I learned a very valuable lesson one day and quite by accident. The lesson was simple and yet profound - and it is something that every father, especially fathers with young kids, can benefit from. The lesson is that kids hold a key to a mother's heart and affection which influences the degree of "emotional closeness" they feel for you.
I said I learned this by accident. Here's how it happened. I was spending time on the floor one weekend day afternoon playing with our oldest daughter, Caroline. We were rolling around laughing and then I began helping her with a puzzle and talking through different topics you discuss with very young kids as you work on puzzles, both of us laying on our bellies with our heads about a foot apart. I didn't think the time was anything special beyond just the enjoyment of spending time playing with Caroline. Cindy, my wife, was in the room for part of this time and then up and moving about for the remainder of it but always within earshot.
Later in the day Cindy came up to me and gave me a big hug and kissed me and said, "Watching you with Caroline helps me know why I fell in love with you."
I remember thinking, "What? What does my playing with Caroline have to do with you feeling more love for me?"
She went on to describe how seeing me spend time with Caroline and seeing me make her a priority and taking the time to just love and care for her made Cindy's emotions toward me deepen.
I thought, "Really? Huh. Who knew?"
And then she said something I've never forgotten. She said, "If more men knew how spending time with their kids affected how their wives view them and that we actually feel more closely connected to them, they would find there are all kinds of ways they would benefit."
As that comment made its way into my mind it struck me. It was so amazingly simple and yet profound....and it made perfect sense.
Women are more emotional that men. They also have a very strong maternal instinct to protect and nurture their kids and they want what's best for their children. So, when they see the most important person in their lives (that's you guys) taking an interest in the same things they most care about in the whole world it draws them closer to you. It reinforces to them that you're on the same team and that you're valuing the same things. Think of it this way: in a very real way the kids are an extension of her. If you take an interest in the kids you're taking an interest in her. It was a simple idea. I decided to see if this was a consistent idea.
Being the at-home parent gave me a LOT of opportunities to be around other moms and I took that chance to verify this idea by asking them a simple question: "Do you find yourself more emotionally drawn to and more attracted to your husband when you see him engaging with your children and actively making them a priority?"
What I heard was amazing. An undeniable "Yes".
Not with everyone of course but, in general, the overwhelming and consistent feedback was that there was a direct correlation between his attention shown to the children and a wife's interest and desire for him.
So men, my advice is to take this information to heart and understand that time spent with your children is doing far more for your family than you realize. Literally everyone wins - your kids, your wife, and you. It is well worth the time and effort.comments powered by Disqus