For the three years, this man has worked on being a better husband, father, and man. He’s let his actions speak louder than his words.
I know what you’re thinking, “Talk is cheap.” Yes, I know, which is why I waited to write this article. I’ve spent the last three years working on growing as a husband, father, and a man. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m perfect or that I even have if all figured out, but there has been a noticeable difference in these areas of my life.
For most of our marriage and fatherhood, I don’t think I was much of a man. I lived my life for what I wanted and desired. This led to an affair, weight gain, out of control finances, me disappearing, and a bunch of other problems. I honestly don’t know why my wife decided to stay with me.
She did, and I realized I had to grow up if my life would amount to anything. It’s been a hard three years. I have learned a lot but know my education continues. I’m constantly learning how to be a better man and contribute more to society. Here are sevens things I’ve implemented over the last three years that have helped every area of my life.
1. Actively Listening. For 12 years of our marriage, I worked at a job I hated. For three of those years, I worked on building a business around writing, speaking, and coaching. This meant that I had to use my spare time working on the business. I would often write while the chaos of family was happening all around me. I learned to tune everyone and everything out. This was a good and bad habit.
Today, my dream supports our family, but I had to break the habit of tuning her out. I could look at my wife as she was talking to me, but in my mind I was somewhere else. In this last year, I have stop going to that other place and have been fully present while I talk to my love.
2. Putting Her Needs First. I have been a selfish person for as long as I can remember. In our marriage, I’ve been a selfish jerk. I always put my needs and wants first. During this time of self-improvement, I have consistently put what I wanted on the back burner and put my wife and children’s needs first. They are what’s important to me, and I’ve made an effort to show it.
3. Being a Better Father. I have absent for a good portion of my kid’s lives while they were younger. I can’t make up for lost time, but I can make sure I spend as much time as humanly possible with them right now. Luckily, they were young and didn’t realize everything that was going on. Today, I listen, play with them, help them with projects, and involve myself in their life. They know they can talk to me about anything, and we’ve grown closer.
4. Choosing Love Over Feelings. It took a long time to realize feelings come and go, but love is a decision you make every day. Instead of waking up and not “feeling” like I love my wife, I wake up each day and choose love through the actions I take. When I choose to put her first, when I choose to be a better man, when I choose not to lust other women, I’m choosing love.
5. Learning More About Sex. In the past, I have been a selfish lover and probably not that good—I don’t think my wife has given me an honest answer. In the last three years, I have read, learned, and practiced more intimacy and better foreplay. I have taken the time to arouse my wife mentally before we make love. Our sex life has gone from warm to the sheets being on fire and every session being a workout.
6. Respecting Boundaries. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. When I do something, I dive head first. This means that even though I have a business that gives me freedom, I have a hard time stopping. I’m working on something in my business all the time. In the last three years, I have stopped working at 5 pm. I have stopped working on the weekends, and I leave a lot of margin in my schedule for my family.
7. Letting Actions Be My Words. I talked and talked. I promised my wife everything under the sun over the years but didn’t do anything about it. This go-around, I didn’t promise, I let the actions I took be my words. I’m not done yet; I will keep taking the actions that prove my love.
The way that you can become a “better” man is improving yourself. You identify the areas of your life that you know you to make changes in, and you take action. You don’t make excuses; you face the hard choices, and you’re willing to learn. When you do, live becomes better for everyone around.
Making changes in your life isn’t easy. Changes take time, and you will probably fail somewhere along the way—that’s a part of your journey. If you’re committed to why you want to become better, you can overcome all the obstacles. Your wife, kids, and yourself deserve the best you can be.
How are you trying to become better?
Photo is author’s own.