Here is part two of the MOPS Husband Panel. If you missed part one, you can read it here

I just want to say how thankful I am to these guys for opening up their marriages and being honest about their ups and downs. I hope this opens up some good conversation for you. If you are interested in answering any of these questions from a wife’s perspective, please comment below! 

5. What are your views on the fathers and mothers role in disciplining children? How can the women here work with their husbands so they (the women) do not feel like the “bad guy”?
Kevin: It takes both parents, on the same page, to raise and discipline children. For all the ways my wife and I do fail, we do this pretty well. It starts with a general attitude that neither of us wants to undermine the other parent. If I am not around, my wife will send me texts or emails if a situation has arised where we need to be on the same page. When I get home, I know what she has said to the kids and I can reaffirm it. I do the same for her. When some parents get tired of disciplining they let things slide. Not us; we go the opposite direction. A big part of working together on discipline for us then is helping the other parent before they go overboard. My wife can tell when I am getting tired, and coming across too “heavy handed” on the kids. She graciously steps in and takes over in those moments and tells me to chill. I do the same for her. In those “heavy handed” moments we are glad to get out of there and let the other take over. At the end of the day we love our kids and want to see them grow and thrive.     
Joel: Moms and Dads must be on the same page when it comes to disciplining your children. If we aren’t, our kids will use it against us! Rhonda and I feel that parenting is partnership, and try to practice it as best as we can. Also, we have determined in that rare case when we disagree never to work it out (disagree-argue-fight) in front of the kids. It is always better to wait until after the kids have been put in bed to resolve a disciple or parenting issue. We never disparage or undermine each other to our kids.  We try to encourage respect and love for each other through our united front.

Gordon: Mom and Dad must be on the same page. Set family expectations and discipline protocol early and be consistent. This may change over time as kids get older, and what you do for discipline may change from one child to another. But how you handle it must be fair and consistent and viewed that way by the kids. Use extreme caution as the kids get older to make sure they don’t play mom against dad. This can lead to unwanted tension between parents. Most kids will manipulate every chance they get. Parents must be of one mind on this issue and must be in constant communication. Mom may need to be the “enforcer” but dad must stand behind and support her in that role and vice versa. Support each other. Don’t challenge or contest each other in the presence of the children.  
6. Women often have a bad reputation for “nagging” — how can we change the context of our discussion when asking to not sound like nagging to our husbands?
Kevin: I don’t know. Here’s a few musings…It’s not pretty, but the reason you might have to nag about something is, honestly, because your husband does not feel like doing it or he doesn’t know how. For him to say that directly would cause a conflict which he would rather avoid. Pay attention over the course of several years to the types of things that you may be about nagging about as a wife. My guess is that you will see a pattern. Once you get a good idea about the types of situations where nagging happens, you can find a different approach, or decide it isn’t that big of a deal. Also, many men grew up in homes where their mother would “nag” them about things and they have grown really tired of it. Your husband may feel like it’s the very same thing he has heard since he was a little kid. This doesn’t necessarily solve the problem for you, but at least it gives you a little insight into what may actually be happening in you husband’s head. Also, I was surprised at how loaded the word “nag” is to a woman. I didn’t realize it had such heavy connotations. All that to say, it might feel worse to you than it is actually coming across to your husband.    

Joel: Sometimes “nagging” is about the little pet peeves that we all have, I think deeper than that, it’s about expectations. We all live with expectations that we set for our spouse, but if they are not clearly communicated, then our spouse cannot be truly expected to know them, let alone meet or succeed at them. Open, honest, clear communication outside of the heat of the moment will help the context of these situations.  Consider “Why?” you feel like you need to “nag” your husband, and help him understand how you feel when you “nag”.  Then, be willing to compromise on your expectation, so that it becomes more realistic and achievable.

Gordon: It’s not always what we say, but how we say it, that is the problem. It is the tone we use that usually leads to communication problems. Timing is also important. Don’t ignore the issue, but pick a good time to bring it up. Try prefacing the important message with a statement that gives an expectation about what you need from your husband in what you are about to say. Say something like – “I need you to hear me out on this…” or “I really need your input, will you listen…” or “I need to you be calm…” That might draw his attention to the matter more quickly and may minimize the initial defensive response.  
7.  How have you worked on being a spiritual leader for your wife and family?
Joel: Being the spiritual leader in my home is by far the hardest place to lead spiritually. My wife and my children know me the best – the good and the ugly. I feel the weight of my own inadequacies at home and yet I understand that my spiritual role as Man, Husband and Father is what God has prepared for me. Rhonda and I began reading Bible stories to our children actually before they were born. There is no greater story than the Story of God. Ultimately, we want our children to know who God is, how God works on behalf of His people, and grow in love with him. As they grow to know and love God, then we want them to learn to hear and follow the His voice in obedience. But we can only give to our children what we have for ourselves. So as a spiritual leader and parent, I must be actively pursuing a loving obedient relationship with God through Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His Grace and Forgiveness when I fail!

