The Importance of “Top Cover”


American serviceman saying goodbye to his family
Photo Caption: American serviceman saying his goodbyes to his family at home. Brave soldier embracing his wife and daughter before leaving for war. Patriotic man leaving to go serve his country in the military.

In our lives as well as marriages, Jesus provides that top cover.

In military combat, the concept of “cover” refers to anything which is capable of physically protecting an individual from enemy fire. To provide “top cover” is to use aircraft to provide aerial protection for ground forces against enemy attack. When ground troops are engaged in a difficult operation aircraft fly above to make sure that their forces are safe; suppose the enemy starts to attack, the aircraft fire on the enemy and protect their soldiers.

I have the privilege of speaking with Airmen every day, and one topic consistently comes up: Leadership.  I hear it discussed from both vantage points.  On the one hand, I hear where immediate supervisors or senior leaders leave their team hanging out to dry when backed against a wall.  I have also facilitated meetings where individuals praise their immediate supervisors or senior leaders on how well they have provided top cover.  The quality and success of the team are measured by a leader’s ability to provide full cover.  Research supports this not only for the Military but also for the corporate structure.  Exceptional leaders support, protect, and provide top cover for their team.  In turn, the team feels they are valued and a part of something greater than themselves, so they rise to any challenge they are given.  The leaders can cast vision, and the team is able to execute said vision with excellence. When the team feels protected, supported and provided for, they can grow and develop.

In our lives as well as marriages, Jesus provides that top cover. He sees to it that we are provided for, protected, and loved sacrificially.  He bore the burden of our sin and shame. When backed against a wall, He never leaves us hanging out to dry.  He never passes the buck, plays the blame game, or makes excuses.

In Ephesians 5: Husbands are called to be the top cover for their marriages, just as Christ is for His Church. Ephesians 5: 23-32 talks about the husband being the head of his wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church, loving her as Christ Loves His Church, sacrificing for her, sanctifying her, washing her, presenting her, and loving her as he would love his bodies.

This is the most significant call to leadership and an incredible privilege for Husbands. Think of it this way.  Jesus is our Commander and Chief, and we, as husbands, are the Vice President. The closer we as husbands are to Jesus, the easier it is for us to hear Him cast the vision for our marriages, children, finances, future, homes, etc.  From there, we can adequately cast that vision to our wives, and then, as a team, we can execute that vision for our family. The more we love Jesus, the more we can love our wives because He reveals them to us uniquely and specially. He understands them better than we do.  He knows the weight of the burdens they carry, more so than we do.  When we remain close to Him in our daily relationship, He leads and guides us on how to strengthen our relationship with them.

For years, this is where Kristina and I failed as a team.  Don’t get me wrong, we worked very hard, we just worked incorrectly. We worked individually instead of collectively.  We worked against the grain if you will, instead of with it. I would go one way; she would go another.  We did not communicate.  I would make a decision regarding finances, or how to spend my time and she did the same.  Then something would come up and we realized we double booked or double spent, which would cause great tension and stress, all of which could have been avoided if we had communicated and worked as a team to begin with.  As a leader, I did not provide the top cover I should have.  I left her hanging out to dry.  I blamed and pointed the finger.  She would also acknowledge that when I did try to provide the proper top cover she would not support me.  Trust had been broken; the team had been fractured.

It was when we both came to the point of acknowledging that we needed Jesus to come in and be the top cover for us and vowed to stay under his covering that our marriage changed.  I began to make the daily decision to lead and she made the daily decision to be led. It was not easy at first. You don’t always get ahead right away by providing top cover whether on the job or as the head of your home. There is still an enemy who is working very diligently to get in between you and your wife. It is consistency in providing top cover, leading with a servant’s heart, that enables you to live victoriously. I had to be consistent in my actions for trust to be built and vice versa. Together, as a team, we continued to pull along, and with Jesus, as the true head of our marriage and home, we began to see a great change in all areas of our relationship.

Together, as a team, we continued to pull along, and with Jesus, as the true head of our marriage and home, we began to see a great change in all areas of our relationship.

Being the leader that others will want to follow is truly an inside job. Jesus had a pure heart and unfailing character. The more you surrender your heart to Him, your wants, your will your desire, the more others will want to follow you. The more you surrender to His leadership and His top cover, the more your wife will respect you and want to come alongside you and execute the vision that Jesus has for you and your marriage.


Share this article: