“Be a man for your family.”
That is what my dad told me the day of my wedding. That was great advice. The only problem was I didn’t know what that truly meant, or better yet, what being a man for my family looked like.
When I first began blogging a couple years ago, I thought it’d be a great way to share the struggles I was going through in the most important relationships in my life to help me deal with those struggles better. I wasn’t very good at being a man for my family. My marriage almost didn’t last the first year, and like many dads, I was clueless about the whole fatherhood thing.
My hope was that I’d learn, through sharing my experiences in my writing, how to better love my wife and lead my kids. I also believed this would help other men who were struggling with the same things. To say I’ve learned a lot is an understatement.
I’ve learned about myself, my wife, my kids, and other men who desire the same things for their family. Below are 3 things that have helped me get better at being a man for my family. It’s my hope that these things will help all men do the same.
1. You want a man who gives
One of the biggest problems in our relationship when we first got married was selfishness. I had the wrong idea about what marriage was really about. I had pretty much gotten what I wanted when I wanted it up to that point, and I thought marriage would be more of the same.
Nope. I had to give as much, if not more, than I was receiving in our marriage. As a “taker” our relationship was dying. Once I realized this and got intentional about being a giver, things began to change.
2. You want a man who encourages
This is a rule for relationships in general. Think of the relationships you’ve had, or still have, where the other person is discouraging. Talk about the life being sucked out. Discouraging people are draining.
I didn’t realize initially how much of a difference it made in our marriage. There were times I was discouraging and didn’t know it. Those were bad times. Then there were times where I was or said the encouragement she needed to hear. Those times were good.
This quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe sums it up: “The way you treat people is what they become.” When I encouraged my wife with words and actions, she lived up to it and returned the favor to me.
3. You want a man who teaches
I’m not talking about a sixth-grade math teacher. I’m talking about a man who seeks to learn from his successes, failures, and the successes and failures of others — then applies them. He first applies them to his life, then he begins to share them with you, your kids, and the other important people in your lives.
This is a man with goals, dreams, and a desire to always be a better husband for you and a better father for your kids. My writing can be considered teaching, but the lessons I’ve learned from preparing to teach and from paying more attention to how things are going have been invaluable.
Ultimately, being a man for your family is rooted in giving, encouraging, and teaching. Fellas, if your relationship is struggling, you should start by creating a foundation based on those three things. Ladies, this is where you should start when considering what you want in a man. When it’s there, your relationship will have the pieces it needs to be fulfilling and lasting.