Dear Mike and Debi,
How can a wife “encourage” her husband to participate with family/children without being a nag? Things like having the husband help tuck the kids in at night without having to ask him over and over, or to take an interest in homeschooling? My 3 sisters-in-law have the same problem, and my mother-in-law says she was always frustrated with her husband when the kids were young. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, and I know he is committed to our marriage and loves the kids and the Lord very much. It is just frustrating how fast he loses interest in what is happening or needs to be done in the house and is ready to take a nap or do something fun instead of what seems needful.
You have two important clues. First, your husband is a good man and loves the Lord, and second, all the men of the family had the same “faults”. When you live a little longer, you will discover that ALL men share many of the same “faults”, and ALL women spend their time and emotional energy trying to correct those faults and are frustrated when he is man enough to stand firm against it. A splinter in a man’s eye is hard to get out when a beam is in your own eye. Love, joy, and peace will never come until you lay down your expectation for your husband and learn to cheerfully appreciate him as he is. God’s word is very clear in our position as women in that we are to honor, obey, reverence, and love our husbands. Being critical of him is the opposite of this.
As mothers we are to be the keeper of the home and the children. 1 Peter tells us that even lost men are won by the wife’s chaste conversation. Chaste conversation would include honoring, obeying, and reverencing, but does not include being disappointed, critical, or manipulative. You need to do a personal study of Proverbs 31, Esther, Ruth, and Sarah. The Word of God is effectual. It will work into you the amazing ability to see things from your husband’s point of view, which will cause you to be happy, fun-loving, and joyful. This will change your expectations of him, and it will cause him to have an interest in what pleases you. It’s called “the circle of love.” You please him, and he likes it – then he pleases you, and you love him – then you honor him, and he grows – then…
Children may suffer a lack in their education and personality when they don’t have more involvement from their father, but they will not be rebellious, disrespectful of authority, and dishonoring of their mother unless mother is bothered by her husband’s lack of participation. Given the father’s lack of interest, the kids may have an incomplete education, but don’t let your attitude leave them with an incomplete soul.