Bensen has reached the stage where he watches our every move and imitates a lot of the things that we do. It's a lot of fun, but at the same time, comes with a lot of responsibility. We are a constant example to Bensen and the more I think about that, the scarier it is. One of the things that I've been thinking about lately is how mine and Joe's relationship is an example to our kids of what a marriage relationship looks like. Bensen listens to our conversations, watches us interact and has a front row seat every morning when Joe kisses goodbye on his way out the door. Whether I express these verbally or not, there are a few things that I hope our children learn about marriage from watching mine and Joe's.
It takes effort to keep your relationship strong, but I don't consider it "work"
Whenever I hear someone refer to marriage as work, I think how torturous that makes it sound. Marriage takes constant and intentional effort, as do most things in life. If it's something you truly care about, you'll do whatever it takes to make it better and make it last. It might not always be the easiest or most enjoyable ride, but it will always be worth it.
The challenges are just as sweet to look back on as the memories
When I reminisce on the times that Joe and I have shared, I think a lot about the really good times, but I also think about the challenges and tough times that we've been through together. I know that years from now, when I look back on our life together, I'll treasure the good times, but I'll also be proud of how we got through those not so great times that came our way. The hard things helped us become stronger and have made us the couple that we are.
Marriage isn't just about being a responsible adult team, it's meant to be fun
Joe and I are a team in everything in life and with that comes a lot of responsibilities. I want our kids to see us working as a team to make things work in our lives, but I also want them to see us having lots of fun together. Making time for date night, family fun and joking around together are all things that we can do on a regular basis to add fun to our lives. It can be easy to let life get too serious and every married couple needs to keep things light and fun sometimes.
Wherever you are should be a safe place and a sanctuary for your spouse
After a long, tough day or when things get really stressful in life, are you the first person that your spouse wants to turn to? Not only is Joe my safe place in life, but he has a way of pulling me out of any funk and helping me get over the terrible, horrible, no good very bad days and situations in life. Whenever I'm feeling stressed, uncomfortable, upset, frustrated, etc. I just want to see, talk to and snuggle with Joe. I want my children to see that on the hard days and during the hard times, Joe and I turn to each other first, not another person or another thing.
Your spouse is the one person who you should feel completely comfortable being yourself around
Looking back on the single and dating stage of my life, I realize that there were a lot of guys I was interested in who I never could be completely myself with, and others who I tried to match interests with just so that we'd have more in common. With Joe, I've always felt so comfortable sharing whatever is on my mind and being my completely quirky self, not holding anything back. I have adopted some of his interests and favorites, not so that we could connect in another way, but because after getting to know those things about him, I had a genuine interest in them as well. He is my person and I hope that my kids recognize that we are able to be true to ourselves as individuals when we are with each other.
Just the other day, I had raised my voice at Joe about something (I'll admit that happens) and we looked over to see Bensen sitting in his high chair with his hands over his ears. That moment made me very aware of just how much of an influence our interactions have on him, whether we realize it or not. I determined then and there that I was going to work my hardest to show our kids what a great blessing marriage is in our lives. I want them to know that while marriage takes constant effort and intentional thought, it will be one of the greatest things that they'll ever have in their lives as well.
What things do you hope your kids learn about marriage by watching your example?