Lord's Day Liturgy

They Don’t Need a Sticker

Many men are decent at fixing things around the house [full disclosure: I am not one of them]. Some, of course, are not only inclined to building and repairing and maintaining stuff, they thrive at it. They are good with their hands, have a mechanical mind. They don’t need a sticker on the windshield to tell them that the 3,000 mile oil change is coming up, they smell it in the exhaust.

In many cases what we don’t know how to fix, whether it’s a problem with the truck or with the electricity, we can Google and YouTube and choose from a dozen different how-to articles or videos. Gone are the days when you needed the Chilton manual for your specific make and model. No longer is the paperwork that came with your appliance the best source for anything other than government warnings.

But men are often less responsive, less knowledgable, and less proactive in nourishing and cherishing their wife. In 1 Corinthians 14:35 women are told to hold their tongue in church and ask their husbands at home if they want to learn. This is an Ephesians 5 opportunity to be like Christ, our example who uses the Word to help His Bride, the Church, be sanctified and in splendor.

A Christian husband, with application for a Christian dad too, gets to be the one who cares for his wife’s Christian life, including her learning. This means he should know some answers, which may mean he needs to pay attention in church. Even if he doesn’t do that there’s plenty of good help that’s accessible and few good excuses.

Learn to edify your wife as an heir with you of the grace of life.

Every Thumb's Width

Anticipate and Finish

I want to add a couple thoughts to my previous post about men taking responsibility.

The sort of seeing “all as his” that I mean can be seen in what a man anticipates. A friend of ours is really good at this, and here’s just one story. When his wife was pregnant he made a sandwich for her and put it in her purse. She didn’t think about packing herself a snack. She didn’t ask him to make a sandwich. But he knew that she would be gone for a while and that she was likely to get hungry. He’d observed her scrounging around for left-over food on a previous excursion, so he anticipated her need and provided. That kid in her belly didn’t become his responsibility only after the kid was born or only after his wife asked for help.

The “all is his” mindset can also been seen in how he finishes. The trope is as old as men have been coming Home from Work. The husband/father walks in the door and he’s tired. It was a hard day, stressful. He wants a break. Sure. But how is managing his household not his deal? It’s not time to check out. It’s time to check in, with his wife, with his kids. How is his flock? What do they need, and who is supposed to provide for them? It is not someone else. He could get mad that dinner isn’t ready at the expected time, but that’s because his expectation about what it means for him to be finished is incomplete.

Every Thumb's Width

His and Hers

One of the most difficult things to communicate to a guy/husband/father is that all of it is his. He has responsibility for everything, even if he isn’t the one who does all the work.

Marriage is a partnership with the husband as the head. That means that while the wife has work, and the two of them discuss who will take care of what, the wife’s work is still the husband’s to consider. It never becomes hers in a way that he is no longer concerned with.

The typical guy thinks about His work and Her work, and I don’t mean work designated for a male or a female. It’s easy for him to get upset when she asks him questions about her work, or when she doesn’t finish her work in the time he thought she should, because he thinks it’s carving into his work. This is precisely the (pressure) point. It is all his work. She is not messing with his work, she is doing some of his work, even if he wished it was more or different. If she has questions or concerns that she brings to his attention, this is not something other than his responsibility, even if he thinks he’s delegated a task to her.

A simple way to think about what is his: what if his wife died? He would need to know how to pay the bills, each kid’s allergies and schoolwork, what clothes don’t go in the hot load, and how many days in a row of chicken nuggets for lunch is actually unhealthy. What if she was in a debilitating accident? He would need to take care of all the previous things and take care of her.

He could get mad about it, but that doesn’t make it not his responsibility. He could abdicate, run away to the garage, his man-cave, time with the buddies, more of “his” work at the office, or actually just leave the family, and it seems some guys do.

Is it possible for a wife to take advantage of a husband’s big shoulders? I suppose. Is it likely that she would take advantage of this, while he’s listening to her and seeking to serve her for both of their benefit? I don’t think so. But such a situation is rare because, as I said at the start, it’s hard to get a guy to see it all as his.

A Shot of Encouragement

A Head Regardless

Obedience and disobedience on the part of a husband does not make him a head or not a head. He is a head regardless, but he can be an obedient head or disobedient head. He can be a head who tells the truth about Christ in his sacrificial love, or he can be a head who lies about Him through selfishness, but silence is not an option.

~Doug Wilson, For a Glory and a Covering, 58