There’s something built in to us men that wants to say, ‘I know the way!’ And I’m not just talking about driving directions. I’m talking about the way through life. So, when a man encounters a woman who seems to know the way all by herself’if she’s successful and ultra-competent’it literally can scare him. It can tempt him to pull back and say, ‘Whoa’who, or what, is this?’ When in the presence of a woman who is already successful in life, a man can be tempted to feel like he has no place, like he’s simply not needed. Have you ever felt like that?
If you meet, live, or work with a woman who doesn’t seem to need your strength, protection, or provision, you can be tempted to feel useless. Where do these feelings come from? Man was created to live in a perfect world, to know the way through life and to provide strength for the woman that was his co-partner in life. In addition, there would be things the woman was created to contribute to the relationship. Together, they would complement one another. They would both be successful without a trace of intimidation.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. Yet we men still ‘feel’ those hardwired preferences and inclinations. The challenge then, men, is to learn to manage yourself appropriately in an imperfect world. Guard feelings of intimidation. Join forces with the successful women in your life. You’ll be better together!
Let me suggest three things that every father can focus on today’and everyday’that are mandatory for accomplishing God’s purposes in the lives of your children.
First, fathers must love God. The only way you can be assured your child will learn the most important truths in life’truths about living with faith, obedience, and joy as a follower of Jesus’is knowing those truths yourself and assuming the responsibility for teaching them to your children. You can’t give what you yourself don’t possess.
Second, fathers must love their own fathers. I know for many men that’s a tall order’and often for very good reasons. Nonetheless, being a good father means being a loving son. If your father hasn’t, can’t, or won’t provide the love you need from him, you must get it from God Himself. Fathers must find healing for their own broken hearts to prevent breaking the hearts of their children.
Third, fathers must love their wives. Parenting is a partnership. And nothing will embitter children more than living with a mother who’s been turned resentful by the callous affections of their father.
If you as a father will set your hearts on these three loves, all the other details of raising children will work themselves out.
Guys, let’s get practical about sacrificial thinking. If we’re to love and serve our wives in the manner God desires, we must understand at least the following three things going on:
First, sacrificial thinking isn’t giving your wife everything she wants. It’s making sure her essence is expressed and honored equally alongside yours, in the same way the white stripe is expressed equally with the red on a candy cane.
Second, sacrificial thinking is more than taking her thoughts into consideration. It’s taking those thoughts and putting them into play with as much emphasis and care as you give your own thoughts’even if some of her thought processes may not make sense to you as a guy. If you don’t act upon them, there’ll be no oneness. She’ll feel trampled and disregarded, no matter how often you say, ‘But darling, I listened to you. I just felt my way was better.’
Third, you must develop your own style of carrying out this sacrificial thinking’a style that’s customized to the character and needs of your particular marital situation. You may not always agree with my answers. That’s fine. Answers aren’t nearly as important as the way of coming to them. Your wife is different from you wife’s best friend, and you’re different from me. Therefore, the answers may be different. But, men, the use of the servant mind-set must always be consistent among all of us if we wish to love our wives as ourselves.