Most people don’t think of legacy when thinking about their marriage. Most couples live their lives thinking, working and trying to make sure they are fulfilled in their marriages without considering the outcome of their intentions. Most of us do not consider our actions in light of how it affects other people around us–especially our children.
Children, as most of us know, learn from everything around them. In fact, most of their social, self and spiritual awareness come from unspoken lessons taught to them by their parents. Though on this post I will be sharing what I believe are the five actions husbands and wives should do that positively affect their children, these actions have yet been scientifically proven to actually do what I will claim it does; it has been psychologically and sociologically proven that parental actions (and not just instructions) are fundamental to childhood, personal development.
I’m not here to be a scientist and if you’re reading this and you are a scientist, you can go ahead and verify my points from some research. As for the rest of us, play along with me and think if these five actions actually will do what I claim or has done (for you or for someone you know) what I will claim they do. (Did you get that?)
Let’s speak of it!
1. Think of legacy when you treat your spouse–in every which way you do.
Legacy is that sense of pride that we all get when we think about someone’s life and history. It is a sense of a life lived with purpose and positive outcomes. Folks who leave a legacy often lived (and live) with values that are not common or accidental. These folks think about the future and how their lives will be remembered when they’re gone.
In marriage, especially when children are involved, we as husbands and wives would do well to consider our interactions with our spouse as our ticket to legacy. From conversations to confrontations, our approaches, responses and reactions to and towards our spouse should be done with intentions of teaching our children how to live their lives well.
Thinking that what we do with each other today matters tomorrow, will, I think, bode well in not only positively affecting our children but result in a marriage that is fulfilling and complementary.
2. Husbands bring your wife to laugh and wives bring your husbands to be tender.
This is not proven, but it sure makes me feel better and tends to make my wife feel like a young girl, again. (Feeling young is a good thing.) What I’ve also seen is that my children get to laughing and joking along with me when I make their mother laugh. The kids feel at ease and want to know what’s going on that they may be missing.
I have two young girls and one newborn. My wife has the knack to soften me when I am with her and I think the way my girls respond to me is the residual of that. Both of my older girls look to soften me with kind words and kisses. They hug me, squeeze me and say incredibly “tenderizing” words. I find no fear in them. They’re brave to defend me and quick to greet me. And, you know, I think it’s because of how their mother is treated and how she treats their father.
I don’t know about you, but in a world so hard, laughter and tenderness is much needed and how better for our children to learn this than seeing these actions played out among their mom and dad.
3. Be playfully, yet sincerely (and appropriately) affectionate to each other openly — everywhere.
Emotional highs and lows affect all of us. Feelings of rejection and frustration from missed expectations can damper anyone of us. Our response to these dynamics is a result of our perception of acceptance. (At least I believe so. No, I didn’t get that from a science book. I’m just saying it from my own experience. Please don’t sue me.)
I think affectionate couples breed healthy, loving, and wholesome children. I maybe wrong with this, but from how my children react to my wife and I, I’m okay with being wrong.
My children have often seen my wife and I kiss, hug, hold hands, look into each other’s eyes, etc. They have also heard us speak words of endearment to each other. (I rarely, if at all, call my wife by her name in front of my children.) My oldest girl has recently quipped, “Eww! Get a room!” after walking into the kitchen and seeing my wife and eye embracing as we talked to each other. I retorted back and say, “We have a room: the bedroom, the living room, the dining room …” etc. I’d like to think that somewhere in the back of their minds and etched into their hearts (when they see my wife and I affectionate) that marriage is a beautiful thing. I’d like to also think that they will measure every other guy they will ever meet against me and that they will only settle for the best in a future relationship because of what they’ve seen.
4. Extend grace and forgiveness to each other.
I alluded to this with my point number 1, so let me expound on it here.
Grace and forgiveness has been the staple of the most empowering faith there is on this planet. If practiced rightfully, Christianity can give men and women the ease of burden they have been seeking for since their teenage years. The sense of “internal freedom” that we all long for is rooted in our faith in the grace of God as expressed by His forgiveness.
What would happen if as couples we were more gracious, more forgiving, less accusatory and judgmental? I really do believe, though maybe scientifically unfounded, that these virtues pursued at home does a remarkable job in helping our children flourish in a world full of sarcasm and belittlement. (I can affirm this because of my personal experience with God’s grace along with hundreds of people I know who have experienced the same thing.) I believe grace breaks down walls of communication, upholding confidence in spite of failure. I believe grace in marriage results in boldness which breeds a sense of self worth in couples and their children.
Facing conflict is one of the best ways to teach our children a sense of self value and integrity along with kindness, gentleness and perseverance. Resist the urge to demean, destroy or demand your spouse. Resist the urge to resort to what is easy and self serving. Fight for one another. Forgive. Practice forgetting. Be gracious.
If we would be more gracious to our spouse, I believe that we along with our children will have the capacity to rebound in times of loss and draw closer to each past mistakes.
5. Allow our spouse to enjoy alone time and to pursue their passions.
Alone time? What’s that? Hah! I know, especially with a newborn, what foreign words those are! Nevertheless, when seeking for it, we should support our spouse in pursuit of it.
One of the many things that I appreciate about my beautiful bride is her ability to take me as I am. My goodness, I’m not sure another woman would be able to take me with my ADHD type of personality. For those who don’t know me, I wear so many hats you’d think I’m a hat rack. (Cue: rim shot!) Now a days, I have been pursuing my photographic side in my pursuit of being a wedding photographer. (Laugh now!!! Clap later!!! See my work at www.adamgrit.com – yes, a shameless plug.) I am amazed at how Jennifer allows me to pursue my new found passion with tenacity without complaints about the baby or the children or any other thing. She is amazing. You know what I have connected to Jennifer’s ability to “let me be”? Both of our children pursue to their heart’s desire their own “businesses” and “passions”.
Alone time regenerates our spouse for their purpose in the home and in the family. Watching Netflix or chill-axing by themselves in the bedroom or in the car (or in the restroom – I got you brothers!) slows down the day and, if done right, eases our minds. Alone time can result in being more resilient to conflicts in our marriages.
Allowing creativity, passions, and alone time, I believe, create a sense of ease in a more-than chaotic world. With the schools’ new take on learning and the constant pressure of being like everyone else, our ability to allow our spouse to be themselves and to have time for themselves create an ease in our children that they carry onto their own, little world.
You know what I also believe this type of allowance create? A sense of appreciation for the one we love. In a way we are telling our spouse, hence our children, that “I love you for you” and “I don’t want you any other way but yourself”. Imagine the sense of confidence that that provides to our spouse and to our children. I believe this type of allowance creates the best type of confidence, that is: self confidence. When we are this self confident, no one can destroy us even if they tried.
There they are: five actions that husbands and wives should do (to and for each other) that positively affect their children! Unfounded, but sound. So go out there and do them! And don’t forget to pursue happily, daily after. God bless you.