When should we talk with our son about what it means to be a responsible husband and father? He’s still pretty young – not even in his teens yet. Should we wait until after puberty? Or would it be better to hold off even longer?
Answer: That’s a good question that deserves careful consideration for many reasons. Perhaps the most significant is the tendency for today’s couples to marry later in life than in the past. As a result, young adults are entering into marriage with a stronger sense of individualism and personal independence than previous generations. While a certain level of this can be healthy, it can also present challenges for a marriage relationship. Often times the more “set” two people have become — the more time they’ve had to “harden” their personal routines — the more difficult it can be for them to merge and meld in marriage.
Why mention this? Because from a certain perspective it underscores the need to start preparing our boys to understand the responsibilities involved with marriage and family life as early as possible. Good husbands and fathers don’t just happen; we have to create them. And we create them, at least in part, by teaching and modelling for them beforehand that good marriages and strong families are built on a foundation of love, and that love often means putting aside self-interests and learning to make sacrifices for others.
With that in mind, it’s wise to start talking to your son about what it means to be a good husband and father now — before he’s had a chance to form too many self-centred, potentially relationship-damaging habits. A good man anticipates what lies ahead on the journey and prepares for it. We’d encourage you to help your son get moving in that direction as soon as you can.
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