May 2, 2008

The Next Generation

When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I was struck by how often older guys who were already dads would make negative remarks about it. It wasn't that they were trying to discourage me. It was just that, given the opportunity to speak to a "new guy" from their experience as dads, they almost couldn't resist letting me know what a drag it could be or warning me about all the stuff I was soon going to be missing out on.

If we're not careful, we can be the same way when it comes to getting married. You've been married for several years, or maybe even just a few months, but in that time your marriage has had its ups and downs. Then along comes some starry-eyed young guy who is in love and looking forward to his wedding day and the blissful life that he'll have with his new bride. Do you sometimes find yourself wanting to deflate his bubble just a little bit? Maybe wanting to make sure he's clued in to the disappointments he's sure to face?

Catch yourself in these times. We husbands have a responsibility to mentor, encourage, and equip the next generation of guys that follows us. Instead, we sometimes can't seem to resist squelching the enthusiasm (or feeding the uncertainty) of these younger grooms.

There is a time and place for having a down-to-earth conversation with a groom-to-be about the realities of marriage, but casual, off-handed comments are not the place for it. These guys have a chance to start their marriages on the right foot and be the best husbands they can be. Let's make sure that what they're hearing from us is only furthering their desire to do that.


— Another Husband

7 comments:

  1. Great post, Another! :o)

    This is something I have often thought about because it can sound so discouraging to new husbands.

    When I was a newlywed I was so thankful for healthy marriages around me because they showed me that not all marriages end up in unhappiness. They don't all end up like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. If all you hear when you get married is how bad it's going to be, then you go into with that mindset.

    We need to encourage those who are coming behind us, not discourage them.

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  2. Excellent point. It's so easy to want to do that, even in a well-meaning context. There's a fine line between tossing cynicism at a young man and providing edifying mentoring. It's a good idea to catch yourself, as you said, and instead consider whether your comment to the young guy is going to help him be a better dad and husband.

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  3. Tom,
    What an excellent way to say it -- "There's a fine line between tossing cynicism at a young man and providing edifying mentoring." A well worded way to summarize what I was trying to say. Thanks!

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  4. great post!

    this is so true for both men and women... i, like "a husband", am extremely greatful for the healthy and happy marriages around me and blogs like this... if it weren't for those marriages, i would surely be divorced now and we haven't even been married for one month yet!

    your stance here is truly admirable and i appreciate it and i'm sure your wife does too!

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  5. The critical part of me wants to tell those "older guys" to stuff it! If married life or parenthood is that bad, they should have stayed single or kept it in their pants. With very few exceptions these days we become husbands and parents only by our own choice. Once the choice has been made, stop whining and and make the best of what should be golden opportunities for joy.

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  6. Bella and Bald Man, thanks for your feedback, both of you.

    I didn't take the space in the post to mention one other thing ... your wife will either overhear, or hear from someone else, the way you talk about the married life. Even if you think you're not talking about your marriage specifically, your wife will take your comments as being how you feel about your marriage with her. So consider your remarks as an opportunity to invest in your relationship with her!

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  7. I was surrounded by unhappy families, unhappy comments about marriage, my parents' divorce after terrible life they had (and at last they divorced, goosh, they should have done it much earlier..)

    Same story with my husband.

    But we did it :D I dont know, may be my marriage wont last that long, maybe it will, one I know for sure - we will divorce BEFORE we hate each other, not after...

    Now he tries to encourage folks around him. And I do it too. Our marriage is some kind of motivator for many - "look, they are so different, but still so happy, maybe marriage is not that bad?" :D

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