by Sami Yacoub
part of Our Children and Marriage Series:
Our Children and Marriage 1 Our Children and Marriage 2
Millions of people around the world watched the royal wedding of the Queen of England’s grandson, Prince William, and his bride, Kate.
That event probably cheered us up temporarily in the midst of the troubling media coverage in our country!
Anyhow, such an event should encourage every father and mother to think about the role they must play now in preparing their children for a stable and happy marriage in the future.
Most often, we as parents focus on preparing what, from our viewpoint, might pave the way towards a stable marriage for our children. So, priority goes to financial matters such as children’s incomes, where they will live, and all the other financial commitments that follow marriage, while what directly influences marital life is the way we educate our children through the years. Perhaps many who were dazzled by the royal wedding were reminded of “the Princess of Hearts”, Prince William’s mother, whose problem in life was certainly not how to manage financial needs for her marriage. On the contrary, marriage led her to a blocked road, although she had everything that people expect would guarantee happiness and marriage continuity.
What’s worth noting and worrying about nowadays, is the rising percentage of divorce both inside and outside the church, in addition to family disagreements and discrepancies between couples that lead to separation without divorce. In all cases, these conflicts leave a crack that influences the quality of family life, the raising of children, the person’s efficiency at work, his relationship with others, and it might even threaten the safety of the country as a whole. So, how should we prepare our children to enjoy, in the future, the blessings of marriage as God meant it? And how should we train them to overcome everything that can threaten or destroy their future marriage?
I think that one of the notions that we, as parents, need to take seriously is that the crucial choices of life cannot be the result of the short time available to make the right decision, especially if the choice will affect our entire lives. Such decisions cannot be formulated based on available opportunities or coincidences coming the child’s way. Rather they should stem from a personality in which principles and values were implanted early, and are deeply rooted as a result of the challenges of daily life. So no wonder that the old commandment would be to talk to our children about what we believe in when we sit with them at home, and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. Let’s help them make the connection between the values we teach and what they do, and encourage them to see all the present and future matters of life through this lens.
This is how the wise Solomon put it (Proverbs 22:6): “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This means that the training we give our children in their early days, will stay with them for the rest of their lives and they will not deviate from it when they grow up! Notice that Solomon specifies the timing and direction of the preparation; training should begin early to build habits and direct behavior through the practical knowledge that trains them in wisdom and truth.
Consequently, when they grow up, they will form their choices based on what they learnt. This commandment puts responsibility on every father and mother to teach their children about the sanctity and permanence of marriage, the roles and responsibilities of the man and woman, unconditional love that is built upon unwavering commitment and the uniqueness of the life partner.
Choosing a life partner is one of the most significant decisions in life; a decision whose influence extends beyond just happiness or misery in life, but one that impacts our relationship with God, and accordingly, our eternal destiny. In addition, marriage does not only affect the couple themselves, but their families as well, and their future children and grandchildren. Because the family is the nucleus of society, the prosperity of our nation depends on the stability of families. So, what can we do to prepare our children for marriage? This is what we will discuss in the next few editions.
From my diary:
“Marriage requires falling in love several times…with the same person.”
Copyright © 2011 Focus on the Family Middle East. All rights reserved. Originally Published in Watani Paper 15.5.2011