While I’m addressing primarily the men in this Insight, ladies you can change the pronoun of dad to mom and get a lot out of this as well. I’ll be talking about your marriage legacy.
It’s Father’s Day weekend. And this year as I (Steve) sit and ruminate about how I fathered my sons I’m asking myself one important question: What will my legacy be? I know I made a lot of mistakes as my sons were growing up. All dads do.
Sure I want them to remember the fun times we had when they were kids: like the “rubber band battles” (when Cindy wasn’t around), the family vacations where we would sit in a rowboat for hours and never catch a fish. Having those memories are important, but I’m talking about how will I be remembered after God calls me home.
Leaving Behind a Marriage Legacy
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are really only a few things that truly matter when we come to the end of this life. I pray that as you read on you will ask God to check your heart about the legacy you’re leaving.
What will they remember about my relationship with God? Was He THE most important thing in my life? Did I depend on Him for everything? Did I always seek His counsel before making an important decision? If I sinned did I immediately go to Him to seek forgiveness? And did I go to them and ask for theirs? Was I consistent in putting others ahead of myself?
Next to what my sons saw in my relationship to God, the other most important thing I can leave them is how they saw me love their mom in our marriage.
Did they see that my love for Cindy was patient, kind, not envious or boastful? Did I show love that was not arrogant or rude, not irritable or resentful? Also, was I continually insisting on my own way? Did they see me rejoice in wrongdoing –or rejoice in the truth? Was my love for Cindy one that bears all things, believes all things, and endures all things? In other words, did my sons see their dad live out the Bible when it comes to loving their mom? (See: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.)
Dads (and all men) what it comes down to is not what we say to our children. It’s what they see in our lives lived out every day in our marriages and home. Bob Perk illustrates this well in his poem:
The Love They See
You can’t pretend to love. You can’t even fake a smile.
The things you think they don’t notice, they’ve been watching all the while.
Be aware that they are seeing everything you do.
If you want your children to know love then it’s really up to you.
“For love isn’t just a play time. Love isn’t a TV show.
If you love them unconditionally then love will be what they know.
It’s not what you want them to remember; it’s what they will choose to see.
If you loved one another always then loving is what they will be.
A Marriage Legacy Challenge
Let me leave you with one last challenge. If you think you’ve “blown it” and it’s too late for you to build a new legacy, then remember this:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, and the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
There it is! Right on the pages of God’s Word we are told that we can be made new. We can choose to believe it and walk in that truth, or we can deny the power of God and His power to change even the deadest of hearts into hearts softened with love. He is making all things new —even you!