Being a dad isn’t just about you and your kid. You didn’t birth that child, you didn’t carry that child, and you only had half of the input for how he or she was going to come out. You shared in making that baby, just as you share your home, and life together. Building a family takes time, and effort… from both sides.
Things have changed so much in the last 5 years of marriage for me. Those first 3 years were great, but not without major conflicts. And every marriage has their conflicts, two moving objects always create friction. As the husband and father, sometimes we have to initialize the effort. While I admit, I am not the best at this. I usually shut down and deal with issues on my own, that is simply not how a marriage, a partnership works. We are in this together, as a team. And when we work as a team we yield incredible results!
This list is far from inclusive and whether you are newlyweds or together for fifty years, this will help put your family on the right track.
- Money: The biggest cause of fights is sure to be money. Money is a great tool but can cause problems when each person keeps what is theirs and spends it on what they want. Having an open communication about money, though difficult, creates a great dialogue and enables you as a couple to accomplish goals together. This means compromising, talking about spending and weighing out wants vs needs. Money being the first on the list, does not mean that money is the most important thing in a relationship, in fact I feel that the spiritual aspect of each person should be aligned to pull each person together. Money is just the biggest stress factor when you and your spouse do not agree on it.
- Communication: Both partners need to be able to dish out and receive criticism with an open mind and heart. Realize that there is an issue when criticism is given and try to understand where your partner is coming from. You don’t have to like it, but rather than get instantly defensive, try and understand why your spouse feels this way.
- Compromise: While nobody likes not getting their way, or getting some mangled version of it; compromise is essential to a healthy marriage. It is fully a give and take situation. Each person must take turns getting their way, and when an agreement cannot be reached, a variation to please both parties is in order. This is a bit like bipartisan politics, except that a conclusion has to be reached. If necessary take a break and come back later to finish discussions.
- Leadership: Whether or not you are the head of your household is up to you and your spouse. But someone has to be. Someone has to make decisions to pay bills, and put their foot down for extreme situations. That person has to show leadership tendencies. They have to be able to think fast, and adapt in dangerous situations. But they also have to lead by example. They cannot expect their spouse to do what they agree on, if they themselves don’t abide by the rules that the couple has initiated.
- Time: This is critical. You have to spend time together. This is EXTREMELY difficult when one person is upset at the other, which is why this one is last on my list. You may have to fix the money issues, talk about things that are tough, come to conclusions on how to deal with those issues, ultimately make a decision and stand by it, before you can spend real time with one another.
Building a family is difficult, and it is up to you to lay down the foundation.
Being Dad means having the courage to build your family.