Modeling Biblical Marriage for Our Children and Grandchildren

One of the first pieces of parenting advice I received was, “Remember, little eyes are always watching you!” It didn’t take long for me to realize how very true this is. Our kids, and now our grandkids, are constantly watching us. No matter how intimidating it may feel, that means we are their examples. Through…

Written by

Deborah Haddix

Published on

← Back to Blog

One of the first pieces of parenting advice I received was, “Remember, little eyes are always watching you!”

It didn’t take long for me to realize how very true this is. Our kids, and now our grandkids, are constantly watching us. No matter how intimidating it may feel, that means we are their examples. Through our everyday living, we are modeling such things as values, Christlike characteristics, social etiquette, and relationship expectations for them.

We live. They watch, and they learn.

That’s right. Our children and grandchildren learn by watching us. They learn dedication, forgiveness, integrity, and faithfulness. As well, they learn to hold doors and look people in the eye. And they learn what marriage is. Therefore, for their sake and the sake of their future families, it is crucial that we take great care in modeling a biblical view of marriage.

10 Ways to Model a Biblical View of Marriage

1. Model the Gift of Marriage

Before proposing, our son talked first with us and then with his future father-in-law. He came to the discussion prepared. I was impressed. The one thing I remember these many years later, is that he seemed to think he needed to defend the fact that he wasn’t too young. Part of his defense was to mention at what age we (his parents) and each of his sisters were at the time of marriage.

Afterward, my husband and I laughed as we recounted this portion of the discussion. Truthfully, what we took away from it was something quite different than our son could have imagined. We walked away grateful that our son had seen in our marriages (ours and his sisters), something that he saw as good. Something he wanted for himself.

Marriage is a gift. Model this. Speak positively of marriage. Enjoy each other. Have the kind of marriage that makes your children and grandchildren want to get married.

2. Model the Covenant of Marriage

Some refer to marriage as a covenant. Others as a contract. When modeling marriage for our children and grandchildren, it is important for us to understand the different. A covenant is established by an oath that creates kinship between the two making the covenant. Essentially, it is an exchange of persons. A contract, on the other hand, is an exchange of promises.

To model a biblical view of marriage, we must be intentional to model marriage as a covenant with God helping them to see marriage as a life-long commitment not a contract to be broken on a whim.

3. Model Commitment

Marriage is a choice. It’s a continuous decision. Teach your children and grandchildren that marriage is about being 100% all in, day in and day out. Do everything you can for your spouse and your marriage. When problems arise, resist the temptation to throw up your hands and declare that you have fallen out of love. Instead, be intentional about loving each other through the ups and downs. Model togetherness in working through your problems. Make those “little eyes” witness to a marriage that becomes stronger and stronger as you fall in love with your spouse over and over, again. Prepare them to enter marriage committed for the long haul.

4. Model the Journey

“Marriage is an amazing adventure… Journey together.”


Sadly, I fear many people think of marriage as the destination. The culminating event to an adventurous search for the one. Model for your children and grandchildren that marriage isn’t the finale. Rather, it is just the beginning! Provide them with an abundance of examples by scheduling date nights, displaying affection (hold hands, kiss each other in front of the kids), speaking words of high affirmation of one another, and sharing your journey-stories.

5. Model Peacemaking

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Romans 12:18

I’ve often heard it said that it is hardest to live Christlike in our own homes. It makes sense. Think about it. The people in our homes are the ones we spend the most time with. And home is our safe haven, the place where we let down our guard. Of course, it’s likely we will be most nitpicky and argumentative with our spouses.

However, this verse in Romans instructs us to “live peaceably with all,” and all includes our spouses. Teach your children and grandchildren to walk in peace with their spouses by modeling peacemaking in your home and marriage.

6. Model Forgiveness

“No marriage can survive without forgiveness. Marriage is a long-term commitment between two sinners.”

Elisabeth Elliot

Unforgiveness is poison to a marriage, and it is sin. In fact, it is just as much a sin as any sin exhibited toward us by our spouse. It pushes our spouse away and erects high walls.

Model by example. Openly repent of any unforgiveness you may be holding onto. Pray powerfully and consistently for your spouse in the presence of your children and grandchildren. Forgive, again and again. Let those “little eyes” be witness to forgiveness that is freely given.

7. Model a Marriage Not Bound by Unmet Expectations

Unmet expectations. They are the source of many relationship woes. How many marriages have experiences huge problems because of unmet expectations?

While doing a Bible study several years ago, I came across a statement that basically said that no one, other than God, has the right to hold expectations. This little tidbit did a world of good for my outlook. Model this healthy letting go for your children and grandchildren. Discuss the harmful effects of holding others accountable for meeting our expectations. Let them see you extending grace to your spouse as you remove your expectations from their load. Explore with them the difference between unmet and unexpressed expectations.

8. Model God First

With your life, show your children and grandchildren that loving God with your whole heart is the secret to loving your spouse and others well.

Years ago, our pastor shared the Marriage Triangle with us, and I think it illustrates this concept well. In the diagram, notice that as the husband grows in his walk and relationship with the Lord (moving closer to Him), he also grows closer to his wife. Likewise, as the wife grows in her walk and relationship with the Lord, she grows closer to her husband.

Model this God-first priority, showing those “little eyes” how loving God and putting Him first is the key to a healthy, loving marriage.

9. Model God as Your Father-in-Law

A few years ago, Gary Thomas was a guest speaker for a weekend event at our church. I first encountered the concept of God as my Father-in-Law during that weekend.

I grew up with the commonly held notion of God as Father, which is a true and awe-inspiring doctrine. However, the idea of God as Father-in-Law had never crossed my mind. But it made so much sense. When we marry a believer in Christ (God’s child), he becomes our Father-in-Law.

Model this for your children and grandchildren. Let them see that marriage is not just about two people (husband and wife), but that a passionately interested third party is involved. Treat your spouse the way you want your son- or daughter-in-law to treat your child. Learn to examine your actions toward your spouse through the eyes of a loving parent instead of a wronged spouse. Teach your children and grandchildren to be faithful, loving in-laws.

10. Model Holiness Over Happiness

We live in a culture of entitlement. It’s so engrained in us; we begin to believe that the purpose of marriage is our happiness. And that it is up to our spouse to make us happy.

Be counter-cultural in your modeling. Instead of looking for happiness as their marriage goal, teach your children and grandchildren to look for holiness. Discuss with them how God is growing your spiritually as you learn to love your spouse. Talk with them about how the struggles of marriage help you grow to be more Christlike. Demonstrate good listening, gentleness, kindness, and service leading those “little eyes” to a biblical view of marriage.


Leave A Comment

About the Author

Deborah Haddix

I am a child of God, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, niece, and friend who loves nothing better than spending time with those I love.

Keep Reading

Related Posts

Related Resources

Discover More