by Rev. Joda Collins
According to the Word of God, men want to be respected more than anything else. Every man will testify to that truth. If you have a strained relationship with your dad it is probably because you have disrespected him or because what you did or said made him feel disrespected.
If you want to mend your relationship with your father, start by saying something like this:
"Dad (or however you address your father), in (date) and (place), I was disrespectful towards you when I (state what you said or did). (If clarification is needed, then give clarification; however, never give justification. You were NOT justified in making your father feel disrespected.) I want you to know that I am sorry and I am ashamed that I (did or said) that. I love you and I respect you. Would you forgive me for what I (did or said)."
Let me explain what I mean by clarification. This is just an example. My father is dead. He died at age 53. There was only one time that I disrespected my father. I did not mean to do it. The circumstances caused a misunderstanding between me and him. I was 16. He did not do a very good job of explaining to me what he wanted me to do. As a result, I did not do what he wanted me to do. He saw my failure to obey him as disrespect for this wishes. Even though I thought I was doing what he wanted, I saw the hurt in his eyes and countenance when he determined that my actions were rebellious to his wishes. It was years after he was dead that I figured out what happened and how I misunderstood. Sometimes, we need to clarify our misunderstandings and then deal with the emotions our misunderstandings caused. So, explain, but never justify. It is impossible to justify away bruised emotions. It is impossible to deal successfully with the damage that a wrong has done without confessing that wrong, clarification of the wrong and a specific-heartfelt request for forgiveness.
It may be that you believe what you did or what you said was factual. That may or may not be true. However, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the need every man has to be respected by others and most of all by his wife and children. And, I am talking about the god-given right a man has to be respected by his wife and his children.
If you disagreed with your father and it was necessary or important to make your disagreement known to him, it was your responsibility as his child to make your disagreement known to him without making him feel disrespected.
If you want a chance at a restored good relationship with your father, you must deal with his feelings that you showed him lack of respect. Find a way to do that and win back your father. Your relationship with your dad is worth mending. It is in your power to do so if it is in your power to talk with him.
Happy Father's Day.