Cleave To Your Spouse, Not Your PASTOR
“But there is one thing I want you to know: the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
“For a husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the Head and Savior of His assembly, which is His own body.” (Ephesians 5:23)
The passages above lay out the order of headship in a Christian marriage. Our heavenly Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the husband, and the husband is the head of his wife.
Notice that NOWHERE in this order of headship is a pastor listed. That’s right. Contrary to what is often taught and practiced in many churches today, pastors aren’t the head of husbands nor another man’s wife.
Husbands: If your pastor has been lifted up to the place of Christ as your head, you are OUT OF ORDER.
Wives: If your pastor has been lifted up to the place of your husband as your head, you are OUT OF ORDER.
Due to idolatry and false teaching, the family unit has been disordered and headship is being usurped/undermined.
Elders/pastors are servants of Christ. Not the head of a husband and another man’s wife.
The order is: The Father—>Christ—->Husband—>Wife
Ephesians 5:21-33 explains that the relationship between a husband and his wife is meant to serve as an illustration of Christ’s relationship to His bride. Just as Christ is the Head of His bride, husbands are the head of their wives. And just as we are to submit to the Lord, wives are to submit to their husbands and respect them. But unfortunately, many husbands and wives today dishonor the Lord and their spouse by putting their pastor before God and their marriage.
For example, I have seen husbands and wives spend more time, energy, and resources “supporting the pastor’s vision” than supporting their own spouse and their vision for the family.
Without question or hesitation, they are ready to sacrifice their time, talents, energy, and money to fulfill the “vision” of a religious leader. But where is this level of zeal to support their own spouse?
Husbands and wives who are more supportive of a religious leader than their own spouse are OUT OF ORDER. The pastor’s vision to buy a BIGGER building or more buildings does not come before your spouse’s desire to start a business, buy a house, or go back to school. You cannot use God or “ministry” as an excuse to put a leader before your spouse. Disorder isn’t a “ministry,” and God isn’t in that.
Husbands and wives: Your spouse and his/her vision for your family comes before a religious leader and his vision.
Religious leaders who encourage married couples to put them before their spouse and devote all of their resources to supporting their vision over supporting their own spouse are OUT OF ORDER.
Elders/pastors are suppose to encourage husbands and wives to be faithful to one another and support one another in their endeavors.
A wife is suppose to be her HUSBAND’S help-meet, NOT her pastor’s. The PASTOR’S WIFE is his help-meet, not married women in the congregation that he is suppose to be serving and encouraging to be faithful to their husbands.
I have seen husbands and wives shower their pastor with accolades, praise, and adoration. With a starry-eyed look, they boast about how wonderful their pastor is, how anointed and gifted he is, and how blessed they are to have such a mighty man of God in their life.
Am I saying that it’s wrong for us to compliment elders and express appreciation for them? Not at all. But there is a huge difference between giving double honor and idolatry. There is a difference between showing appreciation, and showering someone with praise and accolades as if they died on the cross for your salvation.
We should never boast in a pastor, but only in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Cross. Nor should a husband or wife compliment/honor a pastor more than they compliment/honor one another.
Pastors did not die on the Cross for our sins — Jesus did. Nor did your pastor vow to love you in sickness and in health, for better or for worse — your husband/wife did. No one deserves the fruit of our lips more than Jesus and our spouse.
I have seen husbands and wives gossip, backbite, and harshly criticize their spouse, then turn around and praise their pastor and defend him against all criticism.
So it’s okay to criticize your spouse, but your pastor is immune from all criticism?
Do you feel like your pastor is a better Christian or “more spiritual” than your spouse? Do you think that your pastor is perfect, superhuman, and doesn’t have any character flaws? He does. Surely your spouse has good qualities otherwise you wouldn’t have married them, right? So there are positive qualities that you can compliment your spouse for.
Even if you don’t think your spouse is being as godly as they can be and living up to the standard of Christ, don’t speak death, doom, and discouragement to your marriage by criticizing every short-coming and exposing all of their flaws to your friends.
Pray for and with your spouse, speak LIFE and encouragement to them. Let the law of KINDNESS be on your tongue.
Complimenting your spouse, acknowledging their positive qualities (instead of just focusing on their flaws), and showing them how much you appreciate them can bring out the best in them and invigorate your marriage.
Let your speech be seasoned with GRACE, not grumbling, complaining, and constant fault-finding. After all, you and your spouse are ONE FLESH, which means that their faults are your own and you are to share one another’s burdens which fulfills the Law of Christ.
Wives: Even if your spouse doesn’t obey the Gospel, that’s not an excuse or a justification to put him down, hold a grudge, and be contentious. God’s order for the family still stands, whether your husband is a mature Believer or not. Honor to your husband and respect him, and your godly example will speak to him without words and he will be won over by observing your pure and reverent life (1 Peter 3:1-2).
