Monday, November 24, 2008

What Your Marriage Teaches Your Children

I just finished reading Proverbs for my devotionals this past week, and it was a great time of study and reflection through that book. I understood and appreciated it in a way I never have before. The last chapter of the book is primarily about the nature and value of a godly wife. God convicted me of two things as I read it:

Verse 11--"The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain."

First, God taught me that I need to trust in Stephanie's abilities, knowledge, and wisdom. As a husband, for some reason (probably my pride), I have often been skeptical of Stephanie's ability to do certain things. So I find myself trying to finish or correct something she's started--or offering advice that is obvious and unneeded (as if she didn't know what I just told her). God really struck me with this passage and reminded me that our marriage is worthless if we do not trust and have confidence in each other. Skepticism is rarely healthy.

Verses 28-29--"Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.'"

Second, God convicted me of how I need to verbally praise Stephanie and affirm her. As a male, I rarely express my appreciation or admiration for my wife out loud. I just take it for granted that she knows my thoughts and feelings. But the author here makes it clear that praise is to be verbal. So I have made it a goal to positively affirm Stephanie at least once every day--and for something that is not superficial.

The final thing I wanted to note in relation to those last verses is that there is often a direct tie between how children view their parents and how their parents view each other. If parents treat one another with respect and admiration, then it is far more likely that their children will as well. The words, attitudes, and behaviors that they see modeled will be what they are most naturally drawn toward. So how do your children hear you speak to each other? Do they hear you mutter things under your breath and be sarcastic and rude? Or do they hear you compliment each other and treat each other with respect even when you disagree--and even when the other is not around? Your attitude toward each other will teach your children what type of attitude to have toward you and how to view marriage. Marriage should be a picture of two sinners joined together by God who recognize their faults, treasure each other, and who, committed to each other for life, work together as a pair to honor their Savior. Sadly, many of our marriages today are far from that, and children are being raised with a faulty view of marriage and are less likely to develop healthy relationships of their own.

Make sure that you are presenting a godly example this Thanksgiving season--and always.

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