We don’t often think about how our children view our marriage. We see them as little and accepting of life as it is. But when they begin to grow up, how would they describe your relationship with your husband?
Do they see you laugh together?
Is there a lot of fun and silliness in your marriage? When my husband and I were going for pre-marital counseling we were told to take our marriage very seriously but not to take ourselves too seriously. This is where our laughing comes in. I don’t know about you but there is so much to laugh at in my life!
- I make mistakes in what I say all the time.
- I am so often forgetting things that I’ve been told many times.
- I can’t sing if my life depended on it.
- I am bald (that’s a big one all by its self!)
These kinds of things lend themselves to lots of jokes and silly nonsense. My husband and I laugh a lot in our marriage. We find the humor in who we are and, without mocking or disdain, we can laugh at the foibles of our personalities and love those quirks!
Do they see you being affectionate?
A healthy marriage includes physical affection. Do you hold hands? Do you kiss often? Do you hug each other throughout the day? We need our children to see a loving physical affection between us. Sometimes in the church’s desire to promote purity, our children can come away with a wrong and unhealthy view of a good marriage. A physical relationship in marriage (sex, there I said it!) is a gift from God. I knew an older woman who once said, “I want my children to know that their dad and I have sex. But not necessarily WHEN we have sex.”
It is vital for our children to see the amour in our marriages. They need to know things like when my husband winks at me I get shivers up my spine. Or I sometimes call his answering machine when I know he is in class just for the thrill of hearing his voice. When he is coming in the door I will often stand with my arms open wide and my lips puckered, waiting for him to step into my embrace and into my kiss.
Do they see you pray?
Do your children see Jesus as the center of your marriage? Do you even pray together at all? I’ve known many marriages, marriages that I consider strong, where the couples do not pray together. All I know is that we have had many hard times and we could not have withstood the griefs and hardships and pain without linking our hearts together in prayer. We came to our marriage with a goal to be more effective for the Kingdom of God together than we ever were apart.
- This means we need to continue to work to keep Jesus in the center.
- We need to work to keep Jesus as our strength.
- We need to work to keep the Lord as our wisdom and guide and focus.
In our marriage, this happens when we go off alone to pray together. This happens when, for years, we went on our dates with our bibles and notebooks and prayed over our weaknesses and goals. Our children need to see us on our knees before the Lord. But they won’t see it if we don’t do it!
Do they see you serve others?
Part of who we are as a couple is to be the expression of Jesus to our children. We need to go outside of the home and serve others. Whether it is serving the homeless in a soup kitchen or serving at a funeral dinner at church or babysitting for a young couple so they can go out to dinner alone, our children need to see us serve as a couple.
In our family, we used to do nursery and young children’s church together. All of us! And of course, that usually doubled the size of the nursery or children’s church room! But our children got to see how my husband and I served in the life of the church. Children’s ministry was NOT our calling, but we did it because there was a need and our children could help us meet it. They also saw us counsel and disciple and teach others. Or go over to take care of someone who was ill or deal with a troubled marriage. Do you and your husband know how to serve together, to use your spiritual gifts in a way that allows you to minister together in some capacity? It’s important that your children see you serve together.
How do your children view your marriage? Are you mostly angry and irritated? Or are you mostly joy-filled and loving?