Are You Raising a Good Husband or Wife?

BY: - 28 May '13 | Marriage

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What I have loved about writing for BMWK for the last few years is the conversations that I have been able to engage in with the readers. Recently, I wrote a post about 6 Things That Make an Exceptional Spouse  and one of your comments sparked another thought.

Am I raising a good spouse?

Ok, let me explain quickly before that gets misinterpreted – LOL. I am not talking about raising a good husband or wife. Rather, I am talking about what we share, model and teach to our children. With my own child I have begun doing what my parents would do to me, by putting positive messages in his ear about college and being a good father and man. But I probably could be a little more specific about my messaging about someday being a good husband. I do have some time though, he just starts kindergarten this fall (smile). But here are some ideas that come to mind on how we can raise our kids to be good spouses.

1. Positive Messages about Marriage. It is not hard to find someone that will talk bad or down about marriage. And surely there are some things about marriage that we could complain about too. But with our kids we have a chance to shape their perspective about marriage either positively or negatively. By telling them about the positive side of marriage and what the responsibilities of a good spouse are, we prepare them to be a good spouse for someone else in the future.

2. Model. Kids, just like us, catch more of what they see than what they hear. Kids watch how their mom and dad treat and interact with each other – and that is the model they just might live out in their own marriage. But not just how we are in our marriage but in life in general. It is a thought that can drive us crazy, but the reality is, they are watching – and catching what they see.

3. What to Look For. I believe in teaching a child what to look for in a spouse. Our kids, just like some of us, will be attracted to all of the wrong things. Now with a few years of marriage under our belts we may have a different perspective as to what important qualities we should have in a spouse. Gently, but lovingly, we can help shape our kids awareness of what to look for in a spouse. Instill some of those qualities in a child and when they get older they will know what to look for.

4. How to Investigate a spouse’s Spiritual Walk. A friend hipped me to this. He was going through a divorce just a few months after their wedding. So I asked him what he thought went wrong. He shared with me that he neglected to check out how his soon to be ex was living spiritually. One thing that he shared was that he was fooled by church attendance and forgot to look at her actual spiritual practice. Pretty interesting thought. I believe that marriage takes a lot of prayer, so it makes sense to raise a child to look for and be aware of a potential spouses spiritual walk or practice – not just the outside stuff, but on the inside.

5. Respect. As I said earlier, I have a young child but even at an early age I have tried to show him how to hold the elevator or door for women and to make sure that he looks out for the younger “brown” girls in his nursery school. I shudder to think what the dating scene will look like in 20 years but I imagine respect is still going to be in high demand.

It is funny how life changes a persons outlook! A few years ago a friend told me he was praying for his pre-teen age daughters future spouses. At the time I thought it was a little odd. But as a parent now myself and realizing what our kids face in today’s dating market, it really places a certain gravity on raising our children to be good spouses.

What do you think…. do you actively parent to make your child a good spouse?

Click here to read more articles written by Edward Lee.

About the author

Edward Lee wrote 69 articles on this blog.

Edward is a husband, father, founder of Elevate Your Marriage Marriage Coaching, author of three books: "Elevate Your Marriage", "Husbands, Wives, God" and "Husbands, Wives, God Weekly Devotions." He is also the Pastor of LongView Bible Church in Owings Mills, Md. Visit Edward's blog at:


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8 WordPress comments on “Are You Raising a Good Husband or Wife?

  1. RonnieBMWK

    This is a great post Edward Lee and is certainly something that is on my mind…….that my kids will make good spouses…but also that they will have a good spouse. Thanks for this list of things to consider.

  2. Finally!

    If children are our future, if this isn’t or doesn’t become soon a major concern in all our minds, we’re poised only to continue the destruction wreaking havoc in our communities. Solid marriages lead to healthy homes with less poverty, leading to cohesive communities, leading to effective education, leading to an informed and engaged citizenry.

