A podcast featuring stories of faith, hope and encouragement for fathers.
A man and woman meet at the corner diner one day. By the look on their faces, it’s clear they are smitten with each other. They introduce themselves, exchange phone numbers, and a relationship begins.
Weeks and months go by. After a lot of thought and prayer, the man decides she’s the one. He plans how he’ll pop the question, buys a ring, and makes all the preparations for a special day. The day comes, he carries out his plans, the woman is dazzled and the happiness radiating from this couple seems to glow.
The days leading up to the big day are stressful, full of plans and last minute changes. The big day arrives. So much to do. They see so little of each other until everyone is gathered for the ceremony. The wedding bells chime, the familiar music begins. The moment they’ve been waiting for is finally here. They exchange vows, say “I do” and seal it with a kiss. They are now joined together in holy matrimony. It’s the happiest day of their life and the future is full of hope and dreams and opportunities.
A year goes by. The honeymoon period is over. Financial concerns arise. They continue forward knowing that things will get better.
A child comes along, then another. Struggles continue to put a strain on the relationship.
Several more years go by. The man and his wife fight a lot. It seems as if that’s all they do anymore. One day the man comes home from work. There’s a note on the bed. His wife has left.
After many long days of loneliness and phone calls, the couple decides to move back in with her parents to work things out.
After an unsuccessful attempt to work through their struggles, the wife kicks the husband out of her life forever.
The fight intensifies. The wife threatens divorce. What once was a lover’s quarrel is now a bitter feud. Attempts to keep the children from their father are now the goal as past marital spats get taken out of context and blown out of proportion. A man once considered a good and loving father, is now suddenly viewed as a danger, even a monster.
The man, still wanting to work things out, comes to the unfortunate realization that repairing the relationship is no longer an option. He files for divorce to protect his rights as a father.
A divorce preceding and custody battle result in the ensuing weeks and months. Then, the darkest day of his life arrives. They sign the papers, and the divorce is final. The future now seems bleak. One man and one woman, once deeply in love, now bitter enemies. Two kids, the product of their past love, now constantly shuffling back and forth from mom to dad. It all seems so trite.
After the dust has settled, the man learns the reason for the divorce: Assumption and lack of communication. A misunderstanding that could have been easily resolved had there been a desire to work it out.
For far too many couples, this is a common tale.
Ed Bianchi, an Emotional Divorce and Relationship Coach, says “(Divorce) is a critical issue for children, who suffer from absentee fathers in alarming figures, as well as men, who are automatically reduced to paychecks and an afterthought in family life.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 in 10 kids resided with two married parents in 1960.
Today, 24 million children in America–1 in 3 kids–live in biological father-absent homes.
Dr. Tim Rarick, an authority on marriage, family and human development, says the impact of growing up in a fatherless home has a ripple effect in other areas of life for individuals. He says these “ripple effects” are “passed on like a plague” to society and ultimately, future generations.
Some of those ripple effects include poverty. The National Fatherhood Initiative reports children reared in fatherless homes are four times more likely to live in poverty. The risk factor for having behavioral problems, abusing drugs or alcohol, facing abuse or neglect, suffering obesity, or dropping out of high school (to name just a few), also increases…simply because a father was not present in the home.
While it is true that some men may neglect or even reject the idea of being a father, the vast majority of men embrace this role, and want to have a strong connection with their children.
Bianchi also says, “Men will never step into their full father potential if we keep assuming they are the inferior – second class parent.”
I believe in fathers. I believe their role is unique and irreplaceable in society and in the lives of their children.
Many books have been written advocating the significant role mothers play in the lives of children. No one is disputing that fact. It’s time someone made the case for fathers. As one religious leader noted, “To praise and encourage fatherhood and fathers is not to shame or discount anyone.” Fathers need a spokesman, too. That’s the idea behind Defending Dads.