Marriage To A Leader

Dear Simona,

You married a man with vision. So did I. They are a rare breed, these men who dream big and push hard to achieve.

There are many men who dream… and talk… and wish. But just a few who pour every ounce of who they are into pursuing excellence, into gaining the goal. And fewer still who first corral all that drive to kneel at the foot of the Cross and give it up to God.

Matt is one of those. And you, my dear Simona, are called alongside him to help. You are what the Hebrew Bible calls, his ezer, translated weakly into English as “a helper suitable for him”.[1]

That makes is your role in Matt’s life a mirror of God’s role in our lives: “The LORD is with me: He is my ezer.”[2] Just as God chooses to come alongside and help each of us, He asks you to come alongside and help your husband.

To quote Matt’s big brother:

“A helper is an equal— Genesis uses the adjective suitable, meaning “on the same level”…A helper is not an employee— someone who works for you… it’s one who comes alongside as a partner in a project, as an ally in a war.” (Loveology pg. 61)

An ally in a war: you are his right hand man— not so he can bark orders at you, but so he can consult strategy.

He needs you: your wisdom, your help, your presence. He needs your innate female instinct for articulating the vision you both share.

But here’s the truth: Being married to a man with big vision and the drive to make it happen is an all-consuming assignment.

In his quest to conquer, you will play a vital role. You cannot afford to sit passively on the sidelines and watch. Because being the ezer of a warrior, a visionary, an achiever, requires more of a woman if your relationship is going to thrive.

And I’ve seen what happens when a woman, a wife, doesn’t understand this. I’ve seen the confusion, heard the plaintive cry of loneliness, the words of frustration that leak out, unbidden. I’ve watched as good men and good women draw away from each other— not because they want to, or planned to, but because they don’t know. They don’t get it, don’t see the paradigm that is vastly different from that shown on silly sitcoms.

Being married to a leader can be lonely… I have spent innumerable nights alone while Phil led meetings and band practices, or flew off into the wild blue yonder while I stayed home to hold our lives together here.

Being married to a leader can be frustrating… When he gets it wrong and gets criticized and you know his heart… and you grow claws in your instinct to protect him.

Being married to a leader can be isolating… when you know things no one else does and you cannot tell anyone. Because being trustworthy is more important than telling all… and because if you open your mouth someone else’s story, whose story is not yours to tell, may come bursting out.

But mostly, my dear daughter, being married to a leader can be the most satisfying life imaginable.

You are invited to play a role in a story that is bigger than you would ever experience on your own. And you get to do it by his side because you believe in him and because his dream becomes your own.

But you are not a passive participant in this story. You dare not be. Instead, you face choices, three that I can see. And I want you to think long and hard about which you will choose.

Three choices faced by every woman married to a leader:

1.    You can make the dreams too hard for him… and he’ll forever resent you for squelching his drive to succeed.

I have seen this happen too often. When a woman cannot get behind her husband’s vision— often times due to his inability to express it well, and she doesn’t understand, or worse, misunderstands and takes his drive as a personal assault on her own self.

Resentment flairs. He withdraws. She complains. He either gives up his dream to make her happy, or forges ahead and wears her dissatisfaction like a disgruntled bear.

2.    You can pursue your own dreams to the exclusion of his… and you’ll live separate lives.

Don’t get me wrong—I am a dreamer of dreams. I have more ideas I want to pursue and achieve than any woman could possible do in a lifetime. And more, I believe these dreams are straight from the heart of God. But I also believe that if I want to stay one with my husband, if I want to be an integral part of his life, I must choose to pour myself into his conquerings. To choose to play the role of his ezer, his chief of staff, his ever present consultant— and that’s a whole lot more than simply and passively “being supportive”.

I don’t want to live my life separate from my leader-husband. I want to be with him and for him and into what fuels him.

And I want him to know it.

3.   You can choose to hold your dreams loosely while throwing yourself into helping his happen… and he will honor you as his partner in the vision you share.

I believe that God has this wonderful way of weaving our dreams and vision into something altogether new and different and uniquely ours together. Your husband’s vision becomes yours and then gets altered and revised because your dreams and gifts come into play, making a whole new way neither of you saw at the start.

This is the way I want, the ezer way. Not easier, not by a long shot. But, I dare to believe, the way God intended on that day when He designed Adam’s solution to that not-good aloneness.

Here, at the start of your story, you have this rare and unique opportunity to set the tone for how you will adventure together.

Will you commit your drive and smarts and wisdom and creativity into making up for those lacks in your husband’s life?

Will you weave your dreams with his, joining him on the quest that is just beginning?

From a heart full of confidence in the One who crafted you beautifully,


P.S. This letter is intended specifically for a woman who is married to a leader—a leader of multitudes or just a few; a leader of thoughts, of design, of creativity, of business… that unique breed of men who cannot help but lead. Are you married to such a one? Can you tell us how that makes your role unique? Challenging? Good?


[1] Genesis 2:18 NIV

[2] Psalm 118:7

(image by Hillary Kupish)