People get sick.
People do evil things.
People get divorced.
That last one confronted our family this week. On Monday evening I got a call from a close family member letting me know that he and his wife have decided to split up. My heart is aching for them. I hate the fact that they are going through this painful time.
After the call, I shared the news with my husband, then sat down with the kids. Zoodle is too young to really "get it," but Chickie listened carefully as we talked. The main points I wanted to get across were...
- Sometimes married people decide not to be married anymore.
- You won't be seeing Jane when we visit relatives, because she won't be married to Jack anymore. (Names changed here.)
- Daddy and I are always going to stay married.
But as I mulled over all of this, something struck me. I can tell my kids that Daddy and I will stay married, until I'm blue in the face. But what's really going to convince them is not what I tell them, but what they observe.
Are The Engineer and I treating each other with respect? Are we making conflict resolution a priority instead of just letting conflicts grow and fester? Are we showing our kids that we love each other instead of simply surviving everyday hassles and busy-ness?
I think we're pretty good at the second one (conflict resolution) but honestly--I want to show my husband respect and love more consistently. I want my actions to reflect my commitment to him, not just my emotions at the time.
That's what will help us have a strong marriage. And that's what will convince our kids that we're in it for the long haul.