“…men who accept the challenge of good fathering report that they come away with increased marital fulfillment. Their effort comes back to them many times over in the admiration of their wives.”
~ Dr. Willard F. Harley, His Needs, Her Needs
While I lived as an American in London, I sat beside or across from my women friends and listened to their stories with intense interest. Some began in far-away places like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, or the Philippines. Some began very nearby. All of the stories ended there – or rather – paused there – in London, playing themselves out. Some of my friends are still struggling at present, but they all still dream of abundance for themselves and their children. Far too many have had sad experience with the men in their lives: with the fathers of their children. The worst of these men have abandoned their own families.
The disappearance or disengagement of biological fathers leaves wounds in the hearts of women and children that bleed for a long time afterward no matter what language you cry in. Whether the absent father is a distant memory or a fresh sorrow, he has killed something instead of giving life.
Our own baby is expecting her first baby this summer. Her father still enjoys lavishing time, attention, and his hard-earned money on her, just like he has ever since she was a tiny girl with ringlets. Though she used to make him bend over for a kiss and call him “Beastie”, the fairy-tale prince, it’s much easier for her to reach his cheek now.
And yesterday, I saw her take his big hand and rest it on her round belly. When Baby moved, Beastie chuckled, and Daughter said to him with love: “Thank you, Daddy. Thank you.”
Thank you honey, thank you. Do you really know what it means to me as a woman to have the father of my children committed to their well-being?
- Can a man appreciate the depth of devotion his wife feels when he gets down on the floor to tussle with the children?
- Does he comprehend her pride and relief when he sits a toddler on his lap; when he opens his wallet for new shoes, accompanies her to parent night, or makes certain the kitchen cupboards are full?
- Does he understand the security he creates when she is able to trust his discipline?
- Or her admiration when he steps in to mentor a grown son?
- Will he ever notice the joy in her face when he explains the moon and the stars to a grandchild?
Is it possible for a man to know that his wife is his forever IF forever, he will care for and protect not only her, but the people, big and small, that are an extension of her?
When we gave away our baby daughter in 2011, my man said he was looking forward to having me truly to himself for the first time, and I believed him. Even so, he cried during their father-daughter dance. In that moment I was assured more than ever (and loved him all the more for it) that as much as my man measures up to his many titles in life, the one he loves most is “Daddy”.
I can’t wait to see him hold our next baby.
A good father makes the best husband.