What’s your family worth?

I’m married. More importantly, I am committed to being married. We have a family, and when our life hits the fan, we stop the chaos and work through it. We do it together.

Both my wife and I have developed our professional selves through the lens of being married and having a family. Could I have been more successful in a more cosmopolitan city? Perhaps. Could she have cashed in a big way by moving to Silicon Valley? Maybe. Would those journeys have been fun? Probably.

But we know that our decisions would have affected each other, and so we made choices and plans that supported each other, and eventually our family. We consider the impact the changes and choices will have on everyone we love. Some people may call it compromising, but I tend to ignore them.

Talking with a dude in Starbucks, he tells me about his successes in the movie industry, and all the excitement he’s experienced. The stories are interesting, and it seems like a fun and rewarding lifestyle. Good for him.

Then he says, “…but it cost me two families.”  Dude was married twice, has children “somewhere”, and no longer connects with any of them.

Dude, …two?

I realize that everyone has different priorities in life, and everyone makes different choices. But when you think families—especially children—are merely just indulgent experiences to be turfed when they no longer fit your personal grand plan, then you’ve lost my respect. If the plan for your life can’t accommodate both a family and your dreams, then you have to pick one—and pick it before you create a child. It’s okay to not want a family—I get it—and sometimes the going gets tough and a marriage doesn’t work.

But to have a career or lifestyle that completely overrides your family and the relationships you have with them is beyond comprehension.

There is a lot of talk about the value of marriage and its importance in society. Go ahead and have the debates about what defines a marriage and a family. But at the end of it, it comes down to one simple idea; people need to commit to the relationships they desire in marriage, and the lives—the families—they create in the process.

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