7 ways to prepare your kids for a healthy marriage

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

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4. Encourage them to only date a person who would make a good spouse. Parents who encourage their kids to date around just to get “experience” are unknowingly sabotaging their kids’ future marriage. When kids date with no longterm purpose, their hearts and feelings get entangled and the breakups can leave lasting scars making trust and intimacy with a future spouse more difficult. If they know someone wouldn’t make a good spouse someday, they have no reason to date that person in the first place.

5. Encourage them to ask the right questions about any potential spouse BEFORE marrying them. Before saying, “I do” your kids need to ask some difficult questions about the person they’re considering marrying. These questions are also a good prerequisite for any potential dating relationship. The questions should include the following: Am I attracted to more than this person’s looks? Do I actually like this person (would I want to hang out with them often even if we weren’t dating)? Do I want my future kids to grow up to be like this person? Do the people who love me the most think this person is a good match for me? Does this person consistently bring out the best in me? Can I be myself around this person? Does this person strengthen my faith and character or compromise my faith and character? Can I remain committed to this person no matter what?

6. Don’t discourage them from marrying young (if they find the right person). Many parents (with good intentions) encourage their kids to get their “life in order” (meaning have all their schooling finished, finances in order, etc.) before they consider marriage. When a young adult gets on this life plan, they may drag out a dating relationship in a perpetual state of heading nowhere or breakup with someone who would have been a great spouse because the “timing wasn’t right.” I’m not saying everyone should marry early, but many of the healthiest and happiest married couples I know married very young and then built their life together. It’s worked for Ashley and me as well (we were 22 and 20 on our wedding day).

7. Encourage them to enter into marriage with no exit strategy! When it comes time for your child to get married, encourage him/her to enter into the covenant of marriage with no Plan B! Help them remove the word “divorce” from their vocabulary, and if they call you to complain about their spouse, encourage them to stop complaining and start working it out with their spouse. Don’t become an in-law who adds strain on the marriage. Be an in-law who becomes the biggest fan, friend and encourager of your new daughter- or son-in-law.

Be a lifelong cheerleader and supporter of their marriage.

For more tools to help build a rock-solid marriage, check out my bestselling book iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage and our brand new iVow Online Marriage Course (by clicking here).

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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.