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Sunday, September 19, 2010
Back in my post about the importance of getting away together for time away from the kiddies, I spoke of how important it is for your kids that you invest in and protect your marriage. I was struck again this week by how important our marriages are to our kids. Sure a strong marriage creates a healthy home environment, but I also believe that the way we live out our marriages in front of our children will have generational impact that reaches far beyond the here and now.

The skills we learn in the microcosm of marriage are really life skills that we have the opportunity to demonstrate for our kids. For example, learning gracious submission to authority is something that will come in handy for our children as an employee, as a student, and as a future spouse. Learning to deny one’s self for the sake of another will not only help them in their future marriages, but also in other relationships. Learning to disagree but maintain honor, to serve and respect other people, to give generously and to live genuinely all are skills for a fruitful and meaningful life.

Most important of all, because marriage is designed to be a reflection of the relationship between Jesus (our bridegroom) and us (his bride), what we most demonstrate in a healthy marriage is a vibrant, thriving love relationship with the Lord.

Please hear my heart on this. I’m not writing this to heap guilt upon you or to make you feel even worse when your marriage is struggling. I know I have given my kids plenty of examples of what marriage should NOT be like in the many years they’ve been watching me and Jenni.

My purpose for this post is really two fold. First, I want to just remind you that your children are learning from you whether you intend for them to be or not. Just be aware of that fact, and let it serve as an additional inspiration to make your marriage great. Second, I want to encourage you to parent into situations where you’ve acted toward your spouse in front of your children in a way that runs counter to how you know you should act.

Let them see the apology as well as the ill temper. Let them see the make-up affection as well as the disagreement and subsequent withdrawal. Talk with them plainly about what you did and how you wish you’d have done it differently (in a way that is age-appropriate, of course). Let them learn along with you.

Ask yourself what your marriage is teaching your children, not only about marriage, but other important life skills. Are there some I have missed that you’d like to add to my list?


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