Ep. 68 || How Can Mom Support Dad Spiritually? An Interview With Jerrad Lopes  - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily: Well, welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. Just in time for Father’s Day, we are excited to have our very first male guest on the show to talk about some of the most frequently asked questions we get about marriage and our husbands. Including things like, how to encourage them spiritually, specifically in the areas of scripture reading and family leadership, family worship, and more. So he is going to address some really practical topics and it is so, so interesting to listen in and hear what he has to say. I know Laura and I learned a lot from this show. 

So our guest today is Jerrad Lopes and he is from Dad Tired. He started this ministry to point men to Jesus and to really help them understand how the Gospel impacts their fatherhood. So it’s kind of a similar counterpart ministry to Risen Motherhood, we get asked a lot, “Hey, what’s something my husband can listen to or learn from about Gospel-centered fatherhood?” Dad Tired is one of those ministries. Jerrad lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon. They have two kiddos and they just started foster care and then he also runs Dad Tired and he has been busy getting his devotional ready to be released. It’s called, Stop Behaving, it’s a four week 28 day devotional written for men to take their family life and their marriage seriously in light of the Gospel. So you guys can check that out at his website, DadTired.com. Anyways, we know you guys will have lots of things to think about after listening to this interview today and hopefully it will help you celebrate and encourage your husband in light of Fathers Day. Here we go- here’s Jerrad …

Laura: Okay- Hey, Jerrad! Thanks so much for joining us; we are so excited today to have Jerrad from Dad Tired. I know we’ve given you guys all a little bit of an intro, but this is the first male we’ve had on our show, and I feel like that’s kind of a mile marker, Emily. I don’t know…

Emily: It’s a big deal. 

Laura: Yeah, so thanks for being on!

Jerrad: Oh my gosh, no pressure. [Laughter] I’ll try not to mess it up for every guy out there. 

Laura: We’re super excited because you’ve got a great podcast that we’ve promoted in the past and we think that every dad should listen to. We often get asked from our listeners, “Hey, what can my husband listen to? What’s the Risen Motherhood counterpart?” And so we really feel like that is Dad Tired so we are thrilled to have you on the show today. 

Can you just give us a little background about who you are, what’s your family make-up, and what is kind of the heart behind Dad Tired and who you hope to reach?  

Jerrad: Yes. My name is Jerrad, I’m married. I married way up to a woman named Leyla, she’s a nurse and the mother of my children and just an amazing, amazing woman. We have two little ones, a three and a five year-old … three-year-old girl and five year old boy and then we are foster parents now.  Actually as of today we are getting our first foster child placement with us. So that’s kind of our family dynamic. And then I’ve been a pastor for thirteen years; most of that was in the church and then in the last two years stepped out of the church role and started Dad Tired, the ministry, and now host that podcast and help guys fall in love with Jesus. 

Laura: Awesome. Today we are excited to have a guy in to ask you anything. To get all the details, all the things we wanted to know, so we are going to dig into some of the most commonly asked questions that we get about marriage and fatherhood from moms who really want to love their husbands well and encourage them spiritually. Let’s kick it off with, “How can a wife best support her husband in serving as a spiritual leader of her home?” But a lot of times it can seem like for some marriages that maybe the husband isn’t initiating or maybe he’s not showing much interest in leading the family. What would you say to a wife who is in that position? And just how to equip husbands well?

Jerrad: I was that husband for a season in our marriage… that’s kind of how the Dad Tired podcast started. I felt like I was sucking as a dad and as a husband and I was not leading my family well. I was not serving my wife well. I was not engaged with my children in being any kind of spiritual leader. My wife knew it – we were in a really tough season in our marriage, just relationally not getting along. We weren’t connecting with each other or communicating with each other. I remember we were in the middle of a little bit of an argument and she had said something to the effect of, she just stopped and paused… “Jerrad, I just want you to know that I’ve been waking up every morning at 2 a.m. and I go in the living room and pray for you. And I pray that God brings your heart back to Him.” And I remember thinking, I would have rather her cussed me out at that moment. I could have handled that better, but it was so convicting to hear – she really wants more than my behavior to change, she really wants my heart to come back to Jesus.

