We are certainly happy when our children adopt our good traits, but we are usually frustrated when we see them incorporating our bad ones into their personality. Yet, that's largely the reality. So, how do you feel that your your children will model their marriage on yours? What are your thoughts on the matter? Do the words, 'grateful' and 'happy' come to mind? Or, are you deeply concerned for their happiness? Perhaps you're not at either extreme. But that doesn't stop you from wanting them to enjoy even greater happiness from their marriage than you do from yours.
Please remember that your children are consistently learning from the small daily interactions that you have with your beloved. Every single word, facial expression, body gesture, tone of voice and word choice that you make is a lesson that may last a lifetime.
So, have you given any thought to what your children hear or see? Have you considered the impact your behavior has on them? Would this be a good moment to decide to make improvements in your relationship with your spouse? Might this be a good time to reflect upon how you are raising your children in general?
Let's try this. What are the core values of your marriage?
- Love and respect?
- Emotional and physical support?
- Valuing personal growth?
- Solving problems so that both of you come out as winners?
Honestly compare where you are holding with this list. If you see areas that could be improved upon, please do so. The joy that could replace frustration and bitterness would not only make you and your beloved feel better, you would also bestow a huge favor upon your children and grandchildren. Give your children a most marvelous gift: teach them to be great spouses. Inculcate in them that they are to cherish their relationships and to continuously strive to be a wonderful partner.
Yes, we all have free will and your children will need to take personal responsibility for the choices they make. They must apply themselves to improving their own marriages. If they didn't learn these skills from you, then they will need to unlearn what you taught them and start to follow other models of behavior.
There is an interesting article in Psychology Today entitled, Are Children of Divorce Doomed to Fail?, that examines the impact that divorce has on children and whether it condemns them to repeat their parents' pattern. More research is needed, but the conclusion is that conscious decision making certainly can alter our choices away from default patterns. But all too often, we just settle for what we know.
Review Pop Quiz - So, do you and your spouse treat each other with:
If you do, then most likely you will generate fruit that are healthy and beautiful of substance. It's certainly much more effective to live what you want your children to emulate and lay down strong roots for them. Otherwise, you better hope that a really strong wind carries your fruit far from your example.