Why Dads Shouldn’t Think Of Themselves As A “Family Man”

You aren’t a “family man.”

You’re a man with a family.

Here’s why that distinction matters:

You were taught to think of family life as a promised land; a blissful state wherein, once won, you collapse into the arms of an all-loving, all-sustaining woman, carried along in a nirvana of procreation and whelp-tending…

That once you enter the paradise of marriage and family life, the need for seeking and striving and straining and proving will at last be behind you…

That you can slip gratefully into the rest and reprieve of being a “family man.”

As you now know, that is a lie.

Family life demands MORE piss and vinegar, not less.

Anyone who calls marriage the domestication of a man has never tried it.

In fact, it must always be the wildest men who marry.

When you marry, you don’t “settle down.” You settle in, for the long haul: it’s where you sweat, and bleed, and world-weave, at the scale of creation, for the rest of your life.

In short, family life isn’t some trophy to be won; some suspended state; some hall-pass that lets you opt out of the agonies and ecstasies of the masculine life:

It’s a fitting and beautiful burden; a mantle; a forcing-function of the highest order that draws more vision and power and brilliance and greatness than any unattached life ever could.

Get that fundamental mindset wrong, and married life will feel a constant catastrophe, the supposed fruits of family life perpetually denied you.

Again: you aren’t a family man. You are’t some separate, cloistered category of creature.

You are a MAN with a family: subject to all the gauntlets and crucibles and devastations of our sex.

So quit the myth of the well-adjusted, happily-sequestered family man.

Drop all pretense of arrival.

You’re just getting started.

Lest you rob your family and your SELF of your full glory, let loose your wilder self:

Heed finally your own subterranean.

Resurrect your long-lost blood-lust.

Become again a man at force.

Bryan Ward is the founder of Third Way Man and author of the LIT Black Paper


  1. I recently was called “family man” and subconsciously realized the stereotypical and somewhat negative connotations. It made me feel like domesticated livestock.

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