Will I Be a Good Husband? (Loving A Workaholic is Hard)

0 Posted by - December 10, 2009 - Relationships, Love & Marriage

Al Bundy

A few weeks back I had dinner with an old flame named Tiffany. She and I went out for a few months but life got hectic for both of us and we wound up traveling down separate romantic paths. Call it bad timing. Despite our failed courtship, we still maintain a solid friendship and have an overall good rapport.

After months of canceled plans, Tiffany and I finally got a chance to catch up face-to-face. We wound up having a real grown folks kind of conversation. In addition to the typical fodder about work, family and current events, we got into some real heavy dialogue as well.

At some point in the conversation I revealed one of my greatest fears—not being a good father to my child/children. It’s not that I see myself as the type of dude to shun his responsibilities or not being a good role model, but in case you haven’t noticed by the amount of effort I put into this blog I’m an admitted workaholic. I’m an imperfect perfectionist who recognizes his own imperfections.

With that said, I’ve always worried that my diehard dedication to my craft(s) would somehow make me an emotionally distant father. You know, someone that’s there physically in the home but mentally off somewhere else thinking of a blog topic or whatever career-related distraction that’d take my focus away from my offspring.

“You know what,” Tiffany responded. “I think you’ll be a great father. Not only are you a good guy, but you’re aware of it so I don’t see you letting that happen… I’m more worried about your wife.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I have a feeling your wife is the one that might eventually get neglected.”

Wow!

Tiffany’s words traveled from him lips, across the table, into my ears and sunk into the depths of my soul.

Will I be a bad husband?

With all these years spent worrying about ignoring my future offspring, I’ve never given much thought to doing the same to my future wife and mother of my children. I never thought about being a bad husband.

Damn, I’ve been ignoring her already. :(

My fears about failed parenthood—at least emotionally—stem from my lack of a real relationship with my father. There’s no need to rehash what I’ve already written HERE, HERE and HERE about my father, but let’s just say he’s the cause of much of my emotional baggage and has been my inspiration to be a better man by being nothing like him.

Back in September, fellow blogger Belle wrote a post called “Fatherless Men,” where she referenced an article written by a woman that pondered why more women of color didn’t query their potential husbands about whether or not they grew up with a stable male father figure in their life.

Belle agreed with certain points of the article and even admitted that she used to have a “rule” about only dating men that came from two-parent homes. Over time, she adjusted her outlook on male suitors to a case-by-case basis but said, “I won’t date any guy—absentee father or not— who didn’t have a male role model or idolizes a shitty one.”

Despite being the product of a single parent household, I did have a grandfather that was very influential male figure in my life. I’m eternally grateful for him showing me the ropes of manhood, but, unfortunately, those lessons only span the first 10 years of my life before he passed away. My grandfather may have taught me right from wrong and basic manners, but I was ultimately left on my own when it comes to matters of fatherhood and being a husband.

Perhaps the author of the post Belle referenced was right in her claim that men who are raised without a male role model are at a disadvantage.

Until my conversation with Tiffany I’ve never really given it much thought because growing up single mothers were not the exception but the norm. To be completely honest, I’m usually surprised more than anything when I meet someone who has/had both parents in the home. I can probably count on my fingers how many people I know personally that had both parents around growing up.

It’s a sad, but, oh so true reality.

With that said, I never had anyone to show me how to be a good husband. Sure I know plenty of fathers and baby daddies, but not many husbands and real dads. Any man with a penis can be a father biologically, but it takes a lot more to be a dad in my book.

Although I have very few examples of successful marriages in my life, I still aspire to find a woman to call my wife and life partner. I believe in forever, ever, like Andre 3000. I believe that I will one day try my best to be a good father and I hope and pray that I succeed at being a good husband as well.

Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up? Did you come from a two-parent household? How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents? How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage? Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically? Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic? How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models? Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage? Do you think that you will be a good father/husband or mother/wife? Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?

Speak your piece…

Bad Husband letter

  • mizze

    I think that people that have never witnessed a successful marriage can create a stable one. that is MY opinion though because I know a lot of people who do not feel this way. I feel that if you are really dedicated to this person and love them, then why does the past matter? There were plenty of people I know who grew up in two parent homes who cant keep a relationship together. It depends on the person. I believe that people try and use the “single parent” excuse as a reason why they cannot commit but I come from one and am engaged and going through counseling because we are BOTH dedicated to making it work and since we both never witnessed a successful marriage, we are more ready to make sure ours work. It kind of gives you a goal to achieve. But like i said its just my opinion.

    I feel that my father cheating on my mother and she divorcing him REALLY REALLY REALLY had a significant impact on my trust for guys. But that doesnt mean that I am going to sit here and use that as an excuse not to work out my issues. I think that having a father completely out of the picture is better than having one there who is emotionally detached from his family. I feel that both are negative but if he is sitting around not showing you or your family any attention, you may begin to believe that this is the way relationships are supposed to be. I feel that boys need male role models because IMO too many men today are acting like females because they are being raised by females- relying on their woman to take care of them, slacking, bitchin’, just to name a few. And women are actin like men because they are raised to depend on no man. Both need male figures in their lives but can they still make and live a healthy life without one, YES

    I could not spend the rest of my life with a workaholic. I am a very independent person with goals and aspirations that are very exclusive of family. I want a career that will keep me away from even the possibility of a family but that is not the actual career I am going to have because I WANT a family and to spend time with them and not be at work so I want him to do the same. Relationships are already hard, when you add kids= HARDER. When you add the fact that your spouse is barely there= IMPOSSIBLE (for me).