I would encourage women who are not seeing their husbands leading their family spiritually … some guys just don’t know how, it’s foreign to them, they’ve never been taught that.  Other guys just feel far from God for whatever reason but what often happens is- it can seem like wives really start to- for lack of a better word- nag behavior … “Hey, do this, do this, or step up, or stop doing this.” And I always say that behavior modification lasts for a little bit but it doesn’t last for a long time. What lasts for a long time is when a heart is changed, and my wife can’t change my heart. And she knew that so she went to the one who can change hearts, and that’s Jesus … It’s kind of like a churchy answer but really as a wife, you do not possess the ability to change your husband’s heart. And that’s what he needs is heart change, but there is one who can change hearts and that’s the one we serve. Pray, and beg, and plead that the Holy Spirit would start to chase after your husband’s heart relentlessly. 

Emily: I love that you gave that answer. I know that Laura and I have tried to share that before and even as you were saying it I was like, “Ah I gotta remember that – I need to set my 2 a.m. alarm.” But definitely that ministry of prayer for our husbands just cannot be overstated like how important it is. That verse in 1 Peter always comes to mind, I’m not going to be able to quote it exactly, about winning him over without a word. The way we do that is by living out the Gospel and then praying that God would change his heart. That’s just an incredible testimony that you shared and it may be churchy, but it’s the right answer. 

Laura: That segues well into the idea that- I think a lot of moms, depending on our work schedules and stuff we can be involved in church programming like, nearly everyday of the week.  And we can have time – while it may be loud and noisy, there is time to study the Word, or to open your Bible, or just listen to the Bible playing on your phone so to really get soaked into that Scripture… even if it’s maybe not exactly how we want it to be in these little years. How would you encourage a mom to equip her husband to get in God’s word, because they are just so short on time especially when they are gone all day- what would you say are some ways for her to encourage them or maybe some resources that they could look to?

Jerrad: First, I would say to the husbands, because I get guys all the time that are tell me, “I’m just too busy” … and I just kind of call them out on that because I don’t care if you’re a 16 year-old dude, or a 95 year-old grandma – we all feel too busy, right? I’m not going to take you “work full-time” as an excuse to not be in God’s word. We’re just all busy. Moms are busy; dads are busy, single- whatever. We’re all busy. So what I tell guys, when I’m walking through guys on discipleship – what we often do…I have them write out a list of things that they say are most valuable to them – like in your heart, what are your priorities?

They often give me the churchy answer, which is like, God, my wife, my kids, my work. They put them in the right order, as it should be. Then I ask them to write, what are you actually spending your time on and make a second list. That list then is all over the place – it’s work, it’s sports, it’s the NBA playoffs, it’s whatever else is going on – it’s the golf times, it’s the long lunches, or whatever. So at first it’s just like, “What are you saying yes to that you need to be saying no to? What are you saying yes to that doesn’t make sense for the kingdom of God?” That is affecting the other things you should be saying yes to. So the first thing is I’m just calling them out on the time thing.

The second thing – just using all the things – you guys have a lot of great things on your website you pointed your listeners to – but there’s lots of practical, like the Bible app, right? You can listen to the entire Bible for free on the Bible app. That is an easy way as you’re driving from work, as you’re commuting to and from work, or to lunch, or sitting at your desk filling out a spreadsheet. Listen to the word of God. Let it start to permeate your heart instead of listening to whatever else you have on the radio, like a podcast talking about a MMA fight. Listen to the word of God. So using times in the midst of your busyness to be intentional, I think is a huge tool. 

