Father’s Day is over. Yesterday there was a table in the restaurant next to us with a group of adults lavishing gifts on dad. It appeared that they value the gentleman who was on the receiving end of their generosity. I received some pretty strong response to my blog about Father’s Day. It came from friends whose dads bailed ship during their formative years.
When I was in elementary school, I don’t recall very many of my friends at Wind Point School coming from single parent homes. Statistically it was around 10% of the kids in my class during any given year. Of course I realize that a good number of my friends had parents who split up a few years later. Today the number of elementary school age kids living in single parents homes is staggering. I don’t want to belittle single moms or dads. In fact, I admire the tenacity of those doing the parenting thing solo. But I do have a few things to say to dads who actually think that the grass is greener…
I have been in ministry for 24 years. I have been a volunteer law enforcement chaplain for over 21 years. I have thus been exposed to family problems of every imaginable kind. In many cases, I have been on the front row as they unfolded. Dad goes to to jail for family violence and cute kids stand there in bewilderement. I have taken some good mental notes over that two decade period. Here is one of them: Dads that choose to bail out of their marriage and leave mom with the kids’ impact the lives of those children permanently. I know that is blunt, but it is true.
In looking back on all of the men that have left their wives over the years that I have been aware of, the reasons are of course varied. But I must admit that most of those men left, because they found another woman, or in some cases left their spouse for a man. I wish now I had kept better records, but I am confident that this is the prevailing reason for divorces initiated by men I have known.
Why do I share such information right after Father’s Day? I just think it is fitting to encourage men to think twice before jumping ship. The grass is most likely not nearly as green as you think it is on the other side of the septic tank. Your present wife knows the real you! George Strait says in his song: You Know Me Better Than That….
You know the me that gets lazy and fat.
How moody I can be, all my insecurities.
You’ve seen me lose all my charm, you know I was raised on a farm.
Oh, she tells her friends I’m perfect
And that I love her cat, but you know me better than that.
The little sweet thing that you want to leave your wife for will eventually figure out that you lose your charm and don’t love her cat.
Allow me to impress on your heart that you will indeed affect your children for the rest of their life. You may still feel compelled to end a marriage that cannot be saved. There may be legitimate reasons to make that choice. Are you taking off, because you met some sweet, young thing? Think twice men. Little Ms. Perfect may not lead you to the Promised Land you think she is going to lead you to. Oh and by the way…she is fully capable of losing her charm!
I am speaking from years of working with adults who are still wrestling with the choices that dad made decades earlier. The stories in many cases are heart wrenching. I am just saying it is a good idea to give your marriage everything you have before you pull the plug and jump overboard. Little Ms. Perfect may just drown you in a sea of selfishness. And there maybe some tears shed on Father’s Day. Because when you leave your wife for another woman, you lose your credibility as well as your charm.