Man of the House

By Teresa Tierney © 2012

What does it mean to be Man of the House?

Is it handling the traditional husbandly duties of mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow and repairing a structure? For years, my husband, Dan, did all of these. But if it is the doing of these tasks that makes you Man of the House, wouldn’t that make the hired hand, the Man of the House?

Is it the earning of the money then, that makes you the Man of the House? For a lot of men, this is the ultimate definition. Right now God is taking my husband down a new path. He is on Workers Comp and receives a weekly check for being in school. Even though his family is provided for, I know he struggles with not having a job. Does not having a job make him any less the Man of the House?

Traditional roles may be absent, whether from unemployment, retirement or disability, but the role of Man of the House is much more than the above simplistic, caveman abilities. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) and has an army more powerful than any man. God knows the heart of a man (2 Chronicles 6:30), and it is the heart God wants. Not his back, not his checkbook. It is a heart focused on God that guides a man to make godly choices.

Financial Choices:
A man who listens to God taps into supernatural wisdom. Because of this, our household financial decisions are balanced rather than being heavily influenced by emotion (mine). My current desire for a new home is based on emotion – fear that possible back surgeries will make stairs a problem in the future. Dan’s wisdom balances my fear by pointing out the issue has yet to arise. He is much quicker to rely on God’s provision and remind me that God will provide when the time is right.

Parental Choices:
Even as adults, children need a father to set boundaries. I want to give my kids whatever I have. My focus is emotional – I want them to be happy. It takes wisdom to set healthy boundaries. Because of Dan, we will have money to retire on. That doesn’t make him less generous. It makes him wise. God did not provide for us so that we can provide for our adult children. Once they are grown, God is their provider. If we get in the way and try to do His job, we just mess it up – for ourselves and for our kids. Our kids learn to rely on us instead of God. My husband gets it. He points me to God. His fatherly and husbandly wiring is much closer to the heart of our Father God. Not that there aren’t times when God has provided for the parent so he can bless the adult child – but God’s leading needs to be clear in that circumstance.

Responsibility Choices:
The Man of the House does not dodge responsibility, nor claim privilege because of anatomy. There are duties and tasks that are necessary in every household. Whether it is washing dishes, doing laundry or taking out the trash, my husband has never claimed a task was “woman’s work” nor done it so poorly he was released from responsibility.

In the structure of a house, you have load-bearing walls and decorative walls. The Man of the House needs to carry his share of the load, not give the mere appearance of support. Without load-bearing walls, a house will collapse into a useless pile of lumber, glass and doorknobs. So it is with a home. If the Man of the House is not one of the load-bearing walls, the family will suffer.

Choice of Presence:
The Man of the House is present. He is a man who stands his ground. Into every life trials will come: a job loss, a parent with dementia, a child with special needs. What do we say about a man who runs away from these difficult situations? We say he has abandoned his responsibilities. When our son was recently hospitalized for 13 long days, Daniel did not run. He did not say, you can’t ask me to do that. No. He went to the hospital every single day and sat for hours at our son’s bedside. Was it convenient? No. Did he have other things he needed to do? Yes. But we needed him, and he was there. He was exhausted, but he did what God designed him to do as Man of the House. He was present.

All of these choices show the heart of a man. The stuff he is made of. None of them involve heavy lifting or earning a paycheck. They are choices that earn the respect of family and friends. Even our worldly, mass media culture respects a man of these choices. It is by a man’s choices that he truly becomes the Man of the House God designed him to be.

Dan knows in his head there is more to being Man of the House than the traditional providing and maintaining. He still struggles with being unemployed, but in his heart, he knows his godly choices have the higher value. By God’s grace he is walking through this jobless interim while he studies to learn a new vocation.

While we wait on the Lord to provide a job when the time is right, I thank God for my Man of the House. Like David (Acts 13:22), he is a man who makes choices that echo God’s own heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teresa Tierney is a freelance writer, wife, mother of two, grandmother of three.  She blogs at You may contact her at

1 comment: