Let’s look at what marriage is about.
If we are painfully honest, a lot of what we do and think is about ourselves. It does not seem to matter if we are 2 or 20 or 40 or 60 – we want life to be about us.
As I write this and review my own life, I am appalled at just how selfish I am. How did we get this way? We were born selfish – every, single one of us.
Even here you can teach your children that we are broken sinners, not originally created this way, but choosing this path by our own self-willed ways. A lot of your time raising your children will be spent trying to help them adopt a different worldview. A worldview shaped by the God who made us, rather than our own self-interest.
Culture is presently proclaiming that two people who love each other is the only important thing – nothing else matters. This is a selfish view because culture is saying that the only thing that matters is my self-fulfillment, my emotional state of the day. The ways God has laid out for us to live and the needs of society don’t matter in this view because the desires of self are all important (Rom 6:16).
The funny part is, this sounds just like my four-year-old grandson. He was telling me recently how I should run my day, since it would meet his desires and agenda. That was all that mattered to him, that it would meet his desires. He didn’t care if it would disrupt the household or was bad for him. He knew what he wanted and demanded it (no he didn’t get it).
So your opportunity as a parent is to train your children and model for them the purposes of marriage as written by God. Children are one of the purposes of marriage. Selfish as they are, they require a lot of selflessness to raise.
Since training children is an extension of that purpose, they also need to understand that the story is not about them, it is about Christ. To become Godly adults, they need to see the importance of reflecting the selfless nature of Christ (Phil 2:3-7).
It is also important to communicate that marriage is not about me. My grandfather counseled me that marriage was not 50:50, it was more like 60:40. I greatly respected my grandfather, but he was wrong.
Marriage is sometimes 100 percent giving and zero percent getting – for both the husband and wife. Teach them to be Christ Imitators (Eph 5:1-2), giving even when there is no benefit for them (Rom. 5:10).
These lessons need to come up around the table, because life, and the opportunities for selfish / selfless living, happen every day. Take the opportunity to illustrate biblical truth through the circumstances in your life.