Monday, January 9, 2012

Married (With Children) - Part I

In one of the hand-made cards that I give my wife for our anniversary, for each year I wrote “I love you because...” or “I love you so...” and then gave a reason that was tied to that time in our relationship. Two examples:

* In the year our son was born, I wrote “I love you so our son will know how women are to be treated - always.”
* In the year our daughter was born I wrote “I love you so our daughter will know what to not settle for less than.”

If there are kids in your marriage, don’t ever forget that you are modeling what relationships are supposed to be to those kids. Are you modeling God’s design, or not? Wives, are you respecting your husbands? Husbands, are you loving your wife like Christ loved the church, giving yourself up for her? Putting her needs before your own? Parents are implored in Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

It’s a given when raising kids that your actions are infinitely more influential on them then anything you will ever say - and if they see that what you say contradicts how you act, the message is instantly discarded or lost. This is a big responsibility; God chose you to raise and teach the kids in your care. Instead of seeing this as daunting though, look at it as an opportunity. It’s an chance to view your relationship objectively, and consider what message you’re sending.

I read somewhere that “the best gift you can give your children is to love your spouse.” Why is that? Because you and your spouse are the first couple your children see. In your home is where your children will develop their expectations, hopes and dreams for their own relationships long before they ever consciously think about it. What do you want for them when they start dating, or looking for a spouse? What kind of husband do you want for your daughter? What kind of woman do you want your son to marry? It is your responsibility as their parents to model those qualities and traits.

The Bible has plenty to say on what God wants our marriages to be. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 lists the characteristics of love. Paul speaks to the duties of husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-31. The Song of Solomon is a masterful love poem illustrating how two people build a relationship that can last as long as both shall live. Are your behavior, your actions, and the way you are handling conflict teaching your children God’s design for marriage? Study God’s word; learn what it is He wants for you and your spouse. Strive to build a Godly union for your own benefit, for that is how to live out His plans for you. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 those plans:

...are for your welfare, not evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The bonus is that as your marriage gets better, your kids will notice. It will help shape their beliefs as to what a relationship should be. Once they notice, then talk to them. Teach them the scriptural foundations that you are basing your marriage on. The lesson will mean infinitely more when they can see the results - loving parents and a happy home!

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