I sit in a pub near my hometown with a few friends, sipping good brew and enjoying much needed conversation with fellow dads and husbands who are in the trenches of raising families and navigating life. Its been some time since weve had a chance to do this. All of us are moving 500 miles per hour, between our family schedules and work schedules, with little time to stop.
On the docket tonightbeer, wings and The Magnificent 7. I guess you could say a stress reliever for us (along with the beer) is a no-holds barred shoot-em up modern western flick thats just as good as the original. We all know we wont be disappointed.
Our waiter is a friendly guy in his late 30s, maybe early 40s, who cheerfully walks us through each beer they offer and a detailed description of everything on the menu. He stops by often to make sure were okay. We talk football, The Magnificent 7(which he gives a two-thumbs up), the World Series and more with this guy. But at one point he says something that takes me back.
Well, its great talking to all of you. Good thing you were able to get permission from your wives to come out tonight.
His tone is condescending, as if our wives are the kind of women who restrict us or hold our freedom in the palm of their hands. I begin to think about his words and the way he said what he just said. Maybe thats the way it is in his house? I wonder. Maybe he and his wife have an unbalanced relationship and he really does feel that he has to ask permission before doing anything. Maybe she feels that way toward him.
Hes right about one thing: I did ask my wife before I met up with my friends. I did make sure she was okay with it. I waited until she had a chance to look at our home calendar before I got back to my friends with confirmation that I could join them.
But hes wrong about the why: I didnt ask my wife because I had to get permission before going out with friends. I asked my wife because I respect her. I respect our familys schedule. I respect our home calendar and all of the activities that we have going on with our children. In fact, as a husband and father, my wife and children take top priority. Their lives take top priority. So does our familys life.
Seventeen years ago, when I promised to be faithful to my wife forever, I also made a promise to put her first and to have care and concern for her heart, her mind and her thoughts. Later on when we brought children into the mix, I carried much of the same perspective into my parenting. That means that before I ever make a decision, big or small, I ask myself, How will this make my wife feel? How will this make my children feel?
Truth is, my wife and I have a mutual respect for one another. We also have a mutual trust in one another. We arent always asking one another if we have to run to the grocery store or to a meeting for work, but when it comes to something that affects our entire family, we check in with one another. She has never been the kind of person to restrict me from being who I am, and Ive never been the kind of person to do that to her.
Its not about asking permission, or getting a pass for a night out, or checking in with a boss. If thats the perspective you have, thats toxic. The reason I ask my wife before I head out with my friends is respect. I respect her. I honor her. I care about what she thinks about things.
I didnt respond to the waiter that night. I didnt need to. I know the truth of our life and our marriage. And knowing that truth sets me free!
**This post originally appeared on
About the Author:Mike Berry is an author, blogger, speaker, adoptive father and former foster parent. He is the co-creator, along with his wife Kristin, of the blog www.confessionsofanadoptive-parent.com which has a global audience of more than 100,000 followers monthly. Mike travels extensively, throughout the year, with a passion to reach hurting and over-whelmed foster, adoptive and special needs parents with a message of hope. In 2015 he and Kristin co-authored the books, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox and The Weary Parents Guide to Escaping Exhaustion. Mike is also a featured writer on Disneys bab-ble.com. Mike and Kristin have been married for 17 years and have eight children, all of whom are adopted. They reside in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana. Connect with Mike on his blog, Twitteror Facebook.