Men and Marriage

Men and Marriage

I was driving in my area and I happened to be on a road that was lined end to end with beautifully designed houses. As I continued to drive down the road, I noticed that my admiration for these houses had momentarily taken my attention and I was no longer focusing on the road ahead as I made my way home. I started to fantasise about what life would be like if I had a house like those I had seen. How easily was I distracted from the home I already own! So, as I eventually pried my eyes away from these houses, I fixed my eyes back on the road ahead it dawned on me that this experience drew some significant parallels when compared to many of our relationships.

Many of us have at some point experienced being momentarily distracted by another woman. It's very easy to fall into the trap where we are led by the things our eyes see, whether it's a moment of distraction, relationship dissatisfaction or you're almost at the point of no return and you're starting to look outside of your marriage. It is important to understand that you are 100% accountable for your response to the situations you find yourself in. Tweet this! Take ownership and know that cheating is a choice and it's one that displays a man's lack of character. Being unfaithful in a marriage is the one thing that causes the most significant amount of pain within a relationship because it violates all trust. This level of trust if often hard (but not impossible) to get back.

Whether you have previously been unfaithful within your marriage or it has just become, or is becoming, increasingly challenging to remain faithful, the most important question isn't just WHY some men cheat but HOW we can all avoid or refrain from cheating in the future? I spoke with 15 married men to get their thoughts on this topic and here is the advice they shared on how they avoid being unfaithful:

 

 

1. Create a newness in your marriage.

“Out with the old and in with the new.” Sometimes in life we glorify, focus and even obsess about “the new stuff” that others around us experience. People like the "new". We all do! The fun happens in the "new". Rather than looking for the new experiences outside of our marriage try being proactive about making and keeping things fresh and new within your relationship.  Don't be so distracted by other people's relationships, marriages, careers, families... "stuff" to the point where you lose focus on creating a newness in each step of the journey that you are on.

 

 

 

2. Avoid exclusive relationships with other women 

Make sure that the "close" female friends you had PM (pre-marriage) completely understand that the friendship has now changed. It's often hard for some to see why this could be such a problem because it is actually possible to have female friends without jeopardising your marriage, however, if remaining faithful to your wife is becoming a struggle then avoiding exclusive relationships may be a good shout. If you take preventative measures and avoid spending private time alone with another woman, you may give yourself a better chance of safeguarding your marriage against infidelity. It's always best that when you're in a situation where you'll be meeting up with another woman, stick to group situations where possible.  

 

 

 

3. Always wear your wedding band

Wearing our wedding band is not just a reminder for others but it also serves as a personal reminder. The truth is that many people do not value or respect the symbol that a wedding band stands for, but we should. When you're faced with a situation that causes you to focus your attention on another woman rather than your wife, it can sometimes help to look and even touch your wedding band. This physical connection to something tangible that is linked with a personal memory serves as a trigger that reminds you of what you have at home and what you potentially risk losing.

 

 

 

4. Second looks cost

The first look's free but the second will cost you. Tweet This! Sometimes you just can't help your eyes being caught by people. We are the equivalent of magpies - attracted to shiny and curvy things! The problem isn't in the first look but it's when you go back for more because that's when the temptation and lustful thoughts start to occur. So if and when a woman's appearance momentarily captures your eyes, be sure to turn and keep your head straight! Don't look back because that second look will cost you in the long run.

 

 

 

5. Never enter a fight you can't win!!!

You will seldom see a recovering alcoholic hanging out in a bar and that's because it's far easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist it. There is a degree of humility in accepting that we are not as strong as we think we are. Tweet this! Sometimes we have a plan for evasive action when actually the best form of action is to avoid simply getting in the ring altogether. Don't even engage in the fight. If a woman is flirting with you, don't entertain her advances because one thing always leads to another and this is one fight that you will be better off not having to fight at all. 

 

 

6. Realise your opponent is patient

It can start with the odd text here and there, then move to phone calls and before you know it... BAM!! You’re knee deep in an act of infidelity. By accepting that our opponent is more patient than we are, we're able to prepare a more long-term defence strategy. Some women are willing to play the waiting game and slowly chip away until she leads you astray; one small step at a time. If we do not pay attention to these signs, we could allow ourselves to be lead down a path without realising how we got there. 

