My parents gave me an amazing gift over the weekend. They had taken old 8mm film and had it converted to DVD and presented both my sister and me with a copy of our very own. As my sister and I watched these old grainy home videos with no sound, we laughed, cried, and stared in awe at these childhood images. I realized many things as I sat there: (1) I was a funny little kid who apparently loved to wave anytime a camera was present, (2) the clothing we wore in the 70’s was down right hideous, (3) my sister truly knew how to make me giggle and smile, (4) my mom was an absolute knockout, and (5) my family was pretty stinking awesome.
There was one stark realization as we watched, however, that is still stuck in my head as I write this. Watching my parents interact back then with grown up eyes, as well as watching my grandparents interact, has been truly revealing. First of all, my father seemed to always have the video camera trained on my mother (and her tush), which you could tell embarrassed her by her shy responses. Second, my father did most of the filming so my mother could be in the picture as often as possible. Third, my grandparents never sat next to each other. Actually, they were rarely even near each other in the film. I took that to mean that flirting wasn’t something that generation engaged in frequently. Or, perhaps, they didn’t feel comfortable showing that much affection in public (or, at the very least, on camera). I’m so grateful that my mom and dad did not have that hesitation in their relationship. I remember them kissing, hugging, giggling, and flirting with each other. Actually, I was pretty grossed out by it, if memory serves.
It really does make the world of difference to our kids and their future marriages when we have a healthy relationship with our spouses and demonstrate that to our kids every single day. Although it was pretty icky as a youngster to watch my parents kiss in front of me or my dad swat my mom on the tush in the kitchen, I can appreciate that demonstration of love as an adult looking back. My parents showed me how to have a healthy marriage – probably without even realizing they were teaching me with their fun-loving attentive behaviors. Their flirtatious actions showed me that it’s okay to be silly and fun with your spouse (even in public or in front of the kids!). Their kindness and consideration for each other permeated their actions.
Fortunately some of that rubbed off indirectly onto myself and my sister because we, too, have a ton of fun with our spouse, enjoy smooches in front of the kids, and we are consistently being considerate toward one another. I guess I never thought about where that attitude came from. Now, after watching it in action on those films, I know. Thanks, mom and dad, for demonstrating a loving marriage for me. And, thank you for continuing to let God’s love shine through how loving you are with one another.
My prayer is that my marriage will demonstrate the same thing to our kids.