Little kids have big ears — and eyes, too, it would seem. I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that your kids are watching your every move. Careful observation is how children learn about the world, and there's no example more accessible than parents. With you as their model, kids will learn how to manage emotions, solve problems, and function in a primary relationship. We all inevitably make mistakes, but when it comes to setting an example for our children, there are certain things moms modeling strong relationships never do.
My marriage is one in which I have tremendous confidence and faith. My husband and I have grounded our relationship in love and respect, and above all, a mutual commitment to making it work. That doesn't mean my husband doesn't sometimes infuriate me to the point of tears (seriously, who invites five extra people to a party their wife is hosting without asking first?). And I'm sure it's not easy for him to live with a spouse suffering from mental illness (seriously, who cries over a few more party guests?). But as children of divorce, we're acutely aware of the effect our relationship dynamic has on our daughter (and in a few weeks, our newborn son).
It's a work in progress and I mess up as often as I get it right, but I know that children of happily married parents are more likely to grow up to have satisfying romantic relationships themselves. With the goal of modeling a solid, stable relationship in mind, I do my best not to engage in behaviors that are counterproductive, including the following: