To Do Lists! Most of us make them, either in our heads, on our phones or even on paper. They help us to NOT forget, to stay on track and to move forward. Ok, this is GREAT, right? So what exactly IS on our To-Do Lists, hmmmm? Is there any mention of loving acts for our dear ones? Is there anything on that list about the actions of appreciation we're going to make happen today? If so! Wow! Good for you!! You can stop reading now. But, if we're like most, probably not, and this isn't to make anyone feel bad; this is just a wake-up call, for everyone, including ME!
Our loved ones can NOT possibly know what we are thinking and feeling about them all the time, and depending on the person, this 'unknown' can feel very uncomfortable. Luckily, we can act in purposeful ways to reveal our true intentions and keep our relationships on positive grounds. Sounds like a lot of effort, doesn't it?
So, Why bother?
For our children, our marriages serve as endless lessons on how human relationships (especially marriage) are to be handled. When we focus on being examples of the 'shoulds' in our marriages instead of giving overwhelming examples of the 'should NOTS' we're a lot more likely to raise positive and hopeful adults. Instead of our marriages being all about US, they are definitely about our children, as well. Our marriages shape their world view of marriage itself and their overall sense of security throughout their growing years. So, it is more important than you ever thought, this marriage of yours, these marriages of ours!
Being a positive witness of marriage is not about always getting along. My husband and I would have FAILED long ago if that was the criterion. No! It is not about being perfectly content, or never having disagreements or arguments. It's about NAVIGATING through those difficult times and ending up on safe and forgiving land. Married partners working well through struggles give great encouragement and teach significant lessons. Here are a few:
As couples committed to our marriages, there are toxic behaviors that need to be avoided on a regular basis but, for sure, to be avoided in front our children. We should NOT...
Instead let's have an overwhelming focus on the positive interaction in front of our children as often as we possibly can! We SHOULD...
At our weddings there are guests, witnesses to our newly taken vows of life long marriage. These dear people are to have joy in our union and to support us throughout our married life. We are led to believe that this marriage is all about us and only us, and that its success affects only US. Well, think again.
For good or for bad, our marriages witness to those who live with us, and around us. Our marriages either fill people with the light of hope and anticipation for their own futures, or they bring shadows which others will try to avoid for dear life. My marriage and your marriage witness to how we should disagree (or not) with one another, how we forgive (or not), and encourage and value one another as gifts of God (or not).
Couples committed to their marriage can provide more good than ever imagined. They witness to the credibility of that elusive term “unconditional love” and the hope for attaining such a gift from a potential spouse in their future. They speak to acquaintances, friends and family, and as such can be a light of hope to our children, those struggling in their relationships, and to singles who are wondering if there's anyone out there who really understands what commitment actually means.
Loving marriages take work that you can never afford time off from, but it is so worth it! It proves a treasure for you, the couple, and for those around you. Believe it or not, your committed marriage can be a beacon of light!! So shine on!