    I think there is a general lack of sanctity of marriage. I mean, not even just in cheating which everyone jumps to believing that is the only way you are not respecting it. SO many people are just ready to give up whenever, and that is not respecting it either. Marriage USED to be forever, but just look at the divorce rates and see that people should just axe the “til death do us part”.. its “til something comes up that I refuse to work on do us part”.

  • http://www.steamywindows.wordpress.com Jamila J

    Interesting article. My Daddy grew up in a two parent home, but he shares the same feelings about his father that you have about yours. He constantly expresses how he only spent time with his dad when he wanted them to do some work. My Dad has tried his hardest to be different from that. He’s a trunk driver, but growing up he always took time out for me to do something I liked. Most, if not all of my friends, grew up in a two parent household. So to me the single parent household was always the exception. My boyfriend in a sense was raised his a single parent home b/c of his father’s problems that I won’t divulge into so this article kind of worries me.

  • Brooklyn Ice

    Good read Ans,The fact that you will be aware and care about the type of father and husband you will be, and through the eyes of your future family says a lot. Not sure what questions to answer first but Belle had a guest blogger a bit ago that spoke about the “blueprint” and what it is to not have that. Ultimately, we figure our own path out and the biggest struggle I think is to put yourself on a path and know what you’re working towards and like anything in life, practice, practice, practice. We don’t wake up one day married out the blue, we have a series of relationships, trials and tribulations and learning lessons through we ultimately discover ourselves (hopefully) and begin to discover us within the scope of being a we.

    With that said, to your question on marriage, not to open a can of worms, but I don’t know if it’s so much about believing in the sanctity of marriage as it is believing in the ideal of marriage. It’s no walk in the park and it’s not meant for everyone. While I LOVE the ideal of marriage, I doubt it’s reality…

    Time, I think, is one of the greatest things you can give in a relationship. I applaud all those who take time and make time to share their time.(Excuse the typos..using the berry while on the go)

  • CB

    Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?
    I think it is possible if folks are really committed to make it work. I’ve seen it happen with friends and family members of mine.

    Did you come from a two-parent household?
    My parents divorced when I was 5 yrs old and I was raised by my mom with sporadic visitation from my dad, and our having an all-out separation from him in my teens.

    How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents?
    In my immediate crew, not many maybe 1 or 2.

    How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage?
    I think it can lead to trust and commitment issues on both the male and female side…I also think it can cause the cycle to repeat if individuals aren’t desperate to change it. I’m not married but I know I do have fears about marriage based on my parents failed one and the type of man that I saw my father was/became.

    Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?
    I’d say it’s worse if they’re not there emotionally… as a young woman you need that emotional side of your father…the “being there” physically doesn’t make you a father (in my book)..you need that emotional side as well.

    Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic?
    Eventually I know it would wear on me cause I would wonder when they would make time for “us”.

    How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models?
    MANDATORY…they need to learn how to be good men, that there are other things out there besides the streets, that they can become anything they want to (even president of the U.S.)

    Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage?
    No I don’t…I won’t even get started on the gay marriage thing…but no I think a lot of people these days are content with shacking up and common law marriages because it provides an “escape route.”

    Do you think that you will be a good mother/wife?
    I think I would…I would raise my kids like I was raised…with love but also discipline..teaching the value and importance of family. I am also big on communication, romance, trust, taking care of my man and his happiness so I think all those qualities would help me be a great wife.

    Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?
    I do have fears of failing at marriage…not as many for failing as a parent. I help look over my nieces and nephew, and while it’s not the same as having your own child, you do learn the basic needs of a child, how to deal with their temperments, how to take care of a baby, a sick child, etc… you can only hope that when you teach them the right thing to do that they will remember that and follow that. Now marriage, while my grandparents were married 56 yrs, my parents didn’t even make 5 yrs… I have fears that I may not find the “right man for me” or that if I do once we get married he might cheat (like my dad did), or become jealous of my successes (like my dad did my mom over her degrees), etc… so I do have fears regarding marriage.

  • I am who I am

    What is a successful marriage? I ask because not only did I grow up in a two parent home from the age of 4, that marriage is 24 years strong and counting. I am also married 6 years and counting. And I must admit neither marriages were easy or worth writing home about. The one I witnessed involved abuse towards adult and children, and the one I am in involves infidelity. Which brings me back to my initial question. What is a sucessful marriage considered?

    I come from a family that believes deeply in the thought of when you say I do it is til the end. Only few have been divorced when I say few I can think of two and we are a pretty big family. So does that make our family a good example of successful marriages. I guess if you were on the outside looking in you would really say hey they must know something we don’t know. Well living and breathing it I’m here to say we don’t. It is so hard being married in this day in age no matter how you were raised or what values you have there is always something that can be potentially tempting to the man/woman. So I am respecting the sanctity of marriage because I am still here happily/unhappily married (depending on what day you catch me on). In a way yes but it comes with a price that many of our marriages end for today. Does that make me a stronger wife or a stupid one, I ask myself that question almost daily. Now most days my answer would be stupid of bat, but when I think I vowed before GOD (no one else matter really) and everybody else that I would be there through sickness and health, good times or bad, TIL DEATH DO US PART…. Some hard words to say if you ever said them.

