Last year, in an interview with GQ, Bear Grylls shared his views on his marriage to his wife Shara, saying:
Couples often think that the kids should always come first, but smart couples know that the best foundation for the family is their relationship.
In protecting that, they can then best love their children.
Bear received quite a bit of criticism for this, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why.
Here’s how I see it.
Before Ted was born, I dated Jen. We took each other out, laughed together and wanted to spend every spare minute with each other. We fell madly in love and got married. The joy that we found in each other was something special.
Then Jen fell pregnant and our world changed dramatically. As those of you with babies will know, you become utterly exhausted. Accompanying this extreme fatigue is the fact that your conversations revolve entirely around the baby, even when they’re asleep.
It’s all too easy to take your eye off your relationship, and anyone with any kind of life experience will know that each and every relationship needs to be cultivated and looked after. Especially between you and your partner.
My wife and I, therefore, make sure that we are pro-active in our relationship with each other, because we know that if we are in a good place with each other, we’ll be much better parents.
I’m not ashamed to say that Jen brings the best out of me. She encourages me and supports me in my endeavour to be the best dad I can be. For me, in order for us to be the best parents possible, we need to be the best couple possible.
And that requires time, effort and devotion.
Not only am I a better parent when I prioritise my relationship with Jen, but I’m also a better role model. Is it any wonder why our children are growing up with difficulties forming, and maintaining, relationships with friends and family when they’re not growing up with a decent example of a relationship?
I want Ted to grow up seeing what a loving, mutually respectful and cohesive relationship looks like. The best way I can do that is by allowing him to see and experience one right in front of his eyes every single day he has them open.
I’m proud to say that I do my very best to prioritise my relationship with Jen above my parenting. The reason being, I am a better parent when Jen and I are a solid unit.