What Are We Teaching Our Children About Marriage?

My parents divorced when I was just five months old but their short marriage taught me quite a bit about marriage - mainly that once I was married, divorce would not be an option.

After the first date with my husband I knew we were meant to be together. It really was love at first sight. So in 1999, we eloped, no big wedding, no long engagement, just a simple justice of the peace wedding.

Now, 17 years later my step-son and future daughter-in-law are busy planning their big wedding, which has made me think about my marriage and what we are teaching kids about marriage. It has me wondering, are we setting a good example of what marriage is about?

I read once that children of parents who have been together for years often have too high of expectations of what marriage is about and their marriages often end in divorce due to the fact that their parents marriage seems so perfect compared to their less than perfect marriage. I worry that is the example we are setting for our kids. Because the truth is our marriage isn't perfect, in fact it is far from being perfect.

The truth is some days we don't really like each other. We still love each other but we don't always like each other. We irritate each other, we make each other mad, and we disappoint each other. As much as I have always said divorce isn't an option, it pains me to say that the d-word has been thrown out way too many times in our 17 years of marriage.

And unfortunately as our kids have gotten older they have witnessed our arguments. Just recently our 15 year old daughter stated, "You all are so weird. One day you are arguing and yelling at each other but the next day you are hugging and kissing each other like nothing happened".

We took that opportunity to explain to her that is what marriage is about. It's about having moments where you are absolutely in love and then there are moments when you argue but you work through it together. And that is what I hope we are teaching our children about marriage.

I hope that they see in our marriage two imperfect people who love each other without end whose marriage has bumps along the way but that manage to stay together through both the good and bad times. Because that is what marriage is. Even the best marriages will be tested and the best couples will make it through the rough times a little closer than they were to begin with.

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