Believe it or not your little ones are observing your every move. They recognize the tension between you and your spouse, and they notice the love and affection. They may not know what the stock market is or how sex can make a baby, but they do grasp emotions. They understand simple concepts like helping and hurting. What is your child learning about your marriage? Hopefully good things! Your child should understand how great marriage is and can be! Let’s delve into some positive lessons that we can teach children with our actions.
1. Daddy and Mommy like to spend time together.
A child knows when they are in a child-centered home. They can pick up on that, and that is not healthy for the child. Your child should be seeing that daddy and mommy like to hang out even when he or she is not there. It is a good thing to occasionally leave the baby with the sitter! Subconsciously, after time, the child will begin to realize that daddy and mommy are friends who enjoy each other’s company. Also, the child should see that mommy and daddy like occasional alone time. This will spark the child’s interest—why do they want to be with each other? Lastly, spend quality time in front of the child. Have tickle fights. Make each other laugh. Your child will notice that his/her parents ENJOY the time spent together.
2. Daddy and Mommy give hugs and kisses.
Children may say, “ew” at kissing, but really they are fascinated by it! Little girls press Barbie and Ken’s faces together. Little boys kiss little girls on the playground and run away. While you may not want such an early fascination with the opposite sex in your child, most do have it. Teach your child where they should be showing affection in marriage and in family. Little children know that kissing is special and for people who love each other. If they are not seeing their parents show affection, they may wonder why. It seems like a lot of deductive reasoning from a five year old, but you would be surprised at what they pick up on. If you grow your children up in a home where mommy and daddy show affection, they will appreciate it when they are older. They will feel a sense of pride that “after all these years, my parents still got it!”
3. Daddy and Mommy say the same things.
It is going to take a long time for a child to grasp the “two become one” principle, but a great way to show it is through your actions. Every child tries the classic move where they approach each parent separately till they receive the answer that they want. When you are giving different answers, it shows division and can often develop favoritism in the child. The child should learn that daddy and mommy are on the same page. Obviously, as parents, there will be times where the child will out-smart you with this move, but you need to try the best you can! Talk to your spouse about rules. Answer your child, “I will need to talk to daddy/mommy about that.” Your child will realize that daddy and mommy are in agreement!
4. Daddy and Mommy both love Jesus.
Obviously this one is important! Christ should be the center of our lives and our marriages! Your child should understand the importance of God in your life. This means daddy and mommy both make their best efforts to get to church weekly. It means that mommy and daddy both are seen praying—separately, together, and with the child. It means that mommy and daddy are teaching their children Biblical principles. When your children learn about Jesus’ love and then they see that same love in their parents, this will solidify the child’s desire to except the Lord in their own life.
5. Daddy and Mommy both love me.
A loving marriage is the foundation for a loving home. The love in your marriage should be passed down and overflowed into a more abundant love for your children. We already mentioned that your children should know that your marriage is a priority but your children should also feel prioritized. When a child feels loved by both of their parents, and the child sees that their parents love each other, and they know that their parents love Jesus, they will feel secure in their family unit. It is important for your children to feel secure so they do not fear divorce like so many of their friends go through.
Discuss with your spouse how you can strategically show your children how wonderful marriage is! Remember the kids are always watching and always learning from you. You have the daily opportunity to create a loving, secure environment. You have multiple opportunities each day to teach these lessons to your child—through ACTION, and not just words.