6 min read | Within 3 years of a first child being born, only one in three couples remain happy, according to research by psychologists John and Julie Gottman. Certainly many of those folks move on to file for divorce. The child is the catalyst.
So why – during what should be a joyous time for new parents – are so many people unhappy? And what, particularly from a man’s perspective, can new Dads do about it?
Here’s a man we need to hear more about: happily married for forty years, still engaged in his kids’ lives, and able to balance work with exercise, family, and community. In our interview, he shares how he and his wife overcame a marital crisis, how he learned to cultivate balance and time for reflection, and how he transformed a potential career disaster into the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime. Rob is sixty years old and lives in Colorado. He and his wife Martha have three adult sons.
Please read to the end for a summary of life lessons based on the interview, and resources for further learning and practice you can try yourself. Please leave us a comment and share this with your friends.
A pervasive problem today seems to be that American men have little or no connection with their fathers. The reasons may be physical or structural – absentee fathers, divorced fathers who don’t share custody – or emotional, in that the fathers were around during their kids’ childhoods, but were emotional ghosts. But what to do about it?
I’m excited to kick off a series of articles about fathers who generally feel good about life. Yes, they do exist! We’ll hear how they dance between their long-term relationships, being a parent, working, staying healthy, and other aspects of life. Bryan is a stay-at-home father in San Francisco. Today only 1% of husbands in married-couple families stay at home full-time (US Census 2012).
But many Dads face the same challenges as stay-at-home fathers when it comes to parenting young children, and they are touched on below: how to renew yourself, reflect, find parenting mentors, deal with social isolation, and find meaning. When I spoke with him in person, Bryan exuded self-confidence, poise, thoughtfulness, physical and mental strength, and what some psychologists have described as a “mature masculine” focus on nurturing and coaching. We hope you enjoy this interview.