EuGene Jordan

EuGene Jordan

Couples in their 20s are the most likely group to divorce so, as we got married in our early twenties the stats were firmly against us but, here... we... are! Today's the day! Nine years on and my wife and I celebrate nine roller coaster years of marriage. A lot has happened since we first met as teenagers all those years ago. We've experienced a lot over the years but the one thing that I've learned is that falling in love was easy, however, staying in love is where we've had to really put the work in. Here are 5 honest lessons I've learned (and still learning) over the last nine years of marriage.

 

We Love In Different Ways

Before I got married I read a book called "The 5 love languages" by Gary Chapman and it was very interesting because it helped me understand the different ways we can express or receive love. The languages are Receiving Gifts, Spending Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation. Most men and women come to the table with very different love languages. Men are typically receptive to the physical touch and words of affirmation, however, we often make the mistake of assuming that our partner would feel love in the same way. The opposite tends to be true. It's hard to communicate with someone when you don't speak their language and this is something that I'm still not fluent in as it's not my default language. Learning a love language is not a million miles away from learning to speak French. You start with a few basic words to get by, but, then you have to push the limits by trying to converse. Sometimes that means getting a few words wrong and looking a bit of a fool but at least your goal is to get better and more fluent. The more time you spend not practising that language, the more you forget and you then become rusty. It's no different to speaking your wife's language of love. I suck at foreign languages and none could be more foreign than my wife's language of love, however, I'm committed to learning but for now... je parle un peu.

 

Touch Is Important

One thing I've found is that I can forget about almost anything we're arguing about once her hand touches mine. My wife has this thing of coming up to me without word to give me a warm hug. Whether it's a hug, a touch of the hair, holding hands or a head leaning on the shoulder, that tangible connection between a man and a woman can often express the unspoken. That touch can say "I forgive you". It can say "you're an idiot but I still love you". It can even express an apology! Our touch is important because it's an action that is hard to ignore. It reminds us what really matters and gives us a chance to see and hear and feel the other person’s heart. Our touch is an action that often speaks far louder than our words.

 

It's ok to argue

While I don’t think screaming and yelling is okay, I do think it’s okay for couples to get upset, angry and disagreeing with each other every now and then after all anyone married long enough will tell you that marriage isn’t about always agreeing or getting along. I use to try and avoid arguments by simply agreeing with whatever my wife said (just to get along and keep the peace) however, this would only add fuel to the fire. Not arguing out of passivity only displays weakness and a lack of passion, to fight for something you believe in. Having an argument is not a problem with me, however, HOW you argue can be. As much as we may like to think we are all fully capable of arguing like intelligent adults, sometimes name calling can happen and that's when it's not cool! I've learned that if you ever have to resort to name calling then you should forfeit your right to argue responsibly. They say that your kids shouldn't see you disagree with each other however, I tend not to agree with that notion. I've found that it's actually in some of our disagreements that have helped to contribute to a well-rounded opinion of marriage. I'm not saying you should air out your dirty laundry in front of the kids, however, I am ok with my daughter knowing that sometimes Daddy does winds mummy up and vice versa. When she gets married and experiences times like that in her own home, she will have been provided with a realistic picture of marriage and relationships. I want my kids to see those things but most important of all I want them to see how we work through our differences and resolve any issue with a love at the core of it all.

 

Hang With Married Couples*

*Happily married couples that is! Research has shown that men and women with close friends or siblings who are divorced are more likely to break up in their own marriages than if they had happily married friends. This would seem to be common sense. If you hang out with people who are nonchalant about cheating on their partners, you'll eventually become desensitised to this issue and find nothing wrong or maybe even sympathise. You become the company you keep. On the other hand when your social circle mainly consists of long-term, happily married couples, then it helps to provide a more positive view of marriage and even help positively influence your own union. When we first got married a lot of the guys I hung out with were friends from when I was either single or in my teens, but, now I find that I have very few single friends as most of the guys I tend to hang out with are happily married. This is a very intentional decision as I find them to be a great source of inspiration and also it's great to know that you have genuine friends that are backing you in your corner, against a world that does everything in its power to separate us from our vows.

