The way you and your spouse deal with issues in your marriage does affect your children, one way or another. Even when you don’t think they’re paying attention, they are absorbing details.
As a writer, one of the first things I learned was “Show, don’t tell.” Simply put this means writing should be descriptive, but should still allow the reader to use his or her imagination. Instead of saying, “From the look of the sky, it seemed like it was going to storm any minute,” one might say, “The sky was heavy with dark, angry clouds.” The latter helps create a stronger image.
The same is true with marriage. We can tell our children how they should treat the people they love, but isn’t going to make nearly as much impact as showing them does. The way we treat our spouses and interact with them will be a model for how our children will behave in their relationships.
This is actually quite powerful. This generation of moms and dads has the power to help decrease future divorce rates. By teaching children how to give genuine, unselfish love and to treat the people they love with tenderness and respect, even when they don’t agree, we can help them build strong marriages. By teaching children that couples don’t always agree, but that they can find respectful, civil ways to resolve differences, we can teach them how better to interact in all their relationships.
We’re taught not to “fight” in front of children, the reasons for which are obvious. But, we should be able to disagree and resolve problems in front of children, as long as it’s done in a healthy matter. While it doesn’t make sense to discuss issues involving the children in front of them, there is no reason we cannot sit down and amicably discuss other issues to teach our children better problem solving techniques.
Parents who hold back and refuse to disagree don’t do kids any favors either. They teach their children to walk around in denial, avoiding conflicts. Something has to give eventually, and these tendencies usually result in angry eruptions instead of calm discussions and mutual resolutions.
Finding ways to work through troubles draws couples closer. Teaching our children to develop a greater level of intimacy with people they love is one way to make sure future generations build strong and lasting marriages.