Gordon: It is not always easy. Start early to develop expectations and patterns of reading, prayer and discussion. This is a personal discipline as well as a shared discipline in the couple and with the kids. Set expectations and work hard to maintain them. Encourage each other, especially the man, when he does it right. Build him up. Don’t give up…and if you need to start someplace don’t expect the world…expect and value even baby steps that he takes with you and your kids. There are many resources available for couples prayer and devotions and family activities. Use the resources. Talk to others who have gone down this path before you…learn from them.

Kevin: This is a humbling question. Biblical leadership is defined as servanthood. This is especially true of spiritual leadership in the home. Ephesians 5:25-30 sums it up best:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.”

This is humbling. But this is what it means to be a husband and spiritual leader of the family.There is a lot there, but the whole idea is that I am supposed to sacrifice my life for the good of my wife in the same way Jesus gave his life for me. That’s the vision of spiritual leadership I am called to in my home. How have I worked on it? Here are a few primary ways:

1. I make sure Jesus is dear to me and the gospel matters above all else. I can’t lead anyone toward anything or anyone that I have not been captivated by. I think I learned this from my dad and it’s had a huge impact on me. We prayed at meal times and went to church but my dad didn’t lead us in devotions every night or anything–but there was no question that Jesus mattered to my dad. His bible was worn out from constant reading and it wasn’t unusual for him to get emotional when our extended family would get together for holidays and he would read portions of scripture to the whole family. He was emotional because he understood God’s undeserved grace given to him in Christ. I think this is where spiritual leadership in the home is derived from, so I try to do whatever I can to understand and believe that myself, and share that with my family as best I can.

2.  I pray for my family. Not a day goes by where I don’t pray for them. I have such a burden to see them grow and do well, but at the same time I feel so limited in my ability to do this very thing so I pray. There are lots of helpful books and tools that can help you lead your family that are worth reading but, only God can satisfy them and open their eyes to the good things he has planned for them. I can talk about Jesus to my family but only God can make himself known to each of them. So I pray and ask God to do this.

3. I love my wife and do whatever it takes for our love to grow. My wife is more important than my career, more important than whatever hopes and dreams I may have had before God brought her into my life. I have had to give up opportunities because they weren’t necessarily good for our family. I have gone through counseling for personal issues that got in the way of our marriage and it’s been worth it every time.

4. We read the bible, tell bible stories, and talk about Jesus. We don’t have a systematic way of doing it in my home but we do it often. During the Christmas Advent season, we read scripture every night and light candles – I have 3 sons so as long as a little fire is involved they are excited. My wife reads books to them during the day and I do the same before bed. Again, there is no formula to this, just trying things and doing what we can. We talk about what they learned at church (or at least try to), we take advantage of opportunities as situations in life arise (or at least try to), and most the time I wonder if they hear anything at all.

5. I seek to be a model of repentance. The point of being a spiritual leader isn’t perfection. It’s recognizing my sin, how it affects everyone, acknowledging it and looking to Christ for forgiveness and apologizing to the family member(s) I have offended or sinned against. I have gone through counseling for anger issues so I have had plenty of opportunities to do this.   

