Monday, August 8, 2011

Happily Ever After

Where did we get the idea that getting married = happily ever after?  I blame Disney.  All the movies end after the wedding!  Ariel gets married, the end.  Cinderella - married, the end.  Aladdin and Jasmine tie the knot and boom - movie over.  Same thing in Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood and even Lady and the Tramp (kind of..he gets a collar!)

The fact is, marriage is hard work sometimes.  There is too much to do, and only the two of us to do it, and frequently, we have different ideas of who should do what.  Huge amounts of compromise and forgiveness are needed in any successful marriage.

And I want my kids to know that.  But I don't want to scare or worry them.  How do you do that?

I NEVER saw my parents fight.  In fact, I was in college when I first remember seeing my mom mad enough that she didn't answer my dad when he said "I love you" as he left the house.  I cried all the way back to my college.  I called as soon as I got there and asked my mom if she and daddy were OK.  She sounded confused when she answered yes.  Turns out it was a small argument of no real consequence.

I want my kids to be prepared for the fact that God uses marriage in wonderful ways to get rid of a great deal of our selfishness.  I want them to know that disagreeing doesn't mean that you don't love one another.  I want them to know that sometimes you may go to bed angry.  Some times you might not like each other for a bit, but you can still love each other and work through it.  I want them to not be as bewildered as I felt in the early years of our marriage.  I want them to be better equipped.

But I don't want to try them like adults and reveal to them every discussion that gets heated in our house.  I don't think it is helpful for them to know all the inner workings of our marriage.  Kids need stability, so I don't ever want them to feel that our home isn't solid.  There are so many things that they do have to worry about, homework, bullies and peer pressure are all things they MUST deal with now, and I don't want to add to the stress.

How do you balance educating and equipping versus scaring and stressing?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I think its important for children to see their parents deal with conflict in a respectful and constructive way. Hiding the fact that you may fight sometimes just shields them from reality.

  2. I only saw my parents fight once, and it scared me to death. I never learned how to have a good, constructive disagreement until much later in life. My Hubby and I both have tempers -- not mean, just snappy -- and we do bicker occasionally in front of our Kiddo. He doesn't like it, but we always come to a resolution and we always play fair--both things I want my child to learn how to do.

    It is hard though...good luck to you.

  3. My husband and I are guilty of fighting where the kids can hear. We need to work on that. Just chalk it up to one more thing that makes marriage hard work. But it's worth it.

  4. I think there is a healthy balance between sheltering your children and revealing to them the reality of life. It’s hard sometimes figuring out what’s suitable and what’s not. I think the simple fact that you’re aware says a lot.

    Our children are always observing and absorbing what they are exposed to. So, I think it’s more so a question of how we as parents deal with the elements in life. One example: Are you and your spouse yelling and arguing with each other, or are you discussing and working through things? What are you projecting to your children? There are parents that don’t filter, don’t hold back, and subject their children to extremely unhealthy behaviors. I don’t want my children growing up thinking that yelling and arguing is going to solve their problems. On the other hand, I don’t want to shelter them so that they grow up thinking everything around them must be perfect. It sets them up for failure.

    I grew up with divorced parents, so I wasn’t exposed to two individuals working through life together…as partners. Looking back, I had no clue how a relationship was supposed to work… what’s acceptable and what’s not. I had to learn the hard way, and fail. It’s a personal goal of mine to try my best to display a healthy, strong, relationship between me and my spouse so that my children know the “right” way to treat others and the “right” way to be treated. Unfortunately, that include times of angst and distress. There will be times that you will disappoint, let down, stress out, and even scare your children. How are you going to handle those situations? When that happens, I hope that I have the strength and ability to explain, apologize, and ease their worries.

    This was a great post! It really made me stop and evaluate myself. Thanks so much for sharing.


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