Greater than the Sum of our Parts

I recently had a guys’ night out. I went to a sports bar with a good friend and watched college football while our wives hung out with the kids. I had a very good time, and while I was sitting there drinking a beer, I tried to remember the last time that I just hung out with the dudes. Apparently, it was a long time ago because I couldn’t recall it. I used to play golf fairly often with another guy, but that was over 2 years ago. With the exception of that, I can’t remember any instances over the past few years where I’ve left the family at home to go enjoy a little testosterone.

Why is that? My wife certainly doesn’t mind. If I were to set up a weekly bowling night or something along those lines, she would be perfectly fine with it (I’m not sure I would be since I’m an awful bowler). I don’t really feel guilty about it. I’ve spent way too much time away from my family to feel bad about missing a couple hours here or there. I have friends in the area that are more than willing to hang out, so what was holding me back? Then, it hit me. The reason that I don’t have more guys’ nights out is that I don’t want to. I honestly prefer the company of my family.

When I first got married, I stopped thinking about myself as an individual (my military background may have helped with this). We were a couple. If I was invited to a party, I assumed that my wife was as well. We became a package deal. To be honest, my wife is absolutely my best friend. A small part of this is due to the fact that we move around so often that it’s hard to maintain solid friendships, but we are always together. The much bigger part, however, is that I absolutely adore my wife and everything about her. We are able to talk about anything, and I trust her implicitly. Given the choice between going to a pub or staying home and watching reruns of Firefly with my wife, she’s going to get the nod pretty much every time. We’ve been married for almost 8 years now, and I still love being around her at all times.

Then, the kids came along and things changed again. We were no longer a couple. We had become a family. If someone invited us to a social gathering, the first words out of our mouth were, “is it ok to bring the kids?” If it wasn’t ok, we simply didn’t go. A lot of people didn’t understand this. We would always hear, “why don’t you just get a babysitter, so you can go out and have some fun?” My answer was always that they are my family and a part of me. If I have to choose between a Super Bowl party without the kids or watching Phineas and Ferb at home with them, I’m probably going to pick the cartoons (unless the Dolphins miraculously made the Super Bowl, in which case, all bets are off).

I realize that this isn’t necessarily the healthiest option. Everyone needs a little downtime, and a nice romantic dinner for two is always appreciated. With that being said, do you know what my wife and I talk about during those dinners? The kids. Do you know what I talked about with my buddy while we were watching football? My wife. They are a part of me. They’re actually the best part of me. Technically, we are 4 different people, but when you put us together we are a family, and that’s much greater than the sum of the parts.

By: Military Dad

Twitter: @militarydadblog

Bio: Military Dad is the proud parent of 2 and husband of 1. He’s spent the last 13 years in the Navy where they keep promoting him despite his best efforts. He is currently enjoying a terrific shore duty with his family. In his free time, he likes torment his wife and kids. He loves sharing his experiences as a father and a sailor on his blog: Feel free to stop by and take a look.

4 thoughts on “Greater than the Sum of our Parts”

  1. It is SO important for all our close family relationships to do exactly what you did – and more often! Also, men need other men…not just to go to a Sports Bar but to talk to. We men tend to allow those kind of relationships, if we EVER had them, to also drift with adulthood. The women are better at that. I’ve been part of a men’s group for over a decade. Such a need in my life!

    1. You’re absolutely correct. As I run through the group of guys that I would sit down and talk about things that are normally reserved for my wife. I can only come up with 1 guy. Ironically, we haven’t seen each other in 8 years, and we only talk about 3 times a year. Part of it is that the navy keeps me on the move, but the larger part is what you talked about above.

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