The Husband as a Leader

According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, the husband should take a leading position in the marriage:

“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.” (SB 5.5.18). To lead means to show by example. The difference between a leader and a boss is that a leader leads and a boss just dictates. The masculine principle naturally leads and the feminine one naturally responds.

Despite being dependent on Krishna, a husband incarnates the masculine principle when he responsibly takes the position of the leader in the family and he becomes pati-guru:

“One who cannot get free from the clutches of death is dependent, and he should not become a spiritual master, nor a husband, nor a kinsman, nor a father, nor a mother, etc. It is the duty of the superior to give fearlessness to the subordinate. To take charge of someone, therefore, either as father, mother, spiritual master, relative or husband, one must accept the responsibility to give his ward freedom from the fearful situation of material existence.” (SB 3.23.51, Purport)

As a pati-guru, as a leader, if the husband is humble, the wife will be humble, if he is tolerant, she will become tolerant, if he is respectful, she will respect. If a man thinks “she is supposed to be humble, she should be respectful – and I will do what I want and still I should be followed” then the man doesn’t know how to be masculine, he doesn’t know how to be a leader and a guru for his wife and children.

In an argument, if the man waits for his wife to make the first move of acceptance or humility, he is depending upon her. The masculine principle allows the man to come forward first. To lead means to do things first. You come and say, “I’m sorry for this” without waiting for her to make the first step.

This is an excerpt from the Bhakti Marriages Course “Get Ready for Married Life for Men” from ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, prepared by Sri Radha Govinda Dasi.