Greg says: I love my wife Cecelia and our two children. I also love to watch a lot of TV. I enjoy a few beers with my friends on the weekend while viewing our favorite sports events. I work hard all week to support Cecelia and our two children and to pay the bills. Since I work hard, I see this as my contribution to our family.
I know I am not the type of father to go outside and throw a ball with our son or to chat with our daughter. I believe just bringing home the bacon is enough. I feel resentful if I have to join in an outing instead of staying home with my friends and watching our favorite game on TV.
I am a steady worker and provide for my wife and kids. I am faithful to my Cecelia and pleasant at home. I think I deserve to have my friends over on the weekend, especially when going out is not my bag. I wish Cecelia could better understand how I feel.
Cecelia says: I get upset when Greg lets the TV viewing and the beers with friends cut into the weekend time that I think Greg should be sharing with me and our kids. I like Greg’s friends. They are good guys. I welcome them and will make sandwiches for them when they come over.
If I ask Greg to participate in a family outing on a day when a sports event is on, he may participate in the outing, but his disgruntled attitude puts a damper on our family outing. Greg goes along, but is very quiet and does not seem to enjoy our time together. I spend a lot of time with the children, throwing balls to our son and going to his baseball games. I cook with our daughter and play board games with both children.
I try to make up for the lack of participation on their father’s part. What can I do to help Greg see our side of things?
What do they do?
It would appear these parents are functioning in different worlds. Over time, Cecelia has taken both the father’s and mother’s role in interacting with their children. Greg seems to be fairly immature and still living the life of a teen who has not fully accepted all responsibilities of parenthood.
For Cecelia and the children to continue to live rather separately from Dad, appears to be a recipe for disaster. Cecelia will eventually become frustrated or burned out and the children will become disconnected from their father in many areas of their lives.
There has to be some weekend time during which games are not on TV. Targeting such times for outings could be a compromise so that the family can get together for an outing without Greg feeling resentful and he can possibly enjoy himself.
Cecelia and the children need to find a way to positively invite Dad to join them. Nothing could be worse than for them to complain and nag him to grow closer to the rest of the family.
Perhaps, having the children write a letter to Greg, telling their father what his presence would mean to them, could help Greg better realize how much they want him along on family outings.
Greg needs to realize that the world does not exist exclusively of televised sporting events. He needs to comprehend that the two children whom he professes to love are growing up before his eyes but not in his awareness.
When parents bring children into this world, they are also accepting a responsibility to bring them up in a “right manner.” Of necessity, parents give up part of themselves (time, energy, knowledge, sensitivity, compassion, understanding and much more) for the benefit of the children.
It is time for Greg to set aside the remote control, stop sulking and join Cecelia and the kids for a fun afternoon in the park or wherever.
If the mom and children tell the dad how much they enjoyed spending time with him, he might just see getting together with the family as a comfortable move for him.
Cecelia and Greg should also consider going on a Marriage Encounter weekend to strengthen their communication and to renew themselves as a couple. Greg has not let go of some of his bachelor behaviors. An ME weekend would allow for Cecelia and Greg to share how they feel about their relationship in a loving atmosphere. Many couples experience a “new start” with their marriage after attending such a weekend.
“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 5:8).