When we consider the great responsibility that we have as Christian parents to raise our children, maintaining a healthy, respectful, and loving marriage may not come to mind as a powerful parenting tool. But the saying, “The best thing that you can do for your children is to love your spouse,” is so very true!
Marriage was the first relationship that God created (Genesis 2:22-24), a covenant made before Him, and the foundation of a family. When a marriage is strong, a family can thrive, but the reverse is also true: A marriage’s weaknesses can cause an entire family to suffer. The gift of a healthy marriage matters because it is a powerful source of love, strength, and joy, and its impact spreads far beyond the man and woman living in it.
Early on in our marriage, my husband and I started to affectionately refer to ourselves as a team. This simple term has really helped us deal with our differences of opinion and the challenges that we have faced. While we may have differing perspectives and desires sometimes, he and I are always on each other’s side and working toward our shared goals. Remembering that we are a team has helped each of us push aside “what I want” to do what is best for us. We know that we are united in all things and will be no matter what.
Whether it is an example of respectful communication, serving each another, sharing, working together toward goals, forgiveness, loyalty, unconditional love, praying for one another, the list goes on and on—the lessons learned from a marriage are endless! Regardless of how long that we have been married, God still teaches us so much each day through marriage.
But we are not the only ones learning! Children learn far more from our marriage than we might realize. They learn from observing their parent’s verbal and non-verbal interactions. Therefore, it’s important that what we are modeling is how God intended for us to treat one another. While this may be challenging at times, given life’s stresses, it should be our goal to treat our spouse with the love and respect that God has instructed us to have.
The examples you and your spouse set today through a healthy marriage will help build strong character in your child.
From the day we had our daughter, she has seen my husband and I work together as a “team.” We most certainly have disagreements, but we try to resolve them in a respectful, loving manner that demonstrates that we are devoted to each other and what’s best for our marriage and family. Seeing his or her parents have a united front offers a child such a sense of a security and comfort, enabling little ones to thrive.
The examples you and your spouse set today through a healthy marriage will help build strong character in your child, teaching him or her the skills needed to better navigate through life. But, let’s not forget that we are raising adults. Our children will take these skills into adulthood and hopefully apply them in their own marriage, living out marriage as God intended it.
Marriage is a way of living out one’s faith for others to see, especially our children. The gift of a healthy marriage extends far beyond the two individuals living in it.