When Buddy Curry was a professional football player, he thought life was all about him.
“I made up my mind to have as much fun as possible,” said Curry, former Falcon inside linebacker and 1980 Defensive Rookie of the Year. “Toward the end of my 8-year career, all the things I had been doing didn’t seem fun. I wanted a relationship and to settle down.”
When Curry met the woman he would marry, he described himself as young and selfish.
“When we got married I had no clue how to be married,” Curry said. “As an athlete, I had been coddled. Most of the time I got what I wanted and like other athletes I thought the rules applied to everybody but me.”
Within three years the Currys’ marriage was in crisis.
“Every time I saw my wife do something wrong I called her out,” Curry recalled. “I was critical and I hurt her very deeply. Although people loved me because I was a pretty good guy, the state of my marriage made me step back and consider how I would learn to be a good husband and father. I knew I was not strong enough to make the necessary transformation by myself.”
Curry sought out older and wiser men to mentor him—men who would hold him accountable as well as encourage him as a husband and father. Instead of being critical toward his wife, he began serving her.
“Even though she very clearly wanted out of the marriage, I made a decision to learn new ways of relating to her,” Curry said. “My goal was to bless her and allow time for healing in our relationship.”
A pivotal moment in Curry’s life came with the birth of their first son. When he laid eyes on his child, he began thinking, “Do I want my son to be like me?” While he thought he had a lot of things going right in his life, he really didn’t think he wanted his son to be like him.
“I had been making a lot of changes in my life for the better,” Curry said. “When my son was born, I realized there were other areas that needed some attention. Realizing that my children are going to follow me was eye-opening.”
The Currys now have four children.
“Being a father has taught me about my own weaknesses,” Curry said. “I recognize that there is a generational transfer taking place and that I am sending my children into the future. I’d like to help my kids not make the same mistakes I made. I want them to understand the importance of self-discipline, what commitment to something means – even when the going gets tough. I want to teach them how to be a good team player.”
One of the most important lessons Curry learned is that you can have the best of intentions for your marriage and your family, but unless you’re willing to invest the time to make those things happen, it’s just wishful thinking. No amount of success in the world can make up for failure at home.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***