By Genni Pereira (Ron’s Wife)
This article was written by Ron’s beautiful wife, Genni Pereira.
“I didn’t know my Daddy wasn’t a strong man.”
These were the words that came from my 15-year-old daughter’s mouth the other day during conversation. My daughter had seen my husband’s transformation over the past couple of years and it had become obvious what qualities make up a “strong” man.
These were qualities that are not always heralded in men in our society these days – qualities like self-denial, self-control, and industriousness or hard work. As we discussed, it became clear that she did not mean “strong” in a physical way either, even though he is stronger in that way. She had seen him become strong in a spiritual and intellectual way as well.
When my husband started his journey with the Exodus 90 program we thought we were doing pretty well at living our Catholic Faith. We went to Mass on Sundays and I went to daily Mass with the kids. We went to Confession a few times a year and prayed the Rosary, or had prayer time, in the evening sometimes. We were involved in our parish and homeschooling groups, and trying to pass on our Faith to our children.
Unlike some other families, Ron is home often. He is involved in the kids’ lives and would coach and/or manage sports teams, drive them to practices, etc, but there was something lacking in his relationship with us when we were home.
When we were home you could find Ron parked on the couch watching baseball or football and looking at his phone, taking breaks oftentimes at night to make a second dinner run to Sonic. He mowed the lawn and that was about the extent of his household duties. We were blessed with his time, but not blessed with his PRESENCE.
Like my daughter mentioned to me she did not know her Daddy was not strong until she saw the improvement. My children were very aware of what my husband was doing during his Exodus 90. They saw him turn off the television and leave his phone at the door, get up in the morning to pray and work out, cut out alcohol. They saw him go to daily Mass and Adoration. He only listened to Christian music and took cold showers.
They heard other men laugh when they heard that my husband was taking cold showers, and say they could never do that themselves! In fact, cold showers seem to be a deal breaker for most guys.
Are you telling me that, as a wife, I’m supposed to believe that my husband is going to care, provide, and protect his family at all costs when he can’t even deny himself hot water? It’s kind of a joke, yet there has been a feminization of our men over the past couple of decades. They have become fat, lazy, apathetic, and absent physically or just emotionally and the fact is we, as women, do not even realize that it’s happening.
In our technological and materialistic age it is more difficult to show our children the art of self-denial and self-control. Many parents are able to buy extra things for their children. I know we often have to deal with entitlement issues in our family. We also live in a world where most of a man’s work can be done sitting at a desk in front of a computer. This does not give him the opportunity to go out and show his children the beauty of hard work, or how to create something with his hands.
Once my husband started working out and lost weight, and did not have the distractions of tv and his phone he had so much extra time and energy to put toward our family and household. My children got to watch and help him make me some benches (this was a first for my husband), and help him build a fire pit in the backyard for us to gather around. He started to throw the football with my son, and play pick up games with the kids, and they started going outside to work out with him in the mornings. He was PRESENT with them.
I am so glad that the bar has been set so high for my children through my husband’s example. If my children choose a vocation in marriage, our daughters will know the qualities of a strong man, and our sons will know how to be strong men.
As a wife, I have loved my husband for over 20 years and I would have continued to love him. However, in the past couple of years my RESPECT for him and my TRUST in him have grown exponentially. Although I believed that my husband would always do whatever he needed to do to provide and care for us, I know now that he CAN because I see it through his daily acts of self-control and self-denial.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. -Ephesians 5:28-32