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Do You Want Your Parent’s Marriage?

I know. It’s a bit of a complicated question. Probably you want some parts of it and not others. For some of us the answer is “Absolutely not,” and for the lucky ones it’s “Completely! Yes!”

We do need to ask ourselves: What DID we see at home?

Did we see conflict/conflict resolution? 

Did we see doors slamming or problem solving?

Did we see cold shoulders or warm connection?

Did we see healthy boundaries, kind words, apologies, connection, and repair?

Perhaps a combination of all of the above?

What we witnessed at home in our early years – with our suggestible, impressionable, subconscious, little kid minds – became the blueprint for all of our future relationships. We downloaded skills, models for coping, adaptations, words, behaviors, all of the things that make us who we are in relationships in those earlier witnessings of how they interacted, made a life together, and created or did not create connection. 

Some of those witnessings were a benevolent gift! Whereas some of them may have been unhelpful or destructive in setting us up for our future interactions with the people we create intimacy with. We may have received invisible handicaps that we never even knew about until they made themselves apparent in our romantic relationships – until we entered what Harville Hendrix calls the “Power Struggle Stage.”

This gift we received from our parents – whether good or not so good – is the one we too gift to our children. We too are uploading a blueprint for relationships into our children’s subconscious minds. Perhaps the vast majority of this will remain subconscious, but what if we were to seize the opportunity and do whatever we can do to make it a great gift. Imagine gifting our children functional, high frequency, high vibes, connected, solid partnerships that serve well into their futures, and become a legacy for our grandchildren.

  • Great communication skills
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Joyful Connection
  • Long-lasting, sustained passion

If we are in a partnership, then I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is front row seats to a great marriage. It becomes the foundation of our family, and the foundation of their future relationships too. It’s where they learn how people treat each other, and how people should be treated. Of course all marriages have conflict, but the question is how do we handle that conflict?

How do we resolve it and grow from it? 

Does it destroy us?

Are we destructive in the process?

Or is it a healthy friction that actually helps us expand and deepen our perspective and love for each other?

How We Teach Our Children These Skills

By our own example, how do we teach them to resolve conflict in  a healthy, love deepening way? We go out and teach children other skills all the time, like how to ride a bicycle, how to do long division, how to read and write. Yet we don’t  actively invest in teaching them the skills that are arguably the most foundational skills needed for them to hold meaningful relationships. And that’s at the very core of our health and happiness. 

When I tell parents that their co-parent relationship is more important than how they parent, I get  a lot of resistance.  They tell me that what’s important to them right now is how they are as a mother or father, and their wifely or husbandly life comes secondary. “Surely the mom I wanna be trumps the wife I wanna be right now, while my kids are still young, right?” When people ask me this question, I think what they’re missing is that being a partner is in an of itself an act of parenting.  Being a partner, is in and of itself an act of parenting.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This How we partner, show up to conflict, take turns, repair, apologize, connect, and give, are acts of parenting. We are modeling for our children these skills, day by day. What could be more foundational do their future lives? If we’re being nitpicky, critical, or having trouble being generous or giving them the benefit of the doubt, we can’t be surprised when those things show up in our children’s relationships with us, their friends, or their siblings. They learned this at the school of your relationship. You are the curriculum.

I believe investing in learning how to create that blissful, connected, solid, safe, kind, relationship with our partners.  And I believe that investing in being and becoming a peaceful partner, and taking on radical responsibility to be the leader that we want to be in this realm, are the greatest gifts and the greatest acts of parenting that we can give them.


COMMENT below! Do YOU want your parent’s marriage? Why or why not?

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5 comments

5 Replies to “Your Marriage is a Blueprint For Your Children”

  1. I totally want some parts and not others. I can say there were a lot of “nevers” I witnessed that were both helpful and unhelpful in a way! I NEVER heard them yell at each other or get heated. Like EVER. I think there were a lot of things left unsaid though…a lot of feelings kept inside for years, and years, and years. That’s my perception anyway. My mom was a pretty amazing mom, and took great care of her self while staying incredibly positive and never seeming burnt out ever. I saw her contribute to our household and family SO SO SO much time and energy, and NEVER witnessed any resentment or complaints about this. On the other hand, I NEVER, seriously, heard her ask my Dad for help with laundry, dishes, housework, cooking, etc. I could go on with how many things I NEVER witnessed….I DID witness them spend time together though! They have played in double’s tennis leagues for as long as I can remember, and love to go skiing together. My mom loves camping but my Dad hates it, so she goes camping all the time with her other friends and family and I think that’s cool. So I love that they didn’t have destructive arguments, but I very much needed to witness conflict resolution and have worked on this my whole adult life….also how to stand up for myself while also not just being a victim.

  2. I would like to experience the longevity and stability that my parents created. However, I want more in terms of connection, fulfillment, passion, and honestly.

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