Personally, my family (and I consider my exwife to be part of my family) is very important to me. I wouldn't go back and change a thing. It provided me with some of the most rewarding moments I've had in life, along with some of the most challenging. It is a roller coaster ride of epic proportions.
I didn't really know what marriage was all about. I got married in 1995, the woman I was seeing got pregnant, I was in my early 30's and did the "let's get married" thing without too much thought as to what being a Husband and Father was really all about. Well, I'm here to tell you, it's not puppies and rainbows. All of a sudden, you have other people that you need to take care of, protect, provide for and love. You will give more of yourself to this single relationship (talking family here) than you will to anything else in your life - and it can suck the life right out of you if you're not staying on top of things 24x7.
In the MS, there is lots of talk about Frame or Controlling the Frame -- guess what, that doesn't go away when you get married, in fact, the energy you will use to keep your Frame will actually go up. Athol Kay writes about it, Rollo writes about, others write about it - if you are looking to be married, or are married - you need to read and re-read everything you can about being the Man within your marriage, how to keep your wife happy, how to control your kids, how to balance your life with work, friends and family.
I got tired in my marriage. I wanted my (x)wife to step up and help. I wanted things to be easier. And eventually, the marriage ended - but the family remains. I have spent the last 3 years exploring what it's like to be a single Dad and an exhusband. I have re-examined my priorities about what it's like to be a Man in the world today. I have re-focused myself on being at the center of my life - while remaining vigilant and aware of the people that are orbiting me.
All that said, here's a three point list to keep your mind - simple and to the point ...
- Never loose sight of who you are at the core. If married and with kids, you have taken on two new roles - that of Husband and Father. BUT NEVER lose that thing inside you that makes you YOU. If you do, it's a quick path to loosing the rest of your life.
- Lead your family. You will never be happy in your marriage, if you are not the leader of your family. Almost all Men will go through this, those little side steps and inconsequential decisions where we give a bit of the leadership away. It is a very, very heavy load you are taking on, but never believe that your wife is better at leading and making decisions than you are. You are CEO, the Captain, the General, the ultimate decision maker. The buck stops with you - take that responsibility seriously.
- Take care of yourself - mind, body and spirit. Once again, this can be tough. Things get in the way - but if you are not taking care of yourself, you will never be the BEST Man, Husband, Father you could be. Work out, have male friends, have your own activities, read, learn, meditate, think. Continue to exercise your whole being. No wife, son or daughter wants or desires a fat, dumb and lazy husband or father.
OK - done for now. There's more, and I'll probably put more up at a future time.
Eyes front Gentlemen. Live, Learn, Lead.