Parents constantly wonder if they are doing right by their children. They wonder if they offer enough affection, provide them with enough mental stimulation, yell too much, and love them enough. While every parent assesses their relationships with their children, there’s one relationship that could affect them even more than the one they share with each other: the relationship between husband and wife.
According to research, your marriage has a huge impact on your children. It teaches them how to love, communicate, express their needs, be committed, and the importance of teamwork (just to name a few things). Parents are their children’s first – and most important – teachers. They imitate everything you do, which is why it’s important to focus on your marriage to teach them healthy examples of some of life’s most valuable lessons.
Here’s a look at some ways that you can use your marriage as a teaching tool for your children – and create a stronger relationship between you and your spouse, too!
You might hear “Ew! Gross!” when you kiss your wife or hug your husband in front of the kids, but dismiss their remarks and go in for those smooches and squeezes as much as you can! When you’re affectionate with your spouse in front of the kiddos, it shows them just how much you appreciate and love one another. It also teaches them that showing affection is an important part of a healthy relationship.
Don’t just assume that it’s your wife’s job to do the dishes and the laundry, or that it’s your husband’s job to take out the trash and mow the lawn. Tackle those household tasks together! For example, while your wife is washing the dishes, grab a towel, dry them, and put them away, or while your husband is mowing the lawn, pull out a rake to clean up the grass clippings. When your kids see you working together as a team, they learn the value of teamwork, which is important in all aspects of life.
Build Each Other Up
Praise one another often. Ask each other how your days were. Praise each other for jobs that are well done, and offer support and encouragement when things didn’t go exactly as planned. Your kids will learn how powerful building up someone’s self-confidence can be – and they’ll mimic the behavior with you, their siblings, their friends, and anyone else in their lives.
Don’t be Afraid to Argue
We’re not suggesting that you should have big fights in front of your kids; the kind where you say things you might regret and yell profanities; those types of fights certainly aren’t healthy for children to see. However, having arguments – disagreements may be the better word – with your spouse while they children are present isn’t a bad thing. Arguments are a part of life; they happen in every relationship, including marriages. It can help teach them how to resolve problems by using their communication skills. It also shows them that no one is perfect, which is another valuable lesson that kids need to learn.
Never, under any circumstances, should you be disrespectful to your spouse; especially not in front of the children. No matter how mad you may be at him or her, don’t speak ill about your husband or wife in front of your kids. Doing so will make them think it’s OK to talk down to someone. It could also impact the way they feel about you and your spouse. Always be respectful.
Using your marriage as a healthy example of life’s most valuable lessons can help foster respectful, loving, and compassionate children.