Priorities for a Successful Family
These are some of the priorities that I feel every family needs to survive as fully functioning units. You can get along without them but to be a true family you need to have these.
Priority Number 1
Love Your Spouse
I have been asked, “What is the number one thing that parents can do for their children to succeed as adults?”
Here is the simple answer to that question.
The number one thing that parents can do for their children is to love one another and show it. Children must see their parents love for one another in action. A husband and wife should be hugging, kissing and holding hands in front of their kids.
Children need to hear their parents say “I love you” to each other and show it.
Children need to see the security that the parents love brings. No matter what happens in life the love that a husband has for his wife will not fail. Other things will fail but not the love of the parents and in turn, the love the parents have for their children.
Children need this model of love as a base to build their future relationships and marriage. In some respects psychologists are correct when they say that we tend to marry someone like our parents. Because of the patterns set by our parents we tend toward those same patterns when we seek out a mate. Much of our likes and dislikes were formed by the model our parents set for us to follow. Because I was raised in a large family out of necessity we ate a lot of casseroles. I came to love casseroles and move toward that kind of menu as a comfort food and a habit food. Our parents by their examples trained us in the way we should love and who to love.
Third, a love that a man has for a woman in a Christian marriage is a symbol of the love God has for us. We God’s church and people are referred in the bible as God’s bride. The comparison to bride and groom should not be overlooked as god established marriage as his first institution on earth. The love that a man has for his wife is the type of love God has for his people. It is that kind of intimacy that God has for his church. We no matter how we want to deny it or negate it are a model of God to our children. We have been made in the image of God the creator and in his image we have become a part of His creation by conceiving our children. These creations our children see the love of God through our love for one another.
Your marriage relationship must be the number one consideration in the family unit. It is more important than soccer practice and dance lessons. The love and respect you show your spouse far outweighs anything the kids will learn on the game fields and in ball practice. Few of your children will have the chance to play professional sports, however all of them will have the chance to grow in love with other people and even marry and have children of their own. The lessons learned from the examples set by you will be a major effect on their future.
This means that in everything you do you need to protect and respect your spouse. Never talk in a negative way about your spouse in front of your children. Your children need to see that you are united in your love for one another and you will not put you partner down in front of the kids. When you have a disagreement with your spouse try to solve the problems where little eyes and ears cannot witness your emotions and tensions. When they do witness a fight or argument model for the children acts of forgiveness and reconciliation. Show your children that there is a place for disagreements however you still love and care for your spouse and that, that love will never be threatened by any disagreement.
Next time your child sees you give a big kiss to your spouse and say, “Gross”, just say, “thank you” and know that they are seeing love is a priority in your home.
Frank Walker LMFT
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