Not long ago, a woman told me that she didn’t appreciate the tone her son used when speaking to her. She felt like he was disrespectful and rude. Her son is an adult so he’s old enough to know better.

Even though every person is responsible for their own behavior and even though we all can try to put our past behind us, what we see and experience as children can have lasting effects.

Of course, as adults, we have to overcome any bad examples we grew up with. We can’t blame somebody or something from many years ago as excuses or reasons for our own current bad behavior.

In this case, early on the son learned by example how to treat the women in the family. He also witnessed plenty of arguments, threats, and disrespect between his parents. When his parents weren’t fighting, they weren’t talking and seemed to have their own separate lives even while living together.

So, while there is no valid excuse for being rude to his mother, this is what he learned. This is what he saw in his parent’s marriage. This is how he learned to treat women at home.

What about you? What are you teaching your children about marriage through your example?

Are you teaching them that constant arguing is okay?

Are you teaching them that it’s okay to not listen to their spouse?

Are you teaching them that violence or throwing things is acceptable?

Are you teaching them that it’s okay to say one thing and then hold secrets from a spouse?

Are you teaching them that work, friends, and your own pleasurable activities are more important than the marriage relationship?

Are you teaching them it’s okay to lie? To use curse words?

Remember, your children (as well as others that may be susceptible to your example) are watching. They aren’t stupid – they see the disconnect between what you say and what you do.

Teach them the right way. Give them a good example to follow. Not because you’re trying to teach them only but because you are really trying to improve yourself and your marriage.

Words have meaning. So do actions and the example we show to others. Be careful of who you influence to do what!

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