Kiss in front of your kids. Smooch. Squeeze each other. No, I’m not taking about anything that causes heavy breathing — I’m talking about:
- Promoting a sense of security that can never be achieved through words alone. Telling your child, “Mommy and Daddy will never get divorced,” doesn’t come close to what they understand by watching you laugh together, speak affectionately to each other, and touch each other with love.
- Letting them see what healthy marriages look like — two individuals who are in the never-totally-completed process of becoming one but are reaching for that state every day.
- Showing them that physical expressions of love, in their proper place, are good and right.
- Helping them find their place in the family and in the world. You hug and kiss each other, and then you draw your children into the circle of loving. They learn they are not the most important person to you (Their daddy is!), but they are way, way up there. This, too, is good and right.
How do you do this if it doesn’t come naturally?
- Work at becoming playful! Yep, for some of us lightening up is an effort. Be free with tickles, grab your husband when he walks by and dance him once around the room, have a family roughhousing session on the floor. Give smurfets. (I think everyone except us calls these raspberries.)
- Give warm greetings and farewells.
- If you have to, start small and build: squeeze your husband on the shoulder, sit next to him on the sofa and then snuggle for a few minutes, hold hands when you pray before meals. (If he acts surprised, this is a sign you need to do it much more often!)
What about you? Are you and your husband affectionate in front of your kids? I think how easy this is has a lot to do with how we were raised. Were your parent huggers and kissers?