Yesterday the children and I were sitting around the school table talking about a variety of topics. Most were not really school related but were about life in general. I mentioned that Dad was going to be coming home next week and that he would be home through October. Of course, the children were excited about that bit of news. It did prompt one of my children to tell me about his friend's family. He says, " you know I have never seen his (talking about his friend) mom and dad show affection to each other." The other boys, who are friends with them also, tell me yeah they don't even sit next to each other when they watch movies. The boys went on to tell me different things, such as not going to bed at the same time, not always sleeping in the same bed, no kissing, no hand-holding, and so on. My oldest then tells me, "yeah and the married people at work call their spouse old man or old lady." Of course this starts the kids telling me about all they have observed about married couples in general.
It wasn't a criticism of these people it was more of why is this family different kind of thing and why do you and dad act like you do? This really made me pause and think about things. It's funny how life presents teachable moments when you least expect them. I also thought it was pretty cool that the children do notice how Joe and I treat each other compared to how other couples behave. It also made me take notice of the fact that my kids are watching other people, which means other children are watching us. Do you ever stop and think about the huge impact your life has on society?
Curious about what I told the kids? Sure you are. LOL Well here it goes. Mom and Dad's relationship is the most important one next to our relationship with God. We try really hard to make sure you children see that and that we each feel that. I want your dad to know I love him unconditionally. I want you children to know that dad is the most important person to me. Do I always succeed? no. I do have a sin nature after all. Not an excuse, just a fact. You should always try to make your spouse feel loved and respected, not just once in awhile. Dad and I show that love by doing those things. Now let's think about it. Would you feel loved if I never hugged you or told you? How about if I never did anything with you? A lot of couples let their relationship fall to the wayside by not nurturing it daily. Those things we do help keep our relationship strong.
Honestly some of the stuff the kids mentioned never crossed my mind not to do. Families need a mom and they need a dad and they need a mom and dad that love each other. When the kids know that the parents love each other they feel secure. They know they can go out and explore the world and mom and dad will still be there when they come back. We show our love intentionally by holding hands, giving each other a kiss, going to bed together, and watching movies sitting next to each other. We also made a decision along time ago not to call each other mom, dad, old lady, and old man. Those names change the way you feel about each other and the way you treat each other. I find them disrespectful. Now Joe and I have been known to say them when we are teasing each other in good humor.
I feel there is room for improvement in our marriage. I know I do things wrong. Many I have been working on correcting. But it is nice to get confirmation from the children that we are doing something right and hopefully they do it in their marriages. After all their is no better way to teach than by example.