by Melisa Gaines
When my oldest two children started kindergarten and second grade, they learned the word “divorce.” I knew they were going to learn words like this, but I was still sad I had to explain the meaning. Like most other families, we have divorced couples in our extended families, but until this point we were able to keep this word out of their vocabularies on purpose.
We wanted them to have a proper, biblical view of marriage as long as possible. We taught them marriage was designed by our Creator, and was meant to be shared between one man and one woman for a lifetime. It represents the relationship between Christ and the church, as the husband is the loving head of his home and the wife respectfully submits to his leadership. The Bible teaches this view, so we teach it to our children (Ephesians 5:22-33).
I’m concerned some couples begin their relationship with unrealistic expectations.
Marriage is not always bliss. You won’t always agree, get along, or feel loved by your spouse. My husband and I have the rare privilege of coming from homes where both sets of our parents have been married more than 35 years. A few years back I noticed from time to time they still argue. At first I was upset, thinking to myself, “Really, after 35 years of marriage we won’t have matured past this petty arguing?” But then I was encouraged by their examples. It taught me that, yes, 35 years in to this marriage thing, we are still going to be sinners. We are being sanctified, but not yet glorified (Romans 8:30). And we keep pressing on.
After almost 12 years of marriage, my relationship with my husband is sweeter than it was in the past. Having to work for something usually makes you appreciate it more. Since my children know about divorce now, sometimes when my husband and I aren’t getting along, one of them asks if we are going to get a divorce. We explain we need to apologize, forgive, and work it out, but we won’t stop loving one another or give up on our marriage. We tell them that one day when they are married they will argue with their spouses also, and they need to reconcile their differences, just like they do now with their siblings.
It’s important for us to prioritize our marriages to guard against divorce, but also for the sake of our children’s emotional stability.
“A healthy husband-wife relationship is essential to the emotional health of children in the home. When there is harmony in the marriage, there is infused stability within the family. A strong marriage provides a haven of security for children as they grow in the nurturing process. Healthy, loving marriages create a sense of certainty for children. When a child observes the special friendship and emotional togetherness of his parents, he is more secure simply because it isn’t necessary to question the legitimacy of his parent’s commitment to one another.” -Gary Ezzo
Most parents want emotionally stable children, but may be unaware of the damage they are causing by not loving their spouse. I want my children to be sure of the commitment my husband and I have to one another. I want them to see us serving one another, forgiving one another and putting each other’s needs before our own.
Romans 12 tells us, “Let love be genuine. Love one another. Outdo one another in showing honor. Live in harmony with one another. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” When we prioritize our marriages it has a positive impact on our whole household. Continue reading →