We have been talking about children and their safe spaces. We’ve explored some of these safe spaces and pondered how we as adults in their environment can ensure their safety and security. Our minds race through a variety of factors that play an important role in determining how safe a child feels. One of the most basic, yet often overlooked factor is the health of their parents’ marriage.
While children are born out of the physical union between a man and a woman, it does not end just there. Their emotional, psychological and spiritual growth is born out of the emotional and spiritual union that you share with your spouse. So, in essence, the health of your marriage is your child’s first safe space and has an impact on their well-being, much more profound than one could ever imagine.
All that the child learns, they first learn by observing you and your spouse. Your child learns the pillars of any healthy relationship – love, trust, respect, understanding, faith – just be observing you two. Your child learns:
- love is unconditional and is about putting the other person above yourself, when he/she, watch your love for each other being independent of each other’s actions and when you put the other’s happiness above your own.
- trust, when he/she watches you and your spouse always taking each other at your word and not letting anyone else from the outside break your lines of communication and trust.
- Respect, when he/she watches you being careful not to disrespect or tear the other person down even during times of disagreement or argument
- Understanding¸ when he/she watches you being mindful of the other and giving the other the benefit of doubt, even when your spouse has not acted in a way that he/she should have
- Faith, when he/she watches you and your spouse praying together, he/she understands that there is One greater than ourselves who has a purpose for each of our lives
Children are the best judges of our lives and conduct. How we live our lives largely influences how safe they feel within the home and in turn how their view of the world is shaped. If your marriage has not been the healthy and safe space it ought to have been, pause and make amends. Children are spontaneous forgivers and inherent second chance-givers!