As I go throughout my day, I try to monitor the things I say and the things I do. I ask myself, is this the way I want my daughter to treat her husband? I have similar thoughts about our three sons and how their wives may treat them, but with one daughter it just seems even more important that I provide a good example to her. After all, I will be her main example of being a Godly wife and mother as she grows up. I will set the tone for our house, and she will be watching and learning from me. We may not realize it, but we as parents are constantly impressing truths on our children’s hearts.
My daughter and I love to go shopping together. Whether it’s grocery shopping, stopping for gas, or having fun searching for clothes, we always have some great conversations. When she was very little, she would beg me to buy her things and I would tell her that we may be able to get it if it is in the budget.
“What do you mean? What is a budget?” she would inquire.
“A budget is a set amount of money that we can spend while we are here. We need to spend less than $45 dollars today.”
Puzzled, she would ask, “Who said the budget was $45?”
I replied, “Daddy and I talked about it before we came to the store. We agreed on that budget, and we should be able to get everything we need within that amount.”
“What do we need, and how do you know it will cost that much?”
I handed her my grocery list and pointed out, “Here are the things we need. If we do a good job shopping and finding savings, we can get the things we need. If all of these things cost only $40, then how much of the budget is left?”
She thought for a moment and chirped, “FIVE DOLLARS!”
“That’s right! You are getting great at math! If we have $5 left, then we could probably use it to buy the thing you wanted. If we do not have any money left, then it will have to wait until next time. But we can put it on the list so that next time we can add it to the budget amount.”
“What if we go over the budget?”
“If we realize that we need to go over the budget, I’ll call Daddy and make sure he is okay with that. But we shouldn’t go over the budget since we have a list.”
Over time this concept has become second nature to her. Instead of asking, begging, pleading, or whining about something she wants, she simply says, “If there is enough room in the budget, I think we should buy apples today.” This might seem like a very small success for preventing tantrums at the grocery store, but in actuality this lesson can perhaps save her from marital turmoil in the future.
You see, my lesson regarding the budget teaches my daughter several very important things about marriage. First, she realizes that my husband and I communicate and agree on our finances. She saw how we planned the shopping trip together, agreed on a budget, and that I respect him by sticking to the budget. She also learns the value of creating a shopping list, searching for the best prices, and doing her best to stay within a set amount of money.
Finances can be a major hot button issue in many marriages. Even if the couple is well off, spending habits and lack of communication in this area can lead to feeling disrespected and unappreciated. In some marriages, there is a lack of trust because one spouse has made financial mistakes that have led to a disaster. They may even become so frustrated that bank accounts and money are divided.
When your children see this, they begin to develop untruths in their hearts. They might mistrust their spouse with money right from the start. They could develop an inner vow that allows money to rule their life. Sometimes they will say, “I saw my parents fight over money, so I’ll never let money rule me. I won’t care how my spouse spends money. I don’t want to control them!” Then they become a poor steward of the money God entrusts in them. Another vow a child could make is, “I saw my parent spend out of control and we never had enough money to go around. I will never let my spouse do that to our family.” Both of these vows can cause us to sin against God and our spouse.
The point of this is not to help you solve money troubles, though that will be addressed in the future. Instead, I want to encourage you to seek God for wisdom and knowledge when communicating to your child through your actions, and not necessarily through words. Do you honor your wife and treat her as Jesus would? Are you giving your husband respect in all situations? Do you forgive and let your children see you humble yourself before your spouse? Are you allowing your husband to lead your family, or do your kids think that mom rules the house? Does your example show your children that you communicate and agree in advance to avoid disagreements later?
Scriptures for Meditation
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ( Matthew 5:16 ESV )
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ( Proverbs 22:6 ESV )