    Now even tho I have basically been bred these basic marriage rules from I can go back as far as great great great grandparents being married for 70+ years so from then on down, I have still managed to be my own wife. I have learned things that I will never accept that my elders before me have. Through living you must learn things for your own self, what works for you and what doesn’t.

    No relationship is perfect if they were we would have no need for a the many relationships we go through. Our relationships are what we make them if we want to make them work we will try, if we want to world to think it’s perfect that is the persona we will show them. In my case the one I saw was unhealthy I knew everything that went on behind closed doors of my parents room because it didn’t stay there. In my house my son will never know me and my husbands marital affairs because he will NEVER see that. It is not for him to see he is a child and need not worry about grown folk problems. So my lessons have been learned and also slightly improved to my liking you may not agree but it works for me and I am still married and plan on being for a long time to my husband.

    I just want to end and say your upbringing is only meant to guide you and we all no that we don’t come with no user manual like everything else we have in the world today. As an adult it is your choice on what kind of boyfriend/girlfriend, baby daddy/baby mama, father/mother, or husband/wife that you will be. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TO DO. Think about it.

  • http://metanotherfrog.com/?cat=14 Skye Blue

    First of all I loved this post. It’s always good to hear that men out there are thinking hard about these issues.

    Ans: question for you re being a workaholic…

    That word could be defined a lot of ways. For the sake of this discussion I’m taking it to mean that the person in question would choose work over family commitments in most cases. Is that how you meant it – at least in part?

    Answers to the questions:
    1.Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?

    Yep. I have more than a few friends of both sexes who are currently holding it down.

    2.Did you come from a two-parent household?

    After the first 3 years of my life it was me and my moms only.

    3. How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents?

    I don’t know the exact numbers, but the two parent homes were always in the minority. And as I got older I realized that happy two parent households were even rarer – which speaks to I am Who I am’s question ‘What is a succsessul marriage?’ Can that be counted in numbers of years spent or being married until the end now that so many marriages end in divorce?

    4. How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage?

    I think it depends on how much impact you let it have. It doesn’t have to if both parties regardless of the family of origin are aware and open about their issues.

    5. Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?

    I think both are about equal. I grew up without my father being around, but I imagine it must hurt like hell to have him around and rarely have his full attention.

    6. Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic?

    Unlikely.

    7. How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models?

    Very.

    8. Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage?

    Yes, I think there are a lot of people out there who do.

    9. Do you think that you will be a good father/husband or mother/wife?

    Mother yes. Wife – a little nervous about my abilities in that role.

    10. Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?

    Think so.

  • Ms. Nikki

    Good one. I think someone can be a good husband/wife even if they haven’t seen one. But it will be a lot of work. SInce you have nothing to go off of, it will be making the wheel all over again. My father was in and out of my life, I knew who he was, but we didn’t get close untill I was an adult, and thne he was taken awway after the birth of my son. I am a single parent, and was dating a man that grew up with both parents, idolize his father, and his word was destory when his father was taken from him. We got in many arguments over my son father lack of fathering because he couldn’t underdstand what it was like growing up with a father, and I couldn’t understand what it was like growing up with one.
    Yeah, I went all off topic so I’m just goin gto walk away now…

  • Sharonda

    Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?
    i say yes depending on how you as a person deal with your own situation .what you take from it and how you apply it to your own life.

    Did you come from a two-parent household
    no my mom died when i was 5 and i was raised by a workaholic dad.

    How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents?
    never really thought about it before but none in my group.wow thats sad

    Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?
    that depends if its because work there are worse thing that a child could be raised around.again thats one of those depending on the situation things.

  • BMW2K

    Ans – every relationship is different and longevity does not necessarily mean the relationship is good. Being a good husband means something different to every women. Addi tonally, as someone who NEVER saw a relationship up close that I wanted to emulate, I can definitely say one can be successful at marriage without the role models (but it is gonna take a LOT of work).

    Regarding being a workaholic and such, you will be amazed how priorities shift and change once you have a valid reason to shift and change them. I have seen many men (my husband included) who let things go that took up too much of their time once they became fathers. Simply put, their children took precedence over that other thing.

    My husband was a professional football coach on the collegiate level and rising fast when we met. From my perspective, it was his first and last love and required about 110% his time. It was fine for me while we dated and when he asked me to marry him I obviously said yes. Well five years later I was a stay-at-home mom with two children @ 3 yr old and a 2 mos. I was pulling my hair out and ready for an asylum and he was traveling the country coaching ball. It never occurred to me to ask him to give that up. But he looked at me, our children, and our relationship and then compared what he had to what other coaches had. He saw divorce, absentee fathers, and damaged relationships and decided that was not what he wanted, so he pulled back on the coaching. I remember being absolutely shocked!! It was the last thing I expected and I told him he did not have to do it. His response was that we were the higher priority and coaching could wait. Anyone who knows anything about the sport knows the dedication the coaches put into the game and time commitment it takes.

    To this day, I am still amazed that the man I married put his dreams on hold when he had told me from hello that professional coaching was his dream. Today, he still has no regrets and I (and our sons) are blessed to have him.

  • Peajez

    I really enjoyed this blog, partially due to me having similar concerns about being a good wife, especially once children get involved. I came from a two parent home and my parents are still married yet I feel that’s left me at a disadvantage because I saw first hand how much work it takes to keep a marriage alive and healthy and I must admit that the thought of marriage is daunting. I want to be a wife and be a mother but I cant help to wonder if I’m cabable of being the helpmate that my potential suitor needs

  • Shequita

    Once again are you a virgo lol???

