10 Practical Ways to Provide and Protect Emotionally
June 16th 2020
“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is the biggest load of you know what. God through His word created the heavens and the earth and our words and actions as men have the power to build or destroy ourselves and those around us. The words we speak and the words we believe about ourselves are tied very closely to the condition of our emotions. Countless men let their emotions control them, but God has given us a spirit of self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) such that we do not have to be slaves to sin.
You will notice in this, and the previous, article how I am continually referring to “your wife” and “your children”. And some of you are naturally responding with,”I don't have either yet, how am I supposed to apply any of this?” The answer is that becoming a husband and father is what most likely God has in store for you in the future. So you are in a perfect place to start growing into manhood by practicing prior. Every professional sports team practices prior to their next game and they use a “scout team” to recreate the other team. Your “scout team” will look a little different but is even more critical.
God has naturally placed us within families so start working out how to provide and protect emotionally with them. That sibling you have never been close to is a great place to start. Your current annoying roommate just might be God’s provision in your life to grow the patience necessary in the future.
Five Ways to Provide Emotionally
Believe the truth about what God says about you
As you read and memorize God’s scripture start to believe and thank Him for what He says about you. He has chosen you! He is proud of you! You are His son! Your identity is in Christ now, and Christ sits at the favored right hand of God. Let God’s word be more important than what anyone else says.
To provide healthy emotions for your family, you must be healthy emotionally yourself. Dr. Neil T. Anderson writes, “Understanding your identity in Christ is absolutely essential for your success at living a victorious Christian life!”
Continually bless your wife and children with your words of life
Proclaim in the hearing of your wife and children 2-4 things every single day that build them up! I am always looking for something kind, encouraging, or loving to say. When I look at my wife and like the way she’s done her hair, or admire a physical trait I tell her right then before the thought leaves my mind. When ever given the chance I brag on my children, I let them know I like how they handled a difficult situation. Life and death can come from my tongue so I choose life. I also try not to complain but to focus on one of the 30 thankful things from my list. Brag on your kids within and outside their hearing! They will love it.
Give quantity of time to enable quality time
Schedule your life so that you have at least 15 minutes a day 1-on-1 with your wife and each of your children. I’ll play catch with my son, music with my older daughter, a card game with my younger daughter, read a book with my wife aloud after the kids are in bed. The amount of time does matter, time is like money and where we spend it reveals what is in our hearts and what we value. Realize that they feel God’s love through you. Ask God to show you their true value and you will want to spend time with them instead of it just being a chore.
Learn how to listen “without fixing”
Take 5-15 minutes each day to listen to someone else. Many people are good at talking, but are you good at listening? Ask a coworker or roommate how their day was or how their family is doing. Engage in a conversation with someone random and try to gain their point of view.
“Without fixing” is very hard for us as men but women (most of the time) just want our listening ear and attentive heart. They desire our sympathy and hate being “fixed” unless they explicitly ask for it.
Develop strong relationships with Godly men
Find a Godly man who loves Jesus whom you respect and would like to learn from and ask him to mentor you. Ask if he will meet with you once a week for coffee, or breakfast. Ask him if he will hold you accountable to memorize God’s word, read the Bible, and pray. Next, find 2-3 other Godly men at your peer level and develop a band of brothers to help you grow in all these areas I have suggested. We are weak in isolation but so strong in community.
Five Ways to Protect emotionally
Be physically present in the home
Be in your house and yard with your family as much as you can. When I am at home my wife can relax her guard of the family. The world will pull us from the home but the consistency of a husband and father (secure in the respect of his Heavenly Father) is good soil. I am the Alpha in my home and because of that most other things fall into place. Additionally, you can probably never give out too much physical touch in the ways of hugs, kisses, wrestling, tag, etc!
Give your best at home (leave work at work)
Use your drive home from work to forgive and release all the hurts, nastiness, and sin of the world before you enter your home. My goal is to leave the junk of the world in the world and bring home only thankfulness and joy. When I walk through the doors I am there to give my wife and the kids my best (even if I feel chewed up and spit out). Honestly, this area where I am still pretty weak. Too many times I come home complaining and that does not protect my family.
Guard the eyes, hearts and minds of you and your family
I am constantly alert for anything, or sometimes anyone, that might cause harm to myself and my family. I fast forward or switch channels if something is inappropriate on our TV and I try to limit the amount of time it is on period. I limit the amount of time my kids are on screens. I am careful about who I let my children hang around with for large amounts of time. And then I go on the offensive, I bless my wife and kids in the presence of each other. I give them hugs, kisses, wrestling matches. Because the best defense is a great offense. I go out and play with my wife and kids. I try to bring laughter into our home. And while these all seem more emotionally focused they are achieving spiritual results and protection as well.
Listen (know how/when to comfort and when to challenge)
Hearts are very fragile. And it is important to be in tune with the emotional state of everyone in your home. In order to listen you have to put aside the distractions and work to hear and understand their emotions and heart. That work phone call or yard project can wait, they need your big heart to wrap your arms around them and help them feel secure when your kid’s best friend hurts them emotionally. Band-Aids, ice cream, and a listening ear are all prescriptions for hurts.
However, a man also needs to, at times, challenge his wife and children. Usually our example is the best means to do this. However, there are times when they need your strength to push them past their own comfort levels and fears so they can grow. And you need the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom to know when to comfort and when to challenge. Too much challenge can harm relationships.
Initiate reconciliation (be the first to ask for forgiveness)
If you are wrong, own up to it as soon as possible. If there is a rift between both parents the kids are sadly opened up to all sorts of fears and this stunts their emotional growth. Similarly, as men we are our children’s first glimpse at their Heavenly Father. We can either point them to Him or drive them from Him. So humble yourself and ask your children for forgiveness and restore that relationship when you have wronged them.