6. I take responsibility for my marriage and family. Every problem that arises in my family may not necessarily be my fault, but it is always my responsibility to make decisions and deal with it as best I know how. My wife is always an integral part of it but I am the one responsible for the decisions we make in all areas of our family. Passivity is not an option
8. How do you keep sex in your marriage? Conversely, some women feel that all men want is sex.  For these women, how should they approach their husband with their feelings in a way that will be taken seriously?
Kevin: This seems to be 2 different questions here. One is about having more sex; the other is about helping the wife deal with a sexual beast of a husband. My wife would probably identify more with the sexual beast husband, but there are plenty of marriages where the woman has a stronger sexual drive than the man and vice versa.  
8A. How do we keep sex in our marriage? 
Kevin: We keep having sex.
8B. Some women feel that all men want is sex.  For these women, how should they approach their husband with their feelings in a way that will be taken seriously?
Kevin: It has become my new mission in life to dispel the myth that all men want is sex. It may be true that many men want to have sex often. I am certainly one of those men. Even though sex feels great, it is as deeply connected to his emotions, confidence, security, manhood, even his spirituality as it is for a woman but in different ways.
If I ask my wife to have sex with me and she rolls her eyes and turns her back in rejection mumbling, “Is all you want sex?” I think the rejection, itself, is worse than the lack of sex. My wife may have no idea that it feels like she just told me that she doesn’t love me, care about me, appreciate me, or think I am good husband, father, or lover. No guy is going to say to his wife, “I am asking you to have sex with me and how you respond will determine how I feel about my worth and value as a man.” That would sound weak and manipulative, but that is what is actually happening. Sex for men is not only just about sex – his emotions and feelings are deeply tied to it just like a woman. 
Why is this helpful for women to know? If the wife wants her husband to take her feelings seriously, she needs to know that sex isn’t just about sex for the husband. When she doesn’t take his sexual attempts seriously, it is hard for him to take her emotional needs seriously because in his mind, sexual rejection is in part emotional rejection. 
OK – does that mean the wife should respond favorably to every sexual advance of her husband?  For all the guys out there I’d like to say YES to that question, but that wouldn’t be helpful either. No, the woman doesn’t have to say YES all the time. But it’s important for a wife to realize what she is saying and that there may be a way of saying NO that can help her get the type of attention she needs while appreciating and loving her husband. 
Here are 2 example conversations:

Husband:Could we have sex tonight? We have both been busy the past few days.  Let’s get the kids to bed and have sex!
Wife:I want to sex with you. Can we spend some time talking for a little bit and could you give me a back rub? That would really help me.
Husband:Your wish is my command. 
Husband:Could we have sex tonight? We have both been busy the past few days.  Let’s get the kids to bed and have sex!
Wife:I want to sex with you. I am so exhausted and don’t feel very good. Can we have sex tomorrow night, after you bring me flowers (or connect with me in whatever way is important) and given me some time to get ready? 
Husband:I’d rather have sex now but I can get you some flowers and wait until tomorrow.
* Guarantee your husband will be thinking about getting you flowers and having sex with you until it happens! You are telling him what you need and appreciating emotional aspects of sex for him 

Joel: Ah … yes … Sex.  Sex is good for our marriage! The easy answer is … YES!  Men think about it and want it all the time! With each pregnancy that Rhonda and I were blessed to have, I realized that something would dramatically happen to our sex life. For us there was an 18 month “darkness” of sorts, and in the middle of it, I would feel like I was getting lost. There is something deeper about sex for men than just “having sex.” It is how we give and receive love and intimacy. There was a time when I needed to go back further than sex to reconnect with my wife. I knew that she wasn’t feeling good, her body was changing, her emotions and hormones were manic, she was beyond tired, and frankly, she was consumed by the children that God was giving us. So I asked her one day if she would just flirt with me. Why? I needed her to acknowledge me. I needed a glimpse of what we used to be and what was yet to come. I needed her to tell me or better yet show me that these children were not replacing me as the object of love, attention and affection… because it kind-a felt like these babies was playing all over my playground. (There was also another day … when we had to talk about when the maternity underwear was going away.) Just keep in mind that your husband has a deeper connection with you as his wife than he does with you as the mother of his children. 
Gordon: Wow…I’ll let the other guys talk about this. Let me just mention a few things that may help spark intimacy, especially a little later in marriage. If you can find time to get away from the routine of everyday life…The two of you getting away even for one night can rekindle desire for intimacy that just can’t happen when kids, chores, regular routines are present. Being on the same schedule of going to bed and getting up can help with meaningful intimacy. Honor the marriage bed…that starts by honoring the relationship outside the bed too. Value, appreciate and love each other. Little acts of kindness go a long way to being on the same page when it comes to fulfillment of sexual desires.

Please Give A Virtual Round of Applause to our Panel.
And I’d love to know your responses–good, bad,and ugly…comment below!  

If you want to be on a Wife Panel, let me know in the comment section below. 
(Don’t worry, this would just mean answering these questions from a woman’s perspective, 
you wouldn’t actually have to go anywhere) 

In the meantime, I’m praying for you in marriage, singleness, or wherever God has you. 
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