Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time for the Family, Too

According to Willard Harley’s book, “His Needs Her Needs,” one of the woman’s top five emotional needs is for her husband to be committed to the family. Now, I’m going to take it for granted that you’re committed to your family, otherwise I don’t think you’d be reading this blog. But, the question remains, how do you express that commitment?

My father grew up in a generation when the men were expected to the breadwinners in the home. That was it; nothing was said to them about helping in the kitchen, cleaning the house, playing with the kids or even hugging their family. All the man had to do was be the breadwinner. Granted, most did more than that, like mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage. But, the idea of a man being actively involved in the lives of his children was a bit foreign. That was the woman’s work.

Well, society has changed since then and it is widely recognized that men have to be more involved in the home and family than what was considered acceptable in my father’s day. Nowadays, men are expected to help with the housework, take the kids to the little league game and be romantic towards their wives.

There’s only one problem, while society has changed, men haven’t changed all that much. Most men still see their main role as being a breadwinner. Anything that gets in the way of that tends to get pushed to the side. Unfortunately, that means that the family gets pushed to the side at times.

God gave me a wake-up-call on this many years ago, while my children were still small. I came home from work one day to be greeted by my wife, who said, “Talk to me in big words, I’m tired of being trapped in this house all day with little children who speak in little words.” I knew I needed some wisdom for my wife, and I needed it right away. Time for a quick prayer, seeking that wisdom.

I responded to my wife, “You don’t understand. Everything I am working on, there in the factory will be destroyed before the end of my life. What you are working on will outlast us.” Wow, what wisdom; God really came through for me that time. Little did I know how much of an impact those words would have on me, even more so than my wife. It served to remind me of what was important in life. I didn’t have a family to support my work; I worked to support my family.

My family needed me and I was spending too much time working, instead of being with them. Are you making the same mistake? As men, we can be very driven in our work, driven to succeed. But ask any man on his deathbed, and he’ll tell you that the time he spent working was a waste, the only time that mattered was the time he spent with his family.

Is spending time with your family romantic? You bet it is. As I said earlier, your wife needs to know that you are committed to the family. Telling her that you are won’t convince her, only showing her that you are will.

So, take some time this Sunday to be with your family. That ball game really isn’t all that important. In a couple of months, nobody will care who won. Nor is your nap really all that important, although you might feel that you really need it. If you do, go to bed early for a change. Let your priorities be your priorities for a change.

Your wife will appreciate it, your kids will appreciate it, and in the long run, you’ll appreciate it too. You won’t have to be one of those men who lament “why didn’t I spend more time with my family?”

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