What I Want My Kids to Know About Marriage

She is only four.

But don’t let her youth fool you: she knows exactly what she wants.

And it happens to be my husband.

In her precocious manner my little girl stated: “I’ve decided to marry Daddy.”

“You will have to share.”

The random statement caught me off guard, but didn’t surprise me. She’s a Daddy’s Girl and strong-willed: a force to be reckoned with most days. But she was completely serious. She started talking about a wedding and instead of calling him Daddy, she started calling him Husband, referring to herself as Wife.

It was hysterical.

My husband was smitten and beaming. I was the Other Woman.

I watched her closely and what I saw moved me. My little girl was role playing me. Other than sounding a bit too bossy (I get it naturally), she was mimicking the way I love my man.

He was wooing his little girl and teaching her what to wait for in a husband.

Our kids our watching our marriages. They are learning from us, whether or not we realize we’re teaching them.

What I want my kids to learn from us:

  • Sometimes married people argue, just like sometimes siblings argue: My kids get this because arguing is how they work things out. It’s *how* you argue that matters. No name-calling, putting down, meanness allowed.
  • Sometimes married people want to be alone: time away for a date night or a weekend, isn’t just to get away from kids, it’s to strengthen our marriage. I want my kids to want us to get away because we come back more united.
  • Sometimes married people kiss and hug: I don’t ever want my kids to wonder if we like each other. I want them to catch us stealing kisses and greeting each other with deep embraces. I catch them from the corner of my eye and I see confidence on their faces.
  • Sometimes married people need a time out: when we reach a place where we can’t agree together or the tension or outside pressure is great, sometimes we just need to step away, cool off and get a better perspective. But we will always come back to each other.

Your kids are watching your marriage, too. Show them what you want, even if you haven’t attained it.


  1. 1


    I love all those and it’s so true. Teaching my girls how to be a wife and wait for her husband is just as important as anything else I will teach them.

  2. 4


    Great reminder! Many of our kids’ friends’ families are in tough times, some are not going to make it…and our kids are starting to ask why. You can sense their deeper question of “Will this happen to us?” “Will Daddy always stay?”

    This post reminds me that not only do we reassure them with our words, but more importantly with our actual relationship lived out in front of them.


  3. 5


    Wow, great post!! My four year old son wants to marry me and get very jealous when his Daddy and I get affectionate :) Sometimes we all need reminding though that we are being watched and the little ones pick up everything, even attitudes.

  4. 6


    …and it’s what happens in between the arguing (etc.)…

    You’re so right, Kristen, our kids ARE watching and learning, and we have a huge responsibility to teach them about marriage through our own. And when the responsibility seems far too overwhelming, we must remember His grace is so big and He’ll make beauty out of our ugly. Praying with our husband, daily, is one of the most important things we can do.

    I really appreciate your messages on marriage. Rich blessings with your own…

  5. 7


    I’m not married yet so I’m sort of on the other side of the fence still, but I love this. And it makes me so happy that my parents modeled this for my siblings and me. THey have been married for 27 years, and whenever one of them goes out or comes home, they kiss the other. If my mom and I are heading out shopping and my dad is in the middle of cutting the grass…she gives him a quick kiss. If my dad comes home from work and my mom is elbow deep in dishwater…quick kiss. Every time. It means a lot to me to know and see that they love each other, and that love is what they want for their children.

  6. 9

    Crystal says

    Growing up, all 6 of us would yell “Gross, Dad!” when our father would smack my mom’s rear as he walked by her in the kitchen, or many other displays of affection….but secretly, it was always so comforting knowing my dad and mom still loved each other wildly. So I totally agree!

  7. 13


    My oldest is just hitting the “gross!” phase when she catches my hubby and I kissing. Just encourages us to gross her out more.

    My favorite story about kids ideas about marriage is from when we first married, and my niece (5 years old at the time) had a huge crush on my husband. She decided that when he was “done with” me, he could marry her mommy, then when he was “done with” her mommy, he could marry her. My sister’s comment was that we could then all go on Jerry Springer, and everyone got a good laugh. We still tease my niece about that idea.

  8. 16


    I heard a sermon one time and the pastor stated that the best way a man could love his kids is to love their mother. So true! I know I still enjoy seeing my parents hold hands and be affectionate!!!

  9. 17

    marky says

    Yes! to all that you said!! And it doesn’t stop there! my oldest son got married at 24, He was home visiting over Christmas and saw my husband taking time to read his bible eveyday. My son decided after watching his dad reading, that he too should be reading daily. Jan. 1st he set out to read the bible in a year. He told me about this yesterday and said it was all because he saw his dad doing it. So even in their 20’s.. They are watching!!

  10. 18


    This is so true! I have two boys, and it is really important that they learn how to treat their wife, and how to stay married. I learned from my parents, I am praying my children learn from us.

  11. 19

    Daina says

    I, too, once declared that I would marry my dad. It made sense… I didn’t like boys but I wanted to be married — but I DID like my dad, so it would all work out, right? That’s when he told me I couldn’t have him because he was already married to my mother. Oh, what a defeat to my plans! But I guess it’s a pretty good way to find out the way life works, when your dad and your mom love each other as they should. I was a lucky little girl, and am lucky now.

  12. 21


    Beautifully said. My daughter is so content when she sees her mommy and daddy together. Even at almost-two – she gets it. When he comes home from work, she jumps into his arms and when I go into hug him, she smushes our faces together so that we kiss. So cute :)!

  13. 22


    LOVE this! LOVE your t-shirts. You guys are a bright light in a world of failing marriages! I’ve been hearing SO many stories, even from Christian friends, of major marriage frustrations lately, it makes me sad…marriage is hard work, but hopefully our children will see a thriving relationship in the midst of it all…a thriving relationship that lets them know that they are LOVED and secure and have nothing to worry about …. Thanks!!!

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