The "M" Word
When I was six years old, I had the privilege of being one of the flower girls in my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. The size of the anniversary party was lost on me at the time, but weeks after the wedding, I remember looking at the pictures of the event and thinking what a great and memorable day it was. That was how the idea of marriage began to form in my young mind. I also remember my parents kissing and showing affection. I never forget the secure feeling this brought my soul. Unfortunately, no one ever sat down with me in the years that followed and explained the idea of marriage or relationships. As I grew older and my parents grew apart, I began to hope for the perfect marriage, but like most children, I was left to figure things out by watching married and divorced couples, and movies. Thank God I was raised in a culture where the marriage commitment was esteemed highly.
Why don’t we talk with our children earlier about love, relationships and marriage? The topic can be hard to bring up, but bringing the topic up with teenagers can only have a positive effect. Researchers have found that the building blocks of healthy adult marriages are formed during the teenage years.
In addition, the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
Another commonly held research fact shows that a couple’s chances of a happy and lasting marriage is improved if they meet the following milestones in their lives: get an education, get married, and then have children. This would make a good conversation starter for your teenager, but don’t stop there.
Here is a set of questions on two topics to help you bring up the marriage topic with your teenager courtesy of the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. Try them with your teen or child and be ready for a great conversation.
What is important to you in a relationship now?
What do you find attractive?
What qualities are important in a spouse?
How is love formed, sustained and nurtured over time?
What role did love play in your last crush or relationship?
Is love enough to make a relationship successful?
What else does it take to form a healthy relationship? Why?