 

 

 

7. What if she could see my conduct?

Try to conduct yourself in a way that makes you think about how your wife would feel if she could see you right now. If she was watching you right now, and you were unaware, would she be proud, embarrassed or angry with your behaviour? It may even help to think about whether you would be happy if you saw her conducting herself in that same way.  Going through this thought process is likely to help you reconsider your actions, if they are not already in line with your expectations. 

 

 

 

8. Speak highly of her to others

Speak about your wife in a positive manner as much as possible to other females. Never share your issues or the negatives about your wife with another woman Tweet this! because, if she has dishonourable intentions, once she spots an area of weakness that will be her way in. So if you're discussing something that's taking you out of your comfort zone, just think about how it relates back to your wife and re-enforce the fact that you're not just married but that you are happily married. This may help send out a clear message that prevents unwanted advances. 

 

 

 

9. Avoid porn

When we look at how neural pathways are created in our brain, we can start to truly understand the damaging effects of watching porn. "Neural pathways are like superhighways of nerve cells that transmit messages. You travel over the superhighway many times, and the pathway becomes more and more solid." The more you watch it, the stronger the neural pathway becomes. It sounds like you may be doomed to a life of porn however because the brain is always changing and has the ability to forge new pathways this process allows us to kick the habits. That’s called the neuroplasticity of the brain. Shift your focus and create a specific task that you can do instead. Also, be open to talking with your wife about this because most men turn to porn when their needs are not being met in the bedroom. By increasing intimacy in the bedroom and exploring new things with “the Mrs” you may find that this forges a new pathway that helps remove the desire to watch porn. 

 

 

10. Keep a hot pic of your wife.

When I was dating my wife I used to keep a picture of the two of us on a keychain and in my wallet. I'm not sure if people do that anymore, however, there is nothing stopping anyone from keeping a hot pic of their Mrs on their phone. The novelty of our wife's beauty can sometimes wear off as we take the things we have for granted. Lust after your wife! Take a good look at a picture of her and remind yourself of her beauty every now and then. Lust directed in the right way will help create a stronger sexual desire for your wife over any another woman. Tweet this!

 

 

11. Look to your circle of friends

The friends you have around you play a massive influence on who you are, so surrounding yourself with a network of men who believe in your marriage is key. Tweet this! Once you have this network of men you can then build a level of accountability for each other. This should come as no surprise but most people who have cheated on their wives have friends who have also cheated, so make sure you have the right kind of men around you. The good thing about surrounding yourself with men who are intentional about cheering you on to succeed in your marriage is that if you're in an environment where temptation could arise, they can act as a guide to help you navigate around any potential life changing problem.

 

 

 

12. Learn to love yourself

Be good to you! This is all about you and has nothing to do with anyone else. Men who cheat don't like themselves and have major insecurities that they are often not aware of. They look for affirmation, affection and even love in all the wrong places.  By learning to love who you are and not rely on the affirmation of others, you will start to build a much stronger character within yourself. You will start to make the choices that are aligned with who you are and what you stand for.

 

 

Conclusion

My father once shared an analogy with me about race horses and men. If you have ever seen a horse race you will have noticed that the horses wear a piece of equipment that partially impairs their vision. These are called ‘blinkers’. My father explained that these horses have the power to run like nothing else.  When racing, however, their peripheral vision needs to be restricted to allow them to focus on the finish line ahead. Sometimes we men are no different. We have so much power within us but if we do not have a focus, we can become easily distracted by the opposite sex and come off track. It's sad to say but the truth is that there are going to be many opportunities that will arise, attempting to derail our marriages. Some people will be intentional about dividing a marriage by weakening our character but if/when the opportunity arises, it's our response that matters most! It's a daily battle where husband and wife must fight as one against the rest of the world to survive! When relationships fail, it's usually because someone chooses not to show up for the battle. Choose to turn up for the battle and protect your marriage by applying the humble advice that has been shared by men who are truly invested in seeing more marriages successfully flourish.

Our mindset often dictates the boundaries put in place to create great restraints on our thinking. How we think and perceive the world impacts our thought and actions, and can either decrease or increase our ability to rise to a particular challenge. Let’s look at a few challenging ways to unlock and open our minds to an endless stream of possibilities, by simply upgrading our thinking to kick start every day.

 

 

Take The Limits Off The Underdog

Whilst it's great to be a source of help or inspiration to others, there's only so long you can successfully maintain this position without becoming drained, frustrated or overwhelmed. Every now and then our creative juices dry up and it helps to have people around us who can pour a little fuel back into our tank to get us back on the road again. I can almost guarantee there's a shed load of people, things and spaces around you that have the potential to inspire, encourage and teach you something new. All you need to do is simply allow them to empower you. Take the limits off the underdog and be open to the fact that the message you need, could come in any shape or form. Even a child could say the most profound things. I sometimes find myself being given wise words of wisdom from my 6-year-old daughter. That missing piece to your puzzle could be handed to you in the most simplest way from the most unsuspecting source. So! Make those who are in positions above and below you feel valued. Let them know when they have said something that has resonated with you, and create a conducive environment for replenishment. If you believe that people, things or places can be used to inspire you, you'll begin to look a little deeper, listen more keenly and identify the answers that stare you in the face each day.

 

 

Be Curious

Some people are naturally curious however most of us are not. There's an increasing temptation to just accept things the way they are, and use phrases like, "that's just the way it is" to pacify the mind. There can also be a mild sense of fear about asking too many questions. The answer may reveal the part you play in providing the solution, and you may not feel quite ready to start thinking about that level of responsibility or commitment at this point. If we were to think about curiosity as a path of discovery rather than a Pandora's box, it will become quite a transformational journey of growth. So ask yourself lots of questions. Look for answers and experiment with ideas. You may even want to try inverting your thinking! Play devil's advocate and always challenge what you believe through an opposing lens.

 

 

Challenge Yourself

Routines are great for stability, but without review, they can quickly switch your mind to autopilot. This year why not try switching things up a little. Surprise yourself! Try taking a different route to work, find new innovative ways of saving or even making yourself a bit of money. Maybe even write a chapter of that book you've been meaning to write. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge your daily thinking.

 

 

Upgrade Yourself

Technology seems to be constantly moving forward. If you like keeping up with it all, upgrades are essential. Apple are always thinking up new ways to upgrade the iPhone and with all these new mod-cons whizzing around us it's amazing to think how rusty we are in comparison. Upgrade simply means to 'rise to a higher standard by adding or replacing components'. Whilst it's great to be sturdy, consistent and dependable, it's also very easy to feel extinct when your environment starts to require something new. Shed the weight of your knowledge and experience, and replace those components with something new! Start scouting for your successor, give away some of those old tools to someone who will enjoy making good use of them or share a few of your personal life lessons to help advance someone else's journey and create space for new experiences.

 

 

Rest

Rushing around on half a battery of energy can make us feel busier than we need to be. Spending two hours half asleep in front of the TV at night trying to convince ourselves that we're not tired doesn't help either. Why not decide to claw back those miscellaneous hours and grab an early nights sleep, re-energise yourself for the week and see if you notice the difference if any. Good quality sleep can improve daytime performance, increase the brain's ability to process challenges and slows down the impact of ageing, aka keeps us looking dashing! Lol! No, seriously! Sleep produces human growth hormones (hgH) which help to regenerate our bones, muscles and others tissues, so drink a lot of water. Maybe even try downloading a sleep monitoring app, but remember to recharge.

 

Conclusion

Although Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, he still makes it his priority to train, upgrade and develop his skills and abilities, in order to make sure he is always at the top of his game. Whether you're the kind of guy who wants to push boundaries or you simply want to continue to have a fresh approach to each day, being intentional about your thinking and how you challenge your thoughts for the benefit of growth, is an essential part of upgrading your thinking. If the iPhone is forever receiving iOS upgrades in order to facilitate the demands of our human needs, then maybe it's not such a bad idea for us to think about other ways we could be upgrading ourselves to facilitate some of the ever increasing functions required of us in our day to day lives.

 

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What other methods have you heard or used yourself to upgrade yourself and your thinking? I would love to hear from you.

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Husband, Father and Writer, Bravely tackling the adventures of Relationships & Parenting through the lens of a Man ? ?

 

 

EuGene, transitioned from a large, two-parent family with his seven siblings, to becoming a husband and father. It was this experience that drew an appreciation for the wealth of wisdom, advice and good examples that could be found in the men around him.

 

 

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Many of us have our minds fixed on getting the most out of life. We try to make the best living we can, the most money the fastest way they can, but what for? If we died tomorrow would we want our greatest accomplishment to be our house or car?

These questions have often lead me to wonder what is true wealth and poverty? And whilst I'm sure there's not one definitive answer to this question, I do know that materialistic gain or loss has very little reflection on the true wealth of a man. 

