We live in a society that is fixated on relationships. Specifically, romantic relationships. And I have two teenagers in my house, one of whom is a natural romantic.
In all honesty, arranged marriages are looking more and more tempting.
Is there a way to prepare our children for marriage?
Despite the arranged marriage temptation, my husband and I have chosen a different route. We have chosen to prepare our children for marriage. Yes, I know they are still young. But, what if we can shape their thoughts now, before the relationship temptations hit? Allow me, if you will, to share a couple of thoughts with you.
Teach Surrender to God’s Plans
I love talking to my children about Christmas and birthdays. For years, they never had a list of requests. That gave us a clean slate to direct their desires and interests. Now, they frequently have desires, but most of their requests tend to be thought-out. While they occasionally express frivolous desires, my children typically want useful things or pleasures that will have long-term delight. They want the desires that we have taught them to have.
This training also involves teaching them to hunger for the things God wants them to have, promoting a natural hunger for God’s will. They may still fall prey to adolescent puppy love crushes. But ultimately, a hunger for God’s perfect plan will remain the foundational drive for their desires, whether that includes marriage or not.
Teach a Right Attitude About Relationships
It is important to teach our children that all relationships are a gift from God, provided by him to fill a need. And yes, marriage is a need when it is a part of God’s plan. But we greatly limit need fulfillment when every relationship with the opposite sex revolves around determining whether or not that person fills the marriage need.
It is so much better to teach our children how to honor God to the best of their abilities in every single relationship. When our children approach relationships with that mentality, they will be stronger when the romantic inclinations creep in. They will naturally pray for protection, direction, and guidance to help them meet the needs of their friends. And those prayers will form a hedge of protection around their hearts.
The desire for romantic relationships probably will not go away. But, our children will know that those desires, like any other thought or desire, must be held in submission to God’s will for the relationship.
No Guarantees-Just Trust
Now, I know that the real world is still out there. Temptations are strong, and no amount of teaching will guarantee that none of my children will fall prey to those temptations. But working to ingrain these thought patterns in the minds of our children will definitely point them in the right direction.
And if that doesn’t work, we can always fall back on the arranged marriage idea.