This June will make it 19 years since I conned a pretty woman into marrying me. While that may not be long compared to some couples (like my parents who have been married for 40+ years), it’s nearly half my life span. I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things in that time about women, love, being a husband and father, and life in general and wanted to share some of those lessons in hopes that someone else may benefit from my mistakes. I should say experience, but most of that experience came from me making mistakes, so, there you go.
1. Marriage is hard. I don’t mean hard as in “bad”, but hard as in “requires constant work and attention”. A marriage doesn’t just naturally evolve into something good and wholesome. It takes continuous effort to get it to that state and then it takes effort to keep it there. I’ve noticed that whenever I get feeling comfortable and thinking that everything is okay, I start to slack in my efforts to be a good husband and father. Soon enough, my wife and kids are wondering why I act like I don’t care about them anymore and call me out on it. I’ve realized people need to be told that I love them every day, they need to be hugged every day, house chores need to be done every day, and so on. If ever you find yourself coasting in a marriage, you need to stop and get back to work if you hope to keep improving it.
2. My wife and kids require a lot of my time. Before I got married, I had all kinds of time to do whatever hobby or activity I wanted. I could watch T.V. all day, eat out at night, sleep until noon and repeat. It was great. After getting married and having five kids, however, I’ve found the time to do whatever I want has effectively vanished. Instead, I’m building something for a project my wife is working on, playing a game with my kids, attending a sporting or school event, cleaning the house, or doing yard work. Having a family, like a marriage, requires work and attention. The good news is that, despite the bad days (and there are many), it’s all worth it.
3. Kids, at any age, are smart. Hardly a day goes by where I’m not surprised by my kids’ ingenuity. I’ve come home to my fourteen year old building shelves inside of a bike tire, my ten year old building a spear to go bobcat hunting, or my five year old creatively stacking chairs so she can use the microwave to heat up some leftovers. Did I teach her to use the microwave? Nope. She watched people use it until she figured it out. It’s easy to forget that my kids are…