Children And Role Models – Do Your Marital Actions Merit Respect?
Becoming a father was life changing for me. I did not fully understand what it would entail or where the journey would lead me. One thing that someone I knew once joked about with me was that my life would never be the same as I would never get to sleep “normally” again for the rest of my life. At the time I believe this bruised my ego somewhat as I do value getting a good night’s rest. That goes to show how I was all about me at that time and not thinking about what my daughter would need and want from me.
Children and role models go hand in hand. Your children and mine look to us for better or worse as their role models. Just as we did with our parents. I do not recall in any detail events from my past as a child where I looked to my parents for examples but I do know for a fact this need existed in me. It exists in our children too. Of all the ways we can influence our children’s future none I believe is MORE important than our marital actions with our spouse.
Stop and really think about it for a second, as an adult which relationship in your life affects you the most profoundly for better or worse? That’s right I know you are saying the one with your spouse. When things go great with your spouse you feel and act much better than you do when things are going poorly. This is why it is so important we as fathers make a conscious effort to do our best in our marriages everyday.
Effective Verbal Communication Skills
All successful relationships have at least one thing in common, they have great and effective verbal communication skills that are utilized by both partners. Being able to present your views, wants and needs clearly, without hostility or disrespect are essential if you want to make yourself understood.
Showing patience to your partner when they do not understand is important as well. You know your partners tendencies and how they listen best. If you are struggling to make yourself understood be gentle with your spouse and treat them as you would someone you just meet. Sometimes with our loved ones since we spend so much time together we believe in our minds they should understand our message the first time around.
Another thing you should be doing when talking with your spouse is providing your undivided attention. Do not attempt communicating if you are busy in your mind with other projects you have on the go. Your spouse will know instantly when you are not engaged one hundred percent.
How does this all relate to being a good role model for our children Jody? Children are always watching and listening even when we do not believe they are. They will hear and observe you when you believe they are not. So aside from it being a good to practice your own verbal communication skills for the health of your marriage it also benefits your children in what they hear and observe from you. Remember intentionally or not we are laying the foundations of what our children will come to expect. If in your relationship with your spouse you have been doing a less than you desire deep down it is never too late to renew your efforts, change your CULTURE and begin practicing better communication skills.
Our children will benefit from it as they will learn the lesson it is never too late to try something new. It’s never time to give up. Way too many people in our culture have accepted it is OK to end marriages or stay in it even when things are not where we want them. Together let us help change this narrative in our children’s mind.
Your Thoughts Become Your Actions
We all have things that bother us even if they are minor about our spouses. We must be careful though not to let them dominate our minds as eventually they will come out in one form or another. Healthy couples understand this and do their best to clear out such thoughts and keep any potentially unhealthy actions from entering their relationships.
Our children at this point may not understand how thoughts have the power to shape actions but they will observe and hear the actions you take within in your marriage. This again is setting part of their foundation that they will come to use as a benchmark for their own relationships as adults. Whether consciously done or not by them.
Do not beat yourself up if you have been less than you desire to be. If you feel your spouse’s actions are unwarranted work to understand your spouses wants and needs that most likely are driving those actions.
Remember: BABIES ARE BORN DESIRING LOVE, SECURITY AND SHELTER.
Disclaimer: I just want to point out that I am not advocating about putting up with physical/emotional abuse of any kind whether a man does it or a woman. If your health is in danger you should do everything possible to protect yourself.
As adults, we have a few more desires but our basics are still the same. And when they are not met our thoughts begin to affect our actions which affect our relationship with our spouse. This we pass onto our children.
Start today, it’s not too late to work to break the cycle.
A Labor With Love
We should be laboring from a place of love for our spouse. Do you work to satisfy her wants and needs? Or maybe have you gotten away from doing this ALL THE TIME like you did when you dated her?
Take preemptive action starting this moment, blow the love back into your relationship with your spouse. Take out the garbage without her asking. Pick up the dry cleaning so she can rest or do another one of the many daily tasks she does each day. Remind her of important appointments or places she has to be just to help ease the burden of mentally remembering EVERYTHING! Sweep and mop the floors. Talk with the noisy neighbor about keeping the noise down at night.
Think of things you know she hates doing and take that responsibility away from her.
The list of things you can be doing for your spouse can be an endless labor of love which she will eventually recognize in you doing. She will feel more at ease, more relaxed and sooner or later she will return the favor. It will be impossible for her not to return the favor.
As men, I believe we are built for laboring for love. We can take it, many men though have allowed themselves for a variety of reasons to become lazy and instead have the mentality of watching the games on Sunday.
Only Selfless Love
Instead we need to foster within ourselves a selfless love for our spouses. One where we always put her needs, wants and desires before our own. As fathers, we need to make this decision as a collective group so OUR CHILDREN know what to expect and be when they grow up to have their own relationships.
Too, too, too many of our parents generation accepted the message that it is OK to give up, get divorced or stay in an unhappy marriage. Too many of you who are now fathers yourselves lived through homes with a single mother or with unhappy parents staying together in your home.
I am not blaming our parents and even grandparents for how as a group they handled their marriages. It is most definitely not easy. I am only suggesting that you begin to live for your spouse with selfless love, look past the hurt, angry and frustration each of you feel and instead practice a selfless love. Jesus did this everyday he was alive for all those he came into contact with.
It’s our generations turn to leave our footprint on the next generation.
Let’s do everything possible to make the best out of our lives so our children know to never give up on their relationships, even when things get really in the dumps and they can not see the light of day despite it being midday.
Let’s show our children how improving communication with their spouse is a daily activity, teach them to learn how to manage their internal dialogue so it does not affect their actions, how husbands should labor with love for their spouse and do it with a selfless love.
I would love to hear your thoughts, if you are already applying the things we discussed and how it has been going for you.
Please share them in the comments below. If you would like to read more from my website about being a better father please click here.
Proud papa of two,