The worst thing that a man can do in his relationship with his wife and children is to stagnate spiritually.
A number of years ago, I was meditating on what it took to be a good father. The Holy Spirit revealed this to me: one of the best ways I could be a good father to my children would be to love their mother.

Why is this so? Because the affection and solidarity that I have toward my spouse will spill over into the life of my children. It is a given that if a man has the appropriate way of conducting himself toward his wife, he will also exemplify that to his children.

I have heard it said that sometimes a man can be a good father to his children, but not an honorable husband to his wife. My question to that statement is how can the two be separated?

If a man is honorable and respectful toward his wife, that honor and respect will have a tremendous impact on his children.

This is what I mean. I once heard of a man who was married to a woman for many years. This couple had a horrendous time making life together work. The time came when they realized that they had to part ways. Their life together was too difficult; they just couldn't make it happen. They simply could not live as one, so they divorced.

The significance of this man's fatherhood was severely interrupted. The failure of this couple had a tremendous effect upon their children. However, there was one characteristic about the father that remained undamaged. He would never speak unfavorable things about his ex-wife in the presence of his children.

No matter the situation, the man would only say good things about his ex-wife in front of the children. Although the marriage was unsuccessful, the father consistently spoke highly of her. This man's children never heard a bad word about their mother from him.

Somehow, this man knew how destructive it would be to speak ugly things about the children's mother in front of them; as a result, he wouldn't do it (Prov. 18:21).

His children saw this as they grew older. That quality in their father caused the children to have a great deal of respect for him. Although the marriage failed, the father remained committed to his fatherhood to the best of his ability.

While this couple found it necessary to go their separate ways, the father did not abandon being a father to his children. Despite the fact that the father no longer had a bond with his ex-wife, he worked feverishly to be the best father he could possibly be.

The father never let go of his responsibility to be a father to his children—in fact, he made the conscious choice to never speak negatively about their mother.

It is vitally important that children are exposed to the positive impact of fatherhood. Another way this is accomplished is for him to live the kind of life that his wife can revere and respect.

Ephesians 5:33 says:
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The word "reverence" means "to be in awe of; to have the utmost respect for."

In order for this to be accomplished the husband/father must provide for his wife sufficient spiritual leadership. The greatest way to gain respect from your wife is to be a man of God. This is what she is looking for.

Something happens on the inside of a woman when a man loves her as he loves himself (Matt. 22:37-40).

Earlier in Ephesians 5 the husband is commanded to love (Agape—The God-kind of love) his wife. That means to love her just as Christ loves the church. This is unconditional love; an unselfish type of love.

A husband must be as sensitive to the needs and hurts of his wife just as he is sensitive to the needs and hurts of his own body. If a husband really loves himself as Christ loves the church, that love will find its way into the life of his wife and children (Eph. 5:22-31).

Attaining Spiritual Leadership
As I said earlier, a husband must provide for his household proper spiritual leadership. The number one way to acquire that is to develop a consistent prayer life and a study of the Word. The husband needs to be the type of leader that is going to take his wife from point A to point Z.

Not that he is perfect, but he needs to consistently pursue the presence of God.

The worst thing that a man can do in his relationship with his wife and children is to stagnate spiritually. One of the deep cries in the heart of many God-fearing women is to have the kind of husband who will assume spiritual leadership of his family.

All too often, the wife takes on the role of spiritual leader in the home, because of the neglect of her husband. If that happens in any home, that man has forsaken the importance of being a significant father.

It is no longer acceptable for a man to be passive in relation to the things of God and his home. He must develop sensitivity to the Lord, and ask Him how to move his family forward.

If a man needs to make changes so that his family can survive spiritually, he must swallow his pride and make those changes. Regardless of where a man is spiritually, he needs to make the proper changes in order for his family to change.

And, intention to change is not change.  Talking about change is not change. Pledging to change is not change. Making resolutions to change is not change.

The husband/father must change. Change isn't change until you have changed! Men, if we are not watchful, we will miss our God-given responsibility as spiritual head of the household.

If you need to grow or improve in your role as spiritual leader, ask God for guidance and wisdom. Repent of any neglect in the past, and move into your God-given place of authority and responsibility.

Anthony N. Wade Ministries
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