Marriage is under attack in our culture. From the sexual revolution to the rise of divorce to the fight over same-sex marriage, this precious institution is being bombarded from all sides.
And our children are right in the middle of it.
Hollywood, the media, our school systems, and sometimes even fellow Christians are constantly portraying an untrue version of marriage to today’s children and teens. And it’s taking its toll.
Most girls spend lots of time imagining their fairy tale wedding yet know very little about how to actually build a happily-ever-after.
At twenty-seven years old, I’ve already seen too many of my friends go through the heartache of divorce. These are friends who grew up with me in Christian school, went to church three times a week, and in many cases even attended a Christian college. It breaks my heart to sit in our living room with a friend whose wife just walked out on their marriage after only three years.
We are failing to give the next generation a proper perspective on marriage. A perspective they desperately need. But we can change that. We can start talking to our kids, grandkids, Sunday school class, and youth group about this important institution. They need to grow up with a firm foundation in this area. It’s not something they can just start working on after they say “I Do.”
5 Truths We Must Teach Children about Marriage
If we don’t teach these truths to the next generation, they won’t know them:
- God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman.We cannot be intimidated in this fight for God’s design for marriage. God’s Word is clear that marriage is for one man and one woman. He loves all people despite their sin, and we should do the same. But that doesn’t mean we must accept all forms of ungodly behavior. Our children are being taught by the world that homosexuality is just as valid as traditional marriage. We need to teach them that it’s not. God’s way is always best.
- Marriage is a life-long commitment.When we promise “for better or for worse” we give our solemn vow. It’s not “for better or for worse unless things get really bad” or “to love and to cherish unless I stop loving them” or even “till death do us part unless they cheat on me.” Marriage is a covenant relationship that is meant to last a lifetime. Often we as Christians are scared to openly discuss this because we don’t want to offend those who have been hurt by divorce. But those who have gone through a divorce would likely be the first to tell you what heartache and pain it causes. And those whose spouse walked out on them certainly wish their spouse’s parents had instilled in them that divorce should not be an option.
- Marriage is worth waiting for. Contrary to every other voice in our culture, God’s Word still teaches that sex is a gift to be enjoyed exclusively within the bonds of marriage. If we aren’t actively teaching this to our teens, they will quickly be persuaded otherwise. But the physical relationship isn’t the only area where waiting is important. They must also be patient in waiting for the right person. I remember as a teen wanting so badly to have a boyfriend, and this desire for companionship is strong in the hearts of most teens. But young people need to know not settle for marriage to the wrong person just to keep from being alone.
- Marriage is not about being compatible. Much of the focus on relationships in our society is about being compatible, but the truth is that no two people are compatible 100% of the time. There will be challenges in every marriage, and adjustments will need to be made. I remember thinking for some reason that the first few years of marriage are supposed to be full of bliss and that problems won’t come until later. But the adjustment period was no honeymoon. Marriage, while incredible, takes a lot of work, sacrifice, and adjustment. I think lots of marriages break up because no one is teaching young people this concept. So they expect that everything will be wonderful, and at the first sign of trouble they assume they married the wrong person and decide they want out.
- Marriage is about giving, not receiving. Marriage is not about what our spouse does for us. It’s about what we can do for them. It’s not about feeling loved or appreciated. It’s about making someone else feel loved and appreciated. The next generation needs to step into marriage ready to give, regardless of whether or not they receive. But this truth, I’m afraid, only means so much when we talk about it. This one, I fear, has to be taught by example.
What other truths about marriage are being lost in our society? How do you teach your kids about marriage? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Linda Kardamis is a teacher and writer who is passionate about helping parents and teachers impact the next generation. She is the author of Create Your Dream Classroom and blogs at Teach 4 the Heart. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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