When I speak on marriage, I’m always asked if I intentionally taught my kids about marriage. The answer is yes and, no.
Yes, there are times when we’ve talked specifically about marriage (either ours or ones that our kids have observed). But, for the most part, Cathy and I have been wise enough to know that our kids are constantly watching and learning from us without us having to do a lot of talking. Our actions (both good and bad) are always teaching them about marriage.
I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that Cathy and I share its definitely not perfect, but were both very proud of what we’ve developed over 27+ years. Here are 10 actions that I know my kids have observed from us over the years:
Cathy and I are very affectionate and I like having my kids see me holding their moms hand, hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc. as often as I 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 (and I have to say it a lot more than Cathy).
This is my primary love language so its easy for me to dish out encouraging words. My kids get a lot of verbal affirmation, but they also hear me directing it toward my wife (which is really easy).
I think Cathy is hot and, I make it known around our family. I’ll regularly say to our kids: ”Isn’t your mom beautiful?”
Our kids know that we like to spend time together. When they see us steal time away to sit in the backyard and talk, or go in the hot tub, or go on a date night, or sneak away for the weekend thats a good message I want them to see.
We laugh a lot in our house and my wifes cute sense of humor cracks me up. I like having my kids see that my wife makes me laugh.
Opening the door for Cathy, saying thank you and please and showing her simple signs of respect.
8. Faith Conversations
Were not always praying in front of our kids, but they hear and see our faith conversations and know that were always talking about Jesus and what it means to be a follower.
9. The Value of Friends
Our house is well worn from the traffic of friends in/out of our house. We love having people over and the Fields house is a regular hangout for some incredible friends.
I know my kids have had a better example in Cathy than with me because shes the ultimate servant. Always asking, How can I help? What do you need to make life better? Serving one another is seen in the daily, little things and theres many opportunities to serve.
Kids are always watching their parents marriage and yet too many marriages underestimate the power of modeling! Children are taking daily recordings of what a marriage looks like and those recordings are definitely influencing and shaping their view of marriage.
Do you have intentional actions that youre modeling to your kids? Do you have some actions that are different from the ones I’ve listed?
Doug Fields is a youth ministry veteran and a leader in the marriage world. Doug is the co-author of MarriedPeople: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last. You can follow Doug on Twitter @DougFields.
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