The current generation of fathers has been decimated by the tragedy of divorce. Many men saw their parents divorce, and some have been through a divorce themselves. These men have often told us that they wish they had seen a good marriage in action when they were young. They had a deep desire to see a committed, loving relationship between the two people they loved the most, and they are still missing that model now that they have children of their own.
Have you ever thought about how your marriage looks to your children—or about how your attitudes toward marriage are influencing them? Whether you’re seeking to be a cycle-breaker in your family, or you want to faithfully capitalize on the example your father set for you, it’s important to purposefully set a positive example. If you fail to do this, the likelihood that your children will face divorce increases significantly. Your modeling influences your children’s perspectives and practices in their own marriages.
If you’re married, search your heart. You may have a decent marriage, but are you living out the kind of marriage you want your children to have someday? Are you nurturing your marriage with trust, communication and thoughtful attentiveness?
If you’re divorced, remember that your kids love both of you, and they don’t want to hear their mother criticized. No matter what she’s saying or doing, try your best, and respect her as the mother of your children.
Your marriage relationship and your attitudes about women—good or bad—will continue to impact your children’s lives long after they leave home.
- Ask your children what qualities they’re looking for in a future mate. Often, their answers will reflect something about your marriage.
- Talk with your wife: What’s in store for our children if they pattern their marriages after ours? Come up with a plan to improve your marriage, no matter now great it is now.
- If you’re a divorced dad, keep asking yourself the question, “What’s best for my child?” Then, let your answers guide your actions—especially when you’re interacting with your child’s mother, and even if the result doesn’t seem great for you.
- Make plans this week for a date night or another memorable time together with your wife.
- What are the most positive memories you have from your marriage? Continue to focus on those during times of difficulty.