It was a mistake… It didn’t mean anything… I was weak.
These are phrases that break a family apart. We watch it over and over again as a husband allows himself to slowly creep down the not-so-slippery slope of infidelity. We learn amazing ways to justify what leads us into these situations, and try to say we were forced into it, or it came out-of-the-blue. The truth is, we’d only like people to think we are that inept when it benefits us.
I watched two shows on two separate networks last night with two separate scenarios that had the same conclusion: the husband cheated on his wife. One tried to downplay the importance of the event without realizing the gravity of his actions. The other did his best to justify his actions as being somehow beneficial to his family relationships. Either way, the excuses are the same.
Our culture seems to be accepting that men will cheat on their spouses. We make excuses for them, and we try to help them justify it and then act like they will just do better next time. We are shown what it means to be Men, but that definition in our culture is incomplete. We are taught to be providers, protectors, and we are taught to be jealous of anyone around our possessions… I mean spouse. We are not taught to build trust, to invest in our committed relationships, nor to ask for help when we are feeling weak.
There is a saying that gets thrown around all the time, and it’s that “Any idiot can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a Dad.” This is a great saying, as long as we don’t use an incomplete definition of Manhood. There is so much more involved in being a dad. Everything is more stressful, more fulfilling, and more meaningful. You don’t just build a retirement, you build a legacy. The Golden Rule now impacts generations. You must treat your wife the way you want your daughter(s) to expect to be treated by the future boys/men in her life. Also, you must act towards others the way you want your son(s) to act towards others in his life.
– – – As a husband and a father, everything means more… Everything. – – –
Even when I look away from Hollywood’s version of marriage and I see what has happened in the relationships of my friends and family members, I see the ruins of broken homes. As men we don’t understand what the role of Dad truly means. We are the stabilizing force in the home, or the tornado that rips it to pieces. Young girls grow up with Daddy Issues, which is a term that has almost become a joke. Young boys grow up unable to determine if they’ve become a man according to an actual example, and instead look to movies and the internet to see if they have reached manhood. Have you ever googled Manhood? Do it, and see how confusing the results would be to a teenage boy without a Dad around to steer him onto the correct path.
I would love to conclude this article with “3 Easy Steps To Stay Married“, but its not that simple. In order to remain in a committed relationship with another person, you must learn to communicate effectively, to compromise without resentment, and to find help for your own shortcomings. After that, you have to continue to work at them.
Being a man, being a husband, and being a Dad are all hard jobs, but they’re worth it when you put the work into doing it right.