You’re on the website and reading this article because you want to be a good dad. Congratulations for making this a priority in your life. Our society needs more guys like you who aren’t satisfied with their current dad skills, but instead want to step up their dad game.
You could probably write a list of the things you do, day in and day out, that make you a good dad, but one skill that you might overlook (and it’s super common) is your marriage. Think about it, if you want to really take your skills to the next level, why not show your kids what being a good husband looks like? I’m not playing Monday morning quarter back. I have three young kids of my own and somedays—more than I’d like to admit—working on my husband game is not on my “to-do” list. But leaning into your marriage is one of the most powerful things you can do for your children. Here’s why. Believe it or not, you’re the lens through which your daughter is going to see her future husband. And you will play a big role in what kind of husband and father your son will grow up to be someday. The stakes are high and each day is an opportunity to speak into whom your children will grow up to be.
Below are three things that you can start doing today that will help you step up your dad game (and your wife won’t mind either)!
- Watch it tomorrow. Look, there are some nights after putting the kids down that you walk out of their bedroom and you just want to binge watch some Netflix or catch the end of the game. But you don’t need to do it every night. Spend that last hour or two before you head off to dream land hanging out with your wife. Imagine what your wife’s reaction would be if you were to go home tonight and instead of turning on the game, you asked her if you could give her a 5-minute back massage.
- Plan little surprises and let the kids be in on it. Grab the kids and take them to a bedroom, shut the door, and tell them you need their help. (By the way, this is a great way to find out if your kids can keep a secret.) Walk out of the room and tell your lovely bride that you and the kids will be back with a surprise. You go to the grocery store and get your wife’s favorite cookies and pick up some flowers and maybe anything else you know she’ll love. The kids will love being part of the surprise and more importantly, they will see that dad loves to make her feel special.
- If you don’t know your wife’s love language, you’ll never go pro. Author Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The Five Love Languages is considered one of the best books for creating and growing a healthy marriage. A word of caution, don’t do what I did (and most men do) and assume you already know your wife’s love language. Go to the website, take the free quiz (even better if you do it together) and get plugged into this amazing resource that has helped literally millions of couples improve their relationships.
You’ve just read three ways you can keep that spark alive in your marriage, even with young children. Maybe you’ll start by taking one of the tips above and trying it out this week, or maybe you are really ambitious and you’ve already planned out how you’re going to start doing it tonight. Remember being a good dad is hard work, but stay committed to your marriage because it changes lives.
Jim Bartok is the pastor at My Church in Ozark, Missouri. He is a follower of Jesus, husband, father of three and a church planter. He loves spending time with his family, being outdoors and helping people encounter Jesus. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.