Mom’s Best Gifts for Dad Every Day (not just Father’s Day)

**This post is exclusively for mothers. Sorry, guys.**

This Sunday is our official day to honor the fathers in our lives, including the father(s) of our children. (I’m married to the father of both my children, but I know that’s not always the case. These principles still apply if you’re divorced, never married, or otherwise.) When it comes to fathers, unless you honor him every day, you won’t be able to authentically honor him on this special day. As we approach Father’s Day this year, consider how you might tweak your attitude toward your husband in order to show him more honor.

3 Ways to Honor the Father of Your Children (with lots of sub-points)

I’m going to be very straightforward here. It’s not my intention to be harsh; I just don’t want any padding to distract you from the truth in the details (and my word count gets too high too quickly anyway). I’m not pointing fingers. This is the way I deal with myself.

  1. Show Respect

God calls women to respect their husbands. It’s one of those verses with no qualifications, no conditions. It simply says, “and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Not “if he deserves it,” or “if you feel like it,” or “if he loves you like he should.” In context, the previous clause instructs husbands to love their wives and the following clause instructs children to obey their parents. So you can see that I’m not leaving anything out here. It was a woman (Aretha Franklin) who demanded it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but it’s also a woman (well, Christ-following women—that’s us) who must show it.

A few things respect might mean:

  • Don’t interrupt him in the middle of a sentence.
  • Support his parenting decisions (even if you don’t 100% agree).
  • Give him space to be himself. So he likes ‘70s disco music? There’s nothing actually wrong with that.
  • Don’t praise another man too much. Short story: I recently met a new doctor that I immediately liked and respected. I knew I’d praised him too much when my husband (of nineteen years) said, “Good thing you didn’t meet him twenty years ago!”
  • Treat him like an adult, not like one of the kids. If he doesn’t usually do the laundry, don’t take the opportunity to correct him because he doesn’t do it “right.”
  1. Show Restraint

Sometimes, as wives and moms, we think we need to “vent” about something our husbands do…or don’t do. Nothing productive comes of venting. If I have a problem with my husband, I talk to him, not to my girlfriends. At most, I might share, “Bestie, I need to have a difficult conversation with husband tonight. Will you please pray for me?” There might come a time (after it’s resolved) to share this story in a God-honoring way, but most of the time, when we “vent” we’re just looking for someone to agree with us that we are completely right and the object of our venting (in this case, the husband) is completely wrong.

I’ve found it helpful to apply Philippians 4:8 here.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—[about my husband] think about such things.

If I take captive every thought (2 Corinthians 10:5) and keep my thoughts on the positive aspects of his character and life, my words will follow.

It goes back to respect. Showing restraint regarding my husband means I don’t tell belittling stories about him—even if they are funny. It means I don’t itemize his faults to others. It means I never talk to our children with phrases like, “If your father hadn’t…” or “Well, your father…”. I honor his reputation among our peers, in front of other women, and with our children.

  1. Show Recognition

In general, men love praise. But here’s something else: Children love for their fathers to be praised. So tell your children about something wonderful their father did in the past (or recently). Tell them what you like about him, what originally attracted you to him. If he catches you doing it, even better!

A few ways to recognize your husband’s character and actions:

  • Make a habit of showing appreciation for something he did and admiring the quality of it: “That is some nicely applied plumbers tape under the sink, honey. It looks like it’ll hold for a long time.” Sounds silly, I know, but try it. You’ll be surprised!
  • Acknowledge an effort to change/improve and comment on his hard work.
  • Praise qualities in your children that they inherited from their father. Things like, “You are so generous, just like Dad.”

As a Christ-following parent, you’ve probably quoted Ephesians 4:29 to your kids, but have you considered it in reference to your husband?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I know I want a strong, confident man. If offering a little extra praise is what it takes, that’s a small sacrifice to make. Maybe your husband doesn’t really need that. Still do it. Why? Because of who’s listening. Your children. When you praise their father, they benefit as well!

By taking time to recognize his contributions to your life and within your children, you’ll find it easier to dwell on the positive aspects of his character (showing restraint—#2) and respect him as a person (#1).

Don’t wait for Father’s Day to honor your children’s father! (click to tweet) These kinds of gifts come from “a wife of noble character” (Proverbs 30:10) and last through decades, not just days.

 

For Further Study: 

 

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For Valentine’s Day: 5 Best Marriage Books

Perhaps I’m just not romantic. I don’t really like little chocolate bites packaged in heart-shaped boxes, and cut flowers often make me sneeze. Also, to wax philosophical for a moment, romantic infatuation is like both these gifts: pleasant for a short while, but then withering or becoming a burden (as chocolate does on my thighs!). Okay, that last sentence confirms it; I am not a romantic person. So when I say that I would be thrilled to receive a book for Valentine’s Day, you understand part of the reason why.

This is a parenting blog, not a love and marriage blog, so why, you ask, am I talking about Valentine’s Day? As we’ve heard so many times, the best thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse. So in recognition of Valentine’s Day, I offer the five best books that I’ve read on marriage. There may be better books out there, but I haven’t read them…yet. This year, why not invest in the long-term health of your marriage in addition to (or rather than) spending your money and attention on things that last only a few days? No matter how good your marriage is now, bless your spouse with your desire to strengthen it; what could be more romantic than that? Read one of these books together, prayerfully heed its advice, and watch your marriage blossom like no cut flower ever will!

The stage-of-life recommendations are just for fun, or if you don’t know where to start. Don’t take them too seriously.

Newlyweds: For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn

“What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men” and “A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women”

These short books make great engagement or wedding gifts. They are easy to read, down-to-earth, and packed with truth. Based on the premise that there are many things we don’t know about the opposite gender, the Feldhahns straightforwardly shed light on all those dark areas. Sit beside your spouse as you both read silently. You will interrupt each other frequently with questions that start, “Do you really…?”

Near your first anniversary: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

“The Secret to Love that Lasts”

You’ve probably heard of this. Don’t let its popularity turn you off (as I tend to do with books). This book helps you remember love is not about what you get but about what you give. Sometimes, the actions your heart translates as love don’t mean the same to your spouse. Chapman helps you know how to show love to your spouse in the way that he or she best receives it. **Bonus: Love languages don’t just apply to spouses. This book helped me understand how to love and receive love involving other family members (particularly in-laws) as well! The 5 Love Languages for Children is also excellent.

After five years: Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

“The Love She Most Desires; the Respect He Desperately Needs”

I suggest this later in marriage mostly because it’s a longer book, but also, it digs more deeply into our heart needs as men and women. This book will mean more to you after you’ve been to that point when you just don’t know what’s missing , when you’re trying hard to honor God but feeling frustrated in your marriage. It helps to read Eggerichs’ book alongside Bible passages about marriage and let the Lord convict you where you need it, based on your own positive and negative experiences in your marriage. I recommend it because, like with 5 Love Languages, we often assume that our spouses’ needs are similar to ours when, in actuality, they are very different.

Ten years and beyond: The Meaning of Marriage – Timothy & Kathy Keller

“Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God”

We picked up this book because of our respect for Tim Keller. I should have known his wife would be equally delightful…and deep. Through personal stories and extensive Biblical application, the Kellers boldly declare that, in order to have a fulfilling marriage, you have to take self out of the equation. At its best moments, this book feels like a long conversation with an older, more experienced couple. You’ll benefit from this one the most when you’ve been married long enough to have some stories of your own to lay beside the Kellers’ stories. If you’re in professional ministry (pastor, etc.), this one should be at the top of your list!

Ten years and beyond: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

“What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”

This and The Meaning of Marriage approach the same summit from different routes: that God’s plan for marriage was never about personal satisfaction or happiness. Besides serving as a vehicle for His glory, life with a spouse refines you unlike any other relationship. This book is profound. If you’re willing to internalize Thomas’ wisdom, you’ll find every aspect of your life changed—even the ones you didn’t think were related to marriage.

If you can’t scratch out the time to read a whole book, try one of these excellent blog posts to strengthen your marriage:

What book or blog post would you add to the list? I have You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan on my TBR. Let everyone know in the comments below.