me to fix.  He jumped in and pointed me to Christ.  All. The. Time.

A husband can – and should – take an active, caring interest in his wife’s spiritual health.  This also means strong support for her ministry…and also knowing when it is enough.  I have a lot going on this fall.  I mentioned to Marcus last night about my desire to lead a Bible study.  I already knew what his response was going to be before I even mentioned it…it was ‘no’.  Not because he isn’t supportive – he is.  He supports me in my role as director of Women’s Ministries.  He supports and encourages me in my blog ministry.  I have his full support in my career as a teacher.  But he knew with everything going on this fall, adding a Bible study, although a good thing, would be too much.  And, yes, I will submit to him;)  Joyfully.

That is Godly leadership.

Just Leave…And Cleave

Godly leadership has a lot to do with leaving and cleaving.  Oh my, how many marriages have so much strife because one spouse has not ‘left’ his/her parents and cleave to his/her spouse.    

I know firsthand the many problems this causes.  It will tear a marriage apart.  It really will.

Firstly, the husband is ultimately responsible for ensuring this happens.  Marcus has had many discussions with me regarding my failure to leave and cleave.  It was not fair to him – it also was not right for me to not leave and cleave.  In my ‘defense’, leaving and cleaving was NOT made easy for me.  It took a lot of courage – and a lot of backlash – for me to leave and cleave.  But it has been so worth it!  

Now, if hubby isn’t leaving and cleaving, oh boy…  That spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  Men, it’s time to cut those apron strings and hold fast to your wife!  You won’t be sorry you did!  Yes, mommy dearest might make life miserable for you…but you are supposed to be one with her, are you?  And you will have to give an account to God on how you left your parents and are cleaving to your wife.  How do you want that to go?   

Secondly, leaving and cleaving strengthens a marriage.  It unites husband and wife.  It makes us one.  We can’t be one when parents are overly involved.  They get in the way.  

Lastly, I am confident that parents who make leaving and cleaving for their children difficult will, indeed, stand before God and be held responsible for their behavior.  Don’t make this hard for your kids.  The transition isn’t easy, I know.  I get it.  But being partly responsible for a troubled marriage is a whole lot more difficult to answer for.  

If this is a problem in your marriage, I encourage you to deal with this swiftly.  You will find that things do start to get better in your marriage when the ‘third wheel’ is out of the way.  It might not be better with your parents, but that’s ok.  Maybe they need to learn to cleave to each other as well – and cleave to Jesus.  

That is Godly leadership.

Feed The Sheep

One of the other big areas of Godly leadership is ensuring the family is being fed.  No, I’m not talking about 3 square meals a day – although that is important that a husband provides adequately for his family.  I’m talking about spiritual nourishment.  This might mean making drastic decisions.  I’ll give you an example.

I’m not one to speak ill of other churches.  I don’t like doing that at all.  However, I know that not one single church will meet the needs of everyone.  But one church we attended was not a good fit for our children as they got older.  Some of the girls were…well…just nasty.  There was a lot of hurt and rejection.  Our kids didn’t really have any friends there.  So, we made the decision to sell our home and move to a larger city (our town was small and church choices are very limited).  Mind you, this was not the only reason we sold and moved.  There were many factors that played a part in this big decision.  One of them was we wanted to make sure our kids were being fed, cared for, and had the opportunity to make strong, Godly friendships.  

After we moved and got settled, we started attending a new church.  The difference was incredible.  My daughter, who struggled the most at our previous church, quickly made new friends.  Our younger two kids took a bit more time to make friends, but they LOVE going to our new church.  They have also made new friends.  

This was a very wise and prudent decision my husband (and I) made.  For the spiritual well-being of our children (and us), we moved.  We are all being fed truth through church services, youth group, Sunday School, our life group…and more.  

This is Godly leadership.

The Power of Association

One final aspect of Godly leadership I want to address is ensuring the family is watching, reading, and listening to edifying works.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t one of those families who shut out the world.  No, we don’t live in a bubble.  We love technology.  We love watching movies together.  But, we are careful with what enters our home…and our hearts.  We have a lot of good discussions with our kids.  The world can’t be avoided.  But we can teach our kids how to turn away and be wise in what – or who – they allow to influence them.

For example, our oldest was drawn to a secular song that was popular (yes, we allow some secular music, but 90% of the music we listen to is Christian).  She decided to look up the lyrics and realized that it contained the F-word.  She felt quite disappointed and she asked me if it was still ok for her to listen to.  She was struggling with this problem.  I suggested she talk to her dad about the issue.  I’m so thankful he can handle such things!  And I’m thankful he didn’t give her a ‘brick wall’ response of “No, and you better obey me!”  

Instead, he asked her some questions to help her come to a conclusion.  

“Now that you know the song contains that word, do you think you will actually hear it in the song now?”

“Yeah, I probably will”  

“What do you think will likely happen if you justify this song and word?”  

“It will stop bothering me when I hear it.  It won’t be such a big deal anymore.”  

“Is that what you want?  Is that spiritually healthy for your heart?”  


“Is a song that will soon fade away worth what you will lose by accepting it?”  


“How is listening to the song while knowing it has a bad word in it glorifying God?”

“It isn’t”

“What do you think you should do then?”  

“Not listen to it.”

While it was disappointing for her at first, she understood the possible consequences of choosing to continue listening to the song.  Her dad didn’t just make this decision for her, he led her into making a wise choice.  

That is Godly leadership.

This also applies to the people we associate with on a regular basis.  My husband has had to advise me to lessen my interactions with people who are negative, exhibit ungodly behavior, and offer unhealthy relationships.  

Godly leadership encourages healthy relationships and edifying media choices.  

What would you add to this list?  How does your husband display Godly leadership?  How do you pray for him in this area?

If you have enjoyed this post, you will love my Bible study on marriage coming up in the fall!  I will be leading a study through Proverbs 31.  Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on the promotional price of this study.  

What does it mean to lead your family in Godliness? How does a husband lead? Here are 9 Distinctive Qualities of Godly Leadership that I see in my husband.


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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...
  • Wonderful qualities of Godly leadership. Thank you for sharing. It is also a great list to be praying for in ourselves and in those we love as they develop their leadership. It is a keeper. Pinning to my board.