Yesterday I tried to give a man’s version of a mother’s job. I tried to give some analogies to help husbands understand what it might feel like to be a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM). Today I want to give some brief pieces of advice for all the husbands on some ways to minister to their wives. This list isn’t an exhaustive list.
Helpful Hints from the Front lines:
1. Remove the question: “What did you do today?” from your just-got-home-checking-in-with you routine. The reasons are simple. She can’t begin to remember all that she did that day. The question can seem like a probing quiz to see if she’s measured up as a good mom/wife. If she told you, it wouldn’t seem like enough work to make her as exhausted as she is now.
I know that you don’t intend it to mean those things, but it does or can. So instead say something like this: “Hey Honey, I bet you’ve been working hard today, What was your best part? And How can I Help you now that I am home?” Seriously guys, write that down, put it on the dash of your car and read it right before you walk through the door. It does 3 things, assumes(rightly) that her work is hard, focuses her on the positive aspects of her day, and lastly it lifts some weight off of managing the whole house now that you are home.
2. Be a burden lifter for your wife, not a burden creator. Come home ready to lift burdens off your wife’s shoulders. If need be,prepare for it by taking the last 10 minutes of work to start thinking about home, take the drive home to turn off the radio and prepare your heart and your mind to minister to your children and wife. Or stop in a grocery parking lot for a 5 minute breather just before you get home. Say a little prayer, turn off your day at the office, and turn on your husband and father mode. That way you can hit the front door ready to serve not to be served.
3. Remember I said that her life and job don’t have boundaries on them so, you as the husband, have to do that for her. If you have kids at home, they are probably used to asking mom for everything during the day. Unless it is something specific that only you have knowledge about, the default cry around the house is going to be “Hey Mom.” Your wife is also probably accustom to answering those calls all day long, so even though you are home she still handles most of the needs around the house. A great way to minister to your wife is to “intercept those calls” as I like to say. When you get home from work, every time you hear, a “Hey Mom” tell your children that “Mom is busy, but what can I do for you.” You will become a welcome boundary for you wife and minster to her.
Another way to provide an important boundary for your wife is to remind her daily of God’s sovereign and enabling grace in her life and in her parenting. Reminder her that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and love are the enabling energies of her parenting and that her work has limits, but God’s grace does not. Help her trust God for outcomes, not her own effort.
4. Wash her in the water of the Word. Get specific with the ways you praise your wife. You can say that being a SAHM is the greatest calling in the world, that what she does is tougher then what you do, and that you can’t believe she does what she does day in and day out. Those things are great, but those things are what they put on Mother’s Day Cards. So as her husband, try to find the specific things that no one else is going to see. When your kids do something well, when they are polite or attentive, praise your wife for that. She had more to do with it then even the kids know. When your kids run to hug you when you get home. Thank your wife for that. She’s the one that has been parenting them all day so that they might be a blessing to you when you get home. Also, realize that your wife doesn’t get that same response from the kids as often. It’s a gift she gives you. They expect to see her all day. They expect her to be around. So when you get home you are fun and different. If the kids love having you home, if they love playing with you at the end of the day, if they respect you, thank your wife for that. She did that.
4.5 Don’t wait till Mother’s Day to affirm your wife. They give “atta-boys” and “game-balls” away at the end of every game, not at the end of the season. Why? People are motivated when others recognize their work often.
5. God rested on the 7th. That means he worked for 6. Just because your office is closed on Saturday, doesn’t mean you are off. There is always work to be done around the home. Maybe its taking kids to practice, cooking, yard work, etc. Work for six, rest for one.
6. Value what your wife is doing above what you are doing. You have the best opportunity to see what your wife is doing. No one sees her for all her weakness and strengths. So be free with your praise and slow with your criticism. Strive to never let anyone else outside yourself give your wife a better compliment then you do when it comes to being a mom. That means you have to understand what she is doing and get specific with the way you compliment her.
8. Lead. Take initiative. Leading is first and foremost about initiating the activity of the home. So lead in love, grace, prayer, praise, understanding, humility, and service. Work to out serve your wife around the home. You will be exhausted if you try.
9. And lastly put the dirty towel in the clothes hamper and put another roll of toilet paper on the holder when needed. These things will score you major points.