I was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters. I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out. But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds. So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:
- Listen to your wife! I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me. So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
- Hug them always. One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls. I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too. Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
- Be Honest with them. Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others. Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer. So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”. To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?” So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?” Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
- Set the Tone. If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone. So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life. In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you. And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go. Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
- Prepare them for Life. I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is. But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well. I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it. But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.
There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters. But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.” How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself. If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.
When you get to a certain mile stone in life you should take the time to reflect on how you got there. The reason that I believe that is important is because wouldn’t it be great to share that information with those that are coming after you. Especially as parents and to be honest in this day an age as a father we need to show more young men on how to lead the way in married life. So here are a few things that I have learned over 25 years of marriage. (This is the short list)
- Keep a long list of ways that you can make her feel special and loved.
- Keep a short list of the fights that you have and the things that are said.
- Make time for talking about her day not matter what she does in life.
- Find older men that can talk to you about what they have done to be a healthy husband and father.
- Have a group of men that you can have the tough conversations with about marriage and parenting. (Your wife will not always understand you. DUH!)
- Always find time to get away for at least 24 hours without the rest of your family. Couples need to take time for themselves, your relationship needs to matter or your family will not get your best.
- Celebrate the things that show your wife and your family that they matter. (Anniversary’s and Birthdays are the easy ways, get creative.)
- Make sure that you take the time to date your mate. (If there was more courting in marriage there would be fewer marriages in court.)
- Pray daily for the ways that God can continue to grow and unite you as a couple.
- Start back at one . . .
If you have an idea of one thing that you think is important to remember for a long lasting marriage please feel to make a comment and share. The more that we learn from each other and the more we share the better we become as men.
I know that in many places that leadership and leadership development can be an area of conflict. I know that especially when it comes to the church people can really get touchy about it. But over the last 4 years as we have been starting a church I have learned that if you don’t feed the leader then things go bad quickly. Especially when you are the one that everyone expects to be the leader. So I am really challenging myself to be a leader that is focused on feeding myself when it comes to becoming a better leader.
“Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Bill Hybels
I want to be a leader that is getting better so that people around me are getting better. So there are some things that I am doing intentionally to get better:
- Reading the bible from the perspective of how will this make me better as a husband, father, and leader.
- Listening to leaders from different areas of leadership. Business, art, marketing so that I can start to think as a leader differently.
- Reading books that influence my ability to grow others around me. I recently read the book “Protégé” by Steve Saccone and it rocked my world.
- Meeting with leaders that are better then me and that are steps ahead of me when it comes to being a better husband, father, and church leader.
What I want to remind you is that, “Everyone is a leader somewhere”. So what are you doing to feed yourself to be a better leader? Because everyone wins when a leader gets better!
So yesterday at Elevation we had a baptism celebration at Elevation. It is one of the things that we do that amazes me that I get to be a part of. As a church family and team over the last four and a half years we have celebrated 194 people getting baptized. The baptisms are amazing as we see husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends baptize the people that they know have taken the step of saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing then watching a little boys face as he looks up at his dad after he comes out of the water. I get emotional when I see a spouse that is getting the chance to baptize the person that they are staying with for the rest of their life and eternity.
But then you get to hear the stories of how and why they said yes to a relationship with Jesus. You get to hear about the struggle, the mess, and many times the hurt that lead them to realize their need for Jesus. But then you also get to hear the stories of how families lead in the area of faith, about how students knew that it was what the knew they needed to do, and amazing stories of a life of faith and growth. No story is ever the same and no baptism is every the same because of what is happening in that persons life.
What I am excited to think about though is the stories that I have yet to hear. I am excited about the faces, the families, and the friends that we get to take pictures of baptizing those that are making their life with Jesus public. Who knows maybe you are one of the stories that we are going to get to share.
I am sure that there are many women that ultimately read this and think, “What?” Well let me explain what I mean please, before you come gunning for me.
One of the things that I have realized as a husband is that I am always trying to please my wife. It is one of the things that I have always tried to do ever since we were married over 20 years ago. But I have to be honest it is really, really, hard. She is emotional. She can be moody. She confuses me. She cries. Sometimes I have learned that a good cry is just needed. (Never heard men ever say this.) She loves. She cares. She is a great mom. She is an amazing friend. All these things can and will happen with in one day. (I am exaggerating)
I am a man and I am trying to please a woman. It is something that can absolutely drive you out of your mind.
So I “Quit trying to please her!”
