Did you know that the home can be a very dangerous place for a husband?
When my kids were toddlers, Mike and I spent a lot of time making sure our home was a safe place for our curious boys. When our oldest son became mobile at eight months old, my husband and I faced the daunting task of child-proofing our home. Every outlet had to be covered, wires secured, cleaning products placed behind lock and key, and anything fragile placed out of reach. We purchased two bottles of syrup of ipecac “just in case.” Of course, the occasional bump and bruise could not be avoided. But our vigilance protected our little boy through the curious stages of his first three years of life.
While visiting friends and relatives, we often had the unpleasant experience of bringing small children into a house that was not child-proof. Mike and I played man-to-man defense, trying to protect our host’s crystal and porcelain decorations. It seems that every sentence was interrupted with, “Don’t climb the stairs!” “Don’t put that in your mouth!” “No throwing balls in the house!” or “Be gentle with that cat!” Life was more peaceful for all of us when home was safe to roam without unreasonable dangers.
The parallel of “husband-proofing” a home is not meant to be patronizing. Men are capable of protecting themselves and their families from most physical threats. However, many homes contain snares and dangers of a different sort that can easily wound a man’s confidence and feelings of security. It is not uncommon, in fact, for a man to avoid being at home. He may fear emotional dangers that seem to jump out of nowhere and make him feel like a failure in his own home. Work, church, community activities, a drink with the guys—almost anything can be more comfortable than home at times.1