How do you teach a newly married man to disciple his wife?

 I had a very encouraging meeting with a newly married man recently who was seeking counsel on how to faithfully disciple his new wife.  We must as pastors get our newly married men in the church to see the spiritual care of their wives as their primary responsibility to establish patterns in their family that will last.  So, here are a few things we talked about in our meeting that helped this newly married man know some practical ways how spiritually to care for his wife: 

Pray with her for her out loud.  Shockingly, one of the most difficult things for a man to do with his wife is pray with her, for her out loud.  I still know pastors who struggle with this.  A man will pray for his wife, but often not with her for her.  An essential way to help married men spiritually care for their wives, which result in their wives feeling cared for is if we train them to pray, not just for their wives, but with them, for them, out loud for them to hear.

Read the passage preached last Sunday.  Spend Monday and Tuesday with your wife reflecting back on the word that was preached the previous Sunday by reading the passage and talking about the sermon you both heard.  It helps to be reminded of the truth preached and aids in the application of those truths throughout the week.

Read the passage being preached this Sunday.  Starting mid-week, beginning to read together the passage that will be preached the upcoming Sunday.  Read with your wife, have her ask questions, discuss the details of the text.  It will better prepare you both to hear the word preached on Sunday.

Pray with her for others.  Men will better spiritually care for their wives if they don’t just pray for their wives, but teach them how to pray for others.  We best accomplish this in our church through our membership prayer guides which is a daily schedule to which every member gets prayed for in a month.  Take a day in that schedule and each of you pray for those on that particular day.  It will cultivate a meaningful prayer time together and remind you both of your responsibility to pray for others besides yourself.

Pastors, be deliberate to equip the men in your church how most effectively to shepherd their wives and children.  It will be the start of a long-term agenda to create a discipleship culture that will spread to the entire congregation.

Posted in Discipleship, Home and Family
12 comments on “How do you teach a newly married man to disciple his wife?
  1. Great practical helps for husbands! Thanks!

    Could you give more info on these membership prayer guides? Maybe you could post a guide? It sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

  2. Ken says:

    Love this. I too had a similar curiosity about the prayer guides. A sample guide might breach confidentiality if it had names on it, but I was curious how you get this into their hands? Seems like a great tool, and a great reminder to be praying for one another.

  3. A similar question, perhaps for a different post: how do we draw the distinction between 1) offering spiritual leadership to our wives and 2) pastoring our wives? My wife would rather be married to a husband than a pastor. When I put on my pastor’s hat with her, I become too directive and too eager to pour forth all my brilliant pastoral insights. Suffice it to say, this isn’t the best approach.

  4. Andrew Tam says:

    Can you confirm whether there is the underlying assumption here the husband is more spiritually mature than the wife? Thanks for the post.

    • Brian Croft says:

      Yes, I am assuming that. However, a more mature wife doesn’t mean the husband shouldn’t be making the effort to lead in this way. Besides, a spiritually mature wife should desire her husband to lead in some way like this and God will honor his efforts.

  5. Charlie says:

    Thanks for the insights. Good things to learn today to apply when (Lord Willing) I get married.

  6. Danny says:

    Okay, the reality is that most women are more spiritual mature than their husbands. So the outset of this is pretty much ridiculous and reminds me of the right wing ‘Christian Domnestic Discipline’ movement, where husbands spank their own wives for discipline. So: let them pray for you. Be spiritually accountable to her. And learn from her. Cause that’s the reality. Then, maybe then, you can lead as an example.


    • Brian Croft says:


      I deeply regret that this is what you have experienced as the norm. Many who read this blog have experienced the exact opposite either in their life growing up, their own marrige or marriages in their church. Regardless, the biblical model is for the man to lead, so I would encourage you to pray for that to be manifest in your own life and church, even if it seems impossible. This is God’s design, is it not? Thanks for writing.

    • bystander says:

      Pr. Croft,

      While I think your advice is excellent on praying together as a family, it continues to promote male privilege that ultimately leads to women being controlled by their partners, some being abused, and even worse, continuing the culture and behaviors that contribute to the misogynistic world that we live in now. While Danny’s comments are a little extreme, I see where he is coming from. How about modifying the advice a little.

      1) Pray for each other with each other.
      2) Read the passages of scripture and ask each other questions and gain new knowledge.
      3) Shepherd your children together, always giving a consistent message.
      4) Be spiritually accountable to each other and learn from each other.
      5) Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Ephesians 5:21

  7. Ken Rucker says:

    I agree with your assessment that most women are more spiritually mature than their husbands. The question we should be asking ourselves is why. Could it be because we (as husbands) have abdicated our Biblical responsibility to lead spiritually, and the wives have had to step up to the plate because of our disobedience to the Lord?

    Certainly the Biblical responsibility to lead spiritually has been abused by men, and in those cases, men must repent of that inexcusable sin. However, it has been my experience that 21st century man’s spiritual passivity and negligence with respect to sacrificial service and spiritual initiative in the home is likewise an occasion for much needed repentance. The women with whom I have spoken long for their husbands to accept the mantle of loving spiritual leadership of their marriage and home.


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