When we think about things that will strengthen the faith of our children, our thoughts typically go to VBS programs, Sunday School, Bible verse memorization, and any number of Christian children’s programs. These are all great and our children will learn and grow as they participate.
And there is one hidden gem that’s typically not at the top of our list. It has a daily impact on our children, makes an indelible impression, and is free of charge.
What is that? It’s your marriage!
Yes, your marriage will have a profound impact on your child’s faith development. Why is that?
Your children are growing up in the daily classroom of your home. And by virtue of the fact that you and your husband are the adults in the classroom, you have their attention! They are looking to you for lessons on how to navigate life, the good times and the hard times. Your actions and your words will help them learn skills to deal with the circumstances they will face in their lives.
Your children will also learn valuable faith lessons within the context of your family unit. Think about this, your marriage is uniquely poised to teach your kiddos daily lessons on unconditional love, respect, forgiveness, and loving, honest communication. All of these qualities have application within life, but they also are the foundation of the gospel. This is why a healthy marriage is so important to your child’s faith development. Your marriage can be leveraged to teach the gospel daily!
Faith Lessons Your Marriage Teaches Daily
Here are a few things we will consider in this blog series:
- Your marriage models unconditional love.
- Mutual submission teaches both servant leadership and selflessness.
- Forgiveness is a reflection of God’s forgiveness through Christ.
- Loving and Honest Communication reinforces lessons on kindness and prayer.
Let’s get started with the concept of unconditional love.
Your Starry Eyed Vows!
The concept of unconditional love was really the basis of the wedding vows you took. Maybe you’ve forgotten what you promised your spouse on your wedding day. Unless you wrote your own vows, you probably repeated something close to this:
I take you to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, to honor and obey, so long as we both shall live, according to God’s Holy Word and thereto I give you my pledge.
You might not have thought too much about those vows on the day that you took them. Chances are your stomach was all a-flutter with anticipation of the honeymoon. After all, you were marrying the love of your life, what could possibly go wrong? Most couples approach the wedding day this way, kind of starry-eyed. They focus on those words better, richer, and health.
Maturing Into Marriage
Now that you have had some time to settle into daily life with the love of your life, you are likely finding that both of you are changing somewhat, that’s just a common outcome of maturity. And as you each notice these changes, you are navigating them together because of the vows you made. Your commitment is to be in this relationship for the long haul. You’ve made a promise you intend to keep even when you begin to encounter some of the worse, poorer, and sickness themes from your vows. This is when unconditional love takes over and helps you, as a team, navigate life. And these are the very lessons that your child needs to see in order to have a basic understanding of God’s promises and His unconditional love.
Commitment + Unconditional Love = Security
Your commitment and unconditional love mean to your child that your family unit is tight-knit. It’s a place where perfection is neither required nor expected as a prerequisite for love. When your child knows you love each other that way, she knows you will love her that way. And that is a source of great comfort and protection for children who know they are not perfect and know they will make mistakes.
How is this a faith lesson? Well, God loves us the same way. When we become part of God’s family through belief in Jesus Christ, we can have this same security. Paul talks about this spiritual principle in Romans 8:38-39, which says, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And because we know that it’s in God’s character to never change and to keep his promises, we can take Him at His word. These verses in Romans show us that we can’t do anything to separate ourselves from God’s love in Christ. We are created beings, and right here God says that no created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Children who have seen unconditional love modeled at home have a basic framework to help them understand the concept that God’s love for them is unconditional and faithful.
So, maybe it’s time to think about how your marriage has been reflecting the principle of unconditional love to your little ones. Hey, no marriage is perfect. And your kiddos learn from your mistakes, too! Talk about this with your spouse. If you are interested in learning more about an assessment that can identify the strengths and growth areas in your relationship and learn some skills to enrich your marriage, contact me.