Can your marriage really influence the world? I believe the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” My wife, Susan, and I have had struggles and joys in our marriage. I’ve shared with you some of the mistakes I’ve made and how my marriage walk has not always matched my marriage talk. It has grieved me when I think of the times we haven’t carried our marriage well or loved each other well…especially in front of our kids and friends.
Through the years, we’ve realized that how we walk together as a couple has a huge influence on others. Our marriage is being watched. All marriages are being watched. Marriage never happens in a vacuum. Marriage influences others for better or worse. Our marriages are a loud testimony, especially to our children. Our marriages say to them: This is how life and marriage should be lived.
Here are 9 qualities that, if present in our marriages, can influence our kids and the world:
- Commitment – Getting through difficult times while staying dedicated to each other shows the power of commitment. In marriage, commitment is not just to a person but to a lifelong promise.
- Honor – Honoring our spouse is celebrating them not because of what they do, but simply because of who they are. And it’s a powerful expression of love.
- Integrity – Consistency is the key to integrity. Our marriage walk must match our marriage talk in all areas of life. Showing authenticity in marriage is key to influencing others.
- Forgiveness – As I wrote recently, forgiveness is not about changing the past, it’s about changing the future. Forgiveness looks toward a future of healing and hope. When we forgive, it offers others hope that they can learn to forgive, too.
- Perseverance – Seasons of anger, grief, or loss can rock a marriage. In those seasons, we need gracious patience with each other to persevere. Perseverance, never giving in, is what all marriages need.
- Contentment – Marriages can get sideways quickly when one or both spouses are never satisfied. Constant dissatisfaction builds a miserable marriage. But, when we are grateful for what we do have, we can really experience joy in our relationship.
- Love – The basic foundation of a thriving marriage is love. Love is a choice, not just a feeling. Our kids need to see us choosing to love, even when we don’t always feel like loving. That shows them what true love is all about.
- Respect – Showing respect in our marriage is not simply about what a spouse deserves. Respect is about acknowledging, encouraging, and appreciating who that spouse is. Are there times when we need to respect someone we don’t agree with or have difficulty with? Yes. And our marriages are a great way to teach that to our kids and our world. Here are some things I’ve learned from a friend about respecting Susan and what husbands wish wives knew about respect.
- Kindness – Simple acts of kindness seem increasingly rare in the world today. We can help our kids see, in the laboratory of our living room, how powerful kindness can be in their lives, too.
So there you have it. Your marriage is more powerful than you think and can greatly influence your children, your children’s children, and others in the world.
What are some other ways you see your marriage or other marriages influencing the world around you? Please share your comments below.