What I did instead was try to please Jesus when it came to her. It may sound like something for people who are not followers of Jesus as weird. Heck for some people that say they are followers of Jesus this may sound weird. But for me I realized that I am never going to be exactly what she wants or do exactly what she wants. So if I am trying to be the follower of Jesus that he is leading me to be then I am going to please her in ways that I would never be able to accomplish on my own.
You see if I love her unconditionally with the radical grace of Jesus it has was less to do with her and more with Him. The idea came to me when I read these verses from the bible:
Ephesians 5:25 & 26 25 “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.”
So that means for me the goal is to seek to please Jesus and that ultimately will give me the opportunity to please her. But if I am trying to do it the other way around then I am going to be constantly frustrated and trying to hit a moving (Crying) target.
What are ways that you can seek to follow Jesus that will lead you to be a better husband? If you are not a follower of Jesus then what are some principals that you may know are from the bible that can help you please your gal?
At the beginning of the month on Superbowl Sunday we as a church chose to also be a part of what is called “Porn Sunday”. Crag Gross and the people at XXXChurch did an awesome job of providing information as well as support to the churches that were a part of “Porn Sunday”. It was a very powerful and amazing day where we saw both men and women start to deal with their addiction to porn. But I want to share with you just a small section of a letter that was sent to me by a very brave and awesome lady that has gone through a destructive relationship that was destroyed by a porn addiction. What she shared was some things for spouses of porn addicts to work through. I felt that they were awesome to let people read because this is from someone that has gone through the fire and is on the other side with a perspective that will enable us to care for and reach not just the porn addict but their family as well. Here is what she shared:
1. I didn’t show honor – At the time, in my mind it was ALL his fault – our divorce. I had done nothing wrong. I now know differently. While I can’t change anyone, I am fully responsible for me. I reacted with rage, anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness, hatred, verbal abuse, and emotional withdrawal. Someone had quoted a verse to me earlier and was right to quote it to me, though it was used out of context: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” I now understand what that means – I had told everyone I knew of all of my husband’s faults and about his addiction for TWO reasons: 1) I really did want help and 2) Honestly, to try to make me look good and him bad. I did not honor him. While what he had done was wrong, what I had done in spreading the gossip about his addiction was just as wrong. It was not honoring, respectful, or loving. I see now it did not provide an environment where he could feel safe to be vulnerable and receive the help & healing he needed. That’s not to say he would have chosen to do that if I had reacted differently. Maybe he would have accepted help, maybe not.
2. It is ok to be angry!! It’s not ok for that to grow to bitterness. Several years later I finally did receive the help that I needed. I was able to express my anger and intense pain to people who listened and didn’t blame. But at the same time they held me accountable for HOW I expressed that anger and wouldn’t let me stay there. There is help out there and for those who have a spouse involved in pornography – THEY HAVE TO GET HELP FOR THEMSELVES. I realized I was trying to change my husband. To make him stop so I wouldn’t hurt any more. I couldn’t change him. I can only change myself. I learned to press deeply into God’s Word and let him change ME. To see my ex-husband through God’s eyes. I was able to release him and forgive him. The pain is still there, but it doesn’t control me. I was able to write my ex-husband a letter asking forgiveness for what I had done in verbally lashing out at him and the other hateful things I had done.
3. Boundaries are necessary. Pornography is progressive. It is a sex-addiction. It is wrong. It destroys families. It may not always be necessary to divorce but sometimes it is necessary to separate. Make boundaries clear beforehand and with a plan as to what will happen during the time of separation.
If are you someone that is in a relationship with someone that is a Porn Addict then I encourage you to go to XXXChurch.com and see what they can do to help you. If you are a person maybe a husband or dad that is dealing with this then I ask you to go to someone and get help right away. This is not just something that affects you it affects your whole family. If you are a lady and would like to email the woman that shared what she dealt with then please message me and I will make sure you can get connected with her. I also want to remind each and every person that reads through this that Jesus loves you not matter what you have done or where you have been and He is waiting for you.
One of the things that I have always had to work at overcoming is that “I can’t finish”. I don’t know about you but there are those certain places in my life that have challenged me to the point where I just feel weak and beat up. I have had the privilege in my life to be involved in sports since I was six years old and I have experienced many times where I just wanted to quit. It was almost four years ago that I was able to run in the PF Chang’s Half Marathon. During that race at about mile eleven I just did not want to go on, my legs hurt, my chest hurt, my feet hurt, and all I wanted to do was stop. But I knew that at the finish line was my family and friends, I knew that at the end of the line I was going to be able to rest.
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.