Emily: Jerrad, maybe I’m going to jump in a question that is at least on my mind, maybe other moms’ minds. Let’s say, I’m a wife, I’m seeing this in my husband’s life, I’m like, “I know he really does want to get into the word of God but I don’t see him doing that.” Is it OK for a wife to recommend that to her husband? How could a wife suggest some of those ideas to her husband without coming off like a nag?  Like “oh, I just want to give you a quick behavior modification.” Is there a way to be received well?

Jerrad: That’s a really good question. My wife has never asked me how I’m doing with the Lord when I’m doing well with the Lord. In other words, when I’m doing well with the Lord, it’s obvious and I’m leading us well and I’m in scripture and all that. She only asks me when I’m not doing well with the Lord, so it immediately comes off as offensive or antagonistic – and right or wrong, that’s how I feel. And that’s how most guys feel when asked, “How’s your relationship with Jesus?” and it’s like, “Why the heck are you asking me that because you know it sucks right now? That’s why you’re asking me that …” [laughter]

Laura: How passive aggressive of us… but we do it! I can hear my voice saying those things. [laughter]

Jerrad: There are other ways where Leyla has approached me … I’m trying to think off the top of my head – there’s times when she’s said, “Hey babe, what kinds of things can I be praying for you for?” That feels genuine. That’s probably making the same point that she was trying to make by, “How are you doing with Jesus?” It’s making the same point, I just feel like it’s a lot harder for me to feel any aggression towards that. My wife is asking how can she pray for me so it’s like, “OK, can you pray that God would draw my heart back to him because I feel far from Him?” might be one of my answers … Or she might even say, “Hey, I’m feeling like I just want to reread through the Bible again this year, maybe we can do that together or maybe we can make date nights out of it after the kids go to bed?” That’s her prompting, that’s her taking the initiative that really I should have been the one doing … but it’s just God using her in my life to point me back to Him and maybe capture my heart again so that I can lead well.

Laura: Yeah, I think there’s always something too about saying, “I’ll come along side you in this. Let’s do this together!” I know I wanted – I got all revved up, read a prayer book and wanted to pray with my husband. Or see him on his knees every night, and I was like, “OK, no- let’s just start with praying before bed. I’m going to do this with you, we are tired but we’re both going to do this because it’s good for both of us and I don’t just expect you to do something especially if I’m not doing it, too.” 

Jerrad: Totally, that made me think– I don’t think most guys would be offended if their wife just said, “Babe, will you pray for me right now. I’m feeling vulnerable or weak or whatever. Will you just pray fore me out loud?” Some guys may totally be intimidated by that, but they will totally step up to that challenge and they won’t feel threatened by that request. It gives them an opportunity to lead. 

Laura: That’s good advice.

Emily: Yes, thanks for that practical insight there of the difference between what’s gentle and coming alongside and what’s kind of accusatory and is a subtle way of going, “I’m noticing that you’re falling in this area right now.” [Laughter]

Laura: From a dad’s perspective then, what is it like to transition home from after work when the mom is busy, the kids are crazy, dad is super tired and probably they want downtime a little bit to adjust … How can a mom best serve her husband during that transition period? 

Jerrad: Again, my natural responses and answers are always thinking through for the guys…

Laura: Which we love – as moms, just bring it to the dad… [Laughter]

Emily: Every mom is going to have her husband listen to this. [Laughter]

Jerrad: Yes. For the dads, that’s what we are preaching on Dad Tired all the time, “Dude, you should be exhausted. It’s called "Dad Tired," like you are going to be tired. And if you’re not tired, you’re doing it wrong. You’re probably spending too much time playing video games or whatever else.  You should be tired if you are living a life that God has called you to live as an engaged husband, dad, worker, disciple – you will go to bed exhausted and that’s how it should be.” So we are always telling guys, “You pull up in the driveway, you turn off your car, you take a deep breath, and you realize your second shift has started. You move into your other titles that are going to last for eternity – your title as husband, your title as dad.” That’s what I’d say to the guys. [Laughter]

