Not many of us think about teaching our young children the do’s and don’ts about a healthy marriage. We’re still trying to teach them values like perseverance, sharing, forgiveness, and saying their prayers. Marriage is a loooonnnng way off! But what I’ve learned over the years is that kids learn the most when they are observing.
Dave and I don’t have a perfect marriage. I’m not even sure what a perfect marriage looks like. We have had our share of struggles over the years, and we’ve had our share of disagreements…believe me! Be that as it may, I’m really proud of the marriage that Dave and I have built over the last 22 years.
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
What my kids have observed about our marriage:
- Affection: Dave and I are affectionate with each other. I’m proud to say that my kids have seen us hold hands, gently kiss, and cuddle with each other.
- Attraction: We let it be known that we think the other person is still “hot”. I’m serious! There’s absolutely nothing better than hearing my husband tell me, “You’re beautiful” or me telling him, “You look great in that shirt!”
- Affirmation: We encourage each other all the time. The kids see that I am on Dave’s side. Even when I have to be his critic or he has to be mine…it’s done in love and with a sense of building up not tearing down.
- Laughter: We laugh a lot in our house! I tend to have a wacky sense of humor, which has rubbed off on my husband as well as being passed on to our kids!
- Respect: We tend to be “old fashioned” and we openly have traditional roles. My husband is a gentleman. We show each other little signs of mutual respect, along with the basics, like saying, “please” and “thank you”…and “I’m sorry”.
- Being a servant: Our kids witness us getting involved to help the church, the community, and the world missions. Growing a servant’s heart is important to each of us.
- Faith-Talks: We don’t keep faith for just Sundays. Dave and I talk about Jesus, what we’ve recently read in the Bible, what we’ve heard in a radio message, or even areas where we feel our faith is weak. Our oldest is in high school, so we also welcome his opinion. But he witnesses that walking by faith is a journey, and that our walk is done together.
I write this because we sometimes devalue or simply forget how we are constantly modeling behavior to our kids. There are times where I’m sure I’ve blown it, royally. I’m sure they’ve witnessed emotional outbursts on my part. I know that Dave has said things in anger, which he has regretted. But then when we DO blow it, we always apologize to the other. They see us come together, hug, and forgive.
Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributor to the What’s in the Bible and JellyTelly blogs. She is a homeschooling mom of two, who works independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville. Her blog, Talking Like A Girl, is currently being restructured.