    First let me say that people show love in different ways and different people understand and accept them. There are men in my family that are workaholics but they say thats how they show their love to their family, by making sure that all their needs are met. Some of their wives understand/accept and some don’t. Either way I’m sure you’ll find the woman that will be the ying to your yang and understand you more than anyone else or you’ll find that woman that makes you want to put work off without her even having to ask.

    -Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up? Heck Yea!!

    – Did you come from a two-parent household?
    No raised by my mom and her village (brothers,sisters, uncles,aunt,grandparents, dad when he was sober)
    -How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents?
    TWO (siblings) and their dad is now incarcerated…go figure.
    – How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage?
    All depends on who’s carrying what around and if they can carry it together, learn from it, grow or feel hurt for the rest of their lives.

    – Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically? I still can call my dad and get great advice and a prayer, so I’d rather him be there emotionally.
    – Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic? Probably not, but I know women who could.

    -How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models? Very important, and their dad might not be the best, takes a village….

    -Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage?
    Yes
    – Do you think that you will be a good father/husband or mother/wife?
    I am great mother and the wife thing didnt turn out so well…

    – Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?
    I’m afraid of failing another marriage.

  • Dimitry

    In many ways, you won’t really know if you were a good parent until the kids are, like, in their 30s and even older. Otherwise, being a good parent has a lot in common with being a good and kind person. That’s why the broken home roots are not that big deal, to me. It’s the good, and only the good, in you, and the good parts of your childhood and upbringing that you, as a parent, will strive to share with your children, in the hope that they learn it, love it, and pass it on.

  • skye

    I’m sure most of us can identify with this post.

    I myself am from South Africa and I was raised by a single mother. Alot of my moms friends were also single mothers, but most of my friends weren’t. But i’ve always been adamant that my future children be raised by their parents. I guess it’s mainly because I missed having a father figure in my life.

    The only time I had a real father figure was when my mothers eldest brother was around, but that was only in my teens, and he didn’t have any children himself, so it kind of a learning curve for us both, we fought tooth and nail all the damn time, but even then I appreciated having him around.

    Now i’m at a point where I look around and most of friends are single mothers, and the baby daddies hav all but dissappeared. The common thread though was that most of the absent fathers were themselves raised by single mothers who didn’t know how to raise boys into men. Mothers who didn’t know how to teach them their responsibilities as men.*shrug*But not to say all absent fathers are raised by single mothers, but stats show most are.

    I hope I choose well when the time comes. In the African culture a child “belongs” to the man and his family. That is known as your home, even if you are raised by your mother. That being said, I hope that should me and my future child’s father not work out, i hope he still stays in his life and raises him to be a man. Infact if I am not with my husband/child’s father by the time the child reaches 10yrs, then I believe (if the child is a boy) the child should go live with his father. Ofcourse it’s easy for me to say this now, but I hope i’m strong enough to let go when needs be.

  • http://www.twitter.com/philothea_ks Kimberly

    I agree…coming from a single parent home places you at a disadvantage. I grew up living with my father (and 2 brothers), so there are a lot of things I didnt learn about being a woman…I still struggle with hair and makeup for goodness sake LOL…When I got married, my husband taught me some things I was missing that he knew from his mom and sister. Thank God my dad was a great cook! I had no idea how a relationship should work or how to be a mother (as opposed to just caring for their physical needs, which I learned as a babysitter). Thankfully our divorce was not because of my lack of knowledge. And I did find that my faith (reading the Bible) taught me how to handle relationships and carry myself as a woman/wife/mother.

  • Tiffany

    I grew up in a two parent household, only it was my mother and step-father (who is my father in my opinion). All of my childhood, I witnessed what it was like to see a truly great marriage. However in my adult life, I saw my father give into temptation and cheat on my mother after 26 years of marriage (they are now divorced) and I was devastated. At that point I didn’t think that it was possible for anyone to remain faithful in a marriage. I desired to be a great wife, but my problem was would I ever find a worthy husband? After a few years, I did some soul searching and renewed my mind through faith.

    I think that anyone has the capability, no matter what you have been through and where you come from to be a great husband/wife/mother/father, you just have to desire to do it and take it to GOD, ultimately he is the best role model that anyone can have. I am not trying to get all preachy on you, just keeping it real. It is a sad fact that in minority communities there are more baby daddies/mommas than wives and husbands.I think that the philosophy of “I’m not dating anyone who hasn’t had a positive role model or father” is a little jaded. Instead I won’t date a man who is not putting GOD first, because if he is not taking care of himself and his soul by turning to GOD, how can I depend on him to give me the real love that I need in my darkest hour?
    I believe there is one person out there for everyone and it’s not you finding him/her it’s being ready to receive them when they are presented.

    Great Post Mr. Samuel. =)

  • Organized Chaos

    Excellent topic!

    Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?
    –I do believe that they can. I think that after a certain point in an individual’s life, they have to stop blaming what they do on their experiences growing up and decide what type of person that they want to become and do what it takes to learn how to become that person ie if you know better, do better.

    Did you come from a two-parent household? How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents? How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage?

    –Yes I was fortunate enough to grow up with both parents in the home. As a matter of fact, they are still married, to this day. Come to think of it, I had more friends actually grew up with both parents than I did those being raised with just mom or just dad. It has a lot to do with the outcome of their marriages (relationships) but, again, if you know better, do better.

    Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?
    –I think that it is worse for a father to be physically in the home but emotionally distant. I feel like that makes for boy children that grow up to be men that are afraid of being vulnerable, etc and girl children that grow up to be women that are in search of that emotional support from a man that they didn’t get as a child.

    Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic?
    –I don’t think that I could. It’s counter productive to be in a relationship by yourself. If you’re going to spend most of your time alone, why be in a relationship?

    How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models?
    –Extremely important. I’ve seen many single mothers do it all, raise the babies, work, hold it down, etc, she can’t teach a man to be a man, that’s just my opinion.

    Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage?
    –I really do not think that people still respect the sanctity of marriage. I know too many of my friends that have divorced before the age of 30 and/or are on their 2nd go round. It all has to do with what the world is putting out there. Multiple babydaddys and babymamas, people cheating on their spouses, folks not having a foundation to build relationships on and just going off of blind emotion/lust….it’s just ridiculous.

    Do you think that you will be a good father/husband or mother/wife?
    –I really do think that I will be a good wife/mother because of the many examples of good and lasting marriages and excellent women that I’ve been blessed to see throughout my life. My standards are very high and I think that is a good thing.

    Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?
    –Yes, I am, BUT, I also know that neither of those comes with an instruction manual. All I will have is my experiences to draw from, people to go to for advice and hopefully that will get me and my Mr., whomever he is, through.

  • Private Dancer

    Great topic. I don’t know how often I hear one of my girls (or myself) say “Oh, but he didn’t grow up with a father. His father left them when his was a baby” etc, etc. Kind of an excuse, or a reason maybe for a brother’s inability to have a healthy, giving relationship in our minds.
    But just like all things we go through in our childhood, that we must overcome, this too can be. Depending on individual strength to grow and be a better person. Like you have done Ans.

  • http://sleep-is-the-cousin-of-death.blogspot.com/ Tunde

    i grew up in a two parent household (my parents didn’t get divorced till i was 20 years old). often times i felt (and i was right) that my parents only stayed together for the sake of my brothers and myself. this in effect can also cause a negative outlook on how a child that becomes an adult views marriage and relationships.

    the constant fighting and arguing is not something that a child should be subjected to because he/she will begin to think that is normal. i believe despite this i will make a good husband and father. i know what i didn’t like as a child so i know what not to do. i still have faith in the institution of marriage even though its failing all around me.

    as a child my dad wasn’t the best role model to have but he was still a positive role model nonetheless. i’m thankful that he did the best job that he could and raised my brothers and i to know right from wrong and how to be a man.

  • Malia

    Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?—–
    I believe people can be good spouses without role models, however, as a culture, we “wing it” way too much. We don’t show up to school or work going “i’ll figure it out as I go along” yet we do that with marriage and I think that’s a key reason the divorce rate is so high.

    Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?—
    It’s worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally because I’ve witnessed peers growing up constantly vying for the attention of their fathers, only to feel constantly rejected. It’s a mind trip. However, those fathers were not usually workaholics (like they portray on television), these were men who were running the streets too much, they had women and/or children on the side, a bit too much indulgence in liquor and/or drugs, they were engaged in activities that were a detriment to the sanctity of marriage and family, not simply men who put in too many hours at work.

    There is a difference. I think the reason workaholics get a bad wrap is because there are often other ills associate with it: affairs with co-workers, diverted attention, etc..

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a workaholic and admire the guy who slays dragons and strives to conquer the world. As long as he has balance. And, I believe, that part of the balance of being a workaholic and having family is you most likely can only make it work with a woman who stays at home with the kids, or puts her career secondary. TWO workaholics means seriously neglected children. So either you’d have to give on that workaholic ethic, or find someone who won’t want to be that career driven, to ensure your children get adequate parental attention.

    It’s one of the reasons I think so many black women are dismayed that black men “marry down” and why a lot of successful, high-achieving, black women have a hard time finding husbands. When children enter the picture, you BOTH can’t have the kind of jobs where you’re so crucial to the organization that you can’t take off to stay home with a sick child.

  • Malia

    Oh— also to add– I previously read both Belle’s and Muslim Bushido’s posts and it’s a double edged sword using the two parent rule for black men because so many black men who have fathers in the home grew up witnessing infidelity and/or abuse. Sometimes you do not learn this because when men have really good relationships with their fathers, they do not want to talk about this, so you don’t learn this when dating.

    I used to think that all was happy and rosy among my friends whose parents were still together until I opened my mouth about it and learned about the cheating, the women, the surprise children who knocked on the door one day. To my knowledge, I only know two black men, who have parents still together, where there is no (knock on wood) known infidelity or abuse.

  • Chanel

    As someone who had a rather chaotic home life growing up, I think that a lot of people who didn’t have such stable childhoods look to their parents/families for a different reason. They’re looking for guidance on what NOT to do. They see what their elders do and do the exact opposite. It isn’t so much about finding perfection as it’s about stability and normalcy.

    The key word there is “finding” because after growing up like that, it’s hard to know what “normal” even looks like. That’s why the idea of being a “good” spouse scares the crap out of me … what the hell is that? I didn’t grow up seeing one, that’s for sure. There’s no doubt in my mind that men from single parent homes can be good husbands/dads — especially if they’re good people — but I think that the partners in the scenario should cut them a little (and I mean just a little) slack as he finds his way. Marriage and kids are not easy loads to bear.

