Monday, August 31, 2009

Marriage Monday--Girl Talk about Love

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

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The Marriage Monday theme this month is Girl Talk: Talking to our daughters about love.

I've found this timely this week. Saturday night, German and I had a very rare date night planned. We have not been able due to scheduling commitments and baby sitting issues to have regular "dates" and when we have gone out, we have not necessarily called them dates. Jewel has been fascinated as Mommy and Daddy planned for their date night. She has asked what a date is and why you still need dates once you are married. I've answered as much as I can for a seven year old to understand. She finally summed it all up the other night by saying "so you are a better mommy and daddy when you have time to talk together." I actually think that is a pretty good summation.

That is one of the first things I hope that I communicate about loving your spouse--it takes time and work to keep it strong. We can have a good marriage within the busyness of life. However, with some effort to have alone time to talk, dream, or even vent we can take the good and make it great. I want them to understand that no relationship just happens--we must invest in the other person to grow the relationship.

Furthermore, I want them to hear from me, and see in our marriage, that love is about choosing what is best for the other person even when we don't feel the right "emotion." I want them to see it in the way their daddy and I meet each other's needs. But I also want them to hear it. We all have days that we find it hard to "feel" loving. When that happens, I want us to be honest about how hard it is to choose to love. There are times when we have had a hard day of boundary pushing that as I put Jewel to bed she will apologize for behavior and she will often ask "do you still love me?" I always make a point to not only accept the apology (and apologize when necessary) but to also remind her that no matter the behavior I will always choose to love her and that we will start over on the behavior the next day. Mirroring how to choose to love begins those life-long lessons.

Communicating about love from God's perspective instead of the world's perspective is challenging. I am fully aware that some of this is learned from the Bible verses that we are learning, but more is learned from watching their daddy and me. I can teach them that "Love is patient" all day but if I am always impatient with them or with German, they will have learned the wrong lesson. They will learn more about forgiveness and loyalty and steadfastness from watching us than from lectures from us. I pray that the lessons that they are seeing match the things I tell them.

Today they are four and seven, so "girl talk" around our house is quite general. My main goal at this time is to provide an atmosphere that is right for the talk to come naturally. If I lay this foundation firmly, then the talks of the future should be natural as well.

Just in closing, because sometimes it is easier to see what we don't want instead of what we do, I want to comment on what not to have part of my "girl talk" with my daughters. As I look back, I recall no time that my mom talked with me about falling in love with my dad, planning her wedding (there is one anecdote I know of their wedding day), dreaming for the future with my dad or anything of that sort. Instead, I heard all the things that made her unhappy both in life and in marriage. I always knew that she was disappointed with how things were. Although I recall conversations of the the "mechanics" of growing up there were none of the emotional aspects of being with someone else. That is not the memory I want my girls to recall. I want them to recall their dad and I reliving our dating days, our wedding, and the things we loved about those giddy times. I want them to see us sitting and dreaming of our future. I want them to see us holding hands and kissing and blushing from things that are whispered in ears. I want them to see love between us as well as us talk about it. That is why last week was so much fun--even before the date--because I was able to answer the questions of "why date?" which were followed by "what other dates have you done?" I told them about eagle watching with their daddy. They have heard about the hot air balloon ride, and now it can be put in the context of dating and falling in love. Their interest in our relationship provided natural opportunities to talk. And natural talk is the best kind of girl talk.

Please join the Marriage Monday group over at Chrysalis. You are sure to be blessed. I'm, personally, hoping to glean from those whose daughters are older some ideas for future girl talks around here. Now, I'm off to enjoy my holiday Monday (we have ours a week before you guys in the States). Have a lovely day!


Constance said...

So many times, little girls grow up with unrealistic expectations. (This is where our youngest, married daughter is right now, in full rebellion). They believe somehow that every day is sunshine, rainbows and choruses of birds singing in the trees. When the tough times hit, they don't know how to respond.

Marriage is intentional! I think that sometimes turns people off or sounds somehow wrong. You CHOOSE to love, to overlook and so on...

I recently asked my HUB if somehow we gave off the impression that marriage was easy. We never fight in front of our kids, seldom even raise our voices around them but retain that for when we are alone together. We spend time together and enjoy one another's company over everyone elses. We have had to fight for every scrap of time we've managed to have.

Ironically, our 2 oldest married daughters whose personalities are totally opposite of our youngest daughter's, understand that marriage is hard work and it just doesn't happen, they've learned that from our marriage.

Family dynamics can be complicated and I have learned that you have to be true to the Lord's leading. As our kids grew into adulthood, we released them back to God knowing that eventually they will return to the way that they were raised.

Thank God for free will (for me) but when it comes to my kids, I wish God would remove it! Ha Ha!

Dixie Price said...

You are such a smart woman. I never knew what true love was until I met your dad. He is without a doubt the best man I know. I am so lucky to be married to him. To me it doesn't matter what age your children are young or old they need to see the love between an man and a woman. Luv you much, Dix

Amydeanne said...

I love yoru response! date nights are so important. Having kids similar ages as yours I totally understand the simplicity at the moment! hugs!

Denise said...

You are very wise.

Tami Boesiger said...

Your post makes me breathe a sigh of relief. I can't say I often purpose to give my children lessons on life, but you remind me great life lessons come in the everyday, natural flow of conversation. I agree our children learn more by our actions than our words too.

Nice post, friend.

Tami Boesiger said...

Oh, I almost forgot--THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS! You are a dear.

bp said...

You have shared such great advice here.

Zhey Chua said...

Hi! What wisdom! I have learned a great deal from this post. Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

How sad that your Mom wasn't able to share her positive feelings toward your Dad. (I can partially relate, since my parents divorced. Funny thing is, even after their divorce, my mother had many good things to say about my Dad.)

Over-coming negative memories is certainly a good motivator isn't it? You're doing a marvellous job of teaching your sweet little ones. Well done.

Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday, Miriam Pauline. ((Hugs))

Wife of Rob said...

Oh you hit the nail on the head! DATE NIGHTS RULE! I'm so glad that you are living out that "forever courtship" in front of your children. It's so important for them to see how they "should" be treated in their own future relationships....who better to learn it from than Mom and Dad?

Blessings to you!

Melanie said...

What wonderful points you brought up. Remembering to live what we teach and showing the fun side of marriage as well as showing that it is work are so very important.

Kristin said...

What a wonderful post! Great way to break down what marriage is about.

Lynn said...

Wow, MP,

I can't tell you how powerful and truthful this post is. Every married person and every one who is thinking about getting married should read it.

Well done. Well said. I can't thank you enough. BIG hugs.