Need 5: Commitment to family and home

This is one of the hardest things for any man to understand but let’s bring it right down to the basics and then it makes sense.

Our partners see our commitment to family and home as a package deal, containing 3 essential elements:

  • Spending quality time with the family
  • Doing a proportion of domestic chores
  • Ensuring the family’s financial survival.

So, she wants to feel like we are committed to her and the children, and to demonstrate that with our time and energy. She feels valued and considered if we are taking responsibility for a fair proportion of housework. At the same time she needs to feel that the finances are secure for the family yet she wants reassurance that she means more to you than your work. These 3 elements work together to convey our commitment to family and the home.

To our partner, being committed to the family means doing a significant share of the housework and domestic chores at home. Even if she isn’t working outside the home, she usually feels that she is working as hard as her man so she expects help with things like the washing, the dishwasher, the babysitting and the vacuuming. Usually she isn’t asking us to do all these things, but to do something demonstrates that we value her and the family.

Some men choose to focus on their work at the expense of their home-life. In the long term that will generally lead to dramas. Most men are surprised to learn that any extra hours they are putting into work beyond the standard 40 hour work week is going to leave their partner feeling like she isn’t a priority and she isn’t valued. The irony is that most of the time he’s working hard because he wants her to be happy and sees the extra hours as a way to give her what she wants in life. We tend to overestimate the importance of money to our partner and don’t realize that she’d rather have us less stressed and more available to her than working so hard to earn more. Women need more time from their man, not more money.

Hazards to success

As men we often feel torn in so many directions at once. Sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to satisfy the needs of our partner, children and our work without running out of time for sports and hobbies. It can be a tough balance but unless our partner comes first, life just isn’t fun for anyone.

Finances are easier to measure than commitment to her and the kids so as guys we find it easier to focus on earning more because we feel motivated and successful when we see financial progress. Many men find it difficult to feel successful and motivated to spend time building relationships with all members of the family because it is hard to measure progress in this. Men tend to want to see measurable progress in what they do.

We misunderstand what she is saying. Just because she is worried about money doesn’t mean she would be willing to exchange family time to get it.

It’s easy to do

It is worth asking our partner about whether she is happy with the balance we are keeping between how much we are working and earning. Many men are astonished to discover that she is happy to exchange some work time and money for more time together.

If each day, a man does just one extra five-minute domestic task more than he usually does, she will begin to notice and feel more valued and loved.

It’s pretty easy to take the children outside for ten minutes each afternoon and it demonstrates that they are a priority. Everyone is better off for it.