By Phil Stevens,
My wife and I often reflect on what our children see in and about our marriage. What do they take away? What have we taught them? Honestly, they are shaping their view of marriage by what you show them in the good times and the bad. Daily. How do you fight, disagree, deal with conflict, and react? Good questions right?!
I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that my wife and I have. Because I know, they would be happy and fulfilled. It’s definitely not perfect, but we’re both very proud of what we’ve developed over 9+ years.
Here are 10 actions that I know my kids have observed from us over the year:
1. Affection: We are very affectionate and I like having my kids see me kiss her first when I come home, we hug, cuddle, etc… as often as we can.
2. Saying “I’m sorry”: I want to be quick to use this phrase and I want my kids to hear me say it. I want to admit my shortcomings and failures to my wife in front of them. That instills humility in my children.
3. Affirmation: This is my primary love language so it’s easy for me to dish out encouraging words. I want them to hear me praise my wife for the amazing big and little things she does. They’ll jump on board too!
4. Attraction: I think my wife is a hottie. Often, she still takes my breath away. I want my son to see that I pursue and am still attracted to my wife. Also, I want my daughter to know this is how your husband should look at you, as if he’s looking at the most beautiful sunset he’s laid eyes on.
5. Time: Our kids see that we spend time together. Date nights, TV night, small group, worship or just catching up – they know we enjoy our quality time together.
6. Laughter: We laugh. Man… we laugh. My wife cracks me up and I make it my job to make her smile too. I can already see that my 4-year-old daughter has caught the funny bug and loves it.
7. Tone: I try hard to use the correct tone with my wife. It’s not easy sometimes, but practice makes perfect. Our kids should see that we respond to each other in love and with compassion even when we don’t want to. They should never see us snapping at one another. That gives them permission to snap at people when things aren’t going their way.
8. Faith: Our kids see us pursuing meaningful relationship with God. They know it. We talk about it. We don’t hide it. We don’t beat them over the head with it, but we wear it on our sleeve.
9. Community: Our life is filled with an abundance of incredibly good friends. We surround ourselves with good, loving, honest and happy people and it makes a difference in our children’s lives. They see the support we give and that others willingly give us. I pray they model their friendships in the same way.
10. Servanthood: My wife and I are servants. We give ourselves away frequently. Our older children have also adopted this quality and are in the mindset that, it’s just the thing to do. God’s second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.“ -Mathew 22:39. Basically, we are called to love people.
Kids are always watching their parent’s marriage and yet too many marriages underestimate the power of truly modeling! Children are taking daily recordings of what a marriage looks like and those recordings are influencing and shaping their view of marriage.
BMWK Let’s Chat! What actions are you intentionally modeling to your kids? Do you have some good ones to add to the list? And, do you have some negative actions they will take with them into marriage?
Phil Stevens is a Christ follower, happily married father, filmmaker, producer, writer & actor. Creator of Marriage Pressure Points, a film series and marriage community based on a proactive, honest, loving and graceful approach to marital conflict. His heart is to make God proud and collaborate with amazing people to make healthy – every marriage he can.
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