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I always expected my husband to do more-more help around the house, playing more with the kids. I found myself looking to other fathers and wanting my husband to be more like them. I know now it was frustrating for him, and I know he was doing the best he could. My helpful criticism was not helpful at all.

One day I was venting to a friend and asked if she had the same problems with her husband. She paused, took a breath, and said to me, “Well, I think of all the things my husband does for me and our family. I think about all the pressures he has at work, trying to get everything done and be home at a decent hour. I think about his responsibilities at church. When I consider all those other responsibilities he has, I feel blessed that he does as much as he can at home.” Wow, that brought me down a peg or three!

In 2019, seven million American dads were absent from the lives of their children. So if your children’s father is involved in their lives, even if it’s not as much as you’d like, still speaks volumes. What is the role of the father, according to the Bible?

· Col 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

· Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

· Prov 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Fathers are called to be leaders and protectors, strong in the faith, and to bring up his children knowing right from wrong. They are not called to take them to playdates, or drive them to the store to buy school clothes. They are not called to be just like the father down the street who takes his kids camping once a month. They are called to parent in their own way. We moms need to give them grace on this point. But how?

1-Be Praying

You should be praying for your children’s father daily. Start by asking him how you can pray for him and tell him you will be praying for him daily. If he’s having a hard time answering your question, then ask him about work, how he’s sleeping, does he have any aches or pains? Even if you don’t get the most descriptive answers, you can still pray for his job (or job search), that he increases his education and skills, that he is getting a peaceful night’s sleep, that any aches or pains he has will subside. You can then move to the parenting area and ask for God’s help in his relationship with his kids, that he has patience for them, appreciates them, makes time for them. Pray consistently and with a grateful heart and you will see progress.

2-Be Encouraging

Say words of gentleness and encouragement to your children’s father, and guard your words carefully. It’s better to say a simple sentence of encouragement, than to gush a flood of words. Men are simple, direct, and basic creatures. They don’t need flowery prose, and they don’t need a constant gush of encouragement. A simple, “I just want you to know I love you, I am praying for you, and I am so grateful to have you in my life” is perfect.

3-Be Aware

Be aware of his mood-is he tired, stressed, irritated? If so, try saying, “I’ve got it all under control honey-why don’t you take a hot shower/nap/watch some TV? I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” It’s hard to transition from work to home, and your man may still be thinking about the stresses of work. Instead of forcing him to go immediately into home mode, try letting him transition in his own time.

4-Be Tough Skinned

Don’t take his emotional distance or irritation personally. Remember that he’s been at work and probably has dealt with a lot of stress and pressure. Home is a safe space to let down his guard and have space. If he hurts your feelings, don’t hold on to the hurt and let it fester. Give it to God by going back to #1-pray for him. Ask God to smooth out the hurt and help you remember to give your man grace. Ask God to put aside what is troubling and make the rest of the day peaceful and happy-a testimony to His Grace. Be the bigger person.

5-Be Consistent

Change happens through consistency. If you want to see changes in your children’s father, then you will have to be consistent in steps 1-4 above. Change does not happen overnight, and until your change is consistent, he will not react to your change and begin to change himself. Make sense? As you pray for him, encourage him, act according to his needs and not yours, don’t react to his irritation and emotional distance, then he will begin to act differently as well.

This advice may not be what you wanted to hear-you may have wanted suggestions on how to change him, not yourself. However, the Bible says we must begin with ourselves, getting ourselves right with God and improving our relationship with Him. Until that happens, our relationships with others is not going to change.

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post-let me know what you think.