While listening to a radio interview with a psychologist who was discussing the demands on a marriage or relationship when you become parents, a dad called in and made this most profound statement:
“When your wife becomes a mother, you have to step aside and support her, because her first instinct is to care for her children. This is normal – it’s biological to put their needs first. As a husband or partner you must accept this and learn to be patient. You have to stand in the queue for her attention, knowing that your time will come again one day.”
Wow! What an interesting and enlightened thought. With one of my children now at university and the other well into his teens I can honestly tell you that this dad’s comment holds water. As the demands of my children are no longer as great as they used to be, I have more emotional energy to share with my husband. He has been patient and his time has come again.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating that dads must wait 18 years or more for attention from their wives or partners while the children are growing up – that just wouldn’t work. Many relationships fall apart when one partner rightly or wrongly feels short-changed in the attention department, when they feel their emotional needs just aren’t being met (and there is no judgement here, each relationship has its own unique identity and pressures that no-one else understands, and today some dads are doing more of the parenting of the children than the mums).
What I am suggesting is that both men and women need to be more aware of each other’s needs, particularly when it comes to making each other feel important, noticed and loved despite the competition for attention that children bring.
In every relationship we need to find ways of letting our partners know that we see them, we hear them and that they are important to us. Depending on the demands in our homes and families, there are times when we can do this with big gestures, and other times only in very small ways, but they all count. Seeing as it is Father’s Day this Sunday, let’s make sure that our dads don’t have to fight for attention and that we fill their emotional cups to overflowing.
To all the loving, supportive and involved dads out there, a very happy Father’s Day to you! Today you are celebrated and acknowledged for everything you are and for all that you do for your children, and in support of their mother. My wish for you is a BIG dose of patience and heart full of love. And may you not have to wait in the queue for attention on your special day!
Award-winning speaker and best-selling author, Nikki Bush, helps individuals and teams to win at life and work. Her passion for connection and relationships, and how to maintain them in a fast-changing world, is at the core of everything she does as a human potential thought leader.
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