Having been married for 20 years and being the father of four kids, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a man at home. Here are five simple but effective things that I strive to live out every day.
1. Don’t come home from work and turn on the TV
Watching college basketball games or Seinfeld re-runs every night will not help you lead your family. Evenings are Prime Time for husbands and fathers to be completely present to our families. Don’t let the remote control dominate your family. I watch less TV than ever these days because there is simply not time to parent four kids, love my wife, and watch much TV. Three or four nights a week, my wife and I watch a tv show together after the kids go to bed. From 5-9, however, the TV is seldom on.
2. Be careful with the time demands of hobbies
If you are going to love and lead your wife and family, you have to be at home. This means that you can’t play softball or basketball or poker four nights a week. I am not saying that you have to do away with all hobbies but loving your family well takes a lot of time. I have few personal hobbies during this time of life. To be a strong man at home, you have to say no to most things in order to focus on what is truly important.
3. Talk about spiritual things continually with your family
Being a man at home means being the Leader in spiritual discussion and practice. Don’t be the guy whose wife is the spiritual leader. Deuteronomy 6:7 teaches parents to teach their kids spiritual truths. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (ESV) Brotha, take the lead role in this!
4. Be fully present when you are at home.
Though I have written about this extensively elsewhere, be reminded that you can be in the room with your family and be unavailable to them. Put down your iPhone, make eye contact, ask questions, listen, and be emotionally present. You are the only person that can do this for your family.
5. Be the chief servant to your family.
My goal as a husband and father is to be the chief servant to my family. I attempt to model Christlike service but putting my wife before me and serving my children before me. When I travel and am away from my family, my oldest son knows that he is the chief servant of the family. I model this and teach this. Men, put your family first.