Conversation with Joaquin:
Joaquin: Mom, are you and dad still married?
Me: Yes, anak, we still are. Why are you asking me that?
Joaquin: I just wanted to make sure that you are still married.
Me: Don’t worry… Dad and Mom will always stay married.
I don’t know what triggered that question out of my 4-yr old. Paolo and I weren’t even fighting at that time. 🙂
I think our kids need to know that their parents are doing okay. Especially these days, when it is not uncommon to encounter kids who are growing up without their dad or mom, our kids need to be assured that it won’t happen to them.
Though they will never articulate it, our children are always watching us, looking for clues to our stability as a married couple. From the moment they were born, their world was dad and mom. Everything that they needed and wanted came from dad and mom. If we constantly fight with each other, or are harsh with each other, then it would feel to them like their boat is being rocked or their world is being shaken. But when they see their dad and mom holding hands or hugging, it builds up their security in us. If they see that their parents are okay, they know that they will be okay.
Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less likely to be raised in poverty. (“Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html)
So moms, and dads, let us be more conscious of how we treat each other in front of our children. Do we show affection to each other? Do we make time for each other? Do we apologize to each other when we have committed a mistake? Do our kids know that our marriage is our priority? This is not only for show. We need to keep nurturing the most important relationship we have.
One of the best things we can give our children is a strong marriage.