3 Simple — But Powerful — Things to Say this Father's Day
Stepdads and Bio-Dads in a stepfamily are some of the least encouraged and under-resourced leaders in our society.
These men shoulder some of the most challenging responsibilities in caring for their family. They work to provide for everyone's needs in their own home. Beyond that, many pay to provide for their children in their other home.
Stepdads are caught between wanting to love and support their step kids while holding back just enough so that they're not a threat to the kids bio-dad…often feeling like a third wheel.
Bio-dads are caught between wanting to make their kids happy and wanting to make their wife happy…often feeling stuck in the middle.
Many of these guys are BOTH a bio and stepdad — he and his wife had kids before they got together. They're moving back and forth between two 'dad roles' every day! They're just trying to keep up!
Regardless of the role the man of your house plays, this Father's Day it might be time to make sure they know how important they are to your family…
A little goes a long way
One of the top needs men have is the admiration of their wife. Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr. identifies this in his book His Needs. Her Needs.
Dr. Harley states, "Admiration not only motivates, it also rewards the husband's existing achievements. When she tells him that she appreciates him for what he has done, it gives him more satisfaction than he receives from his paycheck. A woman needs to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become, if he lived up to her standards."
How does a wife go about showing admiration?
The simplest way is through words of affirmation. Most men are energized by genuine affirmation.
Dr. Harley goes on to say, "While criticism causes men to become defensive, admiration [and affirmation] energizes and motivates them. A man expects — and needs — his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan. He draws confidence from her support and can usually achieve far more with her encouragement."
I'm a man who has this need and Kim has learned over the years that it's pretty simple to meet my need. A little really does go a long way!
3 Simple but Powerful Affirmations
Here's 3 affirmations Kim repeatedly speaks to me that matter most.
Men need to know that they are important to the family — as stepdad, dad and husband.
I recently found a note on my bedside table that said:
Honey — I respect you as an honorable, trustworthy man with high integrity. Love, Me
No…I didn't write that to myself! :-) It was a simple little note that Kim left to help me remember that I matter. She shared the traits that matter to her, our kids, my step-daughter and even the people in our community.
Whether we admit it or not, men need these reminders to keep them focused on what matters most.
What are the positive character traits you see in your husband? Father's Day might be a great day to tell him.
Us guys may put on the macho, tough guy persona. But the truth is we all need to know how that our wives are grateful for us and what they're grateful for.
On one occasion, I found this note taped to my computer monitor:
I'm thankful that You are my partner, my friend & my lover!
Talk about an affirmation! I'm generally a confident guy…but when my confidence tank is running dry, Kim's affirmation of what she's grateful for fills me back up.
I hear from plenty of husbands that are the strong, silent type — that inside they're really yearning to hear this kind of thing from their wives. (No…they'll never use the word yearning, but it's the best word to describe it.)
What are you grateful for about the man in your home? Don't keep it to yourself…and don't tell everyone BUT him.
We're in this together…
None of us want to "go it alone". That's why we got together in the first place!
Family life can be tough and stepfamily life even tougher. We all need to know that we're not alone…and we need to be reminded of it.
A different time, I found this note (you're probably seeing a pattern here):
Mike, If I had to do it over again, I'd still choose you to be my husband! I Love You, Kim
This little note reminded me that we're a team. I don't worry about Kim day dreaming about a different life than what we have together. (Although, she does have a bit of a celebrity crush on Owen Wilson!)
I didn't sign up for stepfamily life to feel like I'm all alone and Kim is learning how to show me that she's my committed partner through thick and thin.
When was the last time you told him that you've only got eyes for him? This might be the perfect time to do just that.
Keep it Genuine and Simple
You probably noticed that all of my examples were of simple little notes that I've found in various places. That's just Kim's way of meeting my need for affirmation.
She recently told me that she keeps a running journal of these kinds of affirmations. When she knows I need encouragement or realizes she hasn't affirmed me for a while, she'll use that to write me one of these little notes. It works for her…and for me!
What will work for you? Maybe you'll share your affirmations over a glass of wine or a coffee. Maybe you'll make a toast to him at a family gathering. Or, like Kim, maybe you'll find little ways to leave notes for him to find every so often.
It really doesn't matter how you speak these things to him…the point is just to speak them simply and genuinely.
Tomorrow is Father's Day, 2019 and it's a perfect time to let him know that he matters, that you're grateful and you're in life together.
But don't stop there…he needs your affirmation more than just once a year!
QUESTION: What do you want to affirm in your man this Father's Day? Leave a comment below…