Many of us often work so hard to avoid poverty that we can often neglect to share or teach our children the valuable lessons we have learnt along the way or the vital information that has been passed down through the generations for the sake of progression. Does that not leave our child a little less prepared for adulthood than they'd ought to be? Could they have to work a little bit harder or remain lost for a little longer due to lack of preparation, insight or information? Could this leave another generation more susceptible to poverty?

In this episode of the Fatherhood Series, father of 3 Clinton Jordan shares his belief that "poverty is a state of mind" and the acceptance of it can produce a life poverty. Understanding the concept of poverty from this perspective means that protecting our children from poverty is far more than providing materialistic things or throwing money at them in aim to feel like we are fulfilling our roles as fathers.

It has a lot to do with transferring an inheritance of intellectual property, morals, values and a blueprint that will enrich their life, children and the world around them.

Here are a few ways we can enrich the lives of our children and enable them to cultivate the wealth that lives inside of them.

Eat And Commune With Your Family At The Dinner Table

It may sound old fashioned but just like every great team, the team huddle should be essential!

Sharing a meal once a day at the table can do wonders for the strength of the family and present opportunities for all members of the family to build upon their lines of communication. It's a great time to share visions, provide clarity and demonstrate unity.

All essential ingredients for keeping a healthy family together.

Share Your History

There is so much a child can learn by simply understanding where you have come from; where you were born, your personal journey, your successes and failures, the journey of your parents and grandparents. Your child will be able to recognise beneficial family traditions and prepare to navigate around common pitfalls. 

Celebrate Individualism

Celebrate and support your child's creativity. If your child's curiosity, creativity or problem solving skills appear to be getting them into trouble take the opportunity to harness and redirect their skills in a positive way they can enjoy and develop from.  

Encouraging your child's individual approach to life can help expel the insecurities and fears that often come with trying to be "normal". This also helps your child develop great leadership skills and cultivates an eagerness for exploring and discovering not only their own capabilities but their ability to contribute to the world around them.

Establish your Child's Significance

No child should feel insignificant or of lesser value to others. It's important that we do all we can to ensure the voice of our children are heard. If your child is less forth coming try not to leave them in a world of their own.

Make a conscious effort to ask them how they are feeling, thinking or how their day has gone. Involve them in some of your decision making processes to remind them of how key their role is within your family.

Empower your child with the confidence to be proud of who they are and where they are from. If the media does not reinforce a positive identity for your child, try exposing them to new cultural experiences or become more intentional about exposing your child to the types of role models, music or media that you believe will inspire a positive self image for your child.

It's our job to instil the type of self worth within our children that is unwavered by fashion trends, peer pressure or money as all these things will come and go. When we leave our children to build their significance upon these shallow things we really do gear our children up for a turbulent ride internally. 

Does that mean our children should not acquire money or be fashionable? No, not at all we should all be free to be as fashionable as we'd like, however these things should be an expression of who we are and not the foundation.

Teach Your Child The Purpose of Money and How to Manage it

Money can often be perceived as a dark, mysterious, substance that is highly addictive and should only be pursued by adults.

We tend to personify money with a view of protecting our children from it as long as possible rather than introducing the idea of stewardship, money management and the opportunity to learn important financial lessons as young as possible to help our children navigate through life.

Our children need us to teach them to save in line with their short term and long term goals, how to differentiate between their needs and wants or how to think about sharing their money with someone in need or donating a portion of their money to support a worthy cause. Introducing these methods can help to form a sobering mindset towards money and develop a clear understanding of it's purpose to facilitate goals, visions or maintain a lifestyle.

Without this important educational process a child's curiosity for money could lead to an unhealthy crave for fast cash, a need to associate money with self worth and happiness or frivolous spending habits that can easily result in the accumulation of debt.  

 

The family unit has the ability to function as a great incubator, cultivating the mind, body and spirit to produce well rounded children who approach the world ready to realise their full potential and leave their mark on the world. The concept of materialistic wealth and poverty is a man made disposition that does a very good job of distracting us from discovering our true worth, creating a legacy and leaving a blueprint for future generations to build upon.

Let's continue to be an effective presence in the the lives of our children and protect them from poverty.

 

YOUR THOUGHTS 

Is poverty a state of mind?
Can poverty and wealth be inherited?

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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