I’m sure many would agree if I said:

Having a family means letting go of your personal goals. 

As it turns out, that’s… FALSE!

In reality, you can have a family (a wife and 3 kids 😉 ) that you fully support…

…all while keeping the fire burning for your own passion(s).

Today, I’m going to share the 3 behaviors that allow me to balance romance, fatherhood, and personal satisfaction.

1. When You’re In, Be ALL In

This one is important. It’s also increasingly difficult in today’s world. We all have so much pulling at our time and attention these days.

What I mean, basically, is this:

A lot comes with having a family. You have a spouse/partner that has certain needs. You have kids that have needs. So, you have to get better at time-management and focus.

I’m not suggesting taking a class on the subject, unless that’s how you roll.

Just be practical.

For example:

When I make plans to take my wife out for dinner, that’s exactly what happens. Unless someone dies or some other tragedy happens, I make it a point to not cancel. Then, while we’re out, it’s all about her.

With three kids, we don’t have much spare time. So, why squander it with silly stuff like checking Facebook? I’d much rather her know how important she is to me.

I treat the time with my children the same way. It’s all about them.

2. Over-index on Communication

When you start a family, you may not be agreeing to completely give up who you are. However, you are agreeing to share a life.

It’s vital to be on the same page as your partner.

Really, this comes back to what I said earlier about needs. The important people in your life all have needs – just like yourself. To understand what theirs are, you have to listen. Not to mention, you have to relay what your needs are.

These needs can manifest in different ways. They can be emotional, spiritual and even physical.

Furthermore, life is dynamic. So, these things change with time.

My wife and I made a resolution early on to never go to bed upset with one another. It might sound silly, and we’re definitely not perfect at it. Nonetheless, we make a point to talk because of it.

Of course, it’s not all predicated on disagreements. That’s just one way we try to over-index at communication. It’s more about being completely upfront and transparent so you can make decisions together.

You’re already pushing against so many outside forces in life; it’s just easier with support.

3. Be a Little Selfish

Think about it like this:

If you’re unhappy, you’re not capable of making others happy.

Yes, sacrifice has its place in families. However, you’re human. You have an identity. In my opinion, the best practice is to stay true to who you are.

You need outlets to be yourself – not just dad and husband.

My wife has several projects she is working on that cater to the creative in her. I understand that’s who she is as a person. So, I do whatever I can to support her in them.

Likewise, she does the same for me.

As long as you know your priorities, stay dedicated and communicate well, it will all work out. Does that mean it’s easy? No.

Remember, anything worth having requires effort.



If you read this far, thank you. I hope you enjoyed it. Maybe you even found some value in it. That’s really the reason I take the time to provide you with my $0.02. I know that getting an outside opinion can be helpful.

Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below.

Derek Holder on Twitter
Derek Holder
Husband to my childhood sweetheart. Father of three - 2, 6 and 9. Metaphysically wrinkle-free.