  • giri11a

    This is a truly excellent topic. I think just about every parent (or person planning on being a parent one day) has these same fears. The same for being a wife or husband.

    We all have these fears because not one of us is perfect (and unless we’re delusional, we are all acutely aware of this fact).

    You will make mistakes. Some of these mistakes will harm your children (or partner). Some won’t. This is unavoidable.

    I’m not saying you can’t prevent some of those mistakes (or even most…I suppose it depends on the kind of mistakes you’re making), but at some point you will make a mistake. At some point you will do something harmful towards your children (or partner). We all will.

    The key is to be able to forgive yourself for that mistake so you can be truly aware of what the mistake was, and why you made it. It is only then that you will be able to prevent it in the future (and maybe even be able to reduce the harm on the other person by admitting to it and apologizing for it).

    If you don’t, and you just beat yourself up about it, you’ll either end up denying you ever made a mistake because it is too painful to admit to, or getting so down on yourself you start to doubt everything you’re doing. (And note, by “forgive yourself” I do not mean “agree with your actions,” I mean simply that you accept you did something you disagree with and that you cannot change that now.)

    The best you can do is to educate yourself. There are many books, websites, counsellors, even t.v. shows about this. Of course, there’s terrible advice out there, too. But the more advice you seek, the better able you’ll be to identify and ignore the bad advice.

    And I think you’ll find, the more you talk about your fears, the less of a hold they’ll have over you. By ignoring them, or hiding them, they just become more powerful. One rule of making scary movies: the less you see the monster, the scarier it is.

    For me, my parents got divorced when I was very young and I lived mostly with my mother, but I saw my dad every weekend. My dad obviously loved us and was there emotionally to the best of his ability, but due to things that happened to him in his childhood, there was always a limit to how much he could connect with anyone, including us.

    As a result, I’ve always had trouble communicating about my own feelings. As an adult, I’ve learned how to do this much better, mostly through the relationships I’ve been, and especially in my current relationship. But I’ve always had to struggle with this, and I think a lot of it is because I never had a model of adult communication as a child. Despite this, because I’ve been in great relationships with people who truly cared for me and encouraged me to develop in that way, I feel that my current partner and I have much better communication than most of the other couples we know.

    And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that, except:
    1) I’m not sure what you mean about “the sanctity of marriage”. Do you mean staying together for life? See: I am Who I am’s comments. Or do you just mean not cheating?
    2) As for what mizzie said: “too many men today are acting like females because they are being raised by females- relying on their woman to take care of them, slacking, bitchin’, just to name a few. And women are actin like men because they are raised to depend on no man.” Well, this doesn’t seem like male and female roles to me so much as adult and child roles. Maybe the men she’s thinking of never learned to act like adults because they didn’t have any adult male role models, only other children, and they didn’t look to their mothers as role models since they weren’t males, so they stayed in an immature mind set their whole lives? Just waiting for another female to come and take the role of their mothers. Even if you believe in traditional gender roles, a woman’s role isn’t just to sit around relying on their men to take care of them. It’s to take care of the house and the children while the man goes out and earns the money. Hardly something you can do if you’re slacking.

  • Nadira Rae

    I believe it is POSSIBLE for two people to have a successful marriage, if they didn’t necessarily have that example in their own household growing up. But, it will definitely take ALOT of work and compromise, and a desire to make the union a successful one.

    I was fortunate enough to grow up with both parents. They are still happily married to this day (32 years and counting)….I mean, they REALLY like each other…after all these years. So, I definitely have my blueprint of what marriage is and should be. There are ups and downs like any relationship, but you work through them together.

    Among my friends, I think I was one of the few kids who came from a two-parent household when I was growing up. I was definitely in the minority, but was pretty aware of how blessed I was to have such an involved and loving father (and mother).

    I think it’s crucial for young boys to have some type of father figure/ male role model while they’re growing up. Not only to teach him how to be a man, but also how to appreciate and treat women. I also think it’s equally important for females to have that same experience with a father-figure. We always hear about the men out here with issues because of absentee fathers, but there are just as many broken women out here with “daddy issues”.

    I do still believe in the sanctity of marriage (although I think we are a dying breed). I’m confident that I’ll be a great wife and mother when the time comes, because my mom was the perfect example for me. I defintely couldn’t marry a work-a-holic because I would need someone that’s going to be there for myself and our children. Don’t get me wrong….there’s NOTHING wrong with hard work (my dad did ALOT of it…and so do I), but when work is clearly becoming the priority over your family and you’re spending increasingly more time at the office, than you are at home….that’s a definite problem.

    If a person plans to get married, I think the most important thing is choosing a partner whose priorities and ideals are in line with your own. You two need to be going in the same direction, working TOGETHER toward a common goal. The expectations of both parties need to be clear and understood before taking that walk down the aisle.

  • b.better

    Yes, I do believe in this day and age if you haven’t witnessed a successful marriage growing up you can be a good husband or wife. I honestly think that those who have not witnessed it are the ones who will work their hardest to have it and maintain it, because thats what it boils down too. Which is your passion and drive to maintain your marriage…well it should be. lol.

    As far as me, I am from a two-parent house hold and maybe all of my friends except for 4 grew up in a single home. Honestly I don’t think being in a two parent home made a huge impact on my ideals of marriage, simply because my parents were married but until my father got sick with cancer and later passed he wasn’t really emotionally there.

