I recently read three pearls of wisdom from a Christian educator that I want to share with you. They pertain to God’s command to parents to provide spiritual leadership for their children.
First, try not to go anywhere by yourself. Whenever you can, take one of your children with you. Errands, trips, sporting events’wherever a father goes with his children, opportunities arise to communicate spiritual truth and wisdom. You have to be in your children’s presence in order to influence them.
Second, don’t buy the lie that ‘quality’ makes up for ‘quantity’ when it comes to time spent with your children. Quantity of time is equally important. When a man becomes a parent he can write off the majority of the next twenty years of ‘free time.’ The majority of that time needs to be spent with his children.
Third, the best way a father can love his children spiritually and emotionally is by loving their mother spiritually and emotionally.
In other words, a father’s spiritual leadership is more about lifestyle than specific, scheduled events. It requires bringing a deep love for God to your everyday life: meals, walks after supper, bike rides, games, earning and saving money, serving those less fortunate, and so on. All these things’and every aspect of life’can be skillfully ‘exploited’ for the benefit of spiritual development if only dads will learn to see and seize their opportunities.
Men, establishing personal boundaries is imperative to your spiritual freedom and vitality. These boundaries should be intentional and thought out ahead of time; while in the midst of temptation is no time to attempt to put them in place. They should be determined by and measured against God’s word. And finally, boundaries should be appropriately and strategically customized to your unique life situation and struggles.
These are some general guidelines for thinking through how you create and apply boundaries. But what concrete expression might they take in your life? Perhaps a few examples would be helpful. Perhaps your boundaries may include:
‘Blocking the pay-per-view option at the hotel front desk.
‘Refusing to make low-blow putdowns during marital disagreements.
‘Saying ‘no’ when asked to do things on weekends that don’t involve the whole family.
‘Never being alone with a woman who isn’t your wife.
‘Turning the channel when there’s too much skin and too little clothing on TV ‘ even if it’s only a commercial.
‘Refusing to keep self-destructive secrets from your wife.
‘Never making a significant financial or family decision without first consulting your wife.
Guys, formulating and committing to personal boundaries forces you to take honest stock of your life both practically and spiritually. It means counting the cost of what it’ll take to build a solid spiritual life, and adjusting your expectations to match the reality of being God’s man.
Guys, when you’re romancing your wife, it must be on her terms in order to be effective. You have to do what she considers fun, what she considers romantic. That’s what shows your wife that you’ve listened to her, learned her, and you’re attentive to her desires and needs. This demonstrates love.
But there’s another’often overlooked’side of romantic expression: doing things for her that she hates doing herself. For instance, I know a woman who absolutely hates washing silverware after meals. Her husband knows this about her, and often steps in to wash silverware for her’even if he doesn’t have time to wash the sink full of dishes.
So why is doing for your wife what she hates doing romantic to her? Once again, it shows that you’ve taken the time to know her, and that you have the desire to serve her. In other words, it shows her your relationship’s an intimate one.
One woman named Cheryl shared this story: ‘Sometimes I don’t want to do the mundane things like grocery shopping alone. It’s not one of Rod’s favorite things either. But he goes with me if I ask, and he makes it fun just because we’re together. And there’s been more than one classical concert he’s suffered through with me.’
Do you sense that Cheryl feels romance in her marriage? I certainly do.