What does it mean for a husband to lead his family?

What dies it mean for a husband to lead his family? I’m looking for a wide array of answers.
For example, if there is a disagreement between the husband and wife, does the husband have “the right” to make the final decision - provided he has listened, thoughtfully and prayerfully considered his wife’s position, got counseling if necessary, etc?
What kind of example should he provide? Is he the main provider in the home, or is that a cultural norm? What does he “do” with his kids? His job? You name it.
In your opinion, what does a serious Catholic husband “look like”? Hopefully this question brings forth a good discussion and much fruit.

Headship is not domination, it’s about responsibility. If a man is the head of his household, that means that he’s responsible for the wellbeing of that household. It’s his job to find ways to resolve conflicts and problems in the same way that Christ illustrated headship among his followers. No domination, just selfless leadership.

Peace and all Good!

I’ve been pondering these questions a lot recently myself. you also came up with a few I hadn’t thought of-excellent questions all round! I think that these questions are all especially relevant and important in todays world, with all its conflicting views on family life & the role of the parents, especially the father.

In my experience it isn’t something that’s been widely talked about in Catholic circles or in homilies & sermons, but I think this is changing slowly through the work of Sam Guzman, over at The Catholic Gentleman (catholicgentleman.net), Michael Voris (who interview Mr Guzman recently, and talks about the concept of Catholic Masculinity quite a bit in various contexts), Raylan Alleman (citadelcatholicmedia.com) and others

Being a Catholic husband and father as I understand it means always “laying down your life” for your family, always trying to conform as closely as possible to the example of Christ & St Joseph in putting your family’s needs first, being responsible for teaching your children about the Faith, particularly by praying with them & leading the way in terms of reception of the Sacraments (especially the Mass and the Sacrament of Penance so that they can see you can admit to your failings & that the Faith should be taken seriously). He should, by the Grace of God, try to mirror and live the Catholic Faith in every aspect of his life & make a point of always trying to explain the Faith to his children, especially in the face of any attacks against it they may encounter in their daily lives.

Of course he should always make time to talk & listen to his family & do wholesome recreation with them. one of my favourite sayings is, “If the bow is stretched for too long, it becomes slack and unfit for its purpose.” --Saint Bruno

Call me old-fashioned but personally it is my belief that he should be the main provider, where possible but I’m not saying the wife shouldn’t also work if it’s necessary for the upkeep of the family. I’ve been reading a very interesting & helpful work by Rev Fr Michael Mūller CSSR, it’s volume 5 in his od the teacher of mankind, or, Popular Catholic theology, apologetical, dogmatical, moral, liturgical, pastoral, and ascetically series, Dignity, Authority and Duties of Parents, Ecclesiastical and Civil Powers, Their enemy (the whole series can, I believe be viewed online here:archive.org/details/godtheteacher05meuluoft)

God Bless

That about sums up what I was going to say.

My Grandparents have been married for 67 years and both are in their 90’s…My Grandma knows her place in the family and my Grandpa knows his position as the man of the house…after all this time, he still as not been promoted.

He acts all tough and everything, but he is well aware who the boss is…It is kind of funny to watch how they interact…My Grandpa is not a weak man, but he knows Grandma wont put up with anything.

Peace and All Good!

1 thing i forgot to mention is that it’s important for a Catholic husband/father to recognise that his fatherhood & any authority he has comes from God & is a reflection of the Divine Life, entrusted to him as a gift so it’s extra important for him to live humbly & recognise the power of this responsibility & his need for Divine assistance

The greatest of you says Jesus is not the one who is being served but the one who serves. We are all called to know what this means. Be that as it means it is the father and husband who can lead by example. We are called to be servants to one another. On paper it sounds great but in practice it doesn’t seem to work at least with many. It is a gold mine when a man does learn to be this servant. This does not mean he is passive. He has learned to love from those who brought him up and more important he learned it from his Lord. Most fathers have been given a trait which will make them the nurturers and mentors for their family. The mother and wife tends to be the disciplinarian for the family giving the “sermon on the mount” to the children when they are younger. The father’s role kicks in later when the children need someone for them to listen to them. This is the nurturer and mentor stage where fathers can excel at. In the first stage the child tends to be spoken to an then grows into the second stage where the child is listened to. That stage is when the fathers are required to give each child some of his time.

Peace & all Good to you Chimo!

Very well said! Being a servant is certainly easier said than done. I think you’re also right in making a distinction between service & passivity because I think that for modern men especially, there is often a misunderstanding that being a servant & a listener is the same as being passive. A good husband & father will always seek to learn from God & develop his gifts & God given trait for the device of his family & to help each member of his family grow in & develop their gifts, talents & traits which Our Lord has implanted as seeds in their souls & minds.