 

Marriage Has Purpose

Goals, visions and dreams are vital to the growth of a marriage but in truth, my only goal and purpose of getting married was, originally to get a house, have a wife and a few kids but beyond that... nothing! I never really knew what my purpose was and therefore never had a clue about the greater purpose of our union! This could have caused some massive problems if left unchecked because we would just end up sharing one bed at night whilst having two separate dreams. Lack of purpose, joint vision and goals can only end in separation because we would both end up wanting different things out of life.

Everything changed the day my wife and I went for a drive and parked outside a beautiful house that we found near a river. It's sounds really superficial but at that time in my life seeing was believing and this house helped to trigger a spark off in my mind. The house looked great however, it was the milestone it represented that was most important to us. The house isn't the goal but simply a byproduct of what could be achieved as we fulfil our purpose in life.

You will always see me using my social media reach to share a positive reflection of families and great marriages. This is what's important to me and it has now become the very thing that we live by as a family unit! My wife and I have a purpose! Not just to be happily married but to be impactful to our family and our community whilst we live on this Earth. Finding our purpose, to change perceptions and create a culture that strengthens marriages, families and communities is what we now live for. Knowing that our marriage serves a purpose far greater than ourselves is a marriage that is always worth fighting for.


This is why after nine-year of trying to figure it all out... I still do! To have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until we kick that bucket. I did nine years ago and I still do nine years on.

  

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What do you believe are the honest lessons in marriage, that need to be shared? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.

So I'm standing behind this guy whilst in a coffee shop and with his arms folded tightly, he walks up to the counter says "One skinny-mocha-latte with soy bean milk and a straw to go!" The barista kindly responded to the customers by asking "Would you like anything else?" The customer replied with a slight head shake and paid the barista. The barista handed the customer his hot beverage and then the customer walk out. Now, If you're thought pattern is anything like mine, 2 things probably came to mind:

1. He really asked for a straw huh?
2. He didn't even say thank you!

If there's one thing that will niggle at my core every time is when some neglects to display their gratitude for what someone else has done for them. Watching this guy walk off with not so much as a "thanks" filled me with frustration. I was frustrated to my inner core, but, not because of this customer's lack of manner, but, because it made me take a good look at myself and think back to all of the times I never thanked my dad. I was reminded of all of the times I've needed something from him, he's provided and I've walked away without showing my gratitude.

Sometimes children can take the kind and loving nature of a father for granted. I'm always having to remind my daughter when she has forgotten to say "thank you" and I now realise that perhaps I've not thanked my father as much as I should and could have done. With that said, I wanted to take the time to reflect and share 5 valuable life lessons my father taught me that I haven't yet thanked him for. This one's for you Pops!

 


1. Don't waste anything

There have been may occasions as a child when I've sat at the dining table with my family trying to avoid eating all of my food. I would eat the meat no problem. I'd eat the rice just fine, however, I would always struggle to eat absolutely everything on my plate. The vegetables, the salad... they were never personal favourites of mine, however, my father would remind me that he has taken the time to provide for me and he knows what my body needed for growth so it's important that I do not waste what was on my plate. This taught me a lot a lot about life. Whenever I think about all the things I've got going on in my life both good and bad, I'm reminded that whatever I've got on my "plate" is only going to help grow a more well-rounded person at the end of the day.

 


2. Treat a woman like a Queen

My father never had to tell me how to treat a woman right because he always took the time to show me. He would bring flowers home, kiss her publicly and shower her with affection. He would find a way to tie a lasso around the moon and bring it closer if she had asked. He would jokingly say "I make all of the decisions in this house... and I have my wife permission to say so." The relationship he cultivated with my mother was very much a team effort and it taught me the importance of working as a partnership versus the age old "what I say goes." How my father treated my mum had a huge impact on my life and really set the template for how I should respect and treat a woman.

 


3. Value your worth

My old man has run his business for the last 30 year and even though he’s never been the cheapest on the market his customers keep on coming back to him. He’s taught me that it’s never about the product but it about the value that you as an individual can add to something that many other my have. He taught me to never cheapen myself just because someone else can't see my value. Whether it's a job, a business deal, a relationship or whatever it is, he taught me to never have delusions of grandeur but to know what exactly I bring to the table and to make sure that it is traded with an equal currency.

