“The best way to protect our children is protecting our marriages.” –Random Facebook Meme
I was particularly struck by this meme as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one Sunday. I was blessed to be raised by a devoted Father and a wonderful mother, both of whom loved the other very much. They passed on to me a strong moral compass, a love of learning and books, the Catholic faith, and (very importantly) a positive example of married love. Our family was a haven amongst the storms of the world, confusions about who I was and where I “fit in” as I was growing up (hint-not very many places), and how I ought to approach problems. I was taught that when we have issues with one another, we don’t run away or scream at one another-we talk them out. When someone is angry, it’s ok to talk it through. And that no matter what happens, there will be a home where we can walk through the door, and there will be nothing but love.
As I grew up, it saddened me as I learned that not all of my friends had that. My life was by no means perfect, but the foundations that made me certain that the bedrock of my being was secure were not present within all families-some suffered from weird political in-fighting, abuse, alcoholism, or separation. And these things really did have a profound effect on people as they grew up.
I certainly laud my parents for the family life that I grew up in, because they didn’t walk into a great family. They worked hard, gave of themselves, and loved. And even though in the moment these things were hard, their lives are wonderful gardens that have blossomed with love for over 30 years, and my life has been rich and wonderful because of their hard work “in the trenches.”
It’s helpful to remember that our marriages and relationships now are not simply for us, and for our own pleasure. They are for our spouses and significant others, as well as for our children who will grow up and say, “Boy, mom and dad sure love each other.”
Schedule a date night for this month, especially if it’s been a while. The effort that we put in to loving our boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives not only enriches us, but our relationships, our family lives, and our children as well. Growing up seeing (and feeling) that love ennobles the heart and lifts us to virtue, even from a young age.
A loving family will make our children virtuous. Making our kids virtuous is indeed the best way to protect them.