The Way You Treat Your Spouse

The way you treat your spouse can affect more than your spouse. It could affect the next generation and even future generations. One marriage quote I like and can really see the sense of is 'Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you,' Robert Fulghum. And this one : 'The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother,' Theodore Hesburgh


You and you spouse can influence each other's character a little as you live together. It is even truer that as parents we can have a big impact on the characters of our children. Your spouse brings into your marriage certain habits and traits learned at home, just the same as you bring into your marriage certain traits or habits leaned in the childhood home. These can be for good or for bad.

One thing I was interested to read is that a child finds it harder to deal with abuse of their mother by their father than to be abused themselves. Recently I was talking with some people about that and one who had been in that situation of a father abusive to his wife agreed this was so. She admitted it affected her and her attitude in various ways.

By contrast Mick and I have both come from stable family homes where abuse was never practiced. As a result the images of marriage we carry within us are positive and they are the same standard we have perpetuated in our marriage. Now that doesn't mean we always slavishly follow the things our parents did. Forgiveness is one of the things I saw modeled as my father was never frightened to apologize. Some people see it as a weakness to apologize. It is a sign of strength to be able to admit you're wrong and say you're sorry. 'Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you,'H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Mick and I have taken the good things from the marriage examples before us and changed some of the minor things, for example communication I suspect plays a bigger role in our marriage than it did in the marriages of either of our parents. We also share more together time than either of the marriages we saw modeled during childhood. After the onset of TV my father was hard to get motivated move from the couch, whereas Mum liked to get out and do things.

So in marriage it's a case of take the best from the examples before you and leaving the rest. But at the same time think about what you are teaching the next generation about marriage by the way you live and the way you and your spouse relate to each other. It may not just be your own children you are influencing either. Sometimes neighbors and children of friends can be influenced by the picture of marriage they see elsewhere, particularly if they are not seeing it at home.

If it seems I am harping upon this topic, it's a point of concern with the state of marriage and the effect it is having on younger generations.


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