January 28, 2019 | Ted Lowe |
Do you want your kids to grow up to have a marriage like yours?
This is a question I often ask myself as well as couples I work with. On the one hand, I hate it. The question implies that if my marriage isn’t perfect or if I have been through a divorce, somehow my kids’ marriages are doomed. On the other hand, it’s a fair question. Kids are watching our marriages and what they see definitely matters.
We of course want them to see us working out differences in a healthy way; we want them to see us being kind to one another. But one thing us serious adults can’t forget to model is enjoying each other or, as I like to call it, having serious fun.
Married people can be some seriously serious people. And why shouldn’t we be serious? We have mortgages, jobs, aging parents, chores, and let’s not forget this whole parenting thing. We become serious because we have seriously important people and responsibilities in our lives. There are people depending on us. And while these people and things are obviously of great importance, they can also begin to take the life out of our marriage and even our family.
It’s important for our kids to see us enjoying our marriages because enjoying marriage is the best way to protect your marriage. In Proverbs 5 (NIV), Solomon warns his son to stay clear of an adulterous woman. For 14 verses Solomon tries to scare the pants on his son. After all the warnings, don’ts, and “look outs,” he gives Solomon a DO, a blessing: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her…” (I will let you look up the rest. It’s some pretty juicy reading.)
So how did Solomon suggest his son stay away from adultery, one of the big bad bears of marriage? He said, “Enjoy your marriage.” After working with couples for 18 years, I believe now more than ever the best way to protect your marriage is to enjoy it.
This is really good news because it’s what most of us hope for before we get married, and I believe it’s what many of us still long for.
Fun is the good stuff of marriage. It isn’t extra; it’s essential. Fun is the thing that kids are drawn to, too. So model fun in your marriage.
But how? With date nights? Yes. But even more important than fun dates nights are fun people. Be fun. What if your kids saw a marriage with a let’s-not-take-ourselves-so-seriously tone? What if they saw you being silly with your spouse, flirty, or (my personal favorite) randomly showing up in your scuba diving gear? Kids are drawn to fun. Show them a married couple can have fun, even if you haven’t in a while. (Especially if you haven’t in a while.)
See what happens. I promise it’s one of the quickest, easiest ways to put some life back in your marriage, and when your marriage is better, everything is better—even your kids.