Our kids need to understand what a healthy marriage looks like and some of us have forgotten that kissing, snuggling, embracing, rubbing shoulders, handholding, and many other respectable gestures, that show love and affection, are part of it
One day while my kids and some neighbor kids were playing in the kitchen and my husband, Dave, had just come home from work, he walked in the kitchen, pulled me close, hugged me, and greeted me with a kiss. It was by no means a lingering, passionate embrace; but it was a warm and affectionate greeting where, yes, our lips locked. Cooper’s friend loudly gasped and said “Eew, gross!” and looked at Cooper as if he should have the same reaction. Coop just smiled and said, “What? They do that all the time.” I thought the nine year-old boy was having what he thought was the “proper” response to adults kissing, but he had a hard time shaking the look of pure disgust off of his face.
This may seem insignificant and what many deem as kids simply being kids. Nevertheless, I’ve given his reaction some thought.
Did we do something inappropriate? I don’t think so at all. In fact, I think more kiddos need to see their parents exchanging affection with each other and to perceive it as a good thing.
Please understand that I am talking about G to PG affection, not a makeout session or open door to your bedroom. We live in a world where parents are more comfortable practically French-kissing their pets than being caught dead in an embrace with their spouse, especially in front of the kiddos (the scandal!).
What’s wrong with our kids seeing that we enjoy our husband’s embrace?
Why is it weird for our kids to sense the physical attraction we have for our wife?
Our kids need to understand what a healthy marriage looks like and some of us have forgotten that kissing, snuggling, embracing, rubbing shoulders, handholding, and many other respectable gestures, that show love and affection, are part of it.
As parents, we attempt to exercise good parenting by trying to shelter our children from all things sexual in nature until the proper time when the children are mature enough to have “the talk”. Sometimes, we take this to an extreme.
We may fail to realize that our affection, or lack therof, is speaking loud and clear. Can you imagine how shocking it will be to our kids when we explain how they “came to be” and yet, they have rarely seen us even so much as touch? It will not make sense to them. We want our explanation and our relationship to be a Godly, sensical example of a healthy marriage on all levels. We should never share details of our bedroom activities with our children, but we certainly don’t need to treat each other as if our children were conceived via immaculate conception or as if SEX is a dirty little secret.
God gave us the wonderful gift of sex to be exclusively enjoyed in marriage. I want my kids to clearly understand this and not base their view of affection and sex (when they are older) on the casual dating relationships and sexcapades they are bound to be exposed to on television, social media, and in movies. As much as we monitor their exposure, even the undertones of our American culture celebrate loose affection and sexual relationships outside the promise of marriage. This is a concerning but hopeful predicament. We have a tremendous opportunity to shape our child’s point of view, even when it comes to sex, and it starts with us…mommy and daddy.
So, what if you don’t consider yourself very “huggy” or “touchy” or you’ve “never been into PDA”? No worries.
I get it because I used to feel the same way, and I have used those specific excuses many times. Over the years, I realized that I only felt that way because I was worrying way too much about what other people think. I also had a very unbalanced view of sex and affection, and I didn’t understand what amazing and enjoyable gifts they are meant to be in marriage.
Have you ever read Song of Solomon? Be prepared to blush. It paints a beautiful and sometimes rather vivid picture of a husband and wife intensely desiring each other. It’s not a hidden, dirty little secret; it is a clear expression of desire for physical intimacy that shows their deep love and committment for one another. I don’t recommend reading Song of Solomon to your kids at bedtime any time soon (unless you are prepared to answer A LOT of questions), but I do think it serves as a great reminder to us that we don’t need to act as if affection and sexual desire within our marriage is a shameful thing.
Okay, I realize some of you are thinking that whether or not you kiss your spouse has no effect on your kids either way because they could care less, but I beg to differ.
A common mistake we make with our kids is avoiding the subjects of affection and sex all together, while secretly hoping they somehow figure it out on their own. This is a dangerous risk to take because who knows who they will listen to? Another common mistake is making these the “subjects we do not speak of or act out” in your home just to avoid awkward conversations. This just makes it clear to our kids that we have no authority in the matter when, under God, we must be THE authority in their lives. Again, who will they listen to? I think there are three BIG reasons to let your kiddos see you being affectionate with your spouse:
- It makes our kids feel secure in the happy and healthy state of our marriage: don’t think any kids want to just stand and watch their parents steal a kiss (kind of creepy, right?), but it does remind the kids that spouses love each other. They probably don’t know about all the sacrifices you both make or the sweet little gestures you do for each other, but they can clearly see a heartfelt hug, the holding of hands, or a quick smooch.
- It introduces our children to what healthy and appropriate affection looks like, as opposed to what they may see on television or online:
Do we really want our kids to think that kissing is supposed to only happen between two tongue-locked teens on MTV or starcrossed lovers on some reality show? NO! We want them to see that marriage is the only place where pure, loving, and real affection and intimacy exists.
- It shows our boys and girls that marriage is fun and enjoyable:
Kissing, hugging, touching, and cuddling are more often than not extremely enjoyable, so why not lavish this on our spouse?
I love seeing the big smiles on my boys’ faces when Dave grabs me and kisses me. I hope they see that we love each other, we strive to have a healthy marriage, and we are having a blast. It’s not gross at all; it’s just a physical expression of love between a mommy and daddy who are crazy about each other, and it is my hope and prayer for our kids to experience the same joy in their own marriages one day.
I hope they see that we love each other, we strive to have a healthy marriage, and we are having a blast
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Dave and Ashley Willis have built a em following, reaching millions of married couples through their blogs, books, and videos. Get Dave and Ashley’s most popular resources for couples and groups. Their mission is to create resources focused on building Christ-centered marriages and families. They have four young sons and live near Augusta, Georgia.