Mike and I never thought we’d have children… but if you asked him what is the greatest thing he’s ever done… he would tell you having a large family. All the different personalities… talents… strengths and even weaknesses in our children, have made us better people… and while society may try to suppress it, undermine it, or deny it, fathers play a crucial role in the life of their children as well.
A father can change the course of how his children grow into an adults. What he’s spoken over their lives can dramatically affect what they believe they’ll accomplish… or can’t.
When a father tells his son he has what it takes, his boy won’t compare himself to others because he knows he has what it takes to accomplish what he was created to do and will grow into confident, giving, and fearless man instead of doubtful, uncertain, and insecure one. And, when a father tells his daughter she’s worth fighting for, she will grow strong, believe in her worth, and avoid situations that allow her to be taken for granted, belittled, or hurt because she will have grown to believe that she is worthy and that her body, mind, and heart are worth fighting for (and somebody better be willing to fight, defend, and treat her that way).
Men don’t always realize how important they are to their children. They sometimes feel they are only there to provide materially for them. But the importance of a father’s influence can never be underestimated. How he relates to his children will shape their lives for bad or for good. It will change his life forever, too. For if he fails as a father, he will always carry that sense of failure with him. If he succeeds, there will be no greater measure of success in his life. ~Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife (His Fatherhood, Chapter 18)
A father’s role should never be taken for granted. The significance of his presence should never be minimized. As a wife, you need to encourage your husband to be a good father… but that doesn’t mean “nag” him to be what YOU want. Your husband can’t be the father God wants him to be if he’s trying to do everything the way YOU think he should.
Your husband isn’t you. That means,
- he may not dress the kids like you would…
- he may not change a diaper the way you would…
- he may not feed the kids what you would…
- he may not make the bed the way you would…
- he may not drive like you would…
- and he may not cook what you would… AND THAT’S OKAY because he’s not you.
Your husband may not do things the way you would, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
If you want your husband to be a father… let him be one.
It’s gonna be hard for your husband to believe he “has what it takes” when you’re the one telling him he’s not doing it right. Let your husband be a father to his child! Don’t make him look stupid or incompetent in front of the children, or anyone else for that matter. Don’t call a million times when he’s watching the kids, and please don’t say he’s “babysitting” when you’re gone… for cryin’ out loud, they’re HIS kids too.
And just to be clear, when I say “your” kids… I’m talking about all of the kids… even if you’re a blended family. It’s important to remember that when a man and a woman get married, they become one. That means what was his is now yours too… and vice versa. Marriage makes us one in mind, heart, body, and soul.
Don’t keep your husband from the kids you had before you met him. Allow him to be a father. The kids NEED him. The order of priorities for your family needs to be God, your spouse, and then the children… all of them regardless of whether they are his, yours, or all of yours together. Don’t draw invisible lines that mark your heart (or the kids). If there are issues, then talk with your husband away from the kids and decide how you will parent together.
As a wife, you play a HUGE role when it comes to encouraging your husband as a father. Nothing undermines your husband as a father more than when you speak badly about him (or to him) in front of your children.
If there is an issue that needs to be talked about, take it somewhere where there aren’t spectators. It’s NEVER okay to undermine your husband in front of ANYONE… including your kids. For those of you with older children, don’t talk badly about your spouse with them either. Don’t put them in the middle of you and your husband. They are not your counselor. They cannot be expected to harbor your hurt feelings. It’s not their job. If you need to talk to someone, find a trustworthy friend who won’t take a side, or pay someone to listen to you (a counselor).
Your children will never be able to see your husband as a good father if you don’t. As a wife, it’s your job to make sure they see their father through the eyes of God’s as well. You can pray all you want for your husband to be a good father… but it won’t help if you’re sabotaging it through your own words and actions. Make sure that your words and actions convey support and respect for the man you married. When he’s doing a great job, thank him and show your appreciation… and when he’s not doing so hot, you need to shut up and pray.
Thoughts of failure and inadequacy are what cause so many fathers to give up, leave, become overbearing from trying too hard, or develop a passive attitude and fade into the background of their children’s lives. It can be especially overwhelming to a man who already feels like a failure in other areas. ~Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife (His Fatherhood, Chapter 18)
Regardless of whether your husband already has children or not, as a wife, your words can damage, debilitate, and cause more doubt than anyone else in your man’s life. Ask God to help you encourage your husband at all times, and have a close relationship to His Heavenly Father so he will know he has what it takes to do what God created him to do and be the father He wants him to be.
