And they lived happily ever after… From an early age, these are often the words our children first learn about marriage. After all, nearly every princess fairy tale ends in a wedding gown. Most don’t dive into the inner workings of a marriage. We never see Cinderella and Prince Charming in the middle of a heated argument. We only see the dress, the fairy tale, and the happy ending. This is why it is so important for your children to witness your marriage… They need to see what happily ever after actually looks like in the real world.
Marriage is a lot of work. Whether you consider yourself to be a Christian or not… you are probably aware of this truth. But there are certainly some differences between how the world views marriage and how God sees it.
In a world full of fairy tales…
Even though the world understands that no marriage is perfect, there’s still this perception that it shouldn’t be too overly difficult. I hear phrases in movies all the time about how relationships shouldn’t be “so hard” or that they should “come naturally.” We are taught that two people should be compatible and get along most of the time. If they fight too much, there’s a problem. We are also taught that people change throughout their lives. Two people can grow apart or fall out of love… and both of these are legitimate reasons for break-ups and divorce. No one should be in a relationship that makes them unhappy – right?
When children witness this type of marriage, they see two people who currently love each other, but at any moment they could change. Mommy may fall out of love with daddy, and if that happens, she should find someone new to live “happily ever after” with.
When fairy tales are your idea of a good and healthy marriage, then any marriage that no longer feels like a fairy tale is doomed to failure.
God’s idea of marriage…
I use the phrase “God’s idea” because marriage was truly His idea first and foremost. He created Adam and Eve thus creating the very first marriage. We learn throughout the Bible that marriage was designed to be the partnership of two people who choose to live their lives as one. They come together in unity, create a family, and provide for one another in various ways. Not to say that a godly marriage is devoid of romance. There are certainly plenty of love stories through the Bible. But romance was never the purpose of marriage.
Godly marriage should be romantic, but it’s first goal and priority should be unity in serving one another in love. It is built on sacrificial love and mutual respect. And sacrificial love chooses to love even when the romance isn’t there.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
My daughters are obsessed with fairy tales, but I really want them to have a realistic view of marriage. I desire for them to witness what a godly marriage looks like in action. They should see my husband and I work together as a unit, and they should see us admit to one another when we’re wrong.
Now, that doesn’t mean they need to witness every argument. (That’s not healthy either!) But they should see us love each other in spite of our flaws.
Our children will one day grow up and get married. What kind of ideas about marriage do you want them to have? What kind of man or woman do you want your child to marry?
Don’t let them form their opinions on marriage from television and movies. Instead, make an effort to live it out in front of them. After all, when it comes to raising our children, more is caught than taught.
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We can teach our children about Godly marriage, but it’s more important for them to see us live it out.