So this is blog two on healthy marriages that promote healthy kids. This blog is all about how our kids need to see that their parents are physically affectionate to one another.
All of my life I’ve had this precious friend named April. When I was young I loved being at her house because her family did Bible study together, they had a weekly family game nights, and genuinely loved spending time together. But I loved being there because April’s parents were in LOVE, visual actual love, the stuff of sitcoms. I loved watching them hold hands, seeing the tender kisses shared when dinner was served, or how they called each other sweetie and baby. I can’t recall many parents I knew that acted in such a way. In high school we would sometimes come home to find them making out on the couch. From as early as I can remember, I set out with a goal to have a marriage and family like theirs one day. April’s parents showed me something I’m not sure I would have known otherwise, it was possible to be married with kids and still be physically attracted to and desired by one another. They taught me appropriate PDA, and how to keep love alive.
The simple fact that they constantly held hands showed me their affection and care for one another, and the importance affection held in their marriage. The sweet and tender names shared between them showed their value and affirmation for one another. We knew that mom thought dad was her sweeheart and dad cared for mom like his precious baby. They would kiss often and in front of us, a little kiss goodnight, or a sweet kiss to say thanks for dinner. It was clean and appropriate, but it was once again affection. On the flip side, outside of the house holding hands or an arm around the shoulder could still be seen, but kisses ceased. This was an important lesson in appropriate public displays of affection. In later years when I would see teenagers making out any number of places, April’s parent’s lesson would stick with me. A lesson they probably never even intended to teach, and one I’m not sure I would have learned if the only kissing I’d ever seen were those teenagers…
Now, when we were young there was a rule in April’s house I’d never seen in any other friends home, ever. The parents bedroom was off limits. We did not go in there, it was their room. And in the middle of the night, it didn’t matter how sick or scared you were, you knocked on the door and waited, never EVER did you enter. It wouldn’t be till we were teenagers finding them making out on the living room sofa that we understood why. They still had a sex life. Which of course seemed like the most terrible realization ever as a teenager, but became so valuable to me when I entered my own marriage. Now, I’m not saying that your teenagers need to, or even should find you making out with your spouse on the sofa. Then again, I’m not speaking out against it either. Truthfully, we loved knowing they were still so into each other, because hardly anyones parents we knew seemed to be. There is something I’m so greatful for at realizing now, all these years later, what healthy intimacy they shared. I see the direct corrilation between their healthy marriage and their work to create space to keep intimacy and passion alive in their marriage, and the work to protect those spaces.
I grew up as a good little Southern Baptist girl, and I had this big red book that was given to me at church when I was 15 titled, Just Say NO To Sex, and that was about the extent of any talk of sex or physical affection I got from an adult. I’m not sure I would have learned the importance of affection, healthy boundaries for PDA, or the part intimacy plays in healthy marriage without April’s parents. And I feel fairly certain that I wouldn’t have the marriage I have today, had it not been for April’s parents and the example they set.