    He was a provider and an enforcer, but emotionally he wasn’t there. I think its worse when the father isn’t emotionally there because I see the emotional issues that me and my brother have. I simply have no emotion when dealing with family and in my relationships I am overly emotional…crazy I know but with age its starting to balance itself out. Now my brother he is an emotional worldwind, because of our fathers lack of expressing emotion it left him constantly needing someone to reasure him that he is loved.

    I honestly believe if I would have had my father in the mind frame he was in while he was going thru his sickness during my child hood I think the both of us emotionally would be in better places. (sorry Dad)

    Spending my life with someone who is a workaholic never really crossed my mind. I’d prefer for him to be hardworking but also remember the most important work to be done is at home and with family. I think its EXTREMLY important for little boys to have a good male role model because how are they going to learn to be a good man? A woman can’t do that no matter how strong we are we just can’t. As far as the sanctity in marriage I still have respect for it, my thoughts are “don’t put a ring on it until you honestly believe that we will be the end all be all.” As far as people having respect for marriage HA! Yea right no one respects marriage anymore, the thought of divorce is on their mind while they are proposing so how can it be respected?

    Now that I’m getting older and recognizing my faults and working hard to improve them, I do believe I would be a good mother/wife. Set aside my past emotional issues I am a caring person my only fear is that I’ll slip back into that emotionless person and raise another emotionless person. But then I always think back to when I do marry the person I am with will not be the type of person to allow me to slip back into that place.

  • DC Man With a Plan

    It’s kinda funny that the blog title is: “Will I make a good husband” but the majority of respondents are women? lol…..I know, there were a lot of statements that relate to both sexes….but still, it’s funny. I think it’s important to give yourself the time and opportunity to have many introspective reviews of your thoughts, awareness, experiences and observations on what being a husband and father are about–LONG before you find yourself in those positions. If there was a guaranteed course of action that would result in one having perfectly balanced and loving kids or a perfectly wonderful marriage–most ppl would sign up and follow the outlined course. But alas, we ALL come to the party in different packages, with differing agendas, experiences and abilities to weather storms and resist outside influences. Being a good father or a good husband is like being a good son or brother: It’s all about your frame of mind and your willingness to overcome obstacles, whether they be educational, physical, financial, mental or otherwise.

  • Rastaman

    This topic is one that came concrete to me in my 30’s when I began to approach my relationships in terms of their long term viability, wife, husband and children. It was telling to ponder because you come to certain conclusions based on your biases and certain conclusions based on your experiences.

    I was raised in a 2 parent home and I had a wonderful relationship with my father because he was so much an ally in helping me navigate my childhood by being a parent and a friend. As a man I came to realize that my father was in many ways a horrible husband because he neglected my mother and never really supported the upliftment of the family. In the sense that we would have had so much more if he had more desire. But what I learned is that my father never really had a father growing up and the eldest child he was saddled with the responsibility of of his mother and younger siblings and to a large degree explained his primary need to father his children in a way he never experienced.

    On the dating scene I came to realize that my most stable relationships and the ones with the most promise were generally with women who had a relationship with their fathers or a strong male role model. In my experience they were better able to relate to men in away that was not as antagonistic as women whose childhood was sans father figure. They better understood maleness and did not feel it was some type of an attack on them as women. Many saw it as an opportunity to indulge there masculine traits which for most men I know is always good fun.

    Another thing I have come to see is that there are many people whose conduct as parents and spouses are in obvious opposition to their own parents. Either because they resented the ways in which they were raised or how their parents related. Which generally never guarantees a better result, just a different result.

    I say all that to point out that there are many factors at play, too many I believe to categorize what determines how any individual will function as a spouse or a parent. While I think that having consistent parents will more likely teach us to be better parents or growing up in a 2 parent household reinforces the desire to preserve that for our own kids. My experience says that on closer examination it is not as true as I or others may want it to be.

  • Alimaj

    I love the fact that this post discusses important points for men to remember when reflecting on their future wife or current wife. As i work on myself to prepare for marriage as a woman, I am working on evaluating the pitfalls that my parents faced, issues they did not address or even some dysfunctional practices that could be a problem for me if i repeat certain learned behaviors. I grew up in a two parent household that broke apart when i was grown. The assumption that a two parent married household is a healthy environment is false. While i had the comforts of the “thought of a healthy home” because my father lived at home, there were a number of other issues that i had to address as an adult and re-learn.

    No matter what type of home people have to be real with themselves about what habits they may present to their future or current marriage, and what type of healthy environment they want to create for their children. They should discover the meaning and purpose of marriage as it relates to their life or community and what real changes they have to make in order to mainatin a healthy family as a foundation. Whether in a two parent home or not there is still adjustments to be made. Some people have more to do to prepare for it than others based on their experience. If we’re real with ourselves and willing to grow and improve ourselves we’lll do it in our marriage. .. so a person coming from a single parent home can be quite capable as long as they are real with themselves and willing to learn and counsel with others in preparation in the areas they are short..as anybody!
    I would definitely appreciate it if i knew that my future husband considered how to be emotionally available for me as his wife. Its good that men are thinking more about preparation for husbandhood!

  • bran

    In my opinion, a man can be as attentive and caring as he WANTS to be. I have dated men who have been raised with and without decent father figures and I must stand on the nature side of the nurture vs nature argument. One boyfriend had no father figure and idolized players, which should have been a clue, and he wound up being a terrible dating decision. Another had no true father figure except for a stepdad who raped his sister, and he was the kindest most caring boyfriend I had yet (though we are now just friends).

