10 Things to Teach Your Children

If you’re a parent or ever plan on becoming a parent, this post is for you! Today we’re sharing…

10 Things to Teach Your Children about Marriage BEFORE They Get Married

Teaching Your Children About Marriage

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. To learn more about ’em, click here.

Here at The Dating Divas, we are super passionate about marriage. It’s the whole reason why we started this website in the first place. We’re on a mission to strengthen and enrich marriages, which we believe will, in turn, strengthen and enrich families.

We’ve noticed, however, that it’s a topic that is often forgotten when it comes to teaching our children. Think about it for a minute- we know about the importance of reading to our children. We try to teach them about healthy and nutritious foods and exercise. And, of course, we talk to them about staying away from drugs and danger. Most parents have even navigated the sometimes scary task of talking to their children about sex. (Or, at the very least, rely on the school’s sex ed. classes to give them a basic “sexual education.”) BUT are we giving our children a “relationship and marriage” education before they leave home?!

The sad truth is, although most little girls have imagined and dreamed of their fairy-tale wedding since they were small, when they reach marrying age most still know very little about how to actually build a happily-ever-after.

The same can be said for boys. As parents, we can do better than that for the next generation! We can give our children the tools, skills, and information they need to enjoy happy and healthy relationships. Instead of dealing with marital problems AFTER they arise in marriage, we can give our children an advantage and set them up for success by teaching valuable lessons BEFORE they need them!

I love this quote by Frank Sonnenberg, “If you don’t pass your values on to your kids, someone else will.” We need to teach our children about marriage, or they will learn what society teaches them. All you have to do is turn on the T.V. or radio for a couple minutes to see that the media is giving an untrue and skewed version of what marriage is and should be. We need to give our children the proper perspective and view on marriage that they so desperately need.

So, where do we start? Well, in preparing for this post, we talked to all of our happily married friends and family and came up with…

10 Things to Teach Your Children about Marriage BEFORE They Get Married

Now first, we need to clarify that we’re not talking about a one-time discussion after your child is engaged.  Don’t wait until your kids are older! Start talking to them when they are young about the importance of strong, happy marriages. Short, simple conversations over time will build a strong foundation of knowledge. As your children get older, just keep adding more information to your discussions. If you want your teenagers to talk to you about their relationships, it’s a great idea to start making it a habit from the time they are little. A great place to start is celebrating your anniversary every year. Show them your wedding pictures or watch your wedding video together. Tell them your love story and how you knew your spouse was the right one for you. Even if you’re a single parent, you can use still start these conversations with your children. Children’s movies can be a great teaching tool. For example, you can point out, “See how Minnie got so mad at Mickey? A better idea would be to talk to him and find out why he did that, huh?”

Okay, are you ready to hear what these top 10 things are?! Here we go…

1.  Marriage is you and me vs. the problem, not you vs. me. 

Marriage is about being on the same team. We begin to teach our children this as soon as they are born, by the way we parent. The best way to teach is by example. We can show them that no one comes between mom and dad, not even them. We’re always on the same side. They can’t pit us against each other. We don’t compete with each other or keep score. We work together and sacrifice for each other. We cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s successes. Happy marriages put “we” before “me.”

2.   Marriage is about working together, even though you work differently. 

Now, just because you’re on the same team, it doesn’t mean you’ll always think or feel the same way. Men and women are different- and that’s a good thing!  Most children figure out pretty quickly that boys and girls are different.  We need to teach them that it’s supposed to be that way. One is not better than the other, we both need each other’s perspective in order to grow and learn. We should never bad-mouth or “bash” the opposite gender, even jokingly. The words we say will affect our children’s views of the opposite gender and of marriage. It would do you no good to have two left hands, right? In the same way, we were designed to be opposite so that we could complement each other. Our children need to know that.

Happy Marriage

3. Marriage is about giving, not receiving!

Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t get married to make yourself happy; you get married to make someone else happy. This can often be the hardest lesson to learn! Marriage reveals our selfishness so that we can develop a more selfless attitude. You don’t have to have bad feelings toward your spouse for your marriage to suffer — all it takes is being selfish and turning inward instead of outward. When each spouse is worried about the happiness of the other, both have their needs met. Our children are growing up in an “entitlement era.” It’s important that we teach them, from the time that they are little, about the importance of giving. We need to make sure we are providing opportunities for service and teaching gratitude.

4. Marriage is about improving yourself, not changing your spouse. 

Your role in marriage is to be responsible for your own personal improvement, not to point out where your spouse can improve. After all, people are never motivated to change by criticism. It’s when we feel loved and supported that we feel safe enough to recognize and admit our own faults and flaws. Of course, we want to encourage and support each other in our efforts to improve and become better. However, compliments and praise will always do more for your marriage. We need to teach our children that in all relationships, it’s a good idea to focus on the things you can control. Namely, your own actions and feelings.

