One piece of advice everyone gives is, “Don’t argue in front of the kids.”
And I stick to that. Most of the time.
The truth is, my husband and I don’t really argue in front of the kids. But until recently, they definitely saw my eye rolls or exaggerated sighs or my husband’s reluctance to answer me when I asked him a straightforward question. We might not have been yelling and screaming at each other, but I think those small little expressions still count.
I have to keep in mind that I’m teaching them how to love. Whatever I say or do and whatever my husband does, it gives them a blueprint.
“This is how a man/woman is supposed to talk to you.”
“This is how you act when you have a disagreement in your relationship.”
“This is what you do when you have big decisions to make.”
“This is what love looks like.”
I want them to leave my house with a good idea of what a loving, respectful relationship looks like. To miss some of the hard lessons I had to learn. To get them in a committed relationship (if that’s what they so choose) with the least amount of bruises and baggage possible. Is that unrealistic?
I’ve been working on myself and my marriage. Trying to eliminate some of those negative behaviors I find myself clinging to year after year. Not just for their sake, but my sake.
“Happily ever after” wasn’t easy for us after our first unplanned pregnancy. I had no idea how to be married. I fumbled my way through a lot of difficult situations.
I realize I enjoy having my husband on this ride. I like him a lot. I like being with him. I’m trying to be conscious of how I talk to him, interact with him, if I brush off his compliments or neglect him while I’m working. I’m much more aware of how I make my requests.
And you know what? We’re a work in progress. But what marriage isn’t? All I know is we’re doing the best we can to make this relationship work. We have disagreements like any other couple and we’ve come a long way in terms of 1) how long it takes us to resolve a conflict 2) how respectful we are toward each other while doing so and 3) not arguing about every little thing (picking our battles). I hope my kids see how much work goes into a marriage, but also how great the rewards are.
Do you feel confident about the relationship blueprint you’re leaving your kids?