  3. Allison

    Very powerful article. I am very glad that you raised the issue. I think that there is a very persistent tendency to NOT practice what we preach as parents. I agree, they watch more than they listen. If your walk is not adding up, the youth see it immediately and begin to assess whether or not what you are SAYING to them matters. We think that they are too young to figure out the hypocrisy, but hear me when I say it, even the VERY young are quite astute at weighing words and deeds. Our communities and parents must be serious and committed to lining up and walking out the talk.

  4. Paula Penn-Nabrit

    I enjoyed this important post. While reading it I thought you might appreciate the comments I gave at my husband’s memorial service last Saturday-his life covered many elements of this same theme.

    His Life was his Perfect Praise and Worship

    Charles, or CMadison as I called him, was without hyperbole, the most amazing person I have ever met-and I worked for Federal District Court Judge Robert Duncan and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, have had several conversations with Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and an enduring friendship with the great Professor Derrick Bell-so I’ve met some amazing folks, but nobody like CMadison.

    I don’t say that because he graduated from Dartmouth College in 3 years, with honors and a box of varsity letters with various track and field records that remained unbroken for 20 years. I’ve known tons of smart people-everybody in CMadison’s family is academically gifted and my Penn cousins were tremendous, varsity athletes at the college conference level. I don’t say that because he had a keen appreciation for music, especially jazz and opera. He played piano and French Horn-and little known fact: CMadison could tap dance! But I’ve known lots of musicians, CMadison’s mother, grandmother and my sister Cheryl- all gifted musicians and my Finch cousins and Cheryl can really saang! And while it’s remarkable that he and I were able to maintain a viable business for 27 years, lots of folks are self-employed and nobody worked harder than my own parents. And I don’t say that because he was saved, married and had kids-David, Sonjia, Courtney & Wil and lots of other folks are saved, married and “got kids.”

    CMadison was more than a series of singular superlatives. He was the most amazing person I have ever met because he employed all his phenomenal giftedness within the construct of his Christian practice. He never had to ask “What would Jesus do?” because he was a student of the Scriptures –he had me read the Bible aloud to him daily; we’ve read it through at least 10 times! So he was well acquainted with the Old Testament praise scriptures, but CMadison was most focused on the New Testament. He was committed to the teachings of Jesus, who he saw as the penultimate example, the good shepherd and the embodiment of lived praise. And CMadison’s commitment was illuminated daily in his approach to parenting. Here are four brief examples so you won’t think, “Oh that’s just grief and shock speaking”:

    1.)Remember how Jesus told the disciples, “follow Me and I’ll show you some stuff?” Okay I’m paraphrasing but the instruction to follow was premised on direct teaching and observational analysis. CMadison was our homeschooling “director” but he didn’t just teach our sons academics-he taught them how to be a Christian, how to be a man, how to be a husband, how to be a father and how to be a contributing citizen in community with others-and not just in the sanctuary, but in daily living. Our sons, Charles and Damon are 33 and Evan will be 31 in August. They know what loving your wife as Christ loved the church, even unto crucifixion looks like on a daily basis. They know what the lived version of suffer the little children to come unto me feels like. They’ve witnessed their Dad’s often unheralded generosity, so they’ve seen love thy neighbor as thyself in action. They have never heard him ask anyone “What can I do?” He taught them to take initiative, to look to see what needed to be done and then do it without waiting to be asked. Just as Jesus taught His own disciples, CMadison taught his own sons. He allowed no cable television, no video games, no extraneous music-or extraneous people in our home during their formative years. He controlled the teaching environment.

