View All Ministries
Sorry, your search returned no results :(
Sign In

Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

WEEK SIX  - A Husband’s Role

Head of the House
by Thom Hunter

My preteen son Patrick doesn’t take many things seriously, but occasionally something grabs hold of him and he just won’t let it go. He will question an idea or concept until he is satisfied that society isn’t misleading him and that all is right in his world.

I’m never prepared for his persistence.

“Dad, can we go to the movies today?” he asked as we crawled down the optimistically named Northwest Expressway. “Maybe,” I said. “I’ll check with Mom when we get home.” “She’ll say no,” he said. “She’ll say we need to clean our rooms, or read a book, or play outside. Or . . . or something else.” The tires on the van made a couple more rotations. “Dad?” asked Patrick. “Can we get another hamster?” What a radical idea. We hadn’t had a hamster die on us in weeks. “Well, maybe,” I answered. “We’ll see what Mom thinks.”

I turned off the radio. “Dad?” came the voice again. “Can we eat out tonight?” “Probably,” I said. “If Mom doesn’t already have something planned.” I pushed a cassette tape into the player. “Dad?” Patrick asked. “Is Mom the head of our house?” Wham! I felt like I was in a ten‐car pileup. My face was turning red.

My temperature was rising. I was suddenly feeling closed in by the cars surrounding me. I looked in the rearview mirror. Patrick was perched in the middle of the seat behind me, an innocent little grin on his face.

“Patrick,” I said, “I am the head of the household. I make the decisions. And don’t you forget it. Understand?”

“Okay,” he said. “Does that mean we can eat out, go to the movies, and pick up a new hamster on the way home?”

He’d set me up. And I almost fell for it. He was watering down the parent partnership, looking for a crack in which to stick a wedge, testing a biblical concept, and looking for the advantage in the process.

What do pizza, hamsters, and big‐screen fantasy have to do with whether or not I am fulfilling my role as head of the family? I asked myself that question as I zeroed in on the bumper in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and avoided the accident. Fortunately, we were at the expressway’s top speed of seven miles an hour.

For scoring purposes, we did eat out and go to the movies that night, but we decided to sell the hamster cage. “We” made those decisions, his mother and I. This “head of the household” thing is very touchy to me. When I was growing up, there was never any doubt. Mother was the head of the household. But she had never intended it to be that way. She was sup‐posed to have had a partner. She understood the concept of a helpmeet. If my father had been a different kind of man and hadn’t left us when I was six years old, she would have made a wonderful complement to him.

“You must be a man,” she would tell me when I was a teenager. “Take the responsibility; don’t run from the decisions; love your wife; cherish your children.”

And be the head of the household.

So I always wanted to be the head of the household: ruler over all I surveyed, supreme commander, father and master of my many loyal subjects. I carried this dream to the altar and later into the delivery room—five times. My kingdom went from squalling to crawling to sprawling all around me.

So, if I am the head of the household, why is the head aching and the house barely holding together? And if I am the head of the house‐hold, why do I sometimes go to bed with dishpan hands and worry that I’ve forgotten to unplug the iron?

If I am the head of the household, why do I have to barter for time to watch a football game on television, promising to ride bikes for two hours in exchange for ten minutes of solitude?

And, if I am the head of the household, why do I have to cut my subjects’ plates of meat after I set the table? And why do I have to clear the table and pick up mushy mashed potatoes from the floor with my bare hands while everyone else has dessert they weren’t supposed to get unless they ate all their mashed potatoes?

And, if I am the head of the household, why do I have to cover five other bodies before I pull my own blanket up to my own chin; explain away everybody else’s nightmares before I take on my own; fluff their pillows and tuck their feet back under the sheets; get them one more drink; and plug in their night‐lights?

And if I am the head of the household, why do I have to rub my wife’s back before she can go to sleep?

Why, I ask? Why do I have to do all these things? Because I am the head of the household, that’s why. If I don’t listen . . . if I am inconsiderate of others . . . if I make decisions without the input of the wife God gave me...if I try to do it on my own without God, then I may as well forget about being the head of the household.

That’s what I’ll tell Patrick next trip down the Northwest Express‐ way. We’ll have plenty of time.


Husband, this week is designed especially for you. (But we still want your wife to participate!) Like the author of the story above, do you sometimes struggle with your role as “head of the house”? What exactly does that mean, anyway? It is a controversial topic in today’s world, but there are biblical truths on which to base an understanding.

We’ll offer some of these principles this week. For tonight, why don’t you tell your wife how you define “head of the house”—then ask if she agrees.
- James C Dobson

• “Head of the House” by Thom Hunter. Taken from Those Not-So-Still Small Voices (NavPress). © 1993. Used by permission of the author.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

continue reading...
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020

Featured Offer

Final Thoughts About The Election

With all respect, the national election isn’t about you. It certainly isn’t about me. It is about our kids and grandkids. It is about those who are yet to come, if they are allowed to live. This vote has awesome implications for future generations and the nation we love. It is about our Constitution and the immutable, God-given rights it protects. It is about values, and truth, and greatness, and hope. That is why the notion of choosing a president based on frivolous personality characteristics, such as style or rhetoric, misses the mark. 

Free Resources
Stay Connected with your favorite Ministry Newsletters and Devotionals
More Newsletters
In addition to your newsletter(s), you will receive email updates and special offers from

About Family Talk Videos

Family Talk is a Christian non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Founded in 2010 by Dr. James Dobson, the ministry promotes and teaches biblical principles that support marriage, family, and child-development. Since its inception, Family Talk has served millions of families with broadcasts, monthly newsletters, feature articles, videos, blogs, books and other resources available on demand via its website, mobile apps, and social media platforms.

About Dr. James Dobson

Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, "Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk." He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline, Love for a Lifetime, Life on the Edge, Love Must Be Tough, The New Strong-Willed Child, When God Doesn't Make Sense, Bringing Up Boys, Marriage Under Fire, Bringing Up Girls, Head Over Heels and, most recently, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift. 

Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised five U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the following awards: Winston Churchill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faith & Freedom Coalition (2017), Daniel Award from AZ Christian University (2016), and the Defender of Life Award from the Justice Foundation (2015). 

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Contact Family Talk Videos with Dr. James Dobson

Mailing Address
540 Elkton Drive
Suite 201
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Phone Number