Seven years ago, my husband died suddenly and I became a widow and single mom. My older kids have years of memories of their dad and me together and what family looked like with an intact marriage. But my younger kids were only 4 and 6. They have few, if any, memories of their dad and, at this point, will only remember growing up in a home with their single mom.
But I want my children to esteem marriage. I want them to know that marriage takes work and commitment but that it holds great value. As a single mom, I’ve had to be strong in areas I never anticipated, but I want my kids to know being able to lean on a spouse is a blessing.
I’ve been stewing over how to help my youngest two kids value marriage – to see it as a good goal. Whether you became a single mom by divorce, your husband’s death or his absence, it’s even more important for us to intentionally help our children value marriage. Here are 5 ways for single moms to cheer for marriage.
Whether you became a single mom by divorce, your husband’s death or his absence, it’s even more important for us to intentionally help our children value marriage.
1. Tell the good stories from being married.
As a widow, it’s important for me to recall the stories of our dating and early marriage; of trips and holidays and the ordinary normal. If you’re divorced, tell the good stories as you’re able. And share stories of other marriages in your family like how your parents met or how your grandparents made it through tough times.
2. Cheer marriages around you.
Even though I’m single, I’m surrounded by married family and friends. It’s easy to celebrate the anniversary of grandparents. I can cheer on the long marriages of my siblings and tell my kids how both couples navigated through difficulties that tested their marriages. And even more fun? My oldest is now married with kids, so my younger children are able to watch him navigate married life. Look for marriages of family and friends around you to cheer on and celebrate.
3. Talk about their future spouses.
Have conversations about what makes a good husband or wife. What makes a good marriage? What flaws would be deal-breakers for a future spouse? How should your kids start preparing for a later marriage? Pray together for their future spouses. I’ve even read books about what makes a good spouse with my kids.
4. Don’t talk against an ex-husband or late husband.
Nothing will undermine the value of marriage more than talking against an ex-husband or late husband. Even if you have the ammo to do it, don’t burden your kids with it. Be careful with non-verbal cues like rolling eyes and shrugging shoulders. Instead, look for ways to make honest and positive comments.
5. Discuss current issues affecting marriage.
Marriage has been under assault for decades in the media, pop culture, and the courts. Discuss these current events with your kids, like when two Hollywood elite announce they will consciously uncouple or when beloved royals decide to live together years before the marriage.
Tell us! What can you do this week to share the value of marriage with your kids?