We may not realize it, but our children need us to have a strong marriage.
You don’t realize how much they’re watching.
Or at least not how closely they’re watching.
Because I thought I knew how much it meant to them.
But it wasn’t until this recent discussion that I found out just how much our kids take careful note of our marriage.
Our daughter came home last week for a quick visit from her freshman year at college and started telling me about a conversation she’d had with one of her guy-friends.
And it’s not what I would have expected.
As in, she casually mentioned to him, “Yeah, I’d call my parents right now but I can’t because they’re out on a date.”
“What d’ya mean they’re ‘out on a date’ – I thought they were married?” The guy seemed somewhat confused.
Our daughter started laughing. “Um, yes, they’re definitely married. Like for over 23 years now.”
“So why would they be dating?” He was baffled but wanted to understand.
“I dunno know, they’re always going out on dates.”
He thought about it for a minute or two. “I’m not sure my parents have ever gone on a date. Not that I can remember, at least.”
And then added, “And I only saw them holding hands a few times in my entire life.” The young man was nineteen years old.
Now she was the one confused. “That’s strange. My parents all over each other.”
She said that. She said we were “all over each other.”
Okay, so it’s a bit embarrassing to hear your teenage daughter describing you as basically hot for one another, and I had to stop her at this point in the story.
You didn’t really say that, did you?
“Yeah, of course, I did. What, you didn’t think we kids noticed? But I didn’t realize that having that kind of marriage is so rare. Few – if any – of my friends’ parents have that sort of relationship. Kinda weird, huh?”
Yes, I suppose so.
I don’t know if I’d use the word “weird” or not, but it does seem a little sad.
After all, our daughter attends a Christian college and so you’d think that would be the best place to hear about healthy, wonderful, and, ahem, passionate marriages.
But she said it’s rare, people.
Alright, so I get that there are even better reasons to have a great marriage than for the sake of a college student conversation.
Such as the Bible calls us to it.
And it’s a beautiful testimony of love to the world.
And, besides, it’s a lovely way to live.
But how about considering this as well: our children are watching us. They’re learning how to love other people by seeing how we love one another. They’re studying our example on what it means to be married and what their marriage should (or should not) look like.
Our kids want us – need us – to have an ongoing love story.
So you might want to keep it in mind.
And smile at each other when you walk through the door.
Surprise each other with something kind and thoughtful.
Laugh at his jokes and don’t forget to have some fun.
Set up a date night…or afternoon…or morning. Even if it’s small and simple. (Just be sure to hold hands, okay?)
Look at each other with love in your eyes.
Remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
Kiss him long on the lips.
And let your kids see what love looks like.
Yeah, I say give your kids something to talk about.
Because you might find out they’re still talking about it long after they’ve left home.
In His grace,