    People are raised in difficult situations all the time and choose their paths on their own.

  • da ThRONe

    *product of a two parent home right here*

    So you know having both parents are overrated! :D

    I think just the fact that you think about it means you’ll be fine. As long as you understand that your priorities lay with your wife and kids you will do fine.

  • Theosopical Thinker

    “Do you believe that someone can be a good husband or wife if they never witnessed a successful marriage growing up?”

    Most definitely. Conclusively speaking, I believe that the individual simply needs to learn successful marital qualities. There are many ways to do this, and the success thereof is not contingent upon what was witnessed or not witnessed growing up. Now, what the child did (or did not) witness concerning a successful marriage can have an affect on his/her perception and therefore approach to marriage, BUT that does not automatically disqualify the individual from being a successful spouse. One can overcome those past occurrences.

    “Did you come from a two-parent household?”

    Yes.

    “How many of your friends actually grew up with both parents?”

    Hmmm…as for my close friends, all of us actually. But I knew a good number who did not.

    “How much impact do you think that plays on the outcome of your marriage?”

    For ME, I would say none. Having the ability to determine my own values and decisions, I will basically do what I want to do, independent of what I have seen others do. But what I did witness from my two parent home confirms that a successful marriage IS possible.

    “Is it worse having a father around that isn’t there emotionally or one that’s not there physically?”

    Great question. For me, I would say the first. Being physcially present is of no sustaining use if the essence of your presence is lacking. For example – there are people I work with EVERYday. I SEE them everyday. We may say hello, goodbye, and that is the extent of it. Yet, there is no emotional connection. So while I RECOGNIZE them, they are still virtually strangers. There must be dialogue, interaction. Now, there are people I have never literally met before, but I feel more connected to them (i.e. a few facebook friends, etc) because we communicate often. I do feel emotionally connected to them. Relationships require communication, not solely visualization, which really is not even a necessity.

    “Could you spend the rest of your life with someone that was a workaholic?”

    Mmmm….I dont know. For one, it would depend on what type of work they are invovled in. Can they balance all the work and have impactful time for me too? If not, then no, we could not be compatible.

    “How important do you feel it is for little boys to have good male role models?”

    VERY IMPORTANT! If they don’t, all is not lost, but if they DO, they are certaintly equipped to have the necessary drive and perception of what is beneficial for their success as they mature.

    “Do you still have faith that people still respect the sanctity of marriage?”

    Yes – the faith the size of 1/4 of a mustard seed. LOL. I think a small- no, TINY (lol) remnant of people still respect the sanctity of marriage.

    “Do you think that you will be a good father/husband or mother/wife?”

    Father: “definitely yes”….Husband: “yes”

    “Are you as afraid as I am at failing as a parent or marriage?”

    Parent: “definitley no” …. Marriage: “no”

  • Theosophical Thinker

    …sorry, like the owner of this blog (I’m new btw – whatuuuuuup) – I too can be classified as an “imperfect perfectionist” —-one who just caught a mistake – my alias is “theosophical thinker” – forgot the second “h” the first time. lol.

    But to make sure this comment is not totally useless, one more thing on the blog topic:

    BALANCE – I think it all comes down to that. Having passion for one’s craft is great. Having passion for one’s family and marriage is great (and expected) as well. Does one have enough passion to go around? I think so – but it takes balance – that is key…that is what I think at least.

  • Elle

    LoL@ ThRONe

    That was cute :) …. yea ok whatever, men don’t want to be called cute, I know….yadda yadda

    I’ll come back and state something a little more elaborate when I’m sober.

  • Elle

    Basically, I can co-sign everything mizze said in her post.

    We all have the potential to be great husbands and wives if we a) meet the person to bring that out in us and b) want to be.

    I don’t think it has much to do with by whom you were raised or in what kind of scenario. No need to overanalyze. Just do it when the time comes.

  • arianna

    I just happened to stumble upon your blog and have been hooked for the past couple of hours getting a better understanding of where you are coming from. I’ve been in a relationship for about 9 months now with a man who’s dad wasn’t in the picture at all and it affects him quite a bit. Our relationship has made gains( like gaining his trust) but it also has it’s downs (he still has trouble opening up to me, especially when it comes to his dad). I understand that’s its still very painful for him to talk about but I try not to “push” it to make him feel like he has to tell me until he’s ready. Your blogs have been very eye opening to me now I have a better understanding of where HE is coming from. My thing is what advice if any would you give to women or men who are dating or in relationships with people that come from single family homes?

  • http://nwso.net NWSO

    @arianna

    Peace sis,

    Sorry for late reply, but def appreciate you chiming in and supporting the blog.

    At any rate, I think what you’re doing is fine and that’s just being there for your man. Guys tend to be prideful and don’t like showing weakness and that’s even more true when you get a woman “prying” and “pushing,” when he’s ready to talk he will or possibly not at all. Whatever the case, as long as the daddy issues aren’t affecting your relationship drastically and from growing then y’all should be cool. However, if he is totally cutting you off and you feel like you’re in a one-person relationship then that’s a problem that requires a talk for change or an exit eventually.

    Good luck either way

  • http://www.squitoo.com ForDating

    I feel you. I am a workaholic too therefore it’s hard for me to have any kind of lasting relatioship. I can honestly say that my work comes first, that’s just who I am.

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