God Bless them. I wonder if their example lead to their children’s success in their marriage.

My grandparents have been married 68 years. Grandma is 89 and Grandpa is 92. As they’ve gotten older and more frail, it’s obvious how interdependent they are. Grandma has lost much of her sight and needs grandpa to measure stuff for her in the kitchen. Grandpa is on his second set of hip replacements in one hip (he wore out half of the first pair) and he needs help doing stuff like tying his shoes (especially after his last hip replacement surgery when he was 87) and he’s had a number of health emergencies in the last couple years. Grandma needs grandpa and grandpa needs grandma. It’s hard to tell who exactly is in charge–it’s definitely not the same person at all times and in all places. I would say that regarding outdoor or farm stuff grandpa has generally been in charge, whereas grandma has definitely been in charge of the house and running family parties (which they still do). I learned a few years back that the extreme tidiness of the house is a grandma thing–grandma likes things neat and minimal and tends to be unsentimental on stuff (she is very likely to get rid of things that aren’t immediately useful). Grandpa, on the other hand, has way more sentimental possessions. Their house has always been very tidy, but when you look at grandpa zones (like a workshed and the garage) there’s more creative disorder. I expect that they probably had a few “words” over this when they were younger.

Generalizing a bit, I think taking responsibility gives authority. When spouses take responsibility for things, they should get a lot of leeway in doing things their way. If my husband is driving the kids to destination X, he should be able to choose the route there, etc, and ditto for me if I’m driving. If he’s home for the day with the kids, he can decide when and what to feed the children (within reason), and ditto for me. In general, I think the more responsibility spouses take on, the more authority they should have over that area. We shouldn’t both expect our spouse to do ABC and at the same time hover over them and micromanage them. I think a lot of people make a wrong turn in this respect.

If you would really like an in depth discussion about what it is to be a Man after God’s own heart:

That Man Is You

I don’t know if this is available in OP’ area however:
The Arch Diocese of Omaha where I live endorses this program (feel free to write to or contact the chancery office). I live in an area with several parishes that boarder each other, and all of them have co-operated to create an inter-parish group along with the KoC support for this program.

Peace and Good to all!

THanks for Sharing this! It reminds me of my great grandparents, they got married as soon as they were both legal age & stayed together until my Great Grandpa died at 89 a few years ago (great grandma is still going strong in her 90s). they became very interdependent & need to help each other with a lot of things. It was beautiful really.

The house was definitely Great Grandma’s domain & she did not take kindly to too much interference :). she’d get very flustered if people hovered over her, even with the best intentions. I think its often counterproductive to hover

This is how I see it. A man must lead by example, he must work, come home and fix whatever needs to be fixed around the house, spend time with his kids and wife. Always speak with his wife about how things are at home, for him and his wife to talk when a decision needs to be made. And if a decision needs to be made and the couple can not agree, the husband must then make the decision, If he gets it right it was for the best of the family, if he gets it wrong it falls on him.

…and the rest of the family gets to suffer the consequences if he was wrong and pigheaded and insisted on getting his way. If he quits his job, borrows money and has a business fail, the whole family is going to suffer. Etc. If dad is drilling holes in the family canoe, the whole family is going to go for a swim.

Or what if the family is speaking about changing houses. If the father has done as the first things as I was saying then your response would not happen. Why? B/c if a dad works his butt off, he comes home helps around the house, fixes things that need to be fixed, spends time with his wife and kids, goes to church every Sunday with his family, he has clearly demonstrated that he is not a selfish man. So your argument is way out there and wrong. Why? B/c he has not demonstrated that he would be that type of man.

Just an FYI- I would be cautious following or promoting the views of Raylan Alleman - a good many of his opinions are not in line with authentic Church teaching and views- especially those on educating women and the dignity of females.

Raylan Alleman? Of the “don’t send your daughters to college because they don’t need a higher education” movement. Thanks, but no thanks. :mad:

A person can be not selfish but still not have good financial judgment. In fact, it’s often sweet, happy-go-lucky guys who make the worst financial blunders.

Big decisions (that are not emergencies) should require buy-in from both spouses.

But what if a decision has to be made right then and there, ie a serious surgery on a family member, say a son. And the mom and dad are at odds, and the kid needs a surgery b/c he’s losing blood due to a gun shot wound. What do you do?

Honestly, this is the kind of decision that a person highly trained in medicine is going to go over with a parent or both parents, and usually will offer a recommendation. In emergency situations, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Now, if you know that the person you intend on marrying objects to blood transfusions or other types of medical care, that would be a very, very serious conversation to have before the wedding.

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