Husband and Dad Playbook

Written by on July 31, 2019

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and was raised by Diane and Randy Wood, whose never-ending love and support had a major effect on me. There are many things I have learned from my parents that I now implement in how I interact with my family today. 

I am also blessed to be surrounded by a number of men in my life who have taught me some incredible lessons as well in regard to marriage and child-rearing. In an era where the divorce rate is over 50% and children are becoming more and more entitled, I have tried to become like a sponge – acquiring as much knowledge as I can on how to ensure I’m making a positive impact on the home front first and foremost.

Here are some of my top lessons:

  • Weekly grade with your spouse
    • Once a week I will ask my wife, Leslie, to give me a grade on how I was the previous week as a husband and father and provide a couple reasons why. I set a reminder on my phone so that I never miss a week. My response to Leslie is simply “thanks or “got it, I love you”. This is not a time for you to justify your actions or ask questions. It is purely a time for you to understand where you stand with your spouse on a weekly basis so there won’t be any lingering issues or surprises later down the line. 
    • I’ve also found that men tend to enjoy grades and performance sheets, so this is an easy way to make a fun competition out of being a great husband and father. This weekly grading practice has been a great motivation for me, and I’m very thankful I got this advice from James McPartland, an executive coach I work with.
  • Weekly date night with your spouse
    • Getting stuck in a routine of working, driving kids around or entertaining them before bed, and then watching a tv show with your spouse before the two of you fall asleep can become mundane. Try to set aside one night a week where you and your wife or husband go out on a date and connect. All financial situations are different, so this doesn’t need to be an extravagant dinner outing each week. The key is the two of you connecting and being able to break out of the daily routine.
    • Also, some great advice I got from Dave Stone, former head pastor at Southeast Christian Church and close friend of mine, is to build up this date night to your kids. All day I will try to build up to my daughter how lucky I am to get to go out on a date with her mother. I’ll talk about how pretty she is going to look, and we’ll both have fun guessing what she might wear. This lets our kids know how much I love and care for their mother, and that’s the greatest way that you can give your children peace. 
  • Encouraging your children to serve others
    • One of my greatest fears is raising entitled children due to the fact that they will grow up in a very different economic situation than Leslie and I grew up in. One thing I have tried to do and will continue to do in order to combat this, is to encourage my children to serve others. We have had our children give money to the homeless, serve at church passing out coffee, help uplift other kids at an oncology summer camp, participate in a Christmas shopping spree for children with severe illnesses, and serve at Louisville, Kentucky’s Love City – a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals in this extremely impoverished area. I am very fortunate to have had great men in my life model this for me with their own children.
  • 20 minutes/day of bonding time with your kids
    • During a phone conversation I had with a brain specialist I work with, Dr. Amen, he asked me how my mood had been. I shared with him that I had been trying to be intentional about being patient with our kids. I explained that sometimes I felt like they were deliberately testing me, especially our daughter Grace who was three years old at the time. Little did I know that Dr. Amen is also a child psychologist and would be able to provide me with a helpful tip.
    • He recommended that once a day I do something with just our daughter for 20 minutes and let her pick out the activity. During this time, just let her do the talking and don’t try to use this as teaching time. Dr. Amen was insistent that this practice would make her feel more bonded to me and the testing would be reduced. He was correct, and I have enjoyed this time with Grace immensely since implementing. 

I encourage you to try out these practices for yourself and let me know how you like them. I also would love to hear from you on any advice that you have found useful for you in your relationships with your spouse and kids! Remember, “happy wife, happy life”!



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