Just before our son, Robert, was going to be married we asked him, “What did you learn about marriage from us?” Since we had been doing some premarital counseling with him we thought he would tell us all the current things he had just learned.
Instead he started talking about some things from his childhood.
As we listened he recounted what he had learned. We discovered they were just little things that we did without giving them much thought but ones we practiced over and over. In other words he picked them up through his continual observations of us.
We have learned that all kids have video-camera eyes and audio recording ears. On a daily basis how you live out your marriage in front of your children will have an impact on the type of mate and parent they will become. It says in the Bible, Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” This can either be an overwhelming thought or you can look at it as a great opportunity to influence the next generation in a positive way.
Positive Marriage Habits that Can have a Lasting Impact
1. Show Affection To One Another
Sitting close to one another, hand holding, going on dates, hugging and kissing give your kids security that you love each other and are in your marriage to stay.
2. Extend Courtesies to Each Other
Saying “thank you” and “please,” opening doors, and holding chairs can go a long way in demonstrating respect toward each other.
3. Laugh Together Daily
The Bible tells us laughter is “good medicine.” Oh how well we know that. In our marriage we love sharing with each other funny stories, cartoons, sayings and jokes. We have also learned to not take ourselves so seriously and have a sense of humor about life. Your children learn that this type of attitude can create a healthy and healing atmosphere in a marriage.
4. Speak Highly of Your Mate
Faithfully build each other up using word such as these, “I have a great wife, and you have a great mom” or “Look at the super job your dad did in the yard for all of us. I am so thankful he is my husband.” Since children are imitators they will learn to show respect and build others up if they have watched you do the same. And one more thing, watch your tone of voice. Make sure the tone shows respect towards one another.
5. Readily Forgive
When your mate “blows it” – do not hold it over their heads or try to extract payback from them. Instead forgive them. Who knows, the next time you may be the one in need of forgiveness. By readily forgiving one another, the message you pass to your children is that making a mistake is not fatal; they can grow from it and move forward. Also you are demonstrating in a tangible way the forgiveness Jesus shows each of us.
6. Serve One Another
It is easy to be a servant when you are asked to do something that is easy and in your comfort zone, but what about those times it is not easy or convenient? Like when you are tired and just want to veg out in front of the TV, but your mate needs help with the kids. Or say that you are really busy with the details of life and your mate needs a listening ear about a problem at work. Do your children see that in spite of how you feel that you are willing to serve your mate? Serving one another give your children the message that life is not all about self, but about others. They see you serving and loving each other, which is a mirror of Jesus serving and loving us.
Now it is your turn. Pick one of the habits that we have listed and start practicing it over the next month. See what God will do in your marriage and marriage legacy.
(And to be sure that you have Peace With God we would like to encourage you to visit www.billygraham.org and then click on Grow Your Faith followed by clicking on How To Know Jesus. You may want to share this link with family and friends.)