    2.)Jesus never mentioned “me time” or “self-care.” He was with His disciples almost continuously, never missing an opportunity to teach them and prepare them for when He would no longer be physically present. And He did such a good job that nowhere in the scriptures do I recall the disciples having to ask “What would Jesus do?” after His ascension. In that same vein, CMadison made it easy for his sons to follow him because he was following Jesus and they witnessed it because he was with them always, “Yea, even until the end.” Like Jesus, CMadison never missed a teachable moment. When they were quite small, he used the garden to teach them the difference between annuals (plants or problems that you sow and reap for just one season) and perennials (the plants or problems that you sow that will yield a harvest to reap forever). Like Jesus, CMadison traveled with his sons-always teaching. The first time we went to a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok and saw people remove their shoes and kneel bowed to the floor for hours, he spoke with Charles, Damon and Evan about spiritual devotion as daily living and sacrifice. And CMadison was comfortable, in fact happy to witness to people when they asked-and people always asked. We traveled the world, always with CMadison at the helm and just like that old ditty, “everywhere we go people want to know, who we are, where we come from-so we tell them,” people always wanted to know “What’s up with the big black guy and his family?” or “You guys all get along so well, you’re so close. What’s your secret?” CMadison always was delighted to share.

    3.)Jesus protected His disciples. He said, “I send you out as lambs among wolves.” He knew the unfailing truth that Satan is indeed a roaring lion walking to and fro seeking whom he may devour. So Jesus made sure His disciples were fully prepared before He sent them out. CMadison did the same thing. He did not allow them to eat other peoples’ food (“You don’t know where their hands have been!”) or sleep at other peoples’ homes. (“the freaks come out at night is not just a line in a song!”) CMadison believed in the power of intercessory prayer, but he also knew he had to watch as well as pray because “every shut eye ain’t sleep.” CMadison kept his sons under his arm of protection-every camping trip, every cub scout meeting, every football practice, every choir concert, every fencing match, every road trip, every swim meet, every Bible Bowl competition, every early morning drive to Saturday art school, he was there, waiting patiently when necessary-always praying, always listening, always answering questions, always available in love and without complaint.

    He reminded me constantly to be more fully present in the moment, to slow down. When he decided they would read the Iliad and the Odyssey aloud as part of our homeschooling project I was outraged. “It will take FOREVER to listen to three little kids stumble through a 1000 pages of epic Greek poetry!” But he didn’t care about my consternation. He was always preparing them- intellectually, spiritually, physically-for when he would no longer be present. Do you want to know why Damon and Charles, Princeton education notwithstanding, were willing and able to sprawl face down in the dirt in the church parking lot and unstop the drainage pipe? Or why none of them walk past trash without picking it up? Or why they would give up a week-end to fill and pass out 200 book bags with back-to-school supplies their Dad bought for a bunch of little kids they didn’t know? They were trained.

    4.) CMadison’s peaceful, perfect, beautiful death at home, alone with me, was the culmination of a job well done. Jesus left the disciples once He knew they were fully prepared-not perfected, but fully prepared. CMadison’s praise and worship were lived things and now he is awaiting our arrival.

    I was blessed to have been married to CMadison for almost 37 years. He was the most amazing person I have ever met!

    1. Edward

      Paula – thanks for sharing your husband and your marriage with us all. There are so many points of his life that we can take from. Praise God for his life and our prayers are with you and your family as you continue to be blessed by the grace of God.

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5 Characteristics of Mature Love

BY: - 28 May '13 | Marriage

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While the “older” couples that we see in pictures or on the train are cute, it does not mean they have mature love. Mature love has less to do with your age and more to do with how your love has evolved over time. It has to do with your willingness to love each other unconditionally and stay committed (even through the tough times.)

With that being said, I have seen many older couples that do not have mature love…not at all. On the other hand, I have seen couples that have only been married for 5, 10 or 15 years that are thriving in healthy relationships because they are very intentional about loving each other and are committed to making the marriage work. So even after the newlywed/honeymoon phase has ended, and even after the euphoric feeling of new love ends, these couples are able to evolve into a deeper more committed type of love…..a mature love.

Lamar and I have been married for 8 years now and I definitely see our love maturing as the years go by. And, I also know that we still have some growing and learning to do in our relationship (we are not quite babies….but more like young So, in our quest to grow stronger in our marriage, we have been taking notes from couples that we admire and exhibit the type of mature love that we want in our relationship.

Click here to check out these 5 characteristics of couples with mature love.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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