Guilt is what we feel when we look back on our decisions that fell short. Often, guilt realigns us to our priorities when we have gone astray. We feel guilty for watching that football game while our spouse cooks and cleans, we feel guilty for losing our temper when we are impatient, and we feel guilty when we forget to do something our wife asks or if we do it incorrectly.
While guilt can be a tool to dial into self-awareness, there are things you shouldn’t feel guilty about — especially within marriage. Here are 5 of those things.
Keep in mind that an excess of any of these will lead to conflict, so balance these things out and you can embrace them guilt-free.
Hobbies keep us alive by helping us cope with loss, stress, and anxiety. Men need time to be alone with their passions. You don’t have to feel guilty about having hobbies because they support your family by strengthening you. I enjoy playing guitar or shooting hoops from time to time to relieve stress and spark joy. As long as you are not obsessing over your hobbies, you don’t need to feel guilty for having them. You just need to prioritize keeping your marriage alive. If you need to play sports, build model airplanes, or continue your nature photography, keep it going.
Lebron James uses 12 hours of his day for rest and I bet he does not feel guilty about that. That is what is required for him to perform. Never feel guilty about your sleep because it increases your energy and productivity. As a husband and a dad, there will be times when you have to sacrifice sleep. Communicate with your wife about how long you can make that sacrifice before you start getting moody. Your wife needs as much sleep as you do, so work together on this, but never feel guilty about desiring sleep.
We need daily exercise. You don’t need to feel guilty for getting active because our hearts need to beat for ourselves before they can beat for our loved ones. Exercise is never a time waster. It needs to be embedded into your routine, possibly in a way that doesn’t disturb your family. But if that’s impossible, you should make sure you communicate that to your spouse. Schedule time for a run, hitting up the gym, or soccer with friends on the weekend. Do something positive that gets your heart rate up and don’t feel guilty about it.
#4. Other Friendships
Comedian Seth Meyers jokes that his dad has no friends — only the friends that his mom makes. I have always said that your spouse should be your best friend. But that does not mean you cannot have other friendships. It is healthy to have friends outside of your marriage. You don’t have to feel guilty for pursuing them because friendships allow you to learn from other people, to enhance your communication skills, and to be there for others when they need you. Don’t feel guilty about spending a night out with the guys for poker, a baseball game, or a movie.
#5. Serving the Community
Volunteering in your community is vital because men are much-needed role models for others. Communities are larger versions of families and men must be present in service to show support for others. Service should not get in the way of your relationship but enhance it. Volunteer together. We do not exist as silos in the world. You don’t have to feel guilty for this because we have friends, family, and strangers who rely on us. Serve your church in a local food pantry, volunteer for a ministry, or organize a community event for the whole neighborhood to bond (even if in a socially distanced way). Don’t let volunteering replace your relationship, but never feel guilty about serving.