Dear Fellow Husband,
I’m right there with you, life is pretty damn tough. A rough day at the office, just yelled at the kids, someone left a scratch on my freakin’ car, my webinar just crashed with a couple hundred on it, and then there’s that debt that simply cannot be paid off. Where’s the love?!? Ugh. I too, have a higher expectation of what life could or should be. I’m often disappointed with my level of performance at doing life right. No, I don’t need any help either, I’m the worse critic of myself. God forbid, I let my wife or kids see that I’m weak. I work really hard at keeping up a facade that I have it all together.
Tomorrow will bring yet another disappointment and how do I respond? I run to the vices. They help me escape and numb the pain. Be it drinking, smoking, video games, online chat rooms, binge watching tv shows on Netflix, gambling online, porn, intentionally flirting with danger by (you can fill in the blank). They seem comfort me in the moment, but then I get so disappointed with myself. Well, I guess I’ll have 2 more beers.
We were created for connection because it gives life meaning. But I struggle with shame, afraid that if I’m really seen for who I am, I’ll be rejected. Growing up with ADHD, the common script was- you’re out of control, you’re not good enough to be in the classroom, you’re weird and you’re in the way. No wonder I grew up to be a pleaser. I want everyone to like me, so I build up this wonderful facade of being funny to mask the pain.
Guess what… I brought this right into my marriage.
I was terrified that if Meygan saw me for who I was, she would leave me. When she confronted me on an issue, I flat out denied it. I avoided any talk of me changing, because that meant that I was flawed. Rather than putting the hard work into our marriage, I resorted to simply being lazy. Yes, I’m admitting for the first time that I am lazy. I’m working 2.5 jobs and I’m lazy at the core of who I am.
If I’m meant for connecting with others around me, then why am I putting up so many barriers that allow for authentic connection? For me, I’m riddled with shame, that my identity is tied to how well I perform in life. Well I’m sick and tired of living this way. I’m tired of being paralyzed with fear. My new fear is to have lived my entire life wondering ‘what if’… whew, talk about a death bed disappointment.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”– Theodore Roosevelt
I’m ready to get in the fight! Men, will you go with me? Are you ready to put on courage and be the first to say sorry, admit when you’re wrong, show love even when you can’t predict your wife’s response? Will you step up to the plate with me and take the leadership and initiative in an environment that you cannot control the outcome? Imagine what kind of a married life we could create for our wives if we lived this out. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’ll probably fail multiple times along the way.
I choose love. No, not love the emotion. It’s easy to love when it feels good.
I choose love the action. I am choosing vulnerability and risking it all to be seen for who I am. I’m ready to show myself some compassion, that I can give it more freely to others around me. I want to be perfect, but I’m not. There, now I can go admit that to Meygan. I make mistakes babe, will you be able to forgive me?
I want to dare greatly with love in my life and what better arena than marriage.
Written by Casey Caston
Casey Caston is the co-founder of Marriage365 and loves his wife, kids, and surfing – in that order. He’s passionate about teaching couples how to connect on a deeper level and works often with couples in crisis. He’s also officiated more than 600 weddings. His life long dream is to walk the Camino, surf in Indonesia, and publish a New York Times best seller.