Months ago, as imminent fatherhood began staring me in the face, I got a little nervous. Me? A dad? The responsibility of it all was a little intimidating, as it probably should have been if I was going to be serious about investing in my children, discipling them and really raising them as I've been commanded.
So, I started praying. I also did some reading (I'd HIGHLY recommend Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham) and listened to quite a few sermons on marriage and parenting. One of the first things that became clear is that being a good father must begin with being a good husband. Our children will learn more from how I treat their mom (and how she treats me) than perhaps anything else. We can preach to them and tell them what's right and what's wrong and try our best to lead them, but if my words contradict what they SEE me doing and what they hear me saying to Heather, then everything I've tried to teach them will be practically useless. My marriage has to be the #1 priority of all my worldly relationships. I can't exhaust all my energy on everything from work and my hobbies and to the kids themselves, giving Heather the leftovers, and then think I'm doing my children a favor!
Anyway, many of the sermons I listened to in the last few months were challenging, so for all you husbands and dads out there, I'd like to share an excerpt of one by Matt Chandler in hopes that it may benefit you like it did me. I'll try to post another one by Paul Washer later this week. I'd encourage you to download the audio for the entire sermon here. It's impossible to capture the passion that Chandler delivered this message with, but here it is anyway:
"'Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way. ..' 1 Peter 3:7.
This is the same Greek word as the word 'considerate.' Husbands should live with their wives in a way that is considerate. If I could make it simple, I would say this. Get up! Get off the couch! You have just as many biblical responsibilities at home as your wife does.
So what ends up happening in the Christian world in particular is we divide it into 'This is what I do as the man, and this is what she does as the woman.' And then we like to pretend that her role on top of all of that is also to support us, but we don’t put that street going back the other way where our job is also to support her in her calling at the home.
So what ends up happening is the wife cooks dinner after watching the kids all day long, the husband comes home and his job now is to watch SportsCenter over and over and over again while his poor wife then has to go back and do the dishes, get the kids in the bath, put the kids to bed, and then at 10:15 at night, she finally has a second to breathe.
Get up! If she cooks, you come home and you clean the dishes, help her set the table! Men, put your kids to bed at night! Let her breathe. Your wife has a soul! Do you get that? She’s not your servant…She has a soul! Do you know what a full day around children will do to you mentally? Put them to bed at night and give her those three hours off, for your own safety. Put them in the bath, get them in their pajamas, read to them their Bible story, say their prayers, tuck them in and kiss their faces. When your wife pulls into the driveway with a car full of groceries…Get up! Are you serious? She’s not your slave! Get up!
Be considerate. It’s your role to feel her out. Sometimes she’s stressed out of her mind and you need to get her out of there. Sometimes she’s done and needs adult conversation and you’ve got to get her out of there. There’s nothing biblical that says she’s the one who vacuums the living room.
And on and on I could go. You be considerate. You live with your wife in a way that considers her soul, considers her mind, considers her emotions. "