Mom and Dad—The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids—Love One Another

Love One Another Blog Pictures

Well, it’s here again. That infamous week where we buy our spouse or significant other a gift, take them out to eat, and make our contribution to one, if not all, of the four C’s—the card, candy, chocolate and corporate organizations that keep Valentine’s day fresh in our minds every February.

Frankly, I hate being part of “the system.” I’d rather do it my own way. Perhaps that’s why Christi and I decided to switch our weekly Friday date night to Saturday this week so we weren’t giving in to the Valentine’s Day demands. (Okay, so our sitter couldn’t do Friday and we wanted to avoid the crowds, but go with me on this.)

The very least “the system” could do is devote more than one day a year to romantic love. Whose idea was this anyway? St. Valentine surely can’t be the only saint recognized for romance?

The trouble is that Valentine’s Day is often a close reflection of what our marriage actually looks like—one, maybe two days a year where we visibly show love and affection toward one another. Don’t get me wrong; you may get along well together the other 364 days of the year. But would you say your marriage is one that people close to you would describe as an ongoing affectionate romance? Or do you have a Valentine’s Day romance?

Here’s the real test: How would your kids describe it?

In a culture teaching our kids to feel better rather than to love better, a culture filled with cheap imitations of love and false intimacy, how is your marriage setting an example for how well your kids treat and love others?

My senior pastor Ted Cunningham constantly instills this truth in our congregation: The greatest gift you can give your kids is to love their mom (or dad). Research clearly shows the greatest outcome to child behaviors and success is a stable two-parent family where mom and dad are in love with one another.[i]

There’s no better week to begin showing and modeling for your kids the love of their mom or dad than now.

Here are three ways you can do that this week:

1. Make your spouse the priority relationship over your kids: The foundation of your family is the two of you. Not only that, your kids will leave you one day. Your child comes to learn how to relate by watching how the two of you relate. I now make it a priority to greet Christi as soon as I’m home, before engaging Landon. I want my kids to know momma is the queen of the house.

2. Begin a weekly date night with your spouse: My pastor Ted Cunningham and I created 52 questions and 10 date night ideas around certain themes like play, laugh, dream, and adventure. The goal is to help spark conversation and creativity in your date nights. You can download these free date night ideas and questions here.

3. Embrace joyful moments: These are everyday, ordinary moments that simply make you smile and appreciate the affection you have for your spouse. Christi has this little dance she does that’s absolutely adorable to me. On days she breaks into that dance I simply smile, walk over to her when she’s finished, and embrace the moment. The best moments are when Landon is watching and giggling along.

The safest relationship for kids to experience is their parents madly in love...

...happy Valentine days.

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Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is President and Co-Founder of the Connextion Group. Coauthor of God Attachment: Why You Believe, Act and Feel the Way You Do About God and The Quick Reference Guide to Counseling Teenagers, Josh specializes as a relational bridge builder between the generations. He enjoys combining scientific research with biblical wisdom to provide practical insight and inspiration for today’s families. Josh serves on the teaching team at Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, MO and wakes up each day striving to love others better, starting with his wife Christi and their son, Landon. You can find Josh on Twitter @joshuastraub or on Facebook.

[i]http://www.stanford.edu/group/scspi/_media/pdf/Reference%20Media/Carlson%20and%20Corcoran_2001_Children.pdf