“Daddy, a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love.” I love this saying so much, and it’s absolutely been true in my life, except my daddy is my first hero and my first love. I’ll never forget my 16th birthday. It was a school night, and I wanted to go out to eat with my friends to celebrate and take advantage of the shiny new driver’s license I had just received. Mom didn’t think it was a good idea, so she told me “no,” but I begged and pleaded until she gave in. On my way home, I t-boned a truck that pulled out in front of me and totaled my mom’s car with my best friend in the passenger seat. Thankfully, I was the only one who was injured, and it wasn’t serious at all, but I’ve never been more scared and shaken up. I’ll never forget when my dad arrived at the scene, ran to me, and wrapped me up in his arms. I was scratched and bruised, and there were still cops all around, but at that moment, I felt so safe.

I’ll also never forget early on in our marriage when Jonathan was working on the plumbing in the house we were renting. I graciously, lovingly, repeatedly told him to call my dad and find out how to fix it. Then, I had no idea why Jonathan was extremely upset with me.

I’m so thankful that I have a daddy who is such a tremendous man of God. A daddy who always kept me safe, a daddy who led by example and taught me how to love Jesus. A daddy that I could view as a source of wisdom, love, and encouragement. I’m also thankful that I have a daddy who knew that would need to change once I became a wife.

Another memory I’ll share is when our oldest, Re’Elle, was about two years old. Jonathan and I were diametrically opposed about a decision regarding her, and I had called my daddy because I knew he would be on my side. And he was, but not in the way I expected. As I whined and cried because Jonathan didn’t automatically see things my way and agree with me, my daddy said, “Lacy, your husband comes first. You have to let him make this decision and then submit to him and support him in it.” I was shocked! I whined a little more, “But Daddy, you don’t understand; this is what Re’Elle needs! It’s best for her!” He patiently responded, “I do understand, and I know it’s hard, but your husband has to come first. You have to let him make this decision and then support him in it.”

When we got off the phone, I was devastated and heartbroken. I cried a lot. But I also prayed a lot, and I kept processing through what my daddy had said. In his wisdom, he understood Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,” on a level that I wasn’t at yet. But he knew how important it was for me to get there because he knew what it would do to a man to not be his wife’s hero and safe place.

He understood Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” This text doesn’t say that we are to submit in most things or in everything unless it’s incredibly important to us, but through the Spirit, Paul simply says that we are to submit in everything. Jonathan didn’t have the freedom to lead our family as God expected him to because he was too busy fighting me over the decisions he was making.

That was a turning point in marriage. Through those experiences, I began to learn and understand what it meant to leave and cleave as God expected me to. It didn’t mean that I loved my mama and daddy any less. It didn’t mean that they were less important to me than they had been before. But it did mean that they didn’t have the same place in my life that they had previously held. They didn’t need to be the ones I depended on to fix things anymore. They didn’t need to be the ones I depended on to provide for me financially. They didn’t need to be the ones I leaned on emotionally when things were hard. They certainly didn’t need to be the ones I vented to when things were hard between Jonathan and I.

When you think about it, that’s a lot of pressure for our husbands. To be our leader. To be our rock and our stability both financially and emotionally. And what is baffling to me is that they have this responsibility not only in our homes but also in our congregations. And it’s amazing to me the way God has designed and equipped them to do just that.

My husband isn’t perfect by any means, but neither am I. That being said, he has always found a way. Even in the worst times, he has always been there to support me and for me to lean on. He has always guided me in a way that would strengthen my life and bring me closer to Jesus. He has always managed to provide for the needs of our family, even through some pretty dire circumstances.

With all my heart, I believe he has been able to accomplish these things because #1, that is who God has called and equipped him to be as a Christian man, and #2 because I learned to leave and cleave. I don’t believe a man can reach his full potential if he doesn’t believe that his wife trusts him and is solidly in his corner. And Jonathan would be the first to tell you that he’s made mistakes along the way, but in God’s brilliance, even those mistakes have brought us closer because of his humility in those moments.

Ladies, leaving and cleaving biblically is not something that is frequently taught today, but it is so vital if we are going to have the marriages God desires us to have. Our husband must be our source of strength and guidance, second only to God and His Scripture. Our husband must have our total respect, trust, and confidence if he is to be who God would have him to be. Let’s be like Sarah (1 Peter 3:6) and honor our husbands above all others, even our parents. May God bless you and your marriage as you strive to glorify Him in all things.

Lacy Crowell
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Lacy Crowell is the Dean of Students at Freed Hardeman University in Henderson, TN. She has been married to the love of her life, Jonathan, for over 20 years. They are blessed with four amazing kiddos whom Lacy has had the privilege of homeschooling. She has also served alongside her husband in full-time ministry for 15 years.  She is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her great joy is working to help others become excited about studying God’s word, and helping couples thrive in their marriages. She is a member of the Come Fill Your Cup team and the author of two Bible study books for women: Proclaimed – Jesus the Messiah which is a study of the Gospel of Mark, and Pursued – God’s Plan for Intimacy in Marriage: a study of the Song of Solomon.