I love to play golf on Saturdays, but my wife usually complains when I do because she says I’m ignoring our kids (ages two, four, and seven). I feel I need this in order to relax from a hard week at work. What should we do?
Dennis: You may not like my answer, because I think your wife has a good point. A typical round of golf, including travel time and warm up, takes at least five hours, and that’s a major chunk of time on a weekend for a man with young children.
Chances are that your wife needs just as much time to relax on the weekend as you do. How often do you take care of the kids while your wife leaves for that amount of time?
I’m not saying to give up golf completely, but for this season in your life you need to make sacrifices for the sake of your family. That’s the type of servant-leadership Paul talked about in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
Jesus continually set aside His own desires to serve others. In the same way, husbands should surrender their own agendas—and their hobbies—to serve their wives and meet their needs.
Let me offer some suggestions. First, on a date night with your wife, talk about balancing your need for recreation with her need (and your children’s need) for you to plug in at home on the weekends. Make sure your wife has a chance to say what’s on her heart, and make sure you’re really listening.
With three young children at home, you may be in a season of life when you need to put your golf clubs away for a few years. Or, you may just need to scale back to playing once a month or so.
Every once in a while, take your seven-year-old with you on a golf outing. You may need to limit yourself to nine holes, but even a seven-year-old will enjoy riding in the golf cart and helping you spot the ball.
Finally, allow your wife the same opportunities for rest, relaxation, and recreation. Your wife has had a hard week working, too. Encourage her to take time away in the evenings or on a Saturday, while you take care of the children.
I believe one of the major reasons feminism has made such an impact in our culture is that, for too many years, husbands have abused their God-given role by eliminating the concept of servanthood from leadership. Even after decades of marriage, I am still learning the art of servant-leadership.
A servant-leader develops sensitivity to his wife’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. He serves his spouse by meeting vital needs within the family.