 


4. Faith, Family, Finance

For dad, it was all about God, family and work... in that order! I would wake up in the morning and come downstairs and see my dad sitting around the breakfast table praying and reading his bible or just staring outside of the garden window just looking to connect with a power greater than himself to help guide him and strengthen him every day. People these days are so focused on placing work as priority number one when in fact there are other things that come before that. We can sometimes think that our work is what helps them to keep their family together and then our faith can play a part if we have time for it. My dad taught me that there is a pecking order in life and when one of these three are put into wrong order everything will not functional it’s optimum. He taught me that when you put God first, He will give you the strength to lead and nurture the family and that will fuel the reason why you work!

 


5. It’s all about service

My dad is always finding new ways to give of himself and serve my mum, myself, my brothers and sisters but he also used whatever resources he had and extended himself to serve his wider community. My father has never been afraid of getting his hands dirty in order to serve those under his care and although his service to my family and my community his been ver powerful and impactful it was in the simplest form of his action that truly hit this lesson home. I’ve learned a lot of things around the dinner table, however, the one that sticks out the most is how to serve. My father would always make sure that he was able to serve for everyone at his table before he sat down to eat. He took care of the needs of everyone else before he would even consider having something for himself. I get it know! Thank you, Pops!

 

Conclusion

My father has taught me many lessons over the years and whenever I have thanked him he has always reminded me that it was HIS pleasure! I'm so proud of my father and I sing his praises to everyone however sometimes neglect to mention those two great words of gratitude. As a son and now a father myself I now know that the power of being shown gratitude in the simplest form of a "thank you", is enough to put a smile on any fathers face. But as my father says... "It's our pleasure"

It is important to recognise that someone had a choice and that they didn’t have to raise us in the way they did. Saying ‘Thank You’ is more than just good manners. It acknowledges and pays respect to the dependence we have/had on our fathers. Father's day may well be over however, I'd like to encourage you to post something nice online, make a phone call or better yet, visit a father or a father figure that has had a significant impact in your life and recognise a job well done?

  

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Do you have a father/father figure who's played a significant role in your life? Write their name in the comments box below and tell us what they've done that you're so thankful for.

A triathlon, like fatherhood, is a multiple-stage event. It involves the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines of which swimming is just one of them. It's one of my favourite examples that draw parallels to becoming a father, because, like triathletes, us fathers will have to go through multiple-stage events throughout our children’s life (New babies, toddlers, adolescent teens and then adulthood). What are the 3 stages I hear you pondering! Well! The stages (or the Legs) of a Triathlon start with the "hardest" event first; Swimming then it goes on to the cycling event and then finally the running stage.    

If you’ve never swum before, learning how to swim for a triathlon would be an interesting experience. The first time you experience getting into that swimming pool, your brain will go into panic mode and will tell your body to start swinging your arms and kicking your legs just to make it to the safe side of the pool! You would suddenly become overwhelmed with the feeling that if you fail to keep your body in motion, then you just might sink and be at risk of death. In theory, this makes sense however there's not structure involved... no technique! You'd just swing your hands in whatever direction, kick for your life and hope for the best. Our survival instincts kick in, however, whilst survival mode may at best allow you to tread water with a doggy paddle to keep your head above water but it will not also allow you to move through the waves with each stride you take.

When I became a dad I had to understand very quickly that this is a long distant event and I wasn't going to win at it by doggy paddling my way through! I had to do more than just keep my head above the water. I would have to be strong, be able to endure the long distance and be skilful when it came to adjusting my methods and strategies throughout my child's life. Parenting isn't for the weak nor the faint hearted. If we’re to master it, it’ll take training. Fatherhood is THE Triathlon of the sporting world. It not the most glamorous sport and the rewards and recognition are modest but these are the athletes that are physically and mentally at the top of their game and I wanted to share 3 things that a triathlete and a father cannot win his race without!   

