Praying for yourself not only helps you but also helps your children and your husband. Praying for your husband will impact everyone in the family too! Your children’s dad is one of the most important people in their lives. As I’ve sat and pondered this, I’ve wondered, why have I not devoted more time and energy to praying for my husband? Praying for him is a much better skill to cultivate than nagging or arguing and what a better way to truly love someone, by praying blessings for them.
Our little family had a big decision to make in July. I had to decide whether to accept an offer to go back to a job I loved on a part-time basis. When deciding whether to go back to work, I had a hard time assessing the possible impact on my husband and kids. I mostly thought about it being a negative impact.
Would my children feel like I cared more about work than them?
What about my husband?
Would our household run as smoothly if my focus was divided between work and home?
How we had thought about setting up, my sister would take care of the kids one morning a week but the other two times I was at work, my husband would be watching our kids so we could avoid childcare expenses. That would be a big commitment on his part. Especially because one would be a work night so he’d have the responsibility of caring for the kids after he had already finished a long day at his own job and the other would be watching the kids on the weekend for a few hours. That would mean sacrifice on his part.
Would he get stressed out watching the kids?
Would he feel comfortable doing it as there were times he grew easily frustrated with the kids?
Was it selfish of me that I wanted to go back to work?
Ryan has always been great with kids. I had the opportunity to watch him interact with a friend’s little boy before we started dating and seeing how he amazing he was with kids was one of the things that initially attracted me to him. Later, I found out that he had never even babysat and that blew my mind! And my assessment of how he’d be as a father has paled in comparison to the father that he actually is. He is one amazing, feisty, invested father. From the beginning, he rolled up his sleeves and jumped right into being a complete partner in parenting. Back then, if he hadn’t, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown. Evan cried a lot as a newborn and was really difficult to soothe. If I hadn’t had someone in our house to help out with his care, it would not have been good. Many times, Ryan could soothe Evan better than I could. And don’t even get me started on his amazing swaddling skills! Ryan also became the primary caregiver for Evan during part of his layoff from work. Back then, we didn’t have a choice. I had to work and we couldn’t afford ongoing out-of-home daycare. I think because of the particulars of our early journey in parenthood, we have a much more egalitarian, more non-traditional relationship than my parents did. Not that there’s anything wrong with a traditional gender-roled relationship, ours just looks different.
So what did we decide about me going back to work? My husband and I agreed that I should do it. I was honestly surprised at how definite, decisive, and optimistic Ryan was about the opportunity for me. So, we agreed, there were clear benefits to our family financially and clear intellectual and emotional benefits to me personally. And I was
lucky, there I go again, blessed. Since Ryan had been at home providing the child care for Evan in the past, he knew firsthand how important it was to get out of the house and feel invested in something else.
As we’ve gone down this road, there have been freeing nights for me but exhausting nights for Ryan. Having to figure out how to manage two active little ones without their mom was tiring. But you know what happened? He started to figure out ways to make it easier on himself and more enjoyable for the kids. Before, when we were both home at night, I was still the one mainly in charge of taking care of the kids and disciplining them as needed. Because I did it all the time during the work week, it was just easier for me to do. And at times, my husband would attempt to do it, but if I didn’t like how he was handling it I’d take over or we’d argue about it afterward, me thinking my way was better. Not the best thing for our marriage and definitely not a good strategy with the kids. If it continued, our kids would take advantage of their parents not presenting as a united front. And how arrogant of me! Thinking my way was “the right way.” Maybe my husband’s style of interacting with the kids could not just work with them, but even work better if just given the chance!
So, now, instead of continuing to worry about all the ways I could be harming my family by working again, I’ve seen benefits not only to our family financially and me personally, but have also seen the benefit for my children and my husband.
Has Evan been testing his Dad?
Have I come home to a completely exhausted husband?
But I also believe that as I get out of the way, relationships will be strengthened and confidence in managing the kids’ behavior will be heightened. It might take a little while for my husband and kids to find their groove without me, but I know it will happen and our little family will be the better for it. And in the midst of the growing pains and the chaos, there have been so many sweet moments. Whether it’s receiving a picture on my phone from Ryan of Makenna delighting in her chalk drawings or seeing the pride on my husband’s face after a long night with the kids because he felt like he not only survived but thrived, there are so many moments that are beautiful. Messy but beautiful. Ryan is feeling more and more skilled at caring for and loving our kids in his own way. I just needed to get out of the way.
I’m reading a book right now called LEAN IN: Women, Work, And The Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. Its all about how women hold themselves back at times from leadership opportunities in their careers and how to better manage having a family and a thriving career. She quickly admits that women cannot have it all. Something will have to give if a woman is focused on having a career and a family, but she does not agree that the kids have to be the thing sacrificed. For women who want to have a family and work outside of the home, she challenges women to work with their partner to have an equitable relationship when it comes to home life. That the men help out more with household duties and childcare. Not only does this help the woman, but there’s a huge positive impact on the kids in the situation.
Studies have found that children “benefit greatly from paternal involvement. Research over the last forty years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less-involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities. When fathers provide even just routine child care, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates. Their children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent” (Sandberg, 113).
These results were found regardless of whether the mother was highly involved. Dads have a HUGE impact! Every day when I’m at work, I see how the lack of a father’s involvement has played out in kids’ lives. It makes me thank God over and over for Ryan being my children’s daddy specifically! That said, I need to be praying for him more.
So, here are some ways to pray for your husband. This is a way I can put into action my desire to pray for my husband. This is the third part of a weekly-formatted prayer handout my mom gave me that has really challenged me in a good way. (Curious about the first two sections from this handout? Check out Praying for Your Children–Day by Day and Praying for Yourself).
Praying for Your Husband
1.) That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in His knowledge of God (I Thess 5:23, Col. 4:12, Eph. 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:8).
2.) That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him (Ps 27:4, 119:1-2, Prov. 3:5-6, John 15:5).
3.) That he might learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the world’s thinking and to think Scripturally (Rom. 12:2, II Corin. 10:5).
4.) That he would learn to not depend on his circumstances for happiness, but on God alone (Hab. 3:17-19).
5.) That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength (Is. 40:31, Eh. 3:14-19).
6.) That his self image might be a reflection of the Lord’s thoughts toward Him (Eph. 1:17-18, Rom. 12:3, Ps. 139).
7.) That he might become a called man, not driven, with well-thought-through and prayed-through goals in life (I Corin. 9:24-27).
8.) That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (Eph. 1:17-19, James 1:5-7).
9.) That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances (Eph 6:10-18, James 4:7).
10.) That he might not be deceived into unbelief or sin (Matt 13:58, Gal. 6:7).
11.) That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life (Gal. 5:22-23).
12.) That he might learn to love as God has commanded (I Corin. 13:4-7, Rom. 12:8-10).
13.) That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course (Prov. 2:8).
14.) That he might learn to manage his time well (Eph. 5:15).
How about you? What do you pray about for your husband? Have you thanked God and your husband lately for the amazing father he is to your children? Count your blessings. There are many fatherless, whether physically or emotional, children in the world. If your husband is present and invested, your children are blessed to have him in their lives.