Buy the book, You Have What it Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know by John Eldridge. It’s less than 60 pages (so it won’t take you long), but it will influence the way YOU raise your sons and daughters, AND how YOU encourage your husband.
What can you do to show your husband you believe HE has what it takes? Whatever he is (a father, husband, employee, owner, volunteer, etc.), encourage him by believing he’s got everything he needs to do what God has called him to do.
IF YOUR HUSBAND IS A FATHER…
Show honor and appreciation for your husband this Father’s Day… Father’s Day is celebrated on different days all over the world. Unfortunately, the day can come and go with the best of intentions from wives. Whenever Father’s Day is where you’re at, spend some time thinking about what HE would like… what HE would want… what HE would enjoy this year.
Make this the best Father’s Day yet, and give the father of your children something he would truly enjoy that shows him how much you appreciated him. Don’t allow money (or lack there of) stop you from doing something to make him feel loved. Think of how you can honor him with a day that is enjoyable and relaxing for him.
- Morning – How can you start his morning out right? How would he like to be woke up? Put a smile on his face from the moment he wakes up with a little caffeine buzz or breakfast in bed. (And, for those of you who go to church, be thankful you have a man who takes his family to church!)
- Afternoon – How ’bout a little surprise “afternoon delight”? A picnic with the family, his favorite ice cream or dessert, or an uninterrupted nap (maybe this would be a great time for you and the kids to clean out his car/truck complete with vacuuming and washing windows)?
- Evening – What’s his favorite meal? Can you involve the kids by having them set the table and serve daddy? Maybe sing him a song or bring him some homemade gifts or cards?
- Bedtime – How would your hubby like to end the day? A movie, some TV time (without feeling guilty), a massage, or some crazy good lovin’? How would HIS perfect day end?
IF YOUR HUSBAND ISN’T A FATHER…
The pain of infertility is often overlooked on men, so they go through their frustrations, anger, and sadness alone. If your husband has been waiting to hear the word, “daddy” then take time this Father’s Day to be there for HIM. Don’t let him suffer alone. Make it a point to celebrate this difficult season by reminding him how thankful you are for him. Choose to make it a day to focus on him.
- Morning – Maybe today is the perfect day to celebrate his UNbirthday and put a smile on his face as soon as he wakes up! Why not follow up your “celebrating” with a little lovin’ in the shower?
- Afternoon – Surprise your hubby with a new “treat” from your drawer of many blessings and
- Evening – What’s his favorite place to eat? Make reservations and go out for a special evening together. Maybe this would be a great time to let him in on a little secret… Follow your meal with a movie he’d love to see. Why not stop for a treat after with some ice cream, or maybe a moonlit picnic in your backyard? Toast to this season of your life and thank God for the man you call husband.
- Bedtime – Wrap a fun gift or write an encouraging letter letting him know how important he is in your life and the world, or maybe a whole bunch of letters… End the day with a massage or a fun little game to make you both laugh.
TIME TO CONNECT:
This week, take a picture of your husband with each child, and set some time aside to spend alone together. If you don’t have children, or if this is a tough subject, spend the time expressing how grateful you are for how he guides/helps others.
Heavenly Father… Teach my husband to be a great father. Where there is any brokenness from his own father, I pray You would heal him completely. I don’t want anything to detour him from being the father you have called him to be to his own children. Where I have overstepped or hindered him in anyway, I pray that You would heal those moments as well. Help me to speak words of encouragement to him, and shut my mouth before I say anything that would cause doubt or damage to the way he fathers his children.
I ask that You would also help me to let him be the father You want him to be; kind, loving, soft-hearted, warm, sensitive, interested, affirming, affectionate, involved, strong, consistent, dependable, verbally communicative, understanding, and patient (pg. 135). Instead of focusing on his flaws, help me to see all the potential and encourage him, and be as patient in allowing him to grow into the father You created him to be, as You have been with me growing into the mother You want me to be.
Where we have caused pain for our children or been bad examples, I pray for healing as well. Help us to be the examples in parenting that You would desire. I want my children to know how to parent because of the good things we did, and not the bad.
Lastly, I pray for the relationship with each one of his children be strong, and may they know how much he truly loves them. Help me to remind each of our children there is no greater earthly gift that we’ve been given than them. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.
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