For the wives, I think what’s helpful for us is clear expectations. When we come in, for moms that have been in the routine all day, you know the rhythms of your kids sometimes better than we do because you’re with them all the time. And all the subtleties … there are times where I accidentally give them something to eat that they maybe shouldn’t have eaten [Laughter] or like, “Hey, let’s go get ice cream!” And I didn’t know that earlier mom had said, “No, we’re not having ice cream today because of this or whatever.”  But they’re just really clear expectations laid out so we don’t have that guessing game or step into something that we didn’t know was outside of a rhythm because we were ignorant. We were just straight up ignorant. We weren’t there, we didn’t know. It’s always best to give those expectations outside of the storm and not in the middle of the storm.

Figuring out a time, before he comes home and steps in the door, figuring out, “Babe, how can we serve each other well when you get home from work? Here’s some things that would be helpful for me. What would be helpful for you?” If it’s the dishes, then let him know- the dishes. If it’s the sweeping, if it’s the getting the kids through their bedtime routine,  whatever that is, we often guess, and we often guess wrong. 

Laura: Yes, clear expectations are super important. And it’s helpful on mom's end too because I think that sometimes I’ll find myself that just keeping moving. Dad walks in the door and I’m like in the middle of dinner or changing a diaper or whatever and I’m like, “Oh, hey hun!” and ready to kind of keep going and almost not even acknowledge the fact that life has changed because dad entered the door. It’s good to, as moms, for us to stop and acknowledge that, “Dad is home and, yay! This is exciting!”

I remember my dad growing up, he always went to my mom first before he went to the kids. He just went straight for her and she welcomed him home and then he received the kids. I always thought that was a neat – actually, I always thought it was a little unfair as a kid. [Laughter] But it was a neat picture of my mom and dad both prioritizing each other during a crazy time in the house. 

Emily: And I know, recently I’ve come back from some women’s conferences or some times away where I was super refreshed or maybe I was tired, but in a good way, of something I was really passionate about and worked hard at. And I’ve walked in the door and had everyone’s crazy and running around, my husbands trying to hold it together and I’m thinking, “Ugh! This is a little abrasive.” And I’ve even felt that coming into those situations after I’ve been away. I wonder too, how much of it is that we have to remember that it can feel like that to a husband, to walk in the door and be handed a child or something. Even if you’re just knowing that he may be experiencing that, you’re going to treat him a little differently. [Laughter]

Jerrad: Right. But I think one of the gifts that many men possess is the ability to compartmentalize, which we often use towards sin, we use it towards the negative. But it’s actually a strength and it can be a strength in many ways and so I think for a lot of men we do have the ability to click off literally and be like, “I’m done with this and now I’m moving into dad time.”

Laura: Crazy.

Emily: That’s awesome.

Jerrad: And so, even with what you said, part of me was thinking almost the opposite, “Yep, I’ve checked out of that conference and now I’ve moved into my compartment of here I am as a dad…”

Emily: Wow. I don’t even have a category for that.

[Laughter]

Laura: Sounds amazing…

Jerrad: They say that a woman’s brain is spaghetti and a mans brain is waffles. Have you heard of that?

Laura and Emily: No, I haven’t heard that… [Laughter]

Jerrad: So a woman’s brain is spaghetti, everything touches everything. This affects this, affects this, affects this. Guys brain is a waffle, we have compartments. This does not touch this, does not touch this, does not touch this.

[Laughter]

Laura: I can’t imagine, like Emily said. I can’t imagine…

[Laughter]

Laura: OK, one last practical. How do you handle family devotions in your house? And then how can a mom encourage her husband to be intentional with these types of things especially if they’re lacking? Or it’s just a crazy time to settle down and know what to do, what’s mom’s role in a family devotion?

