Take Care of Your Body
The relationship between a man and his wife or girlfriend is a sexual one, and sexual relationships are primal. However intellectually developed we think we might be, the power of sex and sexuality dredges up thoughts and feeling that have been with us in the wiring of our brain since the earliest days of our species.
For men, those feelings can often take the form of lust, jealousy, and possessiveness. When our woman spends too much time around other men, the leftover wiring from our cave-man days naturally makes us want to step in and scare off the other man. We need or wives or girlfriends to be loyal, and we become insecure emotionally when we perceive that they may cheat.
And in the same way women need their men to be strong. The primal parts of their mind tell them that this man they have taken to their bed is now the one man they can rely on to feed them and protect them. Just as we feel insecure if we feel that a woman might cheat on us, they feel insecure when they think we aren’t capable of keeping them safe. It doesn’t matter that these are irrational feelings, and it doesn’t matter that guns make physical strength much less important to keeping someone safe (in theory) – this is a feeling that simply happens. If you are weak, flabby, or slow, your wife is going to deal with bouts of feeling unsafe.
That isn’t to say that a man has an excuse to let the green-eyed monster loose and intimidate every man his wife looks at or works with. Nor does a woman have an excuse to neglect or cheat on a sickly husband. What you do about those feelings is a moral choice. However, if you want your wife to feel safe and secure, and thus cut down on the conflict in your marriage, it is imperative that you get and stay fit.
More than that, I consider eating well and exercising an imperative of character as well. Eating junk and failing to exercise is a choice to be unhealthy and unhappy either because you want liquor and junk food more than a healthy body (which makes you a fool), or because you don’t want to do the hard work. You don’t have to be a bronzed Adonis, but work out every day and have at least a 30-minute exercise routine that includes a little cardio, you will thank yourself – and so will your wife.
Stress and Time management are one and the same. If you are are over-stressed over work it is going to affect the way you show up at home with your wife and your kids. Coming home feeling cranky, short-tempered, or spaced out is not what you want, and not what your family deserves. If you have a problem with stress take some time management courses, and learn to streamline your work process.
Also start learning to decompress emotionally before you engage with your family. Exercise, meditate, or work out before you get home so that you are able to give them the best possible self that you can. You owe it to them and to yourself. A good starting point to this is Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog (link) (I coach on this one, too!)
Manage Your Finances
The way a man handles his money speaks volumes about him as a person, and many others listen. few things cause disharmony in a family like debt, careless spending, or having no financial plan. If you don;t have a solid budget that includes generating some savings and aggressively paying down any debts that you may have, then you are doing yourself and your marriage a terrible disservice.
Having a handle on your finances, including a clear budget (with some room for fun) can reduce your work stress, help you become healthier, and let you work fewer hours because you are not trying to pay down nasty surprise expenses.
In the long run, money is meant as a time saver – it lets you get the products of the work of others so you don’t have to do everything yourself. Building your own computer, running your own ISP, so that you can browse the web on a browser you compiled yourself from a home-made desk appeals to very few people. What you are earning with your work isn’t money – it is time. Time to educate yourself, enjoy the company of your loved ones, engage in hobbies, travel, and have memorable experiences. If you don’t have the leisure to do those things then you are serving your money, it is not serving you. A good budget should allow you to make sure you are the one on top of your income.
Think for Yourself
Identity politics are the most hideous distraction of the modern age. Rather than look at facts and decide on an opinion for oneself, many people let their affiliations and their ideologies dictate how they think; happy to get their opinions from PJ Media or Jezebel, and getting their “facts” from Fox News or MSNBC so that they will not be assaulted by an opinion or presentation of the world that might have some friction with their ideas.
Throw Identity out. Look for neural sources, do some research, and then come to your own opinion. Don’t be afraid to voice it when you are among others either. Some of the best male friendships form over heated debates, and while people may not like your opinion, the willingness to have a different one from having drawn your own conclusions is the sign of leadership. and it is something that (healthy) people respect.
I highly recommend every man learn logic, probability, and media literacy. I also suggest that any man study at least the basics of economics. (Try Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics for a start [link]) There is nothing like seeing how well-meaning policies play out in real life to make you understand just how dangerous an unexamined idea can be.
Remember that your wife wants, more than anything else, someone who can protect and provide. That means someone who can think and make decisions, not someone who can bleat the platitudes of the day as well as everyone else.
[Full Disclosure: I am quite a bit overweight due to hormonal issues. I lift weights every weekday, I walk about 5km every week, and I am on a very rigid diet that I do my best to keep to. Unfortunately, the testosterone replacement therapy I need to help with weight loss will destroy my fertility – so it is on hold until I have kids. I am as fit as I can be, even though I am overweight.]