 

  

Skill  

noun  

“The ability to do something well; expertise.”  

synonyms: expertise, skilfulness, expertness, adeptness, adroitness, deftness, dexterity, ability, prowess, mastery, competence, competency, capability, efficiency, aptitude, artistry, art, finesse, flair, virtuosity, experience, professionalism, talent, cleverness, smartness, ingenuity, versatility, knack, readiness, handiness;  

We have a saying in my house; "Do the basics brilliantly" and when you first start learning how to prepare for Triathlon it starts with taking it back to basics. The first thing you're taught is the not how to swim but how to float. You would be taught how to position your body in your surroundings so that you can master the art of weightlessness. The hundred metre sprinter will run in the same line over and over again but the triathlete has to face the open waters of the English Channel and their course is always new. He will never swim the same path twice. Not only will he never swim the same path but the conditions of which this kind of athlete swims in are always subject to change at any point. Whether they are facing the wind, coldness, darkness or strong waves they continue to swim to the end goal no matter the condition! The fact that they are subject to the uncertainty of the weather conditions means that they must be skilful in learning how to constantly change their strategy, make course corrections every few stroke, and routinely evaluate existing conditions in order to reach their finish line.  

I became like the person who had been placed in the swimming pool for the first time and I was so reactive it's almost embarrassing to talk about but the truth is that I was so focused on becoming a father that I hadn't given much thought to actually being a dad! I was like a Triathlete who buys all the specialist gear but hasn't yet learned how to manoeuvre himself through the waves of the English Channel. He looks the part but he really doesn't have a clue what he is doing! We had everything we needed and was prepared for when daughter finally arrived, however, I needed to learn a few new basic skills that would allow me to continue to compete at this stage of my parenting triathlon. I've had to learn skills like how to selflessly lead and put the needs and wants of my family before mine, how to be adaptable when life throws me a wave that comes a little bit higher and crashes a little bit harder than usual and, how to "exercise patience when progress isn't yet visible" Tweet this! and I'm going against the tide of "normality".   

 

  

Strength  

noun  

“The capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.”  

synonyms: robustness, sturdiness, firmness, toughness, soundness, solidity, solidness, durability, stability; impregnability, resistance  

A triathlete will train and strengthen many different muscles in his body because the events he takes part in requires him to use almost every ounce of strength his body possesses.  In order for a triathlete to compete in a triathlon, he doesn't just show up and rely on pure physical strength. He understands that if he is to compete at his optimum level it requires him to live a certain lifestyle. This means they have to avoid eating the kind of junk food that they once loved. They can't party hard and stay up late like they use to. They can not afford to miss a day of training and in some cases, they have to be denied sexual activity before a race (parallel beyond belief lol!). This takes a massive amount of strength. Similarly, a father's strength is tested in every area of his parenting life.   

I like to think a father's role is like a well-built house, protecting all those under its shelter from the elements. Whether it rains heavy, it’s cold outside or the winds are stronger than ever, this well-built house keeps those within it protected. It’s a father’s strength that provides protection for his family against the financial, emotional or even spiritual storms when they come! His strength makes sure that nothing causes his family permanent discomfort or serious harm. We never really notice what the weather is like unless we step outside and such is the case with a strong fathers children. His protection shields his family so well that they are unaware of what exactly they are being protected from. The kind of strength a father needs to protect his loved ones is not always that of brute strength but often requires his mental strength. It takes a great deal of mental strength to be the example as it often requires a man to deny himself some of the things he may want to have or do. Just as the triathlete denies himself unhealthy foods that prevent him from becoming his best, a father trains himself to stay away from the things that will ultimately prevent him from competing at his best. It takes a strong supporting father/father figure to build strong children. "A father's strength makes all the difference in a child's life." Tweet this!  

 

  

Endurance  

noun  

"The ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”  

synonyms: toleration, bearing, tolerance, sufferance, fortitude, forbearance, patience, acceptance, resignation, stoicism, stamina, staying power, fortitude, perseverance, persistence, tenacity   

Triathlons are the pinnacle of endurance testing sports. Each leg of the race pushes the athlete to the limit and it takes a huge amount of endurance. A triathlete has to seriously work on conditioning his mind to never give up.  They have a long journey ahead of them and although this kind of athlete requires a certain amount of physical strength, the triathlon, in reality, is really a test of will power more than their physical ability. Being a father is very similar. At the very least, your investment of time and energy will be spent over the first 16 years but it doesn't stop there. Just when you think your race is done, the gears simply change and you're pushing towards the next leg of the race.   

