7 ways to prepare your kids for a healthy marriage

7 ways to prepare your kids for a healthy marriage June 6, 2015

Child having picnic in park We have four young kids and my wife Ashley and I want to prepare them to be in a healthy marriage someday. We refuse to buy into the flawed modern belief that marriage success rates are just a 50/50 coin toss, so two of our four kids will probably end up divorced. We’ve seen that teaching the right principles early on can greatly enhance a child’s likelihood of a thriving marriage later in life.

One of your most important duties as a parent is to equip your children for success in their future marriage. We’re convinced that preparing for marriage doesn’t start with a premarital counseling course. It should start MUCH sooner! It begins with teaching and modeling the right lessons for kids from the time they’re very young. If you’ll teach your kids these simple lessons, you’ll be setting them up for success if their future marriage and family.

7 ways to prepare your kids for a healthy marriage:

1. Strive to have the kind of marriage that makes your kids actually want to get married someday. One of the most common mistakes in modern marriage is to put your own marriage relationship “on hold” while you’re raising your kids. When you do this, you wind up with an “empty nest” and an empty marriage. One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is the security that comes from seeing their mom and dad in a loving, committed marriage.

2. Help your children have healthy relationships with siblings. This may seem unrelated to marriage, but it has a HUGE connection. The sibling relationship in childhood mirrors many aspects of the husband/wife relationship in adulthood. You’re sharing space, sharing responsibilities, etc. When children learn to “play nice” and have love and respect for their siblings, their hearts and minds are being trained to better love and respect a spouse someday.

3. Help your kids choose the right friends and the right boyfriends/girlfriends. At any age, our friends have a huge influence on our behaviors and attitudes, so while your kids are young, help them determine the character traits they should look for in potential friends and, when they’re ready to date, in potential boyfriends/girlfriends as well. Take an active interest in every one of their relationships.

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  • Stephen Coulter

    I had similar thoughts as you before I got married and concluded that yes, “no exit strategy” is a good idea. To have a strategy is to plan for something, if you go into a marriage with a plan for how to get out of it then you weaken your marriage from the start. There are tough times that you have to fight through in every marriage and it is your commitment to your spouse that gives you the strength and resolve to work things out and move on. But to address your points specifically:
    1) Beating and abuse: if your exit plan is because of the possibility of these then how well do you know/trust the person you are marrying? If you think this is even possible from that person then don’t marry them in the first place! If this happens in your marriage then yes, don’t stick around and just take it, but don’t plan for it. Bankruptcy: Talk about money before you say I do. Be open and establish some ground rules in this area from the start.
    2) If you think you’re marrying a woman who will leave you for a wealthier man in the future, then why are you marrying them? Better not to marry them in the first place if you have this kind of doubts than marry without being fully committed.
    3) Sex is an integral part of marriage as are children (for most but not all peole). Both spouses are fully entitled to expect 100% faithfulness as this is part of what you commit to when you get married. Same with money, talk about it before you say ‘I do’
    4) If you’re marrying someone with this attitude, or indeed if you have it yourself, don’t get married. Abuse and violence is unacceptable, sexual infidelity is also unacceptable, however there are couples who work through such issues and come through stronger but this does not mean they are acceptable. So take your time to find out if the person you are marrying can control their temper, can communicate frustration with words not fists and hold them to a moral standard before you tie the know, their reaction should give you some insight.

  • Stephen Coulter

    My comments are actually predicated on the idea that two people take the time to get to know each other well enough to decide to commit to spending the rest of their lives together. Is that the Christian concept of dating? Sometimes, but sadly all too often not.

    Love can make you blind to many things. No one will enter into marriage believing the things you mention will happen, however plenty enter marriage hoping that the other person will change (for the better) or ignoring (consciously or otherwise) small signals that could indicate a bigger issue.

    I disagree with your three compatability criteria, particularly numbers 2) and 3).

    Marriage is about more than sex, if you want the freedom to not be faithful to your spouse then why marry them in the first place? Reading what you’ve written then it sounds like sexual infidelity is ok if the other person does not cooperate. I disagree, love is about giving not demanding.

    As for not having an exit strategy, that doesn’t mean you can’t leave. It means you don’t plan to leave unless there is no longer an alternative, that attitude at the least forces you to consider if there is an alternative, so leaving is never the first thought albeit in extreme circumstances I would expect it would very quickly become number one.