No matter who you are, what you’re doing, where you’re going, or with whom you’re speaking, you’ve got an underlying thought in your head that’s influencing your every move, word, and decision.
When you go to work, you might be thinking, “It’s only Wednesday? You’ve got to be kidding,” or, “I can’t wait to kick ass today!” When you’re sitting in the bleachers at your son’s hockey practice, your thought could be, “When do these ridiculous 4 a.m. practices end?” or, “I wouldn’t want to be any place else.”
And when you’re about to open the door to your house to greet your wife, your thought could be, “What fresh hell awaits me today?” or, “There’s a love affair in our home.”
This underlying thought is your context. Your context affects every move you make. Every gesture, word, thought, and all of your energy is coming from this place, whether you’re aware of it. You can’t fake your context, no matter how smart you think you are. You might believe you can fake it, but those around you—who are paying attention—will know. Your wife definitely knows!
So, to have the kind of relationship you’d like, you’ll want to begin with a new context. Consider the sea change that could take place in your home when you jettison your current, negative context and replace it with there’s a love affair in our home.
What’s a love affair look like? It would probably include doses of intimacy, great sex, humor, generosity, mutual respect and support, love, adventure, compassion, patience, and romance. And what would you need to change to cause all of this to happen?
When you embrace this context of, there’s a love affair in our home, it’s with you 24/7. It’s there when you wake up, when you receive a call from her during the day, when she asks you to do something around the house, and when the two of you need to figure out how to discipline your hormonal teenagers. When you commit to this new context, it now redefines everything you do with regard to your wife.
You’ll now willingly comply with her reasonable requests. You’ll think of new and creative ways to show her you love her. You’ll be a better listener because you’re conscious about caring for her. You’ll make life together more about her than about you. And as a result, you’ll bring her closer to you. You’ll continue to grow as a man, seek out wisdom, read books, and connect with other men who can support you to maintain this fabulous new context of yours.
When there’s a love affair in your home, not only will it impact your marriage, it’ll also provide a new and superior example to your children. Your kids are watching and absorbing everything you do and say. And when what you do doesn’t align with what you say, the kids are aware of that, too. Again, you can’t fake your context.
For the most part, your son is going to grow up to be a man much like you. Your daughter will find a man very much like her daddy. If you maintain your current, less-than-stellar context, your kids will reflect that choice as adults. And what you show them will live on for future generations. Think about it. How did you become the man you are? Where did you learn to be a man in your relationships? You probably inherited much of what you know and do from your dad, who got it from his dad. And so it will go. It’s called legacy.
A few of you lucky men witnessed a love affair in your parents’ home. You saw what a loving relationship looks like, and how that mutual respect affects everything that happens in a home.
But for the rest of us—most of us—we have to make a conscious choice to learn a new way of relating to our wife so that we can have a healthy marriage, and raise children who will seek out healthy relationships of their own.
When you decide to embody the context, there’s a love affair in our home, you will be in love with the results. And generations to come will be impacted by the legacy that you’ve chosen to create.