I've never had the pleasure of competing in a triathlon nor have I done any regular forms of endurance training, however, in my former years I was no stranger to the gym. I always found that whenever I went to the gym and worked out by myself I always lacked the drive to push that last set of weights out even though I know that It's often that last set that's the difference between a good workout and a great workout! I wish I had the drive to get that last set out independently, however, I know that if I really want to push myself then I will find a training or sparring partner that will challenge me to push "ONE MORE!!!" I've found that in learning more about fatherhood I'm having to team up with other guys that I can be accountable to help endure some of the heavyweights that come with the job.   

I once heard that when we feel like giving up because we've "given our best" we normally only given about 20% and have 80% more to give. Whatever stage of the journey you're currently at, being a dad is a tough job and when you feel like you've given it everything and you feel like throwing in the towel, you've got ask yourself ‘Can I give more?’. If you dig deep you'll find the answer is usually: ‘Yes’. Tweet this! This is when our endurance will help us stick it out to the end and keep going because THIS is one race we cannot afford to not finish.    

  

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What are your thoughts? What's your favourite sporting analogy and how does it relate to your journey as a father?

 

Credits: Massive thanks to David Powell for the awesome photo used for the title of this article.  

Most of us men just want to do good by our families. We aim to become better as fathers, but, a lot of us are just winging it as we try to figure this thing out. The truth is, we seldom know exactly where to go to get the proper advice and help we need in order to learn HOW to become the fathers that our children need. This isn't because there's a shortage of good examples out there but rather decades have been spent shining the spotlight so brightly on the bad ones that perhaps we've forgotten the true value and the magnitude of all the good examples out there for us to draw advice and support from. It's human nature for us to end up reflecting the examples we see, so, I am on a journey to becoming more intentional about surrounding myself with great examples of what good parenting looks like. I want to know what makes a good father. I initially thought that being a good man qualifies us to be a good father however I have discovered that the two are quite a bit different. There's an added weight of responsibility that comes with the title "Father". Well, I wanted to find out what exactly makes a good father and even though I know many great dads, my father being one of my all-time favourite examples, I wanted to look at this guy my dad used to tell me about called Adam. I never quite caught his last name but it's irrelevant either way as it was his father's parenting style that in all honesty, truly spiked my interest.   

Adam’s dad was extremely organised and had a knack for doing things in a certain order and it was no different when it came to the parenting methods used on his son. When it comes to bringing a child into this world most of us dads will make sure that we move heaven and earth to make sure that we’ve decorated the room, prepared a crib, filled it with teddy bears and other animal toys and we’ll make sure that we’ve created a clean and safe environment for our child to live in and this dad was no different. He wanted to make sure that everything was all good well in advance of his son’s arrival. (Take a moment to let that sink in) I had to think back at some of the things my dad took the time to think about and prepare for me before I was around! I find it incredible to now know and understand that a good father has his children in mind even before they are even born. #Grateful! Anyway… I wanted to share 5 focus areas I found in Adam's dad's parenting style that makes him a great example of a good Father. Here are, what I like to call the 5R’s:  

  

  

Relationship   

A father’s relationship with his child is one of the most important relationships a child will EVER have. There was a REAL father-son-relationship! They spent the time talking with each other.  It’s quite typical these days to see a father-son-relationship that is more reflective of a peer-to-peer friendship but this is not the kind of relationship that a child needs from a father. They will have many opportunities to find that kind of relationship with the friends they meet as they grow.  The kind of relationship a child should be exposed to is that of a loving mother and father.  I remember before our daughter was born I would spend time talking to my wife's belly in hope that the baby would hear my voice and know who I was without even seeing me.  When she was born I then spent a lot of time holding her in my arms and talking to her even though she could not yet respond or understand what I was saying. My wife always says she know our daughter better than I do and to be fair she’s not wrong but the reality is that it’s important  for me to keep that dialog going to make sure that I’m on a continual journey of walking and talking with my child so that I can create a bonded relationship. Becoming a father who’s consistent in communicating is key. How we communicate our love, instructions and discipline, plays an integral part of building a solid relationship with our children. A relationship between a father and his children is the one relationship that, when all other relationships fail, our kids can count on us to be there no matter what.  

