What do you do to prevent relations ending?When I started writing this post, I was in an exam room at a medical clinic with my daughter and grandson – my grandson had been sick.  I here as moral support after a frantic phone call an hour before.  Since I was planning on working in my woodshop, I had to have a quick shower and change of clothes and was ready to go in 20 minutes.  This isn’t the first time I have dropped everything that was planned or important to attend to family.

There was the first day of the Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) for the USS Indianapolis – I received a phone call from my wife telling me that “If I wanted to be present for the birth of my fourth child, I better get to Tripler immediately.”  Despite being responsible for the entire availability, I dropped everything into the hands of my assistants and left.  And I was present for the birth of my younger daughter – the same that I was with today.

There was also the day that I was in my office in the outskirts of Washington, DC when I got a phone call from my wife saying there had been an accident with the bus my younger son was on and he was being transported to the hospital.  Again, I dropped everything, got a friend to drive me to the hospital, and discovered that my son was in the emergency room surrounded by doctors and nurses.  He had been hit by the side mirror and had a fractured skull – but he was doing his best to get the doctors to laugh by telling jokes.  Later, he learned he could set the alarms off by holding his breath – driving the nurses to distraction.

These are examples of times when we recognize that our families are precious gifts given but so easily taken.  And they are opportunities for us to let our families know that they are important.

I’ve never apologized for putting my family’s needs first.  As a poem stated, “Babies don’t wait.”  But this is a common problem in our lives and society – because business is important.  And it is important – it provides the resources for living.  But business is important only in how it enables us to create those lives worth living.

After I transitioned to the Regular Navy and became a career naval officer, I realized one day that the Navy had already determined that I would be let go someday – 20, 25 or 30 years after I joined – it was written into the contract.  I decided that day that I didn’t want a termination notice in my relationships with my wife and children.

So, what do you do to prevent a relationship from ending?  For me, the secret was to make sure that everyday I act in such a way as to convince my wife, children, friends, anyone I meet, that I value the relationship and do something to show that I value the relationship.

Now, this irritates my wife because I told her that I start each day based on the assumption she doesn’t know I love her and I look for opportunities to show her that I love her.  She irritated because she starts the day with love for me – perhaps because I convinced her yesterday that I love her?

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.