Years ago there were TV ads by Nike that featured Michael Jordan and encouraged viewers to try to be like the NBA legend, starting with wearing the same shoes as he did. It was a popular commercial at the height of his celebrity, and it had a strong appeal. After all, people recognized that if you want to be like someone the first thing to do is the same things they are doing.
The same lesson is often applied in reverse. As a leader, one of the first things you learn is to do what you say and to say what you do. You quickly understand that your followers will emulate how you act, not simply acquiesce to what you command. Therefore, if you want a certain behavior to take hold, then you need to start doing it. Your followers will soon conform, and in the process become more like you.
While this is a significant thing to consider when it comes to organizational leadership, perhaps it is even more worthy of consideration when it comes to our marriages. One of the things I most appreciate about my husband is that he is the type of person that I desire to resemble more. As he leads our small family, as he serves in the church, as he works unto the Lord, he displays characteristics that I wish were more true of me. And this is a good thing. Because just as “bad company corrupts good character” (I Cor. 15:33), good company has the reverse effect (Prov. 13:20). And there’s no one that I’m in the company of more than my spouse.
This, however, brings up two additional considerations. The first is this – if you aren’t yet married, as you consider perspective mates, are you thinking about whether or not they are the type of person that you would like to become? Without fail, we begin to emulate the behaviors and tendencies of those we associate most with. Is your perspective spouse someone that you would aspire to be like? If not, than in all likelihood, they are not a spouse that God desires for you. After all, God desires for us to become more holy, more like Him. If the person we want to marry would detract from this purpose, than they are likely not God’s best for our lives.
The second thing to consider is, for those who are married – am I acting in such a way that I would want my spouse to emulate? Regardless of how final decisions are reached in the home, there are probably at least some areas in each of our relationships where one of us has more experience, more natural proclivities, more history, or more knowledge – whether it’s decorating the home or deciding which car to purchase. As we engage in these things, are we acting in such a way that as our spouse “learns” from us, we hope that they will act the same? In other words, are we being the type of person that a godly spouse could rightly desire to become more like?
Because, for better or worse, they will.
Now it’s your turn….who do you know that’s done a good job of being a “model” spouse? How did that effect their marriage?