  

  

Responsibility   

It's a father's responsibility to give his child age appropriate responsibilities early on. I learned that Adam was given responsibilities right off the bat! Do we wait too long to give our children a level of responsibility that's in line with their age? When I was younger we used to have to learn how to cut the grass, cook food, clean my room and learn to make my own money. I can now see that when my father gave me a responsibility what he was actually doing is give me the opportunity to expand, stretch and grow myself through cultivating something or someone else. I've heard the notion that kids should be kids and that we don’t need to give our children any responsibilities as they will have plenty of responsibilities when they grow up, get a job and get a partner, however, when a father introduces his child to having responsibilities from a young age it helps to build a tolerance to it so that as and when the responsibilities increase, they will be ready and prepared for that added weight. In fact, it’s very much like lifting weights. You would never go to a gym to work out for the first time and try to bench press 200kg. You start off light then work your way up. I’ve learned that when an adult struggles with the weight of responsibility as they grow older it’s often as a result of not being exposed to a gradual increase of responsibilities from child to adult. Our kids shouldn’t be overloaded with responsibilities but a few light weights help build strength and character.  

  

  

Rules   

A father who put rules in place creates a healthy respect for laws and structures. These boundaries are created to teach self-control and discipline, however, It’s increasingly popular to follow the notion that rules are a bad thing because it limits what child can to and can potentially do, it restrict their freedom and stunt their growth into adulthood. Rules provide a structure to the direction of growth and prevent anarchy and lawlessness. It’s almost as if we can sometimes be afraid of the word “rule” because that makes us the ruler! Have you ever seen a young tree planted in close proximity to other trees without a guard to protect it from damage? Or perhaps a tree that’s been planted without a stake to support and strengthen the tree until its anchor roots grow? This just doesn’t happen because what could be perceived as a restriction is actually there to aid the growth of a strong, well-rooted tree. Without rules all we are left with is anarchy. A good father will teach his child to work within the parameters of rules!   

  

  

Repercussions  

A good father teaches his children that there are consequences, both good and bad, for their actions. As Sir Isaac Newton so eloquently put it “To every action is an equal and opposite reaction.” A father understands that the opposite reaction to acts of disobedience is a repercussion such as a loss of privileges. It's really is just a lesson in science! Lol! I grew up hearing catchphrases like "If you put your hand in fire, you'll get burned" or another some might be more familiar with "If you can't hear, you must feel!" I had the full understanding that if I did something wrong, I would have to pay a price and that really helped to prepare me for the "real world". A father gifts his children with the abundant gift of grace, however, in the real world we don’t always get second chances and so it’s important to make sure that our children understand from a young age that there are expectations required of them and repercussions for their actions.  When we only focus on rewarding our children and neglect to enforce consequences when appropriate, we miss an opportunity to clearly communicate to our child what NOT to do.  

  

  

Redemption   

No matter how great the punishment, a father’s love is always greater. I can’t count the number of times I have wronged my father! I have not always been obedient to what he has asked of me and I have sometimes time things that conflict how I was raised, however, despite what I have done I’m always shown love with open arms. I have never been disowned or felt rejected as a result of my negative actions. It’s the kind of love that tells me that when I do wrong I will be reprimanded for my actions but ultimately  no matter what I do in life I will always have the love and care from my father. I remember one incident when I made up a lie to my dad when I was a kid and it was such a dumb lie but it really hurt my dad. It was the worst lie of all time for me to make up (if there is such a thing as the worst lie) Over a decade later I still felt guilty and very much accountable for my words all them years back and I managed to pluck up the courage in 2012 to finally ask for forgiveness. Here’s the thing, after I said what I had to say and got it off of my chest my father simply said “Thank you son, but, I forgave you a long time ago! I never even held it against you!” That was such a powerful experience for me because it truly taught me that a good father will always offer redemption to his children and wipe the slate clean when they mess up! I was punished for the things I said and done however the amount of love my father showed me never once wavered.  

