Out Of The Mouth Of Babes: Marriage From A Child’s Perspective

BY: - 13 Mar '12 | Marriage

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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:

Is sweet
Is love
Is respectful
Warms your skin
Is gentle
Is sentimental
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?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 581 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.


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13 WordPress comments on “Out Of The Mouth Of Babes: Marriage From A Child’s Perspective

  1. Niambi

    Wow!   I am in awe at what your daughter has said.   She has a healthy understanding of marriage and it is a testament to your marriage with your husband  that she is learning these things from witnessing the relationship that you have with eachother.      

  2. Bernatta_anderson

    This is a great article Tia.. What some adults don’t know is that children are very wise and intelligent individuals. We as adults can learn a lot from them while they are young keep up the good work with what your children are observing from such beautiful role models

    1. Tiya

      I truly appreciate your comment. I agree, our children are extremely wise and they pick up everything, even when we don’t think they are watching. We are their first amd most important role models

  3. Shaliya

    This is wonderful Tiya! I have to ask my eight year old what he thinks about Marriage….I’m sure the response will be different coming from a boy!

  4. Nicole

    This is beautiful! A child’s ability to recognize authentic love in marriage is amazing. Kudos to your example! My 4 year-old daughter saw a couple arguing and said “they need to get married so they can be happy”.

  5. Funches22400

    Unfortunately, I have never been married so my twins have never experienced living in a household with two parents at one time. I still want to know what they think so I must ask them. Their take may be interesting. Great article Tiya.

  6. Mrsmcphearson

    Wooooooooow. this was great. You just gave me something to talk to the kids about tonight. this could help us in so many ways. if they see something crazy or is not right and we the husband and wife  don’t  no that we are showing that. That’s the very thing we can start to work on. Tiya this  is great I love it. I  cannot wait to hear what the kids have to say.

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Eat What’s On Your Plate Or Don’t Eat At All

BY: - 14 Mar '12 | Communication

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Eat what’s on your plate. You are not eating cereal. You cannot have a sandwich. Either eat what I cooked or don’t eat at all.

Do those words sound familiar? My mama only had to say them a few times for me and my brothers to realize she was serious. Nowadays parents put two or three different meals on the table just to satisfy everybody’s taste. When my 6-year-old tried to convince me to do the same because she didn’t like the chicken and rice I made, even though she hadn’t tasted it, I was tempted to allow her to eat cereal for dinner. But then my good sense kicked in. Ain’t no way she’s eating cereal after I slaved over a stove to cook her a hot dinner. More importantly, she has to learn that she can’t get what she wants all of the time. Either she eats what is on her plate or she doesn’t eat at all.

It sounds harsh, but this is a life lesson that will serve her good even as an adult, especially as a married adult.

When you marry, you don’t have the option of taste-testing relationships anymore. Instead, you must work on being grateful for the spouse you have and do everything you can to enjoy your relationship together. Even when you are mad at each other, you can’t place an order for a different spouse. Even when times get difficult, you must sit at the table together to work things out. Marriage is not a buffet where you pick and choose what you like and how much of it you want. In marriage, either you eat what’s on your plate or you don’t eat at all. At least that’s how it should be.

For the singles, before you say “I Do,” ask yourself if you are willing to eat off of the plate that your potential spouse brings to the table. Will you sit at the table with this person ““for life””and digest the good and the bad until death parts you? Will you eat with him/her or not eat at all?

For married couples, have you sat down with your spouse to evaluate what is on your plate? Are the two of you even sitting at the same table eating the same meal, or has someone left the restaurant?

Recently, when I took all the options off of the table and ordered my daughter to eat the chicken and rice on her plate, she realized that she did like what I had prepared. After the first bite, she looked at me, smiled, and exclaimed, “Mmmm. . . this is good, mommy. You are the best cooker in the world.”

The same can happen when you give your marriage a try. When times get hard, when feelings are hurt, when life gets hectic, don’t look to someone else or to something else to make you feel good. Look to your spouse. Sit at the table together and commit to eating what’s on your plate. I guarantee there is nothing or no one that tastes as good as the love a committed husband and wife share.

BMWK family, what other lessons did you learn as a child that help you now as an adult?  


About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 75 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.


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