By design, we’re flawed as humans. We’re kind of just popped onto this planet, meddle around in a blanket of innocence and naivety for the first decade of our lives, before evolving into adolescence where the pores our personality become vulnerable to trauma, opinions, biases, self-obsession and pain. Think of it as the dirt that traps so deep inside us that each element builds its own sequence of behaviour and mindset – we become our experiences.

We also become accustomed to the way we live, think and behave, so much so that we don’t recognise them as bad habits. Of course, we pick up plenty of great traits too but its the rough stuff around the edges that we don’t realise we carry, but even worse, we don’t realise how much hurt and pain we cause because of those.

I married the same girl that I hurt with those ‘rough edges’ four years prior.

The pain I felt then helped me realise those flaws.

I fixed them.

I proved it.

We got married and moved in. Uh oh, more flaws.

Why don’t I just tell you all the ways that being married destroyed me; albeit the parts that needed to be destroyed but over time it helped re-wire me into the habits I’ve newly formed, the husband I’ve learnt to become and the father I hope to be to my daughter.

Marriage Doesn’t Qualify You to Manhood

I don’t believe the word ‘Man’ can be thrown around lightly. Just because you’re over the age of 18, you’re not a ‘Man’ – being called a man should be like earning the title of ‘Dr’ in front of your name if you manage to pass the school of hard knocks. If anything, being married will demote you to the lowest ranks of ‘male-hood’ (if such a thing exists) only to force you to work your a** off and earn every letter of the word.

Stop being defensive.

I used to do this a lot. Whenever my wife would even begin to speak about something in my character or a way I’ve said something, I wouldn’t let her reach the end of the sentence. I would butt in and try to justify why I said or did what I did, how I was thinking or whatever other wack reason I could come up with.

The reality is, she was right and I couldn’t hack the truth. I remember one point at which she had to tell me to just let her finish talking and then it hit me; I was not only being defensive in every discussion around my actions but I was stopping myself from growing and learning because I wouldn’t even listen to the reasons or how it may have made someone else feel.

You won’t get very in life, let alone your marriage if you can’t be empathetic. Empathy was the first re-wiring operation that I underwent.

You’re Here But You’re Not Here

3 months into settling into our own home, figuring out this thing called co-living and marriage, I decided to embark on a wild journey of setting up a full-scale media agency. Prior to that, I was freelancing which gave me a whole lot of flexibility in terms of time and environment, however, this new endeavour would have me locked up for 18 hour days at some points in an office half an hour away from my house. I think I have an addictive personality – it seemed to be the pattern that whenever I get into something, I just dive right in and swim without looking around me.

Now that I was married, that had to change.

Yes, my wife loves my ambition. Yes, she supports everything I do. Yes, she wants the best for me.

But she’s not willing to go so far that it costs us the real things in our life. Communication, affection, time, attentiveness.

I had a bad habit of telling her I was going to be at home on a certain day and then on that day I would whack open my laptop and sort of weave between work and hanging out with her. Yeah, it’s a lame way to be but at the time I didn’t see a damn thing wrong with it. I would really think that ‘I’m at home’ and therefore doing the right thing and being a good husband.

What I didn’t realise is that I’m not actually doing anybody any favours. Not my wife, nor myself. In fact, I’m just losing out on both sides. I was unable to be productive and focussed on my work, and I was unable to really spend quality time with my wife. Perhaps if I just switched off completely from work, I could spend more quality time with her and then she’d be much more susceptible to the odd time here and there where I did have to focus on something.

Of course, I’ve learnt that now but if I can help you avoid that trap, take this little advice on the chin.

A Woman’s Intuition is the Handbook to Life

I heard this talk once, I can’t remember by who but it said that one thing a woman has that no man could ever replicate is her ‘intuition.’ Her ability to suss situations, people and decisions without needing a whole heap of supporting evidence. Us fellas try to be logical all the time and look how many times we get things wrong.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt and one that was humbled me more than anything is “always trust a woman’s intuition.”  

I can’t tell you the number of scenarios where I thought I’ve figured out everything from A to B and then my wife’s reaction is completely the opposite, defies the logic of my reasoning yet serves to be the right way of thinking. Of course, that comes with maturity and experience, plus a lot of understanding of one another.

I really believe, after two years of being married and seven years of knowing this incredible woman that letting your life completely flow and intertwine with each you’ll find yourself just gliding above the waves and swimming below the surface when necessary.