Jerrad: Yes, good question. I think that first, bigger picture premise here: I want my kids to see all of life as worship so I’m really trying to use every single opportunity to Gospel them and to teach them the Gospel. As opposed to having the compartments that I just talked about. I don’t want my kids to think, “OK, it’s devotional time, it’s Bible study time or community group time or whatever” and they see us as a family have very clear cut compartments…

Laura: That’s really good. 

Jerrad: I want to bleed in – the scriptures say in Deuteronomy, whether you’re sleeping, or eating, or walking, or talking … whatever you’re doing – train up your child towards the things of God. Don’t quote me on how I just said that. That’s paraphrase. [Laughter]

Laura: Paraphrase. [Laughter]

Jerrad: I want them to see that in everything, and I really push hard for that. When we are driving to school or when we have interactions at the grocery store, I’m looking for every single opportunity to point them back to the Gospel. My kid just heard a secular song on the radio and they were saying, ‘please have mercy on me.’  I won’t quote the song, but that’s a line. [Laughter] ‘Please have mercy on me,’ and he’s like, “Dad, what’s mercy?” OK, beautiful opportunity to talk about the Gospel here, that’s a bigger picture … that’s the goal, that’s where we want all of our families to get is to that point where the Gospel is permeating every area of our life.

There are some good resources you guys have actually done.  I think you did an Instagram story feed or maybe you posted them on the resources page on your website. Some children’s Bibles- you listed out all the children’s Bibles. We go through as a family the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is one of my favorite Bibles for kids. That’s my time, that’s daddy time. Mommy has done her stuff all day but I do the bedtime routine, get their pajamas, make sure they’re bathed, teeth brushed and then they crawl into bed with daddy and daddy gets to read the Jesus Storybook Bible with them and talk through that part of life with them. That’s one really practical way a wife could do some research or maybe utilize the resources that you guys have put out there already and get some of those resources. And then just say, “Husband, lead this time. Will you be the one that reads these stories to the kids?” It’s also subconsciously getting him in the word, even if it’s children’s Bible… which by the way, I’ve been finding myself like weeping through the children’s Bible… [Laughter]

Laura: Right?! And I like that. It’s so simple, there’s no prep. I think that’s what can get daunting to both parents is, I have to gather my materials, my art supplies, and my dress up clothes. Then we’re going to have this devo with a guitar that we don’t know how to play… [Laughter] We have these images in our mind of how big and grand it needs to be of what this “perfect Christian family worship” looks like. When really, it can look as simple as in bed, reading the Bible, and answering questions that our kids have. Because our God, his word never returns void. And so he will use that time well and to invest in our kids… 

Emily: And Jerrad, I’d be interested to get your insight on this … Let’s say there’s a mom who’s going, “I don’t know if my husband would ever do something like that." I think approaching him with that would even be potentially kind of offensive or would come off as nagging. Is that something that a wife could faithfully start getting that routine ingrained with her kids, maybe for two or three months she reads it before bed? Then one night, “Hey honey, could you step in and read this?” It sounds really manipulative actually now that I’m saying it …

[Laughter]

I mean in a good way, would you see that as undermining your position or would you be honored that your wife stepped in there and was like, “Hey, I’m going to help get this established.”?  It’s even easier then for dad to come in one night and just do it? 

Jerrad: Yes, possibly. I think that if you’re just setting it up as we do story time before bed and the stories that we happen to do before bed are Jesus-centered or Bible- children’s Bible… If the dad is offended by leading that time, there’s deeper issues going on. We need to get to some heart– that’s when we go back to question one- and be praying for your husband. Dude should be doing story time and reading. Like we just talked about, there’s really no prep work- we’re not asking you to give a sermon. We’re asking you to read the Bible to your kids, so step up and do it. 

[Laughter]

If that’s offensive, again there’s probably some deeper heart stuff going on. I guess to not just give a harsh answer to that. I guess the answer would be, maybe if you have to soften it up, set it up as story time. And the stories you happen to have are all Jesus stories. 