Idolizing your pastor, comparing your husband to your pastor, and wishing that your husband was more like your pastor borders on spiritual adultery. It is a form of lust and coveting which can create serious marital conflicts.
Why would you want your husband to be more like your pastor? God doesn’t. God wants him to be more like Jesus. You are trying to mold and shape your husband in the image of a mere mortal.
How would you feel if your husband wanted you to be like another woman? Put yourself in his shoes and do unto him as you would have him do unto you.
Another thing that I have seen is wives building inappropriate closeness and intimacy with their pastors — not sexual intimacy necessarily, but emotional and spiritual intimacy. This often happens through “pastoral counseling” and/or working closely with their pastor in ministry.
Since pastors are often viewed as the most spiritual, the most anointed, the most mature, and the most knowledgeable person in the congregation — some women see them as the first person to run to and confide in about their marriage and personal problems.
Of course, there are times when we must seek wisdom and counsel from those who are mature in the faith — I’m definitely not speaking against that. But it becomes an unhealthy co-dependency when a wife is habitually running to her pastor to confide in him rather than communicate with (and pray with) her own husband.
Your pastor should not be “that strong shoulder to lean on” every time you need someone to talk to. The LORD is our refuge, and our husband should be our first confidante. It’s also helpful to connect with a trustworthy faithful couple who will pray for and with you, and give BOTH you and your husband impartial godly counsel.
Generally speaking, pastors tend to be spread very thin. Their flesh is weak just like any other man’s. Keep that in mind.
Wives should not be running to their pastor every week for a private counseling session. Aside from Jesus, there shouldn’t be a man that a wife confides in more and cleaves to besides her own husband.
Ladies, have you turned your pastor into your personal confidante or therapist?
We have to use wisdom, discernment, and discretion here — when confidential information and secrets are shared with someone of the opposite sex, it can create closeness and intimacy. Combine that with the fact that our flesh is weak and God designed men and women to be attracted to one another — “pastoral counseling” can open the door to inappropriate feelings, daydreaming, and fantasizing.
It begins with a vulnerable wife seeking prayer or ” an encouraging word” from an authority figure that she admires and views as more spiritual than her husband. Next thing you know, she is reflecting on how great of a listener he is, how he always has a comforting word from the Lord, and how he’s always there for her.
With the right ingredients present, an emotional affair or even physical adultery can occur. As wives, we should keep this door closed by avoiding even the appearance of such evil.
Maybe you think your pastor isn’t like that, or you would never cheat on your husband. However, women need to understand that just because a man has a title doesn’t mean he isn’t susceptible to lust and the weaknesses of the flesh.
Just because you’re saved doesn’t mean that you’re magically immune to the possibility of using poor judgment, lack of discretion, and falling into temptation when you’re vulnerable, weak, and looking for a shoulder to lean on. . . especially a man of God’s shoulder.
I’m not saying that we should assume the worst of pastors and view them all as lust buckets who take advantage of women. What I’m saying is that we need to use discernment and wisdom whether someone is a pastor or not. We also need to have a humble and honest perspective of our flesh (it’s weaknesses) and maintain appropriate boundaries (those boundaries will vary from couple to couple) to protect our marriage and guard our heart.
Saints, I’m not drumming up scenarios that don’t exist in real life. I have ministered to numerous Believers whose marriages were damaged or destroyed because their spouse cleaved to and confided in leaders during personal “pastoral counseling” sessions. I have seen bad advice given that led to divorce, and adultery. This is one of the reasons why I firmly believe that the Lord must be our refuge and our husband should be our first confidante. If you need to speak with an outside party, I suggest that both you and your husband speak with a trustworthy faithful couple together.
Earlier I mentioned that wives also build inappropriate closeness and intimacy with their pastors by working alongside them too closely (and too often) in ministry. Before you call me an extremist, I’m not saying that men and women cannot minister together, or that women cannot assist pastors. The Scriptures clearly show women ministering to Jesus and the apostles.
The problem is when wives spend more time, energy, and resources assisting and supporting their pastor than taking care of their husbands and children. A part of the reason why this happens is because some women are taught that the “pastor’s vision” is more important than everything else, that “serving the man of God” is equal to serving God, and that church work is more important than taking care of your spouse and children. They are taught to put “the house of God” before their own household. This is a deception and a lie from the enemy. Paul wrote about such leaders — he said that they creep into the households of silly vulnerable women and take them captive. In Titus 1:11, Paul said that they subvert [overthrow, destroy] entire households by their false teaching, and they do it only for money.
Second to a wife’s covenant with Jesus Christ is her marriage covenant with her husband — not some unholy adulterous “covenant,” vow, or “partnership” that she has made with her pastor. Her first responsibility is to Jesus, then her husband and children. Marriage is so important to God that it was the first institution He ordained at Creation.
