Do you know what to do to enhance your husband’s role as a father? Do you know what to avoid as he fulfills this highly important role?
Sometimes as wives we can determine that approaching our husbands about an aspect of his parenting role is needed, but this should be done with great care. There are things that we should and shouldn’t do, and after more than 20 years of marriage, I have learned the good, the bad, and the ugly through the choices I’ve made. I am not a counselor of any kind, it is just through life experience and 20 years as a wife that I share these things with you.
Here are the ten steps I find helpful in approaching my husband about his role as a father, and here is how they may be of help to you, too.
Examine yourself first
Is the subject matter that you want to approach your husband about something that you are more sensitive to because of your past? For instance, if you are wanting to approach your husband about the way he yells at your children, was yelling something that bothered you in your family of origin? If this is the case, you may simply be more sensitive to anything you determine to be yelling in your husband’s relationship with your children. Spend some time here, and examine the issue you see in your husband through the lens of the life you have lived. It is quite common that we can carry baggage into our marriage through the life we experienced, or didn’t experience, in our family of origin.
Before you go any further, pray for wisdom and guidance in how to proceed, or not to proceed
Sometimes through prayer you may determine that the only action you should take is to cover your husband and this situation in prayer, letting the Holy Spirit speak to him. It is not your job to be the Holy Spirit to your husband. We can easily become this if we are not careful.
Take the time to determine the best way of going further
Define what your goal is. Is your goal to change his behavior or is your goal simply to point out something that you see? How you handle the situation will be greatly determined about what your desired outcome is, and the steps you determine that you should take in order to handle this situation.
Be a student of your husband first.
Being a student of your husband is always a good thing, but it is especially important when you are wanting him to hear you out about something. Your husband should be approached in a way that suits him best. If he is a morning person, you would not approach him in the evening. If he likes to unwind for an hour after arriving home from work, you would not pounce on him right when he walks through the door. If he doesn’t like to be talked to while watching football, this would be good to know. My husband does best with a letter than he can read and reread at his own leisure. Would this be effective in the life of your husband? If you have never tried it, you may find it to work well.
Be sensitive to the information you have gathered and abide by it in the when and the how of approaching him
Even if you are not a night person and he is, it will greatly benefit you to set your own needs aside in this situation. It does no good to determine how to best approach your husband and then ignore it.
In all things, but especially here, remember that you are his wife not his parent
You are not here to instruct, reprimand, or shape your husband as you are in your role as a mother. Sometimes when we spend the majority of our time in mommy mode, it is easy to carry this over into our relationships with our husbands. As you can imagine, this will not accomplish anything, and it may actually do harm to your marital relationship and even hinder it from growing.
Before addressing any concern, build him up first
Not in a corny, manipulative, or condescending way, but in a way that is genuine and laced with love. Praise him, point out as many things that he does well as you can come up with. This will greatly improve your chances of not putting him on the defensive. The last thing you want is to make him feel attacked.
Choose your words carefully
Again, you are not wanting to be confrontational or accusatory about it. Using “I” statements are always good. Also, be sure not to use the words like “always” or “never” because these are almost never true. I find it effective to say things like, “I’ve noticed that,” or, “have you ever realized that,” and then go on from there. In doing so, you are stating things as they relate to you, yet you are still addressing him in a roundabout way.
Build him up again
Just as you are wanting to approach him on a positive note, you want to end things on a positive note. You really never can give too much praise, at least as long as it is genuine.
Finally, be certain that anytime you approach your husband about anything, it is done away from your kids
It is greatly beneficial to be a united front as a parental unit. This is true even if you are co-parenting in a separation or divorce situation. I gave some very useful tips about this situation in a post called 10 Steps to Follow When Co-parenting is a nightmare. If this is you, it will be a great read.
As partners in marriage and in parenting, there are times that we as wives may be called to do what we can to enhance the relationship that our husbands have with our children. Keep in mind that you need to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you to step back and let Him handle it. When you have the green light, keep these 10 steps in mind to enhance your husband’s role as a father.