[management by God] the marriage requirement

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

October 13, 2010

This one will be one of the more controversial topics that I write about, bar none. Here in the list of requirements for the “executive leader” is this one that says that you must be, “the husband of one wife.”

Many of you may be thinking,

  • What in the world does that have to do with being a business leader?
  • What about divorced people, can’t they be leaders, or does this rule count them out?

What I will say is that while it is not my intent to change anything in the Scriptural text, it is my intent to discover the principles that they teach, and translate that into a business principle that puts you on an unshakable foundation.

Quite honestly, much of the church is split over what this verse means as a qualification for elders (overseers) in their church bodies. Some take this as a very literal requirement, while others dismiss it as an outdated rule that should not apply because of the “grace” of God. I have my own beliefs about this, but I’m not here to try to make that case right now.

However, I believe that there is an important principle at play here that certainly does apply to the business leader, and it might be one of the most important qualifications for the executive-leader that we’ll look at.

But before I talk about how this principle applies to you, let’s explore what the principle actually is. When I thought about this idea of being a “husband of one wife” I started to ponder who this man really is. I didn’t focus merely on the fact that he was married, and only once, but instead on the personality traits that this man must have, what kinds of things he does. I even did some informal polls, and found some pretty interesting, yet consistent thoughts on this topic. It basically came down to three things:


The first word that I am going to throw out there to describe this person is “humility”. Several of the people that I talk to about having a strong, divorce-proof marriage, mentioned something about stepping away from your own agenda, and being able to look at things from your spouse’s point of view.

Scripture instructs husbands to deal with our wives in an understanding way. What this means is that in order to resolve and even minimize conflict, we must first look at things from the other person’s perspective. Some of the people that stressed this point the most were people that have experienced divorce. Granted, this was not the most scientific of studies, but I appreciate the fact that these people shared this thought from a “lessons learned” mindset.

The bottom line is that we should never approach anything with the self-centered mindset that we have got it all right. We first need to humble ourselves and truly attempt to identify with the people on our team.


The second main idea that people threw out there was that of “communication” as being an important key to maintaining a strong marriage. I think every respondent to my informal survey agreed that regular, open communication was key. Anyone that knows anything about marriage understands that communication with your spouse is important.

It’s easy to see how miscommunication (or the lack of communication) can start to rip apart a marriage. When the other person has to start guessing and making assumptions, things can start to get off track.

It’s the same thing in the business world as well. Don’t make your people have to guess what is going on. Clear, open communication can save more headaches in the workplace than you can probably imagine.


The last idea that I want to stress is that of “love”. My wife and I led a small-group study in our church for a couple of years called “A Biblical Portrait of Marriage“. In this study, the role of the husband as “leader” was also balanced with his responsibility of “loving” his wife. Leading can easily become a position of “lording” your “power” over people if it isn’t balanced with love, especially a sacrificial love.

As a leader in your organization, you must lead with a sacrificial heart for the people that you lead. You cannot have influence, if you do not have a connection with the people that you are trying to lead. This connection must be founded in, and nurtured in love.

“Husband of One Wife” Requirement?

Now, as we look at the principles in play here that help someone to be a “husband of only one wife”, it’s easy to see that they’re just as important in the workplace as they are in the home and in the church. We can all strive to step away from self-centered perspectives and approach things with a humble heart.

This will help us to build trust with others, and understand the people that we lead better. We can also strive to keep open lines of communication with our teams, and make sure that we strive to erase opportunities for misunderstanding. We can also lead with love. We must truly care about the lives ans success of those around us.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you lead people in your organization as a husband who is committed to a divorce-proofed marriage?
  • Do you approach situations and conflicts with a humble heart, or from a self-centered, “I’m in charge, so I can fix it” attitude?
  • What are you doing right now to ensure that there is no confusion about things that are going on in your organization?
  • How can you communicate better with the people around you?
  • What does leading with love look like in your workplace?
  • How can you show the people on your team that you truly care about their success?
  • And since love is judged by the one who receives it, how do you know that they feel like you care?

See more from the management by God series!


  1. Kristeen Hudson

    Dan – Thanks for the great blog post. I’m glad to see people bringing Christianity into the work place. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in work that we forget there are more important things in life.

    • @bibledude

      I kinda feel like it’s impossible to separate my faith from who I am in the workplace. I drives so much of who I am that to do/be anything else would be to lie and pretend for the sake of ‘pleasing others’. I’ve discovered that being a Christian… a REAL Christian in the workplace is a very positive thing. It sets a standard high above anything else that I could pretend to be, and I’ve gotten MUCH further by living out principles like this.

      Thanks for stopping by Kristeen! It’s great to hear from you again! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!


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[management by God] the marriage requirement

by Dan King time to read: 5 min