If ever you are curious about your child’s thoughts on a grown up topic like marriage, just ask the question.
During one of those casual conversations with your child, ask him/her how they would define marriage. You, just as I was, may be surprised by the extent of the response. What you will discover in this kind of discussion is that children really are wise beyond their years. They observe and soak up all the knowledge around them, especially that which comes from their parents. Even when it appears they aren’t paying attention or taking note, they are.
The insight we gain just by having a conversation with our children is amazing. I learned this week my 8-year-old daughter has an exceptionally good concept of marriage. When I asked her what marriage is, after a sigh and a smile (as though she had been waiting for someone to ask her this very question) she replied with the following list:
Warms your skin
Makes you feel loved
Does not make you feel lonely
Makes you feel appreciated and honored
Is something special
Is not to be tossed around
Is a ball of love
Is a ball of sweetness
Makes you feel good about yourself
Even with flaws they (your spouse) will love you anyway
Makes you relax and count on them (your spouse) for anything
Calms you down
After sharing her list she went on further by stating, ”You must make sure that person really loves you; your spouse can pretend to love you and not really love you. You can’t just pick someone to marry you, you have to be really picky. You go through trouble, but you should still love each other. You don’t have to hurt each other, that’s not love. You should always be kind and gentle and make sure you don’t hurt your spouse’s feelings. Marriage is something that makes you feel excited and makes you feel like it’s easy, even when it’s not. You have to take as much responsibility as the other spouse takes. You always have to stay together. No one walks out on anyone and everyone is fine. Marriage is about making sure the other is safe. It is exciting.”
I was amazed by these powerful words coming out of the mouth of an 8-year-old. I thanked her for her insight and wisdom. I smiled as our conversation came to a close. What makes me the most proud of this particular dialogue is that nearly all of what my daughter has seen and heard about marriage comes from her father and me.
BMWK, how does your child define marriage?