This past weekend my oldest daughter got married. The hurry and scurry of wedding preparations began 6 months ago as we searched for a dress and a place to have the wedding. Besides the wedding planning, there has been the emotional prep and the stress of change.
As her mom, I often asked myself, what can I do to help her be ready to be a bride?
Of course we encouraged our daughter and her fiancé to have pre-marital counseling, but the honest truth is that the real grunt work of preparing her for marriage began 28 years ago, before she could even talk.
If you have young children, you can start now to prepare them for marriage. I know this may sound crazy, but stick with me here. You are influencing their future marriages without even realizing it, and if you want to give them a better chance at a healthy marital relationship, this is how you can start preparing them now.
- Show them how it’s done—this will have the strongest impact. Role models always speak louder than words. Show them how to properly argue, resolve problems, and work through challenges with your spouse. Obviously, if you are a single parent, this doesn’t apply. However, you can still show them how to get along with your ex, or at least how to relate to other adult role models in their lives.
- Teach them how to respect the opposite sex. Show your sons that chivalry does not have to be dead and your daughters that not all men want only one thing.
- Teach them the power of compromise. Healthy relationships survive only because two people are willing to give and take. Your kids can learn this early with siblings and friends.
- Stress the importance of communication. This includes active listening, learning to ask questions, and being willing to open up. If a couple is not communicating, there’s trouble ahead.
- Encourage pickiness. If you want your kids to be picky in choosing a life partner, then encourage them to have high standards in choosing friends, and eventually boy or girl friends. Our kids’ pickiness in dating resulted in them not dating a lot. But so far, that pickiness has paid off. Our oldest is 28 and she waited a long time to find a man who met her standards, which was, by the way, to be like her dad!
These early preparations for marriage will also help them to make a better mate choice. So often parents cross their fingers and hope for the best as their kids choose a spouse. But if you are planning ahead for your child’s marital future, you are laying a foundation that will not only help them in marriage, it will guide them to choose for marriage.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new booklet 11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.