How Can Christian Dads Manage Their Households Well?

by Kristopher Schaal

Dad giving his kids a high five

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

“Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well..” (1 Timothy 3:12)

Management—depending on your personality, that might be either an exciting or dirty word for you. Some men love being in management at work, while others hate it. Some men may even turn down a raise to avoid being made managers.

Well, if you’re a dad, then I’ve got news for you: you’re in management! Like it or not, God has called you to be a manager in your home.

According to 1 Timothy 3, in order to qualify for pastor or deacon, a man must be good at managing his household. Since all Christian men should aspire to qualify for the office of deacon (even if they never end up serving in that position), we should all seek to excel in household management! But how do we do that, and what does that even mean?

One common objection to this concept might be, “The home is my wife’s domain.” That’s both true and false. Certainly, God has called moms to be “keepers at home” (Titus 2:5). There are many aspects of household management that your wife is better equipped to handle than you are—and that’s a good thing! Decorating, cooking meals, taking care of young children—these are all areas where a Christian wife will typically take the lead.

Paul even goes so far as to instruct young widows to marry, have children, and “manage” their houses (1 Timothy 5:14). So household management is a shared responsibility between husbands and wives. However, according to Ephesians 5:23, the husband is the head of the house, and this role involves management, as we have already seen.

So how can dads learn to manage their households? Here are six very practical ways to grow in this area.

1. Love your wife and provide for her needs (Eph 5:25–33).

The first command Paul gives to husbands after telling them they are the “head” in Ephesians 5:23 is to love their wives! This involves providing for your wife’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

For instance, does she need an hour to sit on the couch and talk a few times a week? Then make sure that she gets it! Does she need time away from the kids to read her Bible, exercise, or just get out of the house every once in a while? Help her to schedule those things and make sure that you are available to help make it happen.

Any management guru would tell you taking care of your people is essential to good management. As a husband, your wife is your “person.” Prioritize caring for her, and you will excel.

2. Love, teach, and discipline your children.

In 1 Timothy 3, when Paul explains what he means by “rules his house well,” he immediately turns to the raising of children. This makes sense, since the most important part of any household are the people who live there! In other words, household management is not just about fixing the car or managing the budget. Even more importantly, it is about discipling your children.

Of course, that’s what Growing Fathers is all about. For more information on how to be a good parent, read through posts on Parenting here. But to summarize, being a good dad means loving your children, teaching them the gospel/how to live a life that pleases God, and disciplining them when they sin.

3. Engage in wise financial planning.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

One of the most catastrophic ways for a dad to fail his family is not to provide for them financially. This could happen in several ways.

  • He does not hold down a job that provides sufficient income.
  • He fails to budget and gets into credit card debt.
  • He does not have life insurance or fails to save for retirement.
  • He makes risky investments in hopes of getting rich quick.

Any one of these things could sink a family. And yet many dads are lazy, selfish, or unrealistic enough to fall into these traps. Don’t let it happen to you or your family!

4. Use a shared calendar.

There are two reasons why this one is important. First, the calendar is important because it sets your family’s priorities. There’s an adage that if you want to control an organization’s priorities, take over its budget and calendar. The fact is that none of us has time to do it all. So managing what gets on the calendar is very important.

Second, a shared calendar will help you and your wife stay on the same page. Communication is vital to management. If the various players don’t know what each other is doing, they won’t be able to work together effectively. The same is true in your household. If your wife doesn’t know about that work party next Saturday or you don’t know about your wife’s doctor’s appointment, it is going to cause conflict.

The best way to manage a shared calendar is to use an app like iCal or Google Calendar that allows you to merge several calendars and sync them in real time. Every time I add an appointment at work, it syncs to my wife’s phone. Of course, she can uncheck that calendar if her view is too cluttered, but that way she has all of the info she needs at her fingertips.

5. Fix stuff that breaks.

Over the past year, I have come to realize that part of being a good dad is learning to enjoy fixing stuff. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish our house and cars were brand new and that I could afford to call the repairman every time there was an issue with the dishwasher. But this is a pipe dream. Unless you’re Devin Booker or something, none of us lives in that reality.

What’s more, not staying on top of basic maintenance can really cost your family in the long run! For instance, ignoring that water dripping from underneath the bathroom sink could lead to a catastrophic repair. This is not to mention the hassle and annoyance it is for your family to live with things that don’t work right.

The good news is that with YouTube; your dad, father-in-law, or some other friend who knows how to fix stuff; and a good Home Depot, you too can learn to replace your bathroom faucet. Be kind to your family (and to yourself) and learn to enjoy fixing things.

6. Get rid of the clutter and keep things organized.

One of the things that can drown a household is clutter. One of my mentors told me once that the goal of organization is being able to locate anything you own in two minutes or less. Now that’s an ideal to shoot for! It sure would save me a lot of time if that were true of my life.

However, the reason that many of us can’t seem to stay organized is that we keep way too much stuff! For instance, we park our expensive cars in the driveway because our garages are full. Our junk drawers are perpetually getting stuck, and when you open the closet, it avalanches on you.

Our propensity to hoard is related to our sin nature, but it can have very bad consequences. Having too much stuff creates stress, eats up time, and distracts from the people in our lives. For more information on minimizing your home, check out this article on accepting God-given limitations.

7. Help develop systems to keep things running smoothly.

This one is vital. I’ve been reading up on systems lately, and it’s been rather fascinating. Did you know that every successful business runs on effective systems? Why? Because we are creatures of habit, and in order to make progress in a complex world, we must put certain behaviors on “autopilot.”

One example of a system that would really help your family is a chore chart. For more on that, check out my article and making a chore chart. Other examples of helpful family systems would be a bedtime routine for your kids or a morning routine for you.

What are the results of becoming a good household manager? First, according to 1 Timothy 3, you qualify for spiritual leadership in the church (a big deal!). However, more importantly, becoming a good household manager means that your family is happy and well-cared for. Isn’t that result worth the effort?

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