Pastors who teach married couples to put leadership and church work before their marriage and household are coming against the authority of God and usurping the authority of husbands.
Ladies don’t let anyone try to control, manipulate, and dominate your time, energy, and resources just because they have a title and a church. No pastor should be coercing you to pencil him into everyday of your weekly planner and put him before God and your own husband. Where is the PASTOR’S WIFE? And where are the DEACONS who are suppose to assist elders? Someone needs to STEP UP so that you can step down and tend to your husband and children.
There is a clear principle in Scripture that we must have our own household in order before we try to minister to people OUTSIDE of our home. That principle not only applies to elders/pastors, but to all Believers. How can you serve the pastor and build up his “vision,” institution, and finances while your marriage, children, and finances are crumbling down? What type of witness does that send to non-believers? Is that being a Proverbs 31 woman?
If you idolize your pastor, you are giving God’s glory and your husband’s honor to an idol. I hope that wives will repent of this grave sin and be reconciled to God and their husbands, giving both the Lord and their husbands the submission, honor, and respect that they deserve.
“Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:6)
“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband–Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
One of the reasons why there are not a lot of men in church (the building/institution) is because too many pastors are calling men unto themselves and trying to lord it over them.
Some brothers in the faith have found that it is hard to be a REAL MAN in many churches today because leaders are denying men their God-given ability to be men, through constant subversion and emasculation.
Once again, “The head of every man is Christ.” There is no provision here for the pastor to insert himself between a man and Christ as a “spiritual covering.” There is no suggestion in Scripture for a leader to be anywhere near the head of another man. The place of the pastor is at THE FEET of the people they serve, NOT the HEAD:
“Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. . . . After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done unto you.” (John 13:3-5, 12-15)
Jesus has ALL authority in heaven and earth, yet He humbled Himself to serve the Bride He died for. When was the last time you saw a pastor wash the feet of his people? Yet in their limited authority and titles, they want to constantly subject grown men to their “headship” and ‘authority’ demanding servitude and submission. Yet this is NOT the example Jesus gave us. Far too many husbands have been led away from their families to be at the beck and call of men in the pulpit, which is out of order. Adam where are you?
God did not change the order — a husband is to be joined to HIS WIFE and accountable to her. Not caught up in cleaving to some institution called a “church” which in many cases is a front for a man and his “kingdom” — NOT the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
A shepherd is a servant and a steward of the Gospel, NOT a king. Yet somehow “we the people” have allowed the paradigm to be twisted. This is nothing new — remember Nimrod and Saul were men who lorded it over others to prosper themselves.
In far too many churches, we the people and the men have given up the headship in their home and decided to submit to a king posing as a pastor. Compare your pastor with Christ and king Saul and you will have the answer as to whether you have a humble SERVANT leading by example, or a king looking to be served and usurp power. Look at what God warned the people would happen when they choose a king:
“This is how a king will REIGN OVER YOU,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be FORCED to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will TAKE your daughters from you and FORCE them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will TAKE AWAY the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will TAKE (DEMAND) a tenth (a tithe) of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will TAKE your male and female slaves and DEMAND the finest of your cattle and donkeys FOR HIS OWN USE. He will DEMAND a tenth of your flocks, and you will be HIS SLAVES.” (1 Samuel 8:11-17)
If the scenario you find yourself in is “TAKE TAKE TAKE” then you have a KING and not a shepherd. Let me make it plain, I have been in churches where the pastor ALWAYS “needs” men to be at the church doing something 24/7. Whether it be a conference, a service, some men’s meeting or prayer service they are ALWAYS draining ALL YOUR TIME and resources to accomplish THEIR vision NOT God’s, because God called men/husbands to head their family FIRST.
Time cannot be allotted in two places at one time, if your pastor has you at some silly service for his needs and to feed his ego then you cannot be available to meet the needs of your wife and family during that same time frame. Men have to use discernment and discretion in these matters. You cannot be concerned about cutting the grass at church when you have your own grass to cut. Serving “kings” and their “kingdoms” of churchianity is NOT equal to serving God when the model and paradigm is out of order.
One of the ways that men are drawn away from their role as the head of their families is through this witchcraft and wizardry called “Spiritual Fathers” — this dogma is destroying whole households because it bewitches a man who is the head of his family to surrender his headship to another man, and thus empowers that man (“the pastor”) to rule over his family.
Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for practicing such prideful sorcery in Matthew 23, and He forbid His followers from doing such: “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.” (Matthew 23:8-11)
In the Kingdom of God, there is only ONE FATHER and ONE TEACHER in authority as our Head. And those who want to be GREAT must be servants at the FEET of the saints.
Men must function in their God-given role as the head of their families and guard their hearts against idolatry and false shepherds who would damage and destroy their family. For the family is the model of the true body of Christ.
Djuan Coleon and Evelyn Hawkins