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How to Be a Sorry Husband and Dad

I didn’t start the weekend trying to be a sorry husband and father – it came quite naturally.

My wife was sick in bed with a severe cold, which was no fun for me. It meant that she expected me to take responsibility for the general well-being of her and our two toddlers. Of course, I was totally willing to do this – you know, for like 90 minutes. But then I realized I was trapped in my house and would be serving my family all day long.

I felt like hiring a nurse to come in.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I didn’t complain about it to my wife – at least not verbally. But I didn’t have to say anything. My body language, facial expressions, and tone said it all: I am frustrated. This is my weekend. I wish someone else were doing this. Get well soon – for my sake.

As the day went by, I eventually accepted the fact that I had a job to do, but I did it with joyless, stinky-faced annoyance. But at least I was trying to do something – I mean, I kind of figured I deserved a pat on the back for my efforts. Instead, my sick wife said, “Honey, if you’re going to have such a sorry attitude about helping out, I’ll take care of things myself.”

Rather than humble myself and change my attitude, I rattled off a laundry list of my domestic accomplishments that day and told her that it would help if she showed a little more gratitude. I’m pretty sure she would have drop-kicked me right then if she weren’t so sick, but instead, she just said we needed to stop talking.

By the time I finally put the girls in bed and looked into my disappointed wife’s eyes, it was too late – I had taken a hard day and made it horrible. It couldn’t be undone. All I could do was offer a belated apology, which my wife accepted before falling asleep, exhausted.

The next day, I knew that my apology would be meaningless if I did a repeat performance, so I decided that I would do everything in my power to serve my family joyfully. It went really well for about an hour, but then the girls started fighting over a frizzy-haired Barbie while I was trying to make oatmeal. I felt like going over, pulling the Barbie away, and giving some loud, mean-daddy speech about sharing.

My soul actually quieted down, and I corrected the girls peacefully. But it wasn’t long before another toddler drama snowballed into a mini-crisis, and I found myself gnawing on the inside of my cheek and wishing my wife would do something (after all, she said she was feeling better).

Holy Spirit, I can’t do this without You, I prayed, and the frustration was replaced with peace – for the moment. This was what it was like all day – back and forth. I would get all freaked out and needy, and the Holy Spirit would shoot me with a spiritual tranquilizer dart. And when it was all said and done, I came to this humbling conclusion: when the rubber meets the road, I’m incapable of following Jesus without supernatural intervention.

On my best days, I still realize that.

4 Comments
  1. and now you see why a stay at home mom is a prayerful mom ;)THANK YOU for sharing this vulnerable and embarrassing truth about men. ha

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    September 24, 2013
  2. For real – all I could think after that weekend was, "Good gracious, my wife basically does that EVERY DAY."

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    September 24, 2013
  3. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. Don't be too hard on yourself. You make mistakes, brush yourself off, and move on in the peace that passes all understanding. I am going through that every day.

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    September 25, 2013
  4. The role of teaching brings to mind similar humbling scenarios. Being around immature human beings can either make us or break us.

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    September 29, 2013

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