Co-Ruling and Co-Leading With Your Spouse

In my conservative, evangelical background, girls were raised to believe that we weren’t as important as men. Only men got the “good” gifts, like leadership and teaching. Our job as women was to teach children’s Sunday school and bake casseroles for various functions. We were taught to be silent and submissive, and never to question “God’s order” of things.


After marriage, my husband and I began attending a charismatic church where we were introduced to The 10 Lies the Church Tell Women by J. Lee Grady and Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM. Many of the Scriptures that had been used to teach submission were explained in the Greek, and they were not what we had been taught to believe.


We learned that Christ died to free women from every curse, even those brought on by the Fall (Gal. 3:13). God’s original plan for me was to co-lead and co-rule alongside my husband, and Christ died to restore that order (Gen. 1:26-28). For the first time in my life I felt affirmed—I was just as powerful and as important as a man! It took me a while to accept those truths. I felt rebellious just reading those books. “Submission” had been hammered in hard.


My husband had some un-learning to do, but with a minor in Women’s Studies, he was quick to champion me. He supported me as I led the prayer ministry at our church for seven years, designed an inner healing ministry (which turned out to be the most popular class at church), and eventually coordinated county prayer events under the National Day of Prayer. He now fervently backs women and violently opposes them marrying “below” themselves just to get a husband.


– Holly, 44, California, US

A Life Sentence

Have you ever noticed that wedding bands look a lot like tiny handcuffs?

I’m being funny. But, you have to admit, it’s an accurate description of the covenant they represent. Not the prison part…the never-leaving, never-forsaking, “death-do-us-part” part. Unfortunately, many marriages feel like a prison, because too often, our un-renewed selves get in the way of true love.

When we got married, my husband and I read these vows to one another (our own adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8):

“By the grace of God, by His mercy and His truth, I tie my love to yours.
I vow that my love will be patient and fully kind.
Jealousy shall not taint it, nor arrogance abuse it.
My love, by the grace of God, will hold you blameless;
no account against you will I keep.
My heart will rejoice in truth; it sees you with perfect eyes,
putting you first, before myself.
My heart will bear all things, believe all things and hope in all things, knowing that Love never fails.”


By the time we were fixin’ to get hitched, we were fully aware that the only way our marriage would succeed was if we fully submitted to God’s image of love. We knew that we had to get out of our own way. We knew that we couldn’t do it in our own strength. We knew we needed His. So, we made a point to acknowledge that God was the center of it all.

Since then, we’ve seen first-hand how God has honored and breathed on our promise and given us the grace to see every part fulfilled.

We’ve seen true Love, in action. Just like we vowed we would.

That hasn’t looked like “getting it right” every time, but every time there is an offense or a mistake, we believe that the other didn’t do it on purpose. We hope that it’s going to get worked out, and that things will be better than ever. It means that the slate is always clean after the mess is cleaned up. It means that even after the worst offense or shortcoming, he is my Prince Charming, and I am his “Belle,” because that’s who God says we are. So, we treat each other that way. In the process, we practice choosing to be patient and fully kind, knowing that neither has all the answers. When one of us succeeds, we both celebrate! And most importantly, we stick together.

You see, we may have slipped on the “cuffs,” by our own choosing, but God now holds the key. And, though there is no escaping this inescapable love- a bond as strong as death (see Songs 8:6) – it doesn’t feel like a life-sentence…

Our sentences now continually bring us life.