4 Actions Every Child Should Observe From A Healthy Marriage

Guest Post by: Jeremiah Bartlett

Have you ever surfed the internet by typing random words into a search engine to see what imagery or sites pop up? It can be interesting to say the least. I decided to type in the word marriage.

Photo Credit: neus_oliver via Compfight cc

This was not random. I wanted to see what my favorite search engine thought was relevant. Immediately, hundreds of pictures loaded showing happy people, hands locked, kissing, and holding each other tightly. Upon a quick scroll the images began to change.

I saw images of people who looked trapped, in handcuffs, wedding rings removed, sadness, and anger. What changed? How could one word represent such contrasting imagery? As a father this concerns me. I want my children to know what love is supposed to look like.

I want to model a good and healthy marriage for my children so that they never question what is appropriate or true love. When I think of love the following verse from Corinthians comes to mind.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV

I married the most amazing woman in May of 2005. Before then she was one of my best friends dating back to kindergarten. Pardon the cliche, but I married the love of my life. She has been patient with me. She has been kind. She has not placed herself before her family.

She is respectful, shares truth, and together we have endured a lot, including becoming parents. Love that endures is steadfast. Children who have parents that model steadfast, enduring love will observe the four following actions from a healthy marriage.



Patience is difficult for many of us. Most of us have a hard time waiting an extra minute in the drive thru of a fast food restaurant. Never mind being patient with someone who may be going through one of the biggest challenges in his/her life. You and your spouse will share one another’s burdens.

Sometimes you may want to shrug off whatever it is that your spouse is dealing with, but patience requires you to be there, to listen, to endure, to wait, to love. Patience takes work, and so does a marriage. Too often people “fall in love,” get married, and quickly file for divorce at the first struggle.

Two people in a marriage commit to working through and waiting out storms together. They do not jump ship at the first drop of rain or lightning strike. How are you doing in this area? Do you have children? How are you doing modeling patience?



Respect is something that should be mutually shared. However, the higher standard is to respect the other even when your spouse is being disrespectful. This means keeping a good attitude and having appropriate conversation without yelling at the other.

You should not be so quick to “fly off the handle.” It means putting down your phone when your partner is trying to talk to you and respecting decisions that are made. It means not holding wrongdoing over the other’s head.

Share the load. Speak well to one another. If you model respect your children are more likely to respect you. Let this be a gauge for those with older children. How do your children speak to your spouse? Do they show respect? It is possible that their attitude is a reflection of behavior learned from you?



Often times partners in a marriage become jealous of one another. It is unspoken jealousy, but greed and resentment can raise their ugly heads. We can often say to our partner, “We support you in this.” However, our actions might prove otherwise.

I think back to when my wife was in her doctoral program. Honestly, I had reservations at first, and I communicated these. However, we made the decision together for her to go back to school. I decided to not only verbalize my support, but to show her support as well.

I cleaned the house, bought groceries, cooked meals, listened to her dissertation defense, prayed with her, shared her nervousness, shared in her lack of sleep, and shared her anxiety. We are partners. We are “one flesh.”

We graduated, and she got the initials behind her name. She deserved it. She did a ton of work, and I was there every step of the way rooting her forward. True support bears each others burdens.


A commitment is a vow, covenant, and agreement between two parties, Commitment is foundational to a healthy marriage. Broken commitments always leave casualties behind. If you do not honor your commitment, there are consequences. People end up hurt. Relationships become broken. A healthy marriage models to children what it means to truly honor commitments.

Do your children or others observe these actions in your marriage? Choose one action to focus on over the next 90 days. Watch your marriage become stronger. A healthy and powerful marriage takes a lot work. Are you up for the challenge?

Jeremiah, his wife, and their daughter live in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Jeremiah is the creative director for Crossroads Church and writes on faith, family, and design on his blog. Do you want to be an intentional parent? Follow him on Facebook and connect with Jeremiah on Twitter @jeremiahbartlet.

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