Saturday, November 09, 2013

Dads' Advice on Fatherhood - Part 1: Protect your marriage

I mentioned previously that I had asked a dozen fathers what their advice was for me as a new Dad.  The number one comment I received was that when you have children you should protect your marriage.

One friend said, "Make sure you have a strong marriage.  Don't neglect your wife because of the new addition ... ". One of my brothers reminded me to look after and cherish my wife as much as the baby and that the best gift I can give him is a happy, secure and loving family. 

Some people saw a strong correlation between protecting the marriage with setting a good example: "Love his Mum with all your heart. Know that He will learn how to treat a woman and how to be a husband by your behavior. Parents will sometimes disagree. Most stuff isn't really important. Know the difference and don't argue with your wife in front of your son."

One of my brothers advised me: "Look after and cherish your wife as much as your baby. One of the greatest gifts you can give your son is a happy, secure and loving family.  Always remember what (your wife) has given you and be there for her always."
It surprised me how some people said that I should actually make my wife a priority over and above my child. This is perhaps more about redressing the balance and being mindful of the importance of protecting marriage. 

One father said: "I cant emphasise enough that your marriage comes first, it comes before the kids – your marriage existed before your son and will live on long after your son has moved away from home – so make your wife your priority – not your son – a mistake many people make – but God calls you to love your wife as Christ loved the church (a scripture that is a hard one to live out on a daily basis – but critical for a strong marriage).  And from a physiological standpoint, the happiest children are the ones that know their parents' marriage is secure.  So be sure to keep things like going on dates as part of your marriage tradition - this is the first – and probably most important – piece of advice for a new father – as it is the opposite of what most people tend to do."

Although it seems counter intuitive to me, yet another friend said, "I have three pieces of advice about being a dad, love your son more than you love your self, love your wife more than you love your son and love God more than you love your wife." 

In my view it may not be helpful ranking ones child or wife in terms of which is more important but the message I received loud and clear is - when we're new to being a father, let's not forget to honour, protect and love our wives.

On the subject of protecting marriage, I would recommend that any man reads this excellent article on Michael Hyatt's blog on leadership entitled: What are you doing to protect your marriage?

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