Welcome to episode 33 of Destination Marriage, I’m Tommy flying solo today – Jackie has the day off – she just busted her butt yesterday making another amazing Valentine’ breakfast – this was the first one without our oldest son. But I am really thankful you have joined me on this journey today.
Men - Gut check time - Talking to myself first and foremost. This is sort of a verbal journal entry about something that’s really been on my heart recently. Little back story - I’ve been trying over the past couple of years to push myself with running and it’s really difficult for me. I’m not a natural runner and I’m still waiting for this quote Runner’s high I keep hearing about. But, I will say that when I do run – especially outside at night, is that it’s the most focused time in my day. I’m finding that during that time, the responsibilities that I’m neglecting or not doing a good job with hit me like a ton of bricks. …… I am actually enjoying running for the first time in my life – which is a real surprise as I’ve always seen running as punishment or simply to prepare for a sport’s season.
I’m not a trained counselor or therapist by any means, but I have stepped in it more times than not over the past twenty years of marriage so at a minimum at least listen to me as a cautionary tale of what not to do and what I have learned.
Ok so what has been on my mind. There are two things I want to talk to myself and to the men listening. They both focus on realizing how much impact we have on the temperature of our own homes, our children and our wives. Both of these are personal Gut Checks and also challenges to us men.
One of our listeners told us he plays our podcast in the shop where he works, and a lot of the guys listen in. He told us there are a lot of guys sharing some of the challenges in their marriages. As I was running the other night, this group of men who I’ve never met suddenly were on my heart. So, this one is for me and you. I love you guys and want the best for your children, your homes and your marriages.
The first gut check for me is to realize when I’m being a coward in my own home and the need for me to personally step up. What do I mean by that?
I listened to a recent sermon by John gray of relentless church in SC. He is focusing right now on Intentionality in your lives and he mentioned this idea of being a Peacemaker vs peacekeeper and it hit me – that frames perfectly what I’ve been mentally struggling with how I act a lot of times in my own home.
I’ve convinced myself that being a peacekeeper is wise and yes often times it is, but the hard truth for me is that many times when I say I just want peace, what I’m really doing is chickening out on my responsibilities as a father and husband. Too often what happens as a result is while I’m “saying I just want peace”, I’m all the while letting outside influences or people hurt my wife emotionally. Not physical hurt – let’s be honest that’s easy
That’s why I love the term peacemaker because it denotes the intentionality that’s necessary to create peace. Most of the time that is going to mean putting myself in front of my wife or children and protecting them and creating peace by having difficult conversations or cutting people out of our lives that don’t have our best interests in their hearts. It’s about protecting my children’s and my wife’s spirits and hearts in order to create peace.
I’ll ask you men – is that something you need to self-reflect on? Be a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper.
The second personal gut check was not some huge revelation, but honestly a recent and emotional realization that really stung and brought me down for a while. That was a recent learned how much impact I have in my home and how I truly set the emotional temperature for my home.
Ok so you may say to me but Tommy you don’t understand. My wife does xyz or treats me like a kid all of the time. So........What do you do with that. Personally, I tend to use a couple of options. You can do what I do a lot and fire back and get really angry and mumble something about how you’re the man and you deserve respect. Let me know how that works for you. Tends to end in an ice cold bed in my experience. You could pout and isolate. I’m the king of that one. That always ends with my wife seeking me and out and groveling at my feet professing her undying love and respect for me. Well maybe in my imagination. What is more the case and rightly so is she ends up digging in as now I’m really acting like the child. Ring true to anyone.
A third option and one that I am trying to focus on is growing thicker skin and realize that a lot of what I get from my kids or from Jackie is a direct reflection of how I am acting in the home towards them. Frankly I need to suck it up while I try to reorient how I act in the home. Back to the point about being intentional – I’m going to focus on proactively being more emotionally supportive, keeping a loving tone towards my wife, and positive, uplifting support for my children.
I believe that if I am consistent in protecting their hearts by being a peacemaker and constantly gauging the temperature of my home and reacting accordingly, then the respect and love will be given back to me in droves.
Back to the gut check, the truth is regardless if that happens or not, it’s my responsibility as the husband and father of my home to do that and I am committed to being intentional about improving my own home.
So, men please consider where you’re at in your marriage and what the temperature is of your homes. What steps could you proactively take or what things could you stop doing that would build up and protect your homes?
As I mentioned at the top, I’m not a trained professional, but if you would like to discuss privately, please Direct Message me on our Destination Marriage Instagram or Facebook and I would be more than happy to speak with you in confidence. I know that it’s hard to self-reflect and to admit to other men you have emotional things that need changing, but I promise you that the other side of that valley is much brighter if you do.
Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts today and until next time, I hope each of you has a fantastic week, bye.