Have you wondered why we haven’t blogged much so far this year? Here’s why…
This spring has been very busy for us. In the last five weeks we had one daughter graduate from grad school (bottom right), another graduate from college (bottom left), our son got married, and our youngest daughter moved to another city for her internship and career! Whew!
Looking back on the major life events each of our children experienced, we saw something quite extraordinary. Each of them made sacrifices to be present for the other. Schedules had to be adjusted. Vacation time cashed in. Travel expenses considered. Our son and his fiancé even came to our youngest daughter’s graduation the weekend before their wedding.
What was it that created such a strong commitment among the siblings? (We certainly didn’t see it this much as they were growing up!) What did we do in our marriage that helped to foster this family unity?
Some of the answer is that it’s simply part of our children’s character and who they are as individuals. They have the value of family and loyalty. In addition, there are three things we can think of that may have influenced what we observed in our children these past few weeks. You may find these helpful for you as you build your marriage.
Some values are caught more than taught. As a couple we chose to show up for significant family events whenever possible and our children came along. We’ve attended family graduations, weddings, funerals, and milestone birthday or anniversary events. We tried to instill in our kids the importance of honoring others.
For example, when Heidi’s grandma turned 100, our family traveled hundreds of miles to North Dakota to celebrate her life. When she passed away two years later, we made sure we were present for her funeral. Family sticks together.
Significant events were listed on the family calendar. As a couple, we worked together to have our children attend their sibling’s sporting events. They showed up for musical events and plays. We believed that each of these opportunities taught our children to prioritize family unity.
We often celebrated our childrens’ lives and their achievements at dinner. When someone had an accomplishment, or had a major life event, that person would become the focus of that meal. The whole family would try to honor that individual. Even mom and dad were honored from time to time!
These three things take some thoughtfulness and intentionality, but they can lay a tremendous foundation for a family that sticks together as you build your marriage.