A Letter to My Children About Marriage

This letter, written by Kelly Crawford, is worth reading.

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your brothers and sisters in Christ may not even tell you.

Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:

Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.

You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:

Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please ;-) only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”—a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days?” And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:

If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive—choose to love.

Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:

If you find yourself “not happy,” having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this,” because they won’t.

The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option.” It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got.”

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.

Related Articles

16 thoughts on “A Letter to My Children About Marriage”

  1. Indeed pray that they find a good one and that their good one stays good. Because if they don’t, then they will feel dammed by God, their families, and their future generations and will stay in abusive marriages way too long… turning themselves inside out, becoming nothing, exposing their children to terrible marriages and horendous abuse… all to live up to this type of mentality. Pray indeed. Hopefully your prayers will do better for your children than the prayers of the thousands of Christian men and women who find themselves bound by vows to abusive spouses.

    We need to tell people that marriage doesn’t have to be a life sentence. It isn’t God’s will that you stay in an abusive marriage. With God’s help, you will eventually be able to heal and forgive your abusive spouse for the damage that (s)he has done in your life–for destroying your marriage and your family–but for now, save yourself and your kids! Get out! Get help! Life gets better.

  2. Is their no excuse for divorce? Is it ok if they cheat on you and leave you? I am just wondering because I think the way you explain it is ideal but sometimes people do things to each other that are unforgivable…..

    1. Hi Amy,

      I definitely get your question and can agree with Jason’s Biblical answer. Just one thing pops up for me in your question – the word “unforgivable”.

      I know there are sins that can be committed that cause us so much pain that it seems we can / should (in our human wisdom) never forgive them. And yet, Christ is very clear that we are to forgive…and Christ never asks us to do something that He won’t help us do. God never asks us to walk a path or sit in pain that He won’t hold our hand and comfort us through.

      I speak these words as someone who has had “unforgivable” sins committed against them…and though I had many choices in that situation…un-forgiveness was not one of them (though at first I tried to make it one). It wasn’t easy…and I’m still working on it in some ways…but it had to be done…because God first loved and forgave me.

      I can’t experience to full love and joy to be found in Christ while holding pain and resentment in my heart. I have to let Him heal it…and that can only happen when I forgive.

      Also, I think this mom letter assumes that if you marry a man who puts Christ first, he’ll keep Christ first and won’t fall into some of satan’s deadlier traps. If I had an addendum to her letter it would be an encouragement to my daughters and sons to forgive…because all have sinned. I would ask them to remember that their service is not only to their husbands/wives/children but to God first. I would encourage them to ask themselves every day how they can best serve God in this marriage – by “keeping their side of the street clean” and having the best possible relationship with God they can (good or bad times) regardless of what their spouse does…or by fighting and trying to control someone who’s master and guide is supposed to be God?

      I would tell my daughters and sons to “let go and let God”. It requires hard work at times to release fear and embrace faith but it’s a simple way to joy and peace in marriage and life.

  3. Hi Amy. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus most certainly provides the innocent party in a marriage the right to divorce an unfaithful spouse. Kelly obviously didn’t address that in the article because (I think) it was outside the scope of her aim.

    Thanks for reading!

    1. If obvious, why the parenthetical “I think”? (Edit: No snark intended: I have difficulty with regular human rhetoric, and I am trying to learn.)

  4. I believe that if your daughter/son chooses a man/woman of God, then divorce for both sides is not an option, and that’s probably where the witter is coming from.  Beautiful letter.

  5. I agree with everything written here but please understand this is God’s perfect plan for a perfect situation. His Word is full of instructions for us to live that our joy might be full. Truth is we don’t live in a perfect world and bad things happen to good people. The good news is that if you maintain your walk with God He will make a blessing come out of a tragedy. I know because I’ve lived it! Divorce is NOT the way it should be but it does happen.

  6. It is a beautiful letter….Thank you for sharing. She should have went into detail about taking your time to chose a mate and make sure their faith isn’t a charade because the evils of this world try to take away from Gods holy union. I WILL DEFINITELY SHARE WITH MY CHILDREN…Thanks again

  7. Speaking strictly as a husband, we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. This begs the question, How much did Christ love the church? He loved the church so much that while still in an unregenerate state he gave himself to death on a cross. While enduring unspeakable pain and suffering, while being spat upon, having his beard pulled out, scourged, not to mention seperation from the Father, he asked His Father to forgive us. I believe this covers infidelity. Trying as it may be if God the Father can forgive us on his Sons behalf, we as husbands can forgive our wives for such things. It is only through Christ that we can obtain such forgiveness. It is disappointing that the divorce rate in the church is just as high as the world. In many cases i thnk we’ve missd the point.

  8. Thank you for your article. I am single and in my early 20’s. Though I desire to be married, I sometimes wonder if marriage is all its cracked up to be. I have never heard any married couple enthusiastically recommend it or say how great it is to be married, like people do when they get their license or move out for the first time. I usually just hear about the difficulties of marriage. I mean my church promotes marriage as a positive thing as a whole, but I don’t hear individuals talking about their individual marriages as so great. I just wondered if marriage is so great, why don’t married people seem enthusiastic about it, like, “I’m so glad I’m married, it’s the best thing I ever did?” I assume because it’s difficult? But than why is it better than being single? Thanks for your article though, it made marriage seem like something positive.

    1. I’m not sure why married people aren’t enthusiastic about it. I married guy that was my best friend (and still is!) before we started dating. 10 years and 4 kids later, I love being married and it’s the best thing I ever did. Not to say it’s always easy and we have days where we are frustrated with each other. We have the attitude of being on the same team and we try to put each other’s needs and wants ahead of our own. The book “Love and Respect” was a big influence on our marriage in making us understand each other better. We also have learned not to “sweat the small stuff” and when we are sweating the small stuff, it’s often because of a bigger issue or lack of sleep or even just not spending enough quality time together to have a good conversation. An “I’m sorry” goes a long way! It takes work, but if you’re both invested it can be a lot of fun work!

    2. Hi Beth
      I know where you are coming from. I struggled with the same questions that you have today. Now, I am 27, and just married. It is a blessed state!! My husband and I are very much in love, and strive to put God first in our marriage. One thing to remember though, is that it is an earthly institution.. One of the main purposes of marriage is to assist eachother in your walk with God, It’s not always easy to do that. We are human and we do fall, and tend to want to do ‘our own thing’ But a godly marriage will be blessed. One thing I am very grateful for, it that I did not settle for the first man that appeared. I was married a little later, but am so thankful God did indeed provide a godly man.

  9. Di and Kendra- thank you for your replies. It was always one of those questions I have wanted to ask married couples (“Is marriage really worth it?”), but figured would be inappropriate to ask in case they weren’t happy in their marriage.It is encouraging to know that even though marriage is challenging, if it is a godly marriage it will also be a great blessing and something to be desired. Good to hear!

  10. Marriage is a tax haven for churches and government. Sure this is a nice letter with decent advice, but at the end of the day you never hear married people talk about how fun marriage is. Honestly, I think people write like this out of desperation and boredom trying to justify why they did what they did.
    I dont disagree with the letter, its great advice but honestly, its advice that could be given to any decent relationship with anyone. That in and of itsself makes it rather hollow in my mind.