Making Room for Daddy
“And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (NLT)
Okay ladies, this one is for you … as Gen Xers we’ve grown up to believe we can have and do it all if we just try hard enough or want it bad enough. As young girls we were told to be assertive and independent, to show our power. And the young men … well they were trained to let us.
For example, when I had my son, I discovered that I had a much easier time letting my husband be my husband, than letting him be my son’s dad. As the mother, I spent the most time with our son and pretty much figured I knew what was best for him. I wanted things done my way, and I wasn’t afraid to tell my husband which way that was!
Even though “mom in charge” seems natural, I’ve learned by experience that the control we think we want is actually a conflict of interest. When it came to raising our three kids, I thought I knew best. But after a while, I resented my husband for not taking more of a stand and leaving all the work to me. Have you ever felt that way?
I can’t tell you the number of times I prayed for my husband to be the spiritual leader of our home and interact with the kids more. Then one day as I prayed, I felt God saying, “Well then step back. Stop trying to run the show.” And you know what? As I stepped back, my husband stepped up to the plate, and I’ve been thankful ever since.
There are many people, tasks, and desires pulling against a dad’s time and energy. As I’ve learned, sometimes we just need to give fathers a chance to excel in their role. Here are three ways to do just that:
1. Respect: Men want to know they’re respected. Nagging, complaining or contradicting is the opposite of what they need. Before you open your mouth, ask yourself, “Are my words respectful?” Also, remember that body language speaks even louder than words. If you’re struggling with how to speak or act, take it to God in prayer.
2. Room: Give Dad room to be Dad. It’s okay to discuss concerns and problems together, but don’t run the show. Our husbands are our partners, not our puppets. And I guarantee the more connected they feel in the process of parenting the more connected they’ll be with the kids.
3. Grace: I don’t know about you, but I’m great at speck-finding, especially with the person I’m closest to. Offer grace to your husband, don’t keep track of all his “wrongs” and don’t continually point out his flaws. Offer him instead hope and encouragement.
So take some time and ponder this. How would your spouse feel if you handed him all these gifts? I’ve found by experience that when I give these gifts, they are returned—not only to me, but to our whole family. Dads may do things differently than moms would, but different is okay. No, wait—different is exactly how God designed it!
© Tricia Goyer
Generation NeXt Parenting