What does a good man, husband and father look like?
Does it look like this father who declares that he’ll do violence to his daughter’s boyfriend?
Is manhood about aggression? Is dominance the Christlike requirement for being a father and husband?
I think a better picture of manhood is this one of a father playing with his children:
My husband models manhood through his demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He is not domineering. He doesn’t expect or demand his way. In this manner, he teaches our son that to be a man doesn’t mean to act macho and dictatorial. It doesn’t mean that he can have his way — or that when there’s resistance, he can take it by force. Instead, he teaches that manhood (well, personhood, for that matter) means to be Christlike. It means to yield to the Spirit, to be a servant, and to love God and neighbor as you love yourself.
My husband fathers our daughter, not by being aggressive and protective, but empowering. He teaches her that she can grow up to be anything she aspires to be — anything that God calls her to be. He teaches her that she is strong and not weak, in the way that he believes in her. He believes in her ability to grow up to be someone who can make wise, intelligent decisions as she follows God with faith and obedience.
In our marriage, this model of manhood plays out in our marriage of mutuality. My husband and I talk and discuss, make compromises and come to agreement on decisions. We honor each other as fellow-image bearers whose ideas and opinions are equally valid and valuable. In the process, we teach our young children to do the same in the friendships that they develop with same and opposite genders and, eventually, with their future partners in life.
My husband is not perfect. He makes mistakes and is wrong sometimes, and we have our disagreements. But he is not too proud to admit his mistakes. And in this way, he exhibits one of the greatest marks of true manhood — humility.
It is out of who he is — a wonderfully flawed Christlike man who models the fruit of the Spirit — that we are able to have a loving marriage of mutuality, for love grows mutuality. And mutuality grows good marriages and good families.