Ep. 81 How Can I Get My Husband to Be All in at Home?
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Shows Main Idea – My husband was told that he must be “all in” at home rather than just being here but not engaged. He said he did not know what it meant to be “all in” at home. Can you help us practically?
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We are working our way through Drive By Marriage and recently listened to the episode entitled “Mr. Incredible”. One of the things stated in the episode was that a husband/father should be “all in” at home. My husband asked that I write because he doesn’t know what that means.
He said he hears that similar phrasing from lots of godly speakers, but he doesn’t know what that looks like for him. He grew up in a home that spent a lot of time watching TV or playing video games; everyone was doing their own thing.
Self-focus is very much my husband’s tendency, which means he’s absent and distant. But he doesn’t know what else to do. I suggested it’s not about doing but being, being present and engaged. He still feels frustrated.
I think it would be helpful if he could see it modeled but we don’t have that in our lives. Could someone please explain more fully this concept, as well as give lots of practical examples, “virtual modeling” if you will. He/we understand that it will look differently in every household and it’s not about a list to check off to complete a task. But knowing real life, practical examples would be most helpful for him. Thank you!
There are several things to consider when thinking about becoming a husband and father that is “all in” while at home. Here are a few things to consider.
Preliminary Heart Work
1. Always begin with the gospel, which is like a multifaceted diamond: each turn of the gospel reveals a new aspect. A primary facet is the intentionality of the gospel. God is an intentional God, always engaged in individual’s lives. You must want to imitate God this way (Ephesians 5:1).
2. Be sure that you don’t dichotomize your life into work and home or ministry and home. Listen to this podcast about “ministry as all of life.” Have a “do all for the glory of God” worldview (1 Corinthians 10:31).
3. If you are selectively intentional in different spheres of your life, you want to acknowledge and repent of your impartiality. E.g., if you are intentional and engaged at work but are not that way at home, you must address all the motives of your heart that tempt you to be one way at work but another way at home.
4. Motives for money or an excellent work reputation are not the best motivations. The best motivation is to do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
5. What is the reason (or motive) you do not fully engage your family while at home?
- Your wife does not encourage you or, worse, she critiques you. Thus, rather than knowing you’re going to fail–as affirmed by her critical spirit–you don’t do anything.
- You had no template for what it means to be a proactive husband or dad.
- You have a worldview that says you’re the king of the castle and a castle is a place of rest, not work. Dividing home and work is an unbiblical dichotomy.
- Are you lazy? The gospel is not lazy; to be like Jesus, you must be a servant (Mark 10:45).
- You do not believe the Lord will give you the strength to be an active husband and parent.
- If you do not know what a proactive husband or father is, ask your wife.
- Ask a husband and dad who is proactive.
- Begin doing tasks around the home that you do not ordinarily do like sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, washing the clothes, making the bed. Do “task list things” while asking the Lord to jumpstart your heart to be more proactive. Sometimes you have to be obedient to change the heart rather than waiting for the heart to get engaged, so the behaviors change.
- On the way home from work think of things you want to do when you get home.
- Be intentional in hugging your family and telling them that you love them. Leadership is a verbal responsibility. God leads us by His Words. You lead your family with words, especially loving words that express gratitude (Romans 2:4).
- Learn your family members’ likes–the things they like to eat and the things they like to do. Make a plan to do those things.
- Pre-plan discussions for meal time or the most convenient time when you gather as a family and lead those discussions. It does not have to be deep things about God; it can be any discussion, and I highly recommend light-hearted talks.
- If your family is into games, have a game night. You may have a movie night but remember the two types of activities: passive and active:
- Passive is two people watching a movie. They are together but not engaging each other.
- Active is two people engaging each other. They are together and interactive with each other.
- Randomly go out for ice cream at a place where you can get .99 cent cones. The idea here is inexpensive and fun.
- When someone asks what you want to do today, don’t say, “I don’t know. I have not thought about it.” Translated that means, “You’re not valuable to me, and you’re not in my thoughts today.” God has many plans for you. Know your family and make plans to engage them. That does not mean you have to spend money or go somewhere. He may say you want your child to read to you or you want to have ice tea on the back porch with your wife. The key is not necessarily traveling or spending money but proactively thinking about a family member and doing something with them.
The main thing is prayer. If your husband is not “all in” and he needs to be “all in,” only the Lord can change him. I know you know this, but I must state the obvious. You both should be begging the Lord to grant your husband repentance so he can be “all in” at home (2 Timothy 2:24-25). If your husband does not pray this way, the Lord will oppose him, and he will stay passive (James 4:6).
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Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).