Being a father has been the coolest thing I have ever done but it has also been the most challenging. It doesn’t come with a handbook. Fatherhood does come with the world looking at us like we automatically don’t know what we are doing. If we are grading fathers on a curve, then some of us automatically look better than others because the bar that guys set as husbands and fathers can be pretty low. I am hoping to change that. I am not pretending for a second that I have it all figured out or that I am an expert at this. I aspire to be a great husband and a great dad and I am a work in progress. I’m hoping that we as men can rise up to the challenge that God has put in front of us and not fall asleep at the wheel.
Here is a starter list of things that guys need to do as husbands and fathers.
Put God first
This goes without saying. He has blessed us with a wife and kids so we should be doing everything we can to show Him how thankful we are. It’s up to us to be the spiritual leaders of our homes. Too often, me included will let our wives take this role because they will only sit by for so long with us doing nothing before they step in. Let’s step up here and do the job that God intended us to do.
Go with your wife to pre-natal doctor appointments and childbirth classes and do it with a good attitude
I’m sure that our wives would prefer to not have to go to all of these appointments and get all of these tests. Show them that you are part of the team and want to be part of the entire childbirth. The days of the guys smoking cigars in the waiting room are over. The sooner you accept that fact, the better off everyone will be.
Love and date their mom
Remember how in love you were when you first started dating? Don’t let laziness drive a wedge in between you and her. Go on a date at least once a month. Go to a marriage seminar at least once a year. Join a couple’s small group at church. You don’t just take your car into the shop when it breaks down. You take it in for routine maintenance. Same goes for your marriage. A healthy marriage needs attention for it to grow and blossom. See that happily married couple that has been together for 50 years? It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Go ask them what they do to keep their marriage happy. Invite them to dinner and pick their brain. Learn from couples that have been where you are.
Don’t look at anything as “woman’s work” or “mommy type of thing”
Do the laundry. Do the dishes. Get up early with the baby. Don’t be that guy that people refer to that can’t function for 5 minutes without their wife at home.
You don’t “babysit” your own kid
Remember Mother’s Day, birthdays, and especially your anniversary
These are special days and should be acknowledged. You and your wife can have an agreement to not get cards or gifts and that is fine. At least acknowledge that the day is special. Your anniversary or your wife’s birthday are not Hallmark holidays so you need to remember them.
Stand together with mom
Show the kids that you are a united front. If you disagree with her about parenting, say something in private. No need to have an argument about parenting in front of the kids.
Model good behavior
Kids will have manners if they see you have manners. Say “Please” and “Thank you” and make them do the same.
Have a sense of humor
Lighten up sometimes. Have some fun. Be silly. Be playful. Be goofy. Don’t act your age all the time. You have a kid so it’s free reign to act their age with them. They will love it.
Give mom some time to herself
Happy wife, happy life. Give her some time with her girlfriends. Give her a gift certificate for a mani/pedi. See the above rules about being able to function at home without your wife there.
Don’t ever hit, ever
There is never a reason to hit your wife or your kids. Have enough self control to walk out of the room and collect yourself. If you are not able to do that then get the help you need to be able to have the self control to do that. It’s never ok to hit. Ever.
I know this list doesn’t include everything. What else did I miss? Feel free to comment on other things that would make a happy home.
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