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?