  

  

Conclusion  

I've personally found these 5R’s to be a great point of reference that has helped me to assess areas in my parenting style that could be developed. I often have to stop and think, "Am I cultivating the right kind of relationship that teaches my daughter about responsibilities and rule? Am I teaching my child that there are repercussions to her actions but most of all, my love redeems all?" I often get it wrong and have messed up in certain areas of parenting, however, because I make sure that I'm connected with other fathers who I can use as good points of reference, I'm able to assess where and how I could become better as a father. They say that there aren’t enough good fathers out there but I still see a good amount of fathers who are doing good by their wives, family and their children so I struggle to agree because I’m now surrounded by them!  Here’s how I see it: The moment I take an interest in something new like a car, all of a sudden I start to see more of them popping up. The fact is that car didn’t just start to pop up more but rather I’m starting to notice it more because I’m more aware of its existence and now I’m alerted every time I see that car go past. We are drawn to the things that we focus on. I wonder what is our focus on this father’s day? There are some great examples of what being a good father looks like. I’m on a journey to find even more examples of them so that I can become the best father I can be! Today I focus on Adam’s dad for the 5R’s but I salute and respect my Father for being such a shining beacon and an absolute legend, and all of the good father out there. It is my hope that the spotlight is directed your way for all to see because a good father makes all the difference in a child's life. He's a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and, oftentimes, thankless but still he continues to serve those under his care with a willing heart. A good father’s reward is found in the character of the well-adjusted children he raises.

We spend months and sometimes even years planning every single minutiae detail for that big day is finally with upon us and we finally say those two life changing word... "what now?" Many of us have fallen into the trap of spending more time planning our wedding day than we spend planning our actual life of marriage. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be meticulous about whether white roses or ivory tulips would make a better table centrepiece, I'm sure those options may be a challenge for some couples to overcome, however, by keeping the bigger picture in full view it can help put things into perspective and help prioritise your planning. Here are some things every couple should seriously consider spending some quality time planning together.

 

 

What's the greater purpose?

It's important to first establish what the greater purpose of your union is? It seems like a silly question to even ask but think about it, other than some of our innate human desires like sex and attaining a sense of belonging, who else does our relationship benefit? Sometimes we look at our marriage from an insular perspective. We look at what we can get from it. "How will it benefit me?" Start thinking about what you have to add to the relationship for the long-term and how does that impact your partner and your greater circle of influence. There is a greater purpose in giving so consider what your marriage will provide for your children and even your community.

 

 

What are your Relationship Goals?

Goal setting! Put some milestones in place from now and keep the wheels in motion. If there is nothing to strive for then there will be no need for ambitious thinking and the relationship will become stale and stagnant because of a lack of progression. I made the mistake of only planning on buying a car, a house, getting married and then having kids. I didn't think beyond that. Once I ticked most of these off of my check list I was left thinking "what now?" but I can honestly say that at first I didn't have a clue. So I had to start growing my capability to have a vision beyond today and start making some plans and setting some real relationship goals.

 

 

What's in the pot?

Get a financial budget together for where you currently are financially and where you aim to be to facilitate your goals. Sit down together and put it all on the table. Your individual incomes, outgoings, debt... all of it. Put it all on a spreadsheet and then start to think about possible scenarios that may arise in the future. Challenge yourself from early on in the relationship to take on the financial commitments so that you put yourself in a position of being the bread winner. Some would lead us to believe that this is an egotistical approach to finances within a marriage however it is very much for the benefit of the family. If you rely on a joint income then, unless your wife has her own self-generating business that doesn't require her full-time attention, taking time off of work to care for a newborn may create a financial struggle. By becoming a breadwinner it will allow you to create a financial shield for your family when they need it most. 

 

 

What are your parenting practices?

We understand the importance of becoming a husband before we are actually married as this acts as our training ground for marriage, however, we often miss the opportunity to take the same approach when it comes to having kids. Most couples have an idea of when they would like to start having children (most, like me, get that completely wrong) however we can sometimes fail to take the time to practice parenthood before we become responsible for another life that % reliant on us getting it right. If your parenting styles are not in agreement then you risk raising children who will become conflicted as a result of the discord within your parenting styles. Try having an open line of communication with your partner about how you were raised and enquire into how she was raised also. This open discussion will highlight your areas of strength and weakness and allow you to put a plan of action together and come to an agreement before taking on one of the biggest responsibilities you may ever have in life.

 

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What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

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