In my last post, I talked about 2 Bad Messages Christian Parents Communicate About Marriage. Today, I want to look at this from a different perspective. What are the good messages we should be teaching our kids about marriage?
This is a topic I have been thinking about a lot. Shannon and I are at the stage of life where our kids are in serious dating relationships. Our son, Josh, is now engaged to be married in 2019. As parents, the message and attitude that you and I communicate about marriage has significant influence in our children. I recognize that not all of our children will be married. For the sake of this post, I want to assume these are messages given to those who are moving towards marriage.
1. Marriage is the most important relationship on earth
This message has been lost to so many people in 2018. Marriage has become something that we add on to our lives after we have completed school, launch our career, and had our fun. We have seen the difficulties that other couples have experienced and decided that it just does not seem all that appealing.
In God’s economy, marriage is the single most important relationship on earth. He uses the word “one flesh” to describe the marriage relationship. There is no other human relationship where this idea of oneness is used. He designed marriage to be more important than our relationship with our parents or our children. We are not taught to be one with our career, our education, our friendships, or our hobbies. It’s a big deal to God.
As parents, we need to raise the bar in our conversations about the importance of marriage. Here are some ways we can help our children see the value of marriage:
- If our children are dating, ask them questions about whether they can see themselves marrying that person. In those moments where they can’t see a future, ask them why they are still in the relationship.
- If our children are seriously dating and think they have found “the one” – we need to encourage them that marriage is a high value in the eyes of God and is worth their serious consideration.
- We need to encourage our engaged or married children to make the decisions that will be best for their relationship, not necessarily the decisions we want them to make. Ask them if they and their spouse are “one” in this decision or action. Support them when they are (assuming the decision also honours God).
2. Marriage is one of the best places to become like Jesus
If you want your children to love and follow Jesus, marriage is one of the best places for that to happen. It is the most difficult place to hide our faults because we are in the presence of the same person day in and day out.
In marriage, we learn to truly love and consider someone else as more important than ourselves. We learn to pursue, serve, be patient, sacrifice, and forgive. Marriage gives us a mission to die to ourselves and pursue the well being of the other person. When done right, it helps us to have a glimpse of the same joy that Jesus has when His Bride, the Church, is flourishing.
Marriage is also a place where we can see the power of a couple working together on a mission to bring life to others. When we work together to bring life to our own children, or to provide for the needs of others in some way, we are reflecting how Jesus works with His Bride to bring life to the world.
Here are some questions to encourage your children to become more like Jesus in their marriage.
- If they are going through a difficult season in their relationship – What does it look like to confront the brokenness in your relationship the way Jesus has confronted the brokenness in you? What does it look like to love, forgive, or be patient the way Jesus has with you?
- What are the strengths you both bring to your marriage? How can you use those strengths together to make the lives of other people better and healthier?