Help For Husbands, Part I

husband

The signs of husbands getting less love, appreciation, and attention than wives is evident in every facet of our culture. Jewelry for women far exceeds the prices listed for men. Valentine’s Day is focused on her and her affection. Mother’s Day gets more effort from families than Father’s Day which appears to be just a mere afterthought or less. Sure, those in leadership roles get the criticism and greater accountability. There are many who assume that the husbands are only good for the “manly deeds” rather than actually doing some of the things that “really matter” (Insert here: Clean the house, cook, grocery shopping, and paying bills on time). Other than a great image and filling the void of loneliness, many people have low expectations for this full-time role known as a husband.

A quick search of marriage material and most of it is written to women and/or from the perspective of the woman. Very few seem to be written for husbands, by husbands. Encouragement, appreciation, and praise for husbands is only an addendum for most.

Husbands need help! But, not the kind of help that most would immediately think about. Most would assume that husbands need help in caring for their wives more. That’s important, but it’s not the greatest assistance they need. Many would suggest that husbands should enroll in a common sense communication course. That would be helpful, but it’s not as critical as you might consider. And yet others would suggest that husbands need lessons in managing the family budget or simply being present. These things are all important, but they aren’t acute care needs. They are supplemental to what’s grave for today’s relevant husband.

21st century husbands need freedom! That’s the real help that they need. The chains of absent mentorship, unrealistic expectations, and vague standards need to be broken and they need to be destroyed. When that happens, you’ll see husbands in a
new light with a renewed confidence. Not only will they wake to work, but there’ll be a different walk in their stride. Not only will they smile, but there’ll be a freshness and unmistakable joy in their countenance. When these fetters get removed, you’ll see husbands balance life demands with grace, exceed expectations, and thrive in their leadership at home.

What does this suggested freedom entail?

1) Freedom To Be Emotional.

Many men grew up hearing, being taught, and witnessing this ideology that “real men don’t cry.” This notion sent the clear message that any God-given emotions that you have should not be expressed nor acknowledged. This unfair teaching created stoic humans devoid of a realistic approach to life’s mountains and valleys. God gave us our emotions for a reason and men need men to show men how to appropriately process, address, acknowledge, and resolve the emotions that can be experienced on a daily basis. Without that tutelage, a ball of pent up emotion, anger, and bitterness becomes the result. Wives can’t force their husbands to be emotional, but they can help them by providing a safe place.

2) Freedom To Have Fun.

Many men gravitate to getting the job done. The identity and sense of accomplishment for many extend from their work. Having a career, being focused on progressive work, and having a reputation as a proven, functional member of society is important. But more important than that is balance. Husbands are implicitly told to work without balance. Having hobbies and scheduling downtime is frowned upon in many circles as a sign that the work is suffering. Having fun is counter-cultural. The truth is that when a man is all work and no play it makes for a sad person. Hundreds of studies have proven that work, health, mental functions, and overall quality of life improve when a person is able to negotiate healthy boundaries and engage in reCREATE-tional activities. When you work hard, you deserve to play hard.

Join me for Part Two, coming soon!

Christopher J. Harris, a native of Palatka, Florida, is Director of Ministry Operations of the historic mega-church Fellowship Church of Chicago. He is also Overseer of Youth for Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Harris currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children. www.ChristopherJHarris.com.

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