I was a major snoop as a kid. Always digging through drawers and boxes to find…who knows what? I’ll never forget how thrilled I was with a discovery from the depths of my dad’s old college footlocker. Wrapped in a neat bundle were all of the letters written between he and my mother while he was away at school–the earliest days of their romance. Both had kept the letters they received and, somewhere along the way, they were bundled together and tucked away for safekeeping.
With the intensity of a forensic detective, I quietly organized them by the postmark dates and read them one by one over the course of weeks. It was like reading a lengthy conversation–he said, she said. I kept my discovery a secret until I finished every one because I feared my parents would confiscate their private letters if they knew. Looking back, I remember how wonderful it felt to read how much they liked one another and wanted to be together. I guess it’s because I knew that longed for life together would eventually lead to me!
Your love story has value! Remembering how a friendship became a romance and a romance became a marriage can comfort and encourage a couple. And the celebration of that love is a blessing to your kids as well. We’re realists here though: We know that few relationships read like a movie script. Real life and real relationships have ups and downs. But don’t let the trials in your love story discourage you from retelling it. The fact that you overcame them is one more reason to celebrate!
So try these 5 ways to share your love story with your kiddos. We’ve got some tips for reveling in and sharing the best fairy tale of all — yours!
1. Recall how you first met. If you’ve known one another since childhood, it may seem like there’s nothing to tell here. But there is! What did you think of one another as children? When did you first think of your spouse as something more than another friend or acquaintance? Who introduced you, if it was later in life? Remember, great stories are found in the simple details: the way mom always wore her hair in pigtails when you were in the same fourth-grade class or the kind of car dad drove in high school. Was the attraction immediate or did you have to get to know one another? Our Why I Married You Talk can help you remember those details together.
2. Talk about your courtship. Where did you go on dates? What kind of things did you like to do together? There are a couple of benefits to this element of your story. Obviously, it’s an important chapter in your romance, but it also allows you to tell your children about the boundaries and standards you and your parents set for this stage of your relationship. If they were good ones that kept you from harm, celebrate that. If you think you could have been wiser, you may feel led to use that experience to explain how you want better for your children. (Use discretion about what information is appropriate based on the age and maturity of your child.)
3. Remember when you knew your spouse was the one. Share with your kids that time when you knew that this relationship was one that you wanted to make last forever. Was it a realization you had in a particular moment or a slow assurance over time that the whole thing matched your values and just felt…right? This may be a good point to jump off the storyline with your child and ask them why kind of person they expect to marry. Use our Who Will I Marry Talk to guide your conversation.
4. Celebrate the day he (or she!) popped the question!Where were you? How did you feel? How did you share the big news with friends and family? Did you have a long engagement or a short one?
5. Share the most sacred part of it all–the day you made your vows before God to love and honor one another forever.Odds are, you have a nice album of photos somewhere to help illustrate this part of the story. Tell you kids all about the big day, the friends and family who were there with you, and why you thought marriage was the right choice. Tell them about your vows and the promises you made to one another.
Now that you’ve celebrated the journey that brought you to today, do all you can to ensure a future full of love and laughter with your husband. Read 8 Secrets to Lasting Love for a little inspiration for the road ahead!
What’s your favorite chapter in your own love story?
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.