Something happens in the birthing room for most women. The oxytocin and dopamine start flowing and suddenly we are mothers, inside and out. Fathers face a different initiation into their role. They may be smitten with their wee one, but the bonding process can take longer.
Fast-forward a few years and you have a small child and a grown man looking at each other, trying to decide what to do. Some men channel their inner Cliff Huxtable and become dad extraordinaire. Others may struggle with exactly what it means to be a dad. How do you encourage the father in your husband?
Five Ways to Encourage the Father in Your Husband
1. Allow your husband time to decompress between work and home.
My husband usually comes home in, what I like to call, the witching hour. It is when I have dinner nearly burning on the stove, a toddler wrapped around my legs with tears streaming down his face screaming “bite-bite!”, and two big kids wrestling wildly and loudly on the floor. When he walks in the door, I want to give him all of that mess and run to my room, curl up in the fetal position, and enjoy the quiet. However, giving him a few minutes to unwind and transition from the push of his profession to the needs in our home yields a daddy instead of a worn down man.
2. Speak his love language.
It is really easy for dad to get lost in the minutiae of family life. After the wiping, reading, fixing, consoling, and pretending, I am often empty and want nothing more than some face time with my pillow. I see my husband as a take-care-of-yourself person and forget he needs to be nurtured, too. It is easier to serve from a full heart, dads included. If you fill his love tank by speaking his love language, he has more fathering fuel to spend on your kids (and you!).
3. Offer specific suggestions.
It goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: your husband cannot read minds. He cannot read the mind of your child any more than he can read your mind. Giving your husband ideas for spending time with your child can help initiate quality father-child time. My husband often says, “I don’t know what to do with girls.” If I point him in the right direction (they would love that movie, y’all need an ice cream cone, will you help her with her bike), he is a memory making monster. Just make sure your suggestions are welcome and don’t cross over the nagging line.
4. Encourage him privately and publicly.
Proverbs 31:23 says, “Her husband is known in the gates.” Since this chapter is all about a woman, it is implied that the credit for his renown is due, in part, to his wife. Hebrews 10:24 instructs us, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). Speak life into your husband by encouraging specific fatherly traits you see in him. Do not neglect saying affirming things to him in front of your children as well.
5. Pray for him.
In her book, Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian reminds us of one simple yet profound truth: you are not your husband’s Holy Spirit. While these tips can be helpful, the true motivation for your husband to be a good father will come from his Father in heaven. Colossians 1:9-12 provides an excellent guide as we pray for the fathers in our lives.
We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (emphasis added).
My heart soars when I think of my husband living out the bold statements from this passage!
As Father’s Day approaches, consider which of these 5 tips you can use to encourage the father in your husband. Share your ideas! What do you do to encourage the father in your husband?
For all things love language including profile quizzes, descriptions, and free devotionals, visit The 5 Love Languages.
For the blended family, read Brooke Garrison’s How to be a Stepmother.
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