Do you make your husband a better father? Here are some practical ways to encourage your husband in his fatherhood.
1. Take Notice
It’s very likely that your husband performs loving acts for your children all the time, whether it’s giving them hugs, making them lunch, driving them to soccer practice, or paying the tuition and dental bills. Taking notice and verbalizing your gratitude for these things will not only teach your children to appreciate their father, but will make your husband’s heart soar.
With small kids, you can say: “Did daddy pour you that drink? What a nice daddy you have!” Or with big kids: “I think it’s great that Dad makes time to help you with your math homework.”
Ask yourself: Do my words to and about my husband build him up as a father or tear him down?
2. Respect His Authority
This can be a tricky one, because our motherly pride sometimes gets in the way. Mothers are the ones who do the lion’s share of feeding, bathing, changing, carpooling, and kissing boo-boos better. Surely we know what’s best for our kids, don’t we?
Maybe not. We need to remember that God gave our kids a mother and a father for a reason. Your husband wants what’s best for your kids too – he just might have a different way of getting there. So he doesn’t recognize the importance of the baby’s socks matching his shirt. Or he lets older kids watch more television than you would. These are probably not battles that need to be fought. Let go of that pressing need for control and bite your tongue!
Ask yourself: Do I respect my husband’s authority as a father or do I discount his perspective, usurp his authority, and belittle his opinions … even if only in my own mind?
3. Criticize Carefully
Of course there will be times when you might notice that your husband could improve in some important way. Recognizing his good intentions and his particular challenges first will make him more receptive to hearing your concerns.
For example, if you think your husband should cut back his work hours and spend more time at home, do not say, “Your job is more important to you than we are!” or “If you keep up this schedule, the kids won’t even know you anymore!”
Try a positive, encouraging approach instead: “I appreciate how hard you work at your job and the money you earn for the family, but we really miss you around here! Is there something I can do to make it easier for you to come home a little earlier this week?”
Ask yourself: Do my words to my husband make him want to be a better father or make him want to stop trying altogether?
4. Give Him a Break
In the end, working to help your husband fulfill his vocation as a father will bless you and your children and bring all of you closer to heaven.
A good wife knows when her husband is near his breaking point. Whether it’s frustration with toddlers or teens, when you see the telltale signs of a raised voice, a twitching eye or a clenched jaw, it’s time to intervene – just as you would have him do for you in your weaker moments.
Blessed are the peacemakers! Separate your husband from the source of his frustration and, without judgment or demands, encourage him to take a break. Then everyone can regroup without Dad having to blow his top first. Part of being a good parent is knowing your limitations. Part of being a good wife is knowing your husband’s limitations, and helping the family to navigate them.
Ask yourself: Do I do everything I can to ensure my husband’s time with the children is a pleasant time?
Finally, let’s never forget the power of prayer. Ask God to build up your husband in his fatherhood. Ask St. Joseph to guide him and Mary to watch over him in his family life. In the end, working to help your husband fulfill his vocation as a father will bless you and your children and bring all of you closer to heaven.