Emily: I see.

Jerrad: My son has been really into – I really want guys to be able to equip their kids in every situation with the Gospel. My son has been super into fishing, if you watch my Instagram story … we go fishing five or six times a week. We are just always at the pond fishing. He’s super into it right now and fishing is amazing. There’s tons of analogies within fishing that I can point my son back to the Gospel and even Jesus. we’ve been talking about how Jesus says, “Let’s be fishers of men.” Then we come home, and we read the fishers of men stories at night. Or when Jesus told his disciples don’t cast your nets on this side of the boat, cast them on this side of the boat, and they caught that many fish. Using the things that your kids are already into and figuring out how scripture can tie into that, how the Gospel can tie into that. Again, we don’t want to compartmentalize, we want everything to interweave with each other. 

Laura: Just a word of encouragement too, to dad or mom listening about what Jerrad is talking about. It sounds so beautiful, but it is hard or daunting at first. I know for myself when I first became a momma – and my husband too, we were like, “What does the Gospel have – or how do I tie in the bird that my child is admiring or the worm and the Gospel? I know there’s a connection there but how do I articulate it?” Just to encourage you guys, to practice. The best way to do it is to fumble through and you’re going to misstep and there’s probably going to be some, “Whoops, that was kind of wonky theology there,” but God uses everything that we do – no matter what we say – when we are doing it with the right heart and looking to speak truth to our children. He’s going to use that. And you are going to grow in that skill. If what he is talking about you feel is a little bit scary and you feel like, “I don’t know if my husband could do that or I don’t know if I could do that.” Just start practicing and start getting comfortable with that kind of language. 

Jerrad: It’s so true.  I remember literally thinking – I’ve been a pastor 13 years and I just started doing this recently when we had kids. And feeling like it was daunting to myself. I remember one of the first times my son could talk and comprehend things, there was what felt like a beautiful opportunity to share the Gospel with him and I just went into this long sermon basically.

[Laughter]

I remember he was just staring at me … And I’m like, “This is it, he gets it. He’s comprehending, he’s with me.” And I think after it, literally his next words were, “Daddy, can I have a bowl of cereal?” And I was like, “Yes. [Laughter] But did you hear anything I said?”

Laura: I know. I know. [Laughter]

Jerrad: I don’t think he got any of it. I’ve learned through practice to tighten up my language and to not give 30 minute sermons to a three year old.

Laura: Exactly. And they don’t judge you. They don’t know any better, they forget about it in 5 minutes. These little years are great years to practice. They’re not going to hold it against you.  That’s coming in high school, right? Or middle school or something?

[Laughter]

Look at you with crossed eyes and wonder, “What did you just say?” 

Emily: They’re going to ask really hard questions afterwards.

Laura: Yes. Practice now. Alright. As we wrap up here, Jerrad, any last thoughts or advice, for wives to just in supporting their wives in fatherhood?

Jerrad: Yes. Here would be my final thoughts. The Gospel, what we get in Jesus is the ability to be fully known and fully loved at the same time. Which is freaky. We don’t get that anywhere else. We’re usually fully known and not loved or fully loved and not known. But I don’t know in any relationship outside of Jesus where you can be fully known and fully loved at the exact same time. The only other place we get a glimpse of that is marriage, that my wife could know me fully and love me fully. I would encourage wives to be intentional about setting up an environment where your husband feels the confidence to share his junk with you, to feel his sin. Where he feels like you’re a safe spot to land so that he can be fully known and fully loved at the same time. And even bigger than that, that it would give him a glimpse of the God that he serves through his wife. 

Laura: That’s inspirational! 

Emily: Yes. [Laughter]

Jerrad: That’s all I got.

Laura: No, thank you. And that’s a real challenge and incorporates a lot of different things for sure. That’s a good word to end on. Thanks for joining us today on Risen Motherhood. 

Jerrad: Thanks for having me.