Marriage Isn't For You

5. Marriage is about leaning in toward each other, not away or apart.

Marriage is all about becoming one. Not only is it merging into one household, one bedroom, and one budget, but it’s also combining our traditions, standards, goals, and plans. This requires a great deal of humility, respect, trust, and communication. In marriage, it’s important to listen to understand, not just talk to get your point across. When hard times come, and they will, it’s especially important to lean on each other for support and not retreat within yourself. When you are hurting or struggling and choose to “lean in” toward your spouse instead of away, you grow closer. One of the best parts of marriage is never having to go through anything alone. We need to teach and show our children, not only how to get through tough times, but how to get through them together.

6. Marriage is about forgiveness, not fairness.

We need to give our children a realistic perspective on marriage. Although marriage is wonderful, it is not always a blissful fairy-tale. Everyone makes mistakes; everyone falls short. At some point, you will be disappointed or hurt by your spouse. Just as you will make mistakes and fall short of their expectations. A good marriage is made by being good forgivers. Create a forgiving marriage culture by always being quick to apologize and forgive. When you’re more concerned with being right than you are about your spouse’s feelings, then you’re focusing more on yourself than your marriage. This should be a red flag that you need to stop, step back, and reevaluate. If you would like to be forgiven of your shortcomings, you need to be willing to forgive other’s. When our children are hurt by a sibling or friend, we can take the opportunity to teach about forgiveness. Even when they think “it’s not fair” or “I don’t deserve this,” we can show them how to respond with love. Instead of trying to make everything “fair” all the time, we can focus on making sure everyone feels loved.

A Good Marriage is Made of Good Forgivers

7. Marriage is about intimacy, not just sex. 

We always say that making love is a great way to stay in love. However, it’s important to recognize that “making love” is not the same thing as “having sex.” A good marriage leads to a good sex life, not the other way around. Before they get married, our children need to understand that the way men feel about sex and the way women feel about sex is different. Often men need intimacy to feel loved, and women need to feel loved before they desire intimacy. They need to know that it’s about a lot more than pleasure, it’s about loving and connecting. We need to warn them of the dangers of pornographyIntimacy will have a huge effect on their marriage and happiness, we need to make sure that we’re not avoiding important discussions, simply because they may often feel uncomfortable. {For your engaged children, we highly recommend “And They Were Not Ashamed” by Laura Brotherson.}

8. Marriage is not a one-time act, it’s a continuous decision. 

Marriage, like love, is a choice. It’s not just about being compatible. We need to teach our children that you don’t just fall in and out of love like it’s something you can’t control. Love diminishes when we stop giving it. If you don’t want the fire to die out of your marriage, you need to continually fan the flame. You need to be intentional about loving each other. When something goes wrong or problems arise, it doesn’t mean you married the wrong person. It means that you have a chance to work together to become even stronger and closer together. Marriage is about falling in love with each other over and over again. It’s recognizing that love is not just a feeling, it is an action. We need to teach our children that marriage is not 50%/50%; it’s 100%/100%! Both spouses need to do everything they can for their marriage, and for each other. We need to prepare out children to enter marriage as a life-long commitment; to be in it for the long haul. If they go into marriage expecting it to end, chances are, it will.

Love is an action, not a feeling

9. Marriage is not the end destination, it’s just the beginning! 

A lot of times people think of marriage as the grand finale. They’ve finally found the one, the hunt is over, and they assume that the dating part of their life is finished. Wrong! We need to teach our children that marriage is just the beginning! If you want your marriage to feel like it did in the beginning, you need to keep doing what you were doing in the beginning. Go on regular dates, keep flirting, and never stop romancing each other!  Because the truth is, when you keep trying, it only gets better! As Boyd K. Packer said so well, “Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.”

10. Marriage is a gift, not a burden!

We always hear jokes about the “old ball and chain” and the burdens and sacrifices that come with marriage and being “tied down.” But the truth is, you’ll never have it better! Marriage is amazing! It’s wonderful! It’s fun! If you’re in it together, you’ll get SO much more from it than you’ll ever sacrifice. Our children need to see us enjoying each other, because we are setting the standard. We should always speak of our spouse and marriage in a positive light. We should be so in love that it grosses them out. We need to have the kind of marriage that will make them want to get married.

Mature Love Has a Bliss Not Even Imagined By Newlyweds

Ultimately, the way that we teach our children about marriage is through our example!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love our 50+ Secrets of a Great Marriage and 10 Things Husbands Wish Their Wives Knew. And if you have children that are engaged or newlyweds, (or anyone, really!) we strongly suggest introducing them to our top 12 favorite marriage books!

About the Author: Becca

Besides my hilariously witty husband, I love a good book, sappy songs, old black-and-white movies, cute crafts, and all things chocolate. With three (seriously adorable) little girls at home, my life is giggly, frilly, glittery, and very, very pink!

We Love Your Comments

We LOVE hearing from our readers! Thanks for leaving us some love!
P.S. If you want a picture to show up next to your comments, get set up with a gravatar!

Recent Comments

5 Responses to 10 Things to Teach Your Children

  1. First – how ADORABLE is your little girl!?!? Second – I LOVE all of the quotes featured in this post!!! Third – Such ah-mazing advice!!!