Making a marriage work starts way before the wedding ceremony. It starts way before pronouncing the vows and saying, "I do."
Making a marriage work starts with an instilled value system and a determined mindset which develops when we are children. Most of us keep our commitments and our covenants because we learned the value of keeping our promises while we were growing up.
How does one develop this kind of value system?
When a young person watches his or her parents faithfully keep their vows in marriage, it solidifies the inherent value of keeping one's word of honor. When a young person witnesses their parents choosing to stay together; choosing to make their marriage work through the good times and the hard times, it reinforces the value of being true to one's word.
When a couple chooses to work through their problems centered around:
rearing children and parenting styles
boundaries with extended family members
physical and sexual intimacy
diversity in problem solving
navigating through disappointments and setbacks
spiritual issues and differences
being able to work as a team
... their children witness what a healthy marriage looks like. When we "see" something done correctly, it is a lot easier to implement that behavior into our own lives. This is a form of modeling. Knowing theories about success in marriage is one thing (a good thing), but actually seeing one's parents work hard at creating a successful marriage is much more effective. Seeing someone practice keeping their word of honor; keeping their vows is a powerful teaching tool. It helps to instill that same value in the person who witnessed such positive behavior.
Watching parents treat one another with respect and dignity (even when they are not in agreement) is a power dynamic to witness. When a husband and wife can agree to disagree, when they don't get angry with one another when they have differing opinions, it lays the foundation for their children to do the same when they get married.
Seeing things done in a positive and Godly way is the absolute best teacher. However, God can teach us how to do things His way even if our parents didn't do things His way. It is sort of like a "reverse application" system. If you saw your parents do everything wrong, you simply do the reverse of what you saw. This works beautifully and God is faithful to help you gain whatever skills you need to keep your marital covenant.
Murphy Geer Toerner
- Murphy's Devotions
- Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
- I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy