As many of us families celebrate Father’s Day this weekend I (Steve) thought it would be a good time to address just the men. If you’ll remember, ladies, Cindy did a message directed at you on Mother’s Day weekend. So, I want to share some things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me be a better husband to Cindy. These are the best things I believe I could do to show love to my sons. It concerns the love they see.
Over time I learned that it isn’t only what I “say” that matters. It’s also what I’ve modeled. It’s what our sons have seen me do when it comes to loving their mother. This is best illustrated in the poem, “The Love They See.” Men, read this poem slowly a couple of times. This way the words really have a chance to sink in. And then I’ll share some thoughts I have from it.
The Love They See
You can’t pretend to love.
You can’t even fake a smile.
The things you think they don’t notice,
they have been watching all the while.
Be aware that they are seeing
everything you do.
If you want your children to know love
then it’s really up to you.
For love isn’t just a play time.
Love isn’t a TV show.
If you love them unconditionally
then love will be what they know.
It’s not what you want them to remember
it’s what they will choose to see.
If you loved one another always
then loving is what they will be.
(Written by Bob Perk)
Men, I must confess that there were a lot of years I spent “pretending” (from a biblical perspective) to be a husband. Fortunately, God got my attention and I began the slow process of changing and maturing into a man of God. Here’s some of what I’ve been learning.
I’ve Been Learning:
• We (husbands) are the ones who set the tone in our homes. We are going to be held to a higher level of accountability before God than our wives. It’s all part of God placing us as the “head of the home.” If you like the title of being head of your home then I hope you’re willing to accept the job description: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ [the head of the church] loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…“(Ephesians 5:25-26)
The Life Application Study Bible offers commentary on these verses (25-30) that helped me realize just how important my responsibility is:
“Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling wives to submit to their husbands. How should a man love his wife? (1) He should be willing to sacrifice everything for her. (2) He should make her well-being of primary importance.”
Men, if we say we “love Christ” then there is no way we can ignore this mandate from God.
• As we set the tone in our homes, we (men) are also the ones who are responsible for showing our sons and daughters what a husband is to “be.” I was fortunate. I grew up in a home where my father was a good role model for how a husband should “look” and “act.” In their 43 years of marriage —until my mom died —I never questioned once whether my dad loved my mom. He was fully devoted to her. You, however, may not have had a good role model from your father as you were growing up. Well, now it is time for YOU to be or become the good role model for your children.
In the third chapter of Proverbs, Solomon is speaking to his son. He is exhorting him to live his life in such a way that as others “watched” him, they would be drawn to God. His words serve us well today, too:
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.“(Proverbs 3:3-7)
See also 1 Corinthians 13, starting in verse 4 for some practical ways to “model” love for your kids. These are powerful verses that get summed up in verse 8 – “LOVE NEVER FAILS.“
• Make the decision to be or become the husband of a “Happy Wife.” I hope you don’t miss the significance of what I just said because with that decision comes a life-long commitment too. In her book, Capture Her Heart, Lisa TerKeurst said,
“Granted your wife’s relationship with the Lord must be her soul’s source of worth, but you can do wonders for her in making your love obvious to her. You can become the husband of a happier wife simply by deciding in your heart who she is.”
And then we don’t have to guess “who she is” because TerKeurst tells us:
“She is a daughter of the Most High King. She is a Princess, created in the image of God —a royal heir of the eternal throne. God made her beautiful and uniquely gifted. She was made with you in mind, with a heart that yearns for your adoration and acceptance. She’s been entrusted to your care to love, honor, and cherish ‘until death do you part.’”
Husbands/Fathers, I can almost guarantee that if you follow the principles laid out in this week’s Marriage Message you will leave a life-long legacy for your sons and daughters that will have tremendous impact. And in doing so, you will never have to wonder again, “What kind of ‘Love’ are they seeing in me?”