By Richard Innes
Paul the Apostle wrote, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."1
Ron Farmer of the University of New South Wales (Australia) Psychology Department said, "Any man seeking too strenuously for recognition in his early adult life was likely to find that neglect of his family unit during that time would lead to an alienation from his wife and children at the time he most needed their affection and understanding."
As fathers we know we are to provide for our families, but this provision goes far beyond just meeting physical needs. We are to model Christian fatherhood and provide for our families' spiritual needs. Equally important is to be present for our family and meet their emotional needs, the absence of which is a major cause of family breakdown.
As fathers we need to be emotionally present and connected to our wives and children. However, if we're not connected to our own emotions and inner self, we cannot be emotionally connected to or intimate with our families or anyone else.
Listening beyond words to what our loved ones are saying and feeling, and accepting, caring, spending quality time with them is all a vital part of providing for our family's needs. Being present emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically, is critical.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be connected to my own 'inner self' so I can be fully connected to you and my loved ones. Help me to change so my loved ones will never say that I was distant or emotionally uninvolved with them. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)