**Over the next couple of months** I will be conducting interviews with several dads from many different walks of life that seem to be doing it right. This week I had a chance to ask some questions with pastor, kayak angler and all-around Texan, Jason Huffman.
![jason and the family](/content/images/2015/02/jason-huffman-interview-01.JPG)
###My name is Jason Huffman.
I have been married to my wife, Cindy for seven years. She was a single mother of a six year old when we married. I adopted her daughter, Peyton, two years after our wedding, then we had our own son, Justus, two years ago. I’ve been a youth minister and associate pastor for the better part of twenty years, having my first ministry job in 1996. After college, I spent five years doing full-time church work near Austin, TX until a divorce forced me to regroup and take a sabbatical from church work. I moved back to my home town of Palestine, TX where I eventually went back into ministry work and am still serving today.
Q. What has been the most memorable date with your wife?
My favorite date with my wife would have to be one of two choices. The marriage proposal was pretty swanky, if I do say so myself. She lived about two miles from a big vineyard with a nice restaurant, but we knew it was really expensive, so we had never even driven by it, let alone gone inside. I told her we were going to another place but I wanted her to wear something nice. Well, she figured out when we drove up that we weren’t going to the Japanese Hibachi. There was a carriage waiting outside and she said, “Oh, somebody is getting a carriage ride.” She soon found out that it was our carriage ride. They took us on a tour of the vineyard, then after we had been to the tasting room, they took us to a little table with a bottle of wine (one we had selected during our tasting) with some cheeses and pistachios. I took her out to the little table and after a few minutes of conversing, I popped the question. They all clapped when she said yes, then we went in for dinner at the steakhouse where they announced our engagement and wrote “Jason & Cindy” in chocolate syrup on our desserts.
The second was just a timely stroke of creativity. I had been away from home for a month at school and despite the happiness of a reunion, the time apart had taken its toll on our relationship. We were not happy with one another, but yet we still missed each other deeply. So on a Friday night I booked a hotel room in our own town. (I tend to be something of a cheapskate, so part of me screamed this was a ridiculous waste of money!) After taking her to dinner at a place she had been wanting to go, I told her I had booked a room. I said, “This is for you, no strings attached. If you want to go spend time by yourself away from the stress of the house and kids, I’m okay with that. But if you would like for me to stay, I’ll be happy to do so.” Thankfully, she chose the latter option. It was a great time to reconnect without the pressures of life that had made our relationship difficult. There was something about being in our home town but away from home that said “this is special.”
![jason and cindy kissing](/content/images/2015/02/jason-huffman-interview-03.JPG)
Q. How do you serve your wife? Your kids?
Serving my wife and kids has been something I’ve had to learn to do. For a long time, my wife and I loved each other, but unfortunately, I must admit on my end it was a selfish love. If I do ____ then I expect you to do ____. This was a horrible way to live in a relationship because no matter what I did, I was always expecting some sort of reciprocation. When my “attempts to get a pellet”-as Skinner’s psychological theory would call it-didn’t work, I would get indignant and frustrated; even angry. Compound all of this with scars of rejection from divorce and this opened a door for Satan to have a heyday in our marriage and not only impact my family, but my job as a minister. I finally hit rock bottom. I went to see a counselor. I also went to see a local pastor friend of mine weekly who counseled me through some of it. I fasted and prayed. Then something wonderful happened. In the midst of my pain and my bitterness, I began to be moved with compassion for my family. This wasn’t a selfish, “strings attached” compassion, either. But rather, I began looking for ways to show love to my wife in a time where she didn’t really want to love me back. As a morning person, I would often empty the dishwasher from the night before after I had my devotional time. I also began trying to do more in the evenings. Since I worked outside the home and she was a stay at home mom, I had really bought into the idea that I didn’t need to do much around the house. But I began to realize that after I got off of work, she was still on the clock, so I began helping more with dishes and laundry in the evenings. Also, I began buying her flowers on occasion. Nothing fancy, but just the $8 bouquets you can get at any grocery store. The biggest thing was that I made a commitment that when I was home I was going to “be home.” So I began making a concerted effort to not be on my phone, social media, etc. during times when it was us as a family. Also, since we have a toddler, going to the grocery store can be a fiasco. So now, I’m always happy to pick things up from the grocery store on the way home from the office.
Q. How do you balance work/wife/kids/self/responsibilities?
Balancing work and family isn’t always easy, but I do make a concerted effort to do it. The interesting thing about my job is the schedule is always weird. Since the majority of the work in a church is done by lay volunteers who have other jobs, there are a lot of evening meetings and of course evening Bible study times. So I don’t go to every meeting that comes along, particularly if my daughter has a game. I also have some flexibility to take some extra family time at other times of the week when it looks like I’m not going to be home a lot. We also try to take family trips at least once a year. We don’t have a lot of money, so we rarely go very far. But we try to find a place that is not too far from home and go stay a few days. When I was growing up, my dad was gone a lot because he worked very long hours. He ran his own business.
![peyton and justus on a quad](/content/images/2015/02/jason-huffman-interview-02.JPG)
Q. What steps have you taken to protect yourself, your wife and your children from pornography?
Pornography is something that I know can be difficult with the world changing as fast as it is. For my wife and I, the best thing I have found is that when she and I are really on the same page, the lure of pornography is not nearly as strong. That being said, she has all of my social media passwords. We also try to monitor our daughter’s online behavior as best we can.
Any last thoughts? Where can we find you?
When I’m not working or with my family, I do enjoy getting out in the outdoors. I hunt, fish, kayak, hike, and backpack. I also really enjoy photography.
You can follow my blog at [www.changedbygrace.net](www.changedbygrace.net), [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/jasonbhuffman) and [Instagram](http://www.instagram.com/jasonbhuffman) at @jasonbhuffman.
###Do you know of any other men who have inspired you to be a better husband and father?
I am always interested in giving fathers another avenue to share the things they have learned. We can’t do this alone and need the fellowship that comes with sharing your life stories. If you know a dad that I should get in touch with please feel free to e-mail me at **[firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com)** and I’ll reach out to them.