Commitment and Respect
February 1, 2001
by Eva Juliuson
How can parents prepare their children for marriage? Eva Juliuson suggests that day-to-day examples are the best teachers. Following is the first of three articles presenting biblically based "lessons" for marriage.
Our two oldest children announced that they were being married within less than two months of one another. My heart screamed, "No! They're not ready!"
I panicked and decided that I'd better compile a list of all the advice that they would need on married life. As I sat at my desk, it suddenly occurred to me that whatever words I would write now would mean little compared to the lifetime example of marriage that they had seen watching their dad and me.
I had never realized it before, but our children are enrolled daily in a marriage course right in our own home. They had watched us handle joys, pain, changes and ordinary day-to-day life together. If I could go back, I would put extra thought into the "lesson plans" for our children's marriage education.
Since we still have four younger children at home, my husband, Dwight, and I are making a concentrated effort to make sure that they learn all the important lessons as they go through our marriage course. We want them to begin learning now what it takes to make a strong marriage, so when the time comes for them to marry, they will know what lessons to put to use.
Lesson Plan 1: Commitment
Today's society tells us, "Whenever something goes wrong, just throw it away." That seems to include marriage. Dwight and I want our children to know that we are committed to stay together, no matter what.
Commitment can be modeled for our children by
• keeping our marriage and family a top priority.
• standing by one another through every situation.
• staying together through sickness and health.
• facing good times and hard times side by side.
• never threatening to leave.
Lesson Plan 2: Respect
These days, marriage is often pictured with husbands and wives tearing one another down, and seldom holding each other in high esteem.
In a society that seems "me-centered," we need to let the person we love the most know that we see the best in him or her. Respect shows that we value our mate as someone special—a gift from God.
Respect can be modeled for our children by
• listening and
• using words and actions that show honor.
• encouraging our spouse when he or she is down.
• not demanding our own way.
• telling others what we value in our spouse.