It’s really quite astounding that most of our greatest roles in life don’t come with an instruction manual. You have to pass a test to get a driver’s license yet there’s no manual or test required to be a husband or a dad.
I’m not in favor of requiring legislation for such—but, man, it would sure be nice to have more of a leg-up than most of us guys get.
Granted, there are many books and other resources available to those wanting to get better in the important relationships of life. Yet, there are always situations that come up that can’t be found in any book or seminar.
One Question For Making Great Decisions
As a husband of almost 37 years now, I still get surprised at some new twist in our marriage relationship—something that requires a decision on my part. I’ve studied a lot. I’ve experienced a lot. But sometimes the decision-making feels as if I’m in totally new territory.
I recently heard Pastor Andy Stanley in a leadership conference describe a conversation he had with Pastor Bill Hybels. Andy asked Bill what he’s found helpful over the years in making tough decisions as a pastor. Bill answered, “I ask myself, ‘What would a great leader do?'”
How powerful is that?! You can obviously extrapolate this question into any important role.
- What would a great husband do?
- What would a great dad do?
- What would a great friend do?
Rather than mentally grasping for a technique or pat-answer locked away in our memory banks, this question focuses all of our learning and values and hopefully translates those into a great action.
And assuming we truly want to be great husbands, it motivates us to do the best thing, not necessarily the easiest or most convenient.
Doing The Right Thing
That afternoon when I got home from the conference, after briefly summarizing the day for Gail, she ran upstairs to change clothes before we had to leave again. I went to the kitchen and drank a glass of water. When I put my glass in the dishwasher, I noticed the rice cooker and its glass lid in the sink—obviously needing attention.
If you have a rice cooker, you know it’s really a convenient appliance. But the bowl needs scraped when done and the glass lid is a pain to clean. I don’t like to clean it—but neither does Gail and I knew it.
What was I going to do? I could easily keep moving, pretending I didn’t notice. But doggone Andy Stanley was in my head saying, “What would a great husband do?”
A tired husband might beg for a little relaxation. An excited husband waiting to tell his wife all about what he’d learned that day may put it off until asked later. But, a great husband would clean the rice cooker and lid— AND rinse out the sink, put any other dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the counter, and empty the trash.
So I did. Not because I had to. Not because Gail asked me to. Not because I thought it would avoid some chastisement. But because I aspire to being a great husband and it was the right thing to do.
A Better Husband—And A Grateful Wife
I didn’t even run upstairs to tell Gail what I just did for her (although I did think about it). But she did notice—right away. It was a great segue into what I’d learned that day.
“What would a great husband do in this situation?” I can’t get that question out of my head. And it’s helping me make better decisions every day.
Ladies, I’m sure you’ve already adapted this and are asking, “What would a great wife do?” I can’t improve on how Andy Stanley answered that as he concluded his presentation: “Use your imagination!”
Question: Husbands, what is one action you'd recommend to another as an action of a great husband? Share your answer in the comments below.