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Marriage Parenting


With our wedding only a couple of months away, I was nervous about the idea of getting pregnant quickly into our marriage. To be honest, I didn’t feel ready to be a dad and wasn’t sure how to share this concern with my fiancé.

I was on my way to a session of premarital counseling. I was meeting my fiancé at our mentor’s home for tacos. That night’s session involved a discussion about our expectations for marriage, preparing for fatherhood, and how to keep learning about areas in which we thought differently. I had been somewhat concerned about getting married, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I knew I wanted to marry my fiancé, but I was nervous. About two miles from our mentor’s house, it hit me – I wasn’t afraid of being married, I was afraid of being a dad.

With our wedding only a couple of months away, I was nervous about the idea of getting pregnant quickly into our marriage. To be honest, I didn’t feel ready to be a dad and wasn’t sure how to share this concern with my fiancé.

I arrived at the house, walked in and said, “Before we get started, I need you to know I had a realization tonight. Honestly, I don’t want to have kids. Please know that I want that to change, and I’ll work on that, but I just needed you to know.” A bit stunned by the abrupt announcement, my fiancé turned to me and said, “That’s ok. We’ll get there in God’s time.” Then we dug into the tacos.

Surprisingly, she didn’t seem that concerned with my panic, and we chatted more about it as the night went on. If you’re about to be a dad, maybe you feel like I did that night. If you fear the idea of becoming a dad, I think there are some key principles throughout the Bible that can help shape your perception about preparing for fatherhood. Let’s look at four fears that often impact first-time dads and how scripture speaks to those fears.

Four Fears of Preparing for Fatherhood

1. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to provide for my kids.

I think that anyone who takes seriously what it means to have a family must consider the weight of providing for that family. More family members means more mouths to feed. While we should be responsible to take care of our family through hard work (2 Thess. 3:6-12), fearing that we won’t be able to provide for them can prevent you from enjoying one of God’s greatest blessings: having children (Psalm 127:3).

Take a minute to read what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34. In this passage, Jesus tells His followers to not worry about what they will eat, drink, or wear. He directs them to consider the birds of the air. Then, He explains that the birds have all that they need because God takes care of them. He reminds His followers that God cares about His children far more than He does about the birds.

Then Jesus asks a question that gets to the heart of our fear: can worry make you live longer? The implied answer is, of course not! And then He sums up His message in a way that reminds us that fear is really a lack of trusting in God as our provider. In fact, He explains that worrying about what we will eat, drink, and wear is descriptive of people who don’t truly know God.

While fear may be common, it is not God’s plan for us. And fearing that we won’t be able to provide for our future kids places all the responsibility on our shoulders, which removes God from the equation. Be faithful, work hard, but trust God to provide for your children because He deeply cares for you and your family.

2. I’m afraid of not being a good dad.

If you didn’t have the best example of a godly dad, then it’s likely that you are concerned about how to model it to your kids. In reality, being a good dad isn’t about perfection. It’s about seeking to grow in the Lord and lead with sacrificial love. When you make mistakes, you can model humility by apologizing and asking forgiveness with your kids.

Inevitably, we all fail. We say something we wish we hadn’t. We assume something that we shouldn’t have. Or we do something we wish we could take back. Part of being a good dad is admitting when we are wrong, confessing it to our kids, and seeking to change. Our actions can demonstrate humility and teachability to our kids, which are the very things we hope to instill in their character.

While you are not able to control the kind of dad you had, you absolutely can control the kind of dad you will be. Seek to know God’s will by being in His Word. Strive to live a life that is obedient to Him. When you fail, own it, confess it, and seek to live the way God calls you to through relying on God to change you. Then you will be more than a good dad, you will become a godly dad.

3. I’m afraid of not having enough time with my wife.

It is completely true, having kids is a game changer. Your freedom and spontaneity before starting a family now comes second to bedtimes, school nights, and feeding schedules. The good news…it’s totally worth it.

Kids are a blessing! They are fun and filled with joy. God uses our love for our kids to teach us about His unconditional love for us. However, we all have the same amount of time in a day. When we split our time between people, we can only give a smaller fraction away to one single person.

That’s why it’s important to communicate with your wife about your individual expecations regarding time. 1 Peter 3:7 tells us to live with our wives in an understanding way. Understanding grows through knowledge, and the only way to gain that knowledge is to have a conversation.

Generally, we can’t know what people are thinking unless they tell us. So, it’s important to build habits of healthy communication about desires, expectations, concerns, and feelings. Afterwards, build a plan to try to accomplish those shared goals.

However, know that as you spend more time with your kids, you make an investment in your relationship with your kids. And that has a lasting influence. Be grateful that God has given you this opportunity and steward it wisely.

4. I’m afraid of the unknown.

There will be many unknowns when it comes to preparing for fatherhood. There’s no doubt that you will face situations you don’t know how to handle. Frankly, you can’t plan for everything. The good news is that God is ready and willing to grant us wisdom whenever we need it.

God wants us to turn to Him for wisdom, through prayer, studying His word, and seeking the counsel of His people. Often, on the drive home from dinner with friends, my wife and I discuss what we appreciate about the way they parent their kids. Then, we discuss how we can start to incorporate that learning into our own parenting. Other times, we will ask older, more spiritually mature couples how they handled a parenting struggle that we currently face.

God didn’t leave us on our own. He purposefully designed us for community so that when we confront unfamiliar parenting challenges, we can turn to God. He will guide us in prayer, to His Word for guidance, and to His people for wisdom on how they have applied His Word to their parenting.

Final Thoughts on Preparing for Fatherhood

I’m not going to lie to you, parenting is hard and it can be scary. But it’s one of the greatest joys and gifts of God’s blessings.

Just so you know, I did tie the knot with my fiancé. And, about five years later, we welcomed our first little boy. We now have three boys, and our home is filled with joy, laughter, wrestling, and Bible stories. I love being a dad so much. Getting home to my family each evening is the highlight of my day.

I’m not a perfect dad by any means. But God has given me grace, humility, and a teachable spirit as I pursue being a godly dad. I’ve learned that preparing for fatherhood requires a lot. But God provides.


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