When Mom has to be the Spiritual Leader

mom Leader

I started out researching an article for Father’s Day. Then I ran across two thought-provoking pieces of research … that means this is not about Father’s Day. The first article, titled What Men Want,was a survey of men that indicated their biggest need from their spouses was respect. Interestingly, the same survey also polled 7,000 women, with over half saying their husbands stressed them out more than their kids.

Now here is where things get interesting.

According to Christian research company The Barna Group, mothers are more and more assuming the role of the spiritual head of the household. In their most recent survey, Barna points out some interesting facts about the spirituality of Christian mothers versus fathers. Some highlights include:

  • Mothers outpace fathers in terms of spiritual activity and commitment. In fact, the Barna survey examined 12 different elements of faith behavior and perspective. Mothers were distinct from fathers on 11 of the 12 factors.
  • When it comes to spiritual perspectives, the majority of mothers said they have been greatly transformed by their faith, while less than half of fathers had shared this experience.
  • In a typical week, mothers are more likely than are fathers to attend church, pray, read the Bible, participate in a small group, attend Sunday school, and volunteer some of their time to help a nonprofit organization.

When taken together, these two pieces of research paint an interesting picture. What we as men want is respect. But what we want to be respected for has little to do with what women want to respect us for.

So what to do?

First, moms who have to assume the spiritual mantel in the household while not necessarily being the head of their household deserve a tremendous amount of credit. The church, other women, and all fellow believers must support them.

Secondly, we have got to engage fathers in an effort to help them assume their God-given role as the spiritual head of the household. My experience suggests the desire by men is there when both individuals in a marriage are believers. The problem rests in a lack of know-how by many men. So many of us do not have a frame of reference. Our fathers did not do it, and we do not even know where to start or what it looks like. In counseling newly wed men on the topic, my advice is two-fold: Focus on your relationship with the Lord first. He will provide what you need to lead your family, and your wife will follow. Also, find a mentor who is leading his family well, and sit at his feet and learn.


Until next time…


About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→