Not long ago, my husband and I were going crazy indoors with our kids from the bitter cold temperatures in Colorado. We packed them all in our suburban and headed to a rec center to swim. As soon as their little feet hit the concrete, they were beaming with joy. Splashing, playing pool volleyball, laughing, talking and enjoying themselves instead of fighting was a relief for us.
My husband swam side by side with my four-year-old and shot hoops with my nine-year-old. At one point, I took a rest on the side and just observed my surroundings. Several dads enjoying the pool with their kids. One child in an over-sized red life jacket was throwing a tantrum because his dad was trying to get him comfortable in the water but he was scared. One wife pointed her phone from the bleachers to shoot pictures of her husband and three kids wading in the shallow end.
It got me thinking just how critical dads are in the lives of their children and how I need to do a better job affirming my man as a father. It is too easy to criticize their weaknesses or overlook the daily blessings dads bring to the family. As wives, we also share with our husbands our hearts, our beds and bathrooms. During birthdays and holidays we work creatively to plan their perfect gift. We can share many things and we can give them everything. But our husbands need to know:
1.) They are valued and appreciated in the home.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our husbands is to affirm them in their role– regularly voicing our appreciation for all they do. Often, this affirmation can disappear in the chaos of life or the backdrop of mundane life. Constant criticism, demeaning, and comparing him to others is like deadly poison to a family. Respect, love, patience, encouragement, and kindness builds them up and results in a thriving home. Appreciation for our husbands is one of their greatest needs.
2.) Their role as protector and provider is crucial.
Husbands and wives are equal in value, but distinct in roles and responsibilities. The burdens that our husbands carry daily (or hourly!) such as financial stability, our family’s safety, feeling valued in their jobs, and more is much different than what we may carry as wives. Leading the family is a huge responsibility that requires us coming alongside them as a teammate, cheering them on in the difficult realities of life. Their role is an important one that should be praised.
3.) Their presence with their children is life-changing.
My husband doesn’t sit around and think about how awesome he is when he teaches our son how to mow the lawn, hammer a nail, or shoot a BB gun. He just does it because that’s what dads do. But as a wife and mom, I know how huge this is relationally. He is investing in their little life, teaching them new skills, and prioritizing father/son bonding time. All these deposits make our sons who they are becoming and how they will be as responsible adults. As women, we can come alongside our husbands and remind them of how they are changing lives.
4.) There’s no one else that can fill the father role like they can.
One of the greatest lies I believe men face is that they aren’t good enough or have what it takes. These thoughts may be deeply ingrained by the way they were raised, a broken relationship with their own parents, or insecurities from physical or emotional loss (eg. pains that might come from previous physical or emotional abuses, accidents or losses in life). As wives, we can remind them of truth instead:
- they do have what it takes
- they’ve been given the gift of leading the family
- they are wanted and needed
- and we support them 100%.
No husband, wife, marriage, or family is perfect. We all fall short, but with God’s help and strength working through us, we can remind our husbands through our words and actions just how much they mean to us. As the father of our children, their work and efforts are worthy. They shouldn’t go unnoticed. What are some creative ways you can let your husband know?
Like what you read? Read more of Samantha’s writing in her book: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches