When my wife and I first considered homeschooling it was a completely foreign concept to me and without completely understanding its value, I was initially against it. Yet, the curiosity didn’t go away and after considerable prayer we took the plunge in to the mysterious world of homeschooling.
From the beginning, I was completely taken by surprise in that it was nothing I had presumed it to be. For example, the homeschooling mothers we were in contact with were highly professional, and I was impressed with how many social activities the kids had. In addition, the curriculum was intense and far exceeded the expectations of the current grade levels and the student to teacher ratio being so intimate provided some students with a huge advantage academically.
However, we soon realized all the positives also came with some challenges. Homeschooling has proven to be extremely arduous at times and can take its toll on the teacher. So, it shouldn’t be surprising when we encounter the occasional bad day. However, it has been during these trying times when some of our greatest lessons have been learned – the key is continuing to apply them daily.
As a husband and father, I believe the Bible teaches that my responsibilities are to provide, protect, pastor and prepare those in my home as a man under the authority of God. The question is how do I successfully accomplish these tasks when my wife is completely drained by her day, I’m completely drained by my day and the kids are completely drained by their day, and we’re all slightly, or greatly edgy. Not easy for anyone, I know, and I fail often, but I wanted to share a few insights that may encourage those husbands, like me, reconcile the challenges of any working mom through a process I call, P.R.A.I.S.E. (Proverbs 31:28).
Pray. Nothing we can do is more powerful than praying for our wives in all they have been called to do and frankly, for ourselves in being the type of friend and husband they need (James 5:16). By nurturing and honoring our wives in this way, we also help ensure our prayers remain unhindered to the further benefit of all in the home (1Peter 3:7).
Raise the kids. For husbands called into a committed covenant with Christ, we are the ones commanded to raise our children, not the wives. Don’t misunderstand, they absolutely help, and children are to obey their parents, but where there is a husband, we are accountable to God for raising our children (Ephesians 6:4). When we do this and see our roles in this way, our wives are comforted in knowing they can depend on us in this area, which helps ease their burden.
Appreciate them. This one seems obvious, but how do we show our appreciation? Is it just through words, or do we help out with cleaning, laundry and/or cooking? Do we provide them time to get away either alone, or with friends? There are many ways we can serve and express our appreciation for all they do (1 John 3:18).
Ignore insults. Let’s not wear our emotions on our shoulder (Proverbs 29:11). Our wives will get tired and grumpy, just like we do, and they may occasionally lash out, but what’s our response? Do we feel the need to lash back, or are we confident enough, loving enough and Godly enough to simply ignore the potential insult, seek reconciliation and bury our pride?
Sacrifice self. This is in a lot of ways. Sometimes our wives just want to talk and our job is to listen, not reply. So, we must, for the moment, sacrifice our need to talk and to offer solutions – just listen. Also, how are we sacrificing our time, talents and treasures for the benefit of others, or do we mostly indulge ourselves? Sacrificing our needs and wants for theirs is never easy, but well worth the price (John 15:13).
Encourage. Let’s strive to be our wives greatest cheerleader (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Let them know we believe in them, especially when they begin to doubt themselves. Let’s encourage them through our prayer, our appreciation, our sacrifice and our confident and consistent support. They need us, and we need them (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
In closing, as men of faith, we can be confident in knowing God is there to help us and strengthen us so that we stay in the race, finish well and glorify Him through our life and our family (Philippians 4:13). As husbands, where can we begin doing the same for our wives today?