I've written a few posts recently about being a better husband and father. You're welcome. In this post, I've deemed you ready to hear the seven secrets of the ultimate husband and father.
My hope is you'll read this list and do your own triage. Don't try to fix all seven things at once. Pick one and get to work. These seven secrets will help you become the leader God intends. Let’s rock and roll.
Secret #1 > The ultimate husband and father takes care of himself.
Depending on your kids' ages and stages, balancing this can feel impossible. If you have five kids under five, you going on a guys' weekend every other weekend isn't self-care—it's selfish. On the flip side, if you're too busy to take care of yourself until you get physically sick—that's your red flag.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. —Romans 12:2
If you're feeling overwhelmed, check your spiritual disciplines. Maybe you should sleep an extra 30 minutes tomorrow morning. Or, maybe you should forget the snooze button, take a walk outside and read your Bible. Trust me, if you don’t this secret right, the rest of this list will be even more difficult.
Secret #2 > The ultimate husband and father loves his wife.
Pray for your wife. Learn to pray before complaining. Be affectionate with your wife. Give your wife a peck on the cheek when you walk by her—just because. Be interested in your wife. Ask her questions like when you were dating.
Silly? Well, do you know her favorite band? What book she wants to read? Stay interested in your wife, the ultimate husband does. (Protip: any answers can be stored up as surprise gifts later. Thank me later.)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her... —Ephesians 5:25
Secret #3 > The ultimate husband and father is the family shepherd.
One of the best ways to be a disciple-maker to your kids is by spending quality time with them. And you know how quality time happens? With quantity time!
The shepherd guides his sheep. From discipline and training, the shepherd uses his time and words wisely—he intentionally disciples his son. Get this secret right, and you won't live in fear and regret that you haven't trained your child well.
Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4
Secret #4 > The ultimate husband and father knows how to connect.
One of the biggest challenges dads said they faced in our recent survey was feeling connected with their son. Be sure you have times of connection by adding them to your calendar. Be intentional about scheduling times for fun.
My family manages to fit in at least one pizza night per week. Depending on the week, we may do pizza night on a different night, but rest assured, a week doesn't go by without at least one pizza night.
Secret #5 > The ultimate husband and father knows how to manage priorities.
We see it all the time, but this is one area that gets dads in trouble. Learn to leave work at work and be home when you’re home.
There is no multi-tasking when it comes to work and family. Learn to use your time wisely and efficiently at work. Then, when you get home, unplug, live in the moment and enjoy being home!
Secret #6 > The ultimate husband and father closes strong.
How we finish each day is often a great indicator of how our tomorrow will go. Are you sabotaging your evening?
Call me old, but as much as I wanted to stay up for the Redskins win this past Sunday night (Hail to the Redskins!), my Monday morning sure was better for having left the TV in the third quarter. Turns out, the Redskins don't need me to win.
Secret #7 > The ultimate husband and father stays positive.
Look at your interactions with your wife and kids. What percentage of your time is just you being a complainer?
Imagine doing all of this list, but your wife and kids only seeing you go through the motions of a checklist with no enthusiasm. Regardless of your temperament or personality, I know when I'm at my best, my wife and kids see me not only be positive, but maybe even enjoying life with them.
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Do you feel overwhelmed by this list? Please don’t. This post is meant to encourage you to be better—not perfect. We can do this. I'm on this ride with you and happy to help.
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have two daughters and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and follow him on Twitter @RyanSanders.
Manhood Journey originally partnered with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for The Ultimate Homeschool Dad blog post series (login required). Portions of this post came from that cool partnership.