In any relationship article, video or book that you read, the expert will explain that your marriage is the foundation of your family. Of course your children are also an important part of your family unit, but without a strong base, the rest can’t be stable. Our relationship with our spouse is typically the one that is the most frequent model for our children. With the divorce rate being so high, it is even more important that we demonstrate what it means to have a strong, healthy bonded relationship with our spouse or partner. While I knew this information, I hadn’t always taken the time to take a closer look at my own relationship with my husband and what kind of model we are for our own children. The following ideas are what we think are important for our relationship and what we are teaching our kids.
Show healthy affection. My husband and I always hug and kiss each other every time one of us is leaving. With the graphic images and content our kids are exposed to through the media and technology these days, it is even more important that we model what a strong romantic foundation means. I’m not talking about making out or inappropriate PDA in front of your kids. Showing affection in a respectful and appropriate way is one example we show our kids how to navigate their own relationships someday. Having respect for their bodies and personal boundaries will come with this.
Show respect for your partner. I try to be mindful of how I speak to my husband. Our spouses are our comfort zones in life, so they are often the ones we dump on when we are having a tough day. When I find myself doing this, I try and pull myself back and remind myself that it isn’t his fault that I am tired or had a difficult day. Think of a couple you know who bicker or fight in front of you. Most of us know at least one. I find it so uncomfortable to be around, so I try to remember how my kids would feel to live in an environment like that.
Show that you resolve conflict. While it is inevitable that your kids will see you argue or fight, also make sure that they see you apologize and resolve the situation in a mature way. Do not pull your kids into your arguments and try to get them to take your side. Bad mouthing your spouse can be very damaging to your kids. While you might be very angry, don’t allow them to be pulled into your adult conflicts. If you need to vent call a friend you trust instead.
Find alone time. Having a regular date night, game night, or any other way you can connect with your partner is important. When my husband and I haven’t been out together alone for a few weeks, I start to crave that time to reconnect with him. Besides date nights, one thing we really enjoy doing together is taking a walk. It gives us an entire hour (GASP! A whole hour!) of uninterrupted time to chat, discuss and catch up.
While these are the things that help our marriage work, you have to find what works for you and your spouse. Have a conversation with him and see what things are important to the both of you. This positive communication will pave the way for your kids and how they interact in their own partnerships someday. We all know that marriage is hard work sometimes, but knowing that my kids are watching is very motivational for me to try a little harder sometimes.
Meet The Bella Behind the Blog: Kristen Farley is a mother of three and a domestic goddess. She is a former teacher who enjoys spending lots of time with her kids, healthy eating, volunteering at school, and mommy blogging for the masses.