When I was growing up, there was no delusion that my parents' marriage was perfect. Although I sometimes heard them fight (politely), I still knew my parents were in love.
That's a really big deal, because children who come from intact families have a huge amount of benefits in really all aspects of their life.
In other words, if you want to give your children the best chance at life, make sure they know their parents are crazy about each other. These are some of the things every child deserves to see their dads do for his wife:
1. Praise her in front of your children
My dad always claimed that our good looks, smart brains or wise decisions came from our mom. "That's why I married her," was a common phrase he often said.
2. Make your kids help her with dinner
Yep, they will complain, but having your children do something to lighten your wife's massive load plants the idea in their mind that you care about making her life better.
3. Be cheesy
Although they gag and protest, children need to see their dad romance their mom. My dad isn't a softie, but he is a romantic... because my mom likes it. He wrote poems on Mother's Day and celebrated their anniversary. This showed us (and her) that she was a big deal to him.
4. Ditch the bromance
Dad didn't insist on having a frequent guy's night. While his hobbies could easily be transformed into man-weekend excursions, he instead chose to make my mom his main buddy. They hiked together, worked in our yard, refinished houses, went shopping, watched movies or fixed the plumbing. There was no doubt in our little minds who came first to Dad.
5. Don't tolerate kid-sass
Standing up for your wife is a secret "I love you" to her. There was no better way to upset Dad than by giving mom sass. He just didn't tolerate it.
Physical touch is an outward sign of relationship security for children. My dad kissed my mom when he came home from work. They held hands in public. Even though it grossed me out at the time, I was comforted when they would snuggle during family movie nights.
It's no chick flick worthy storyline, but knowing why my parents fell in love in the first place helped us recognize that those initial reasons were still there.
8. Sing and dance
Short kitchen waltz sessions were my Dad's way to show my mom he loved her, and she would grin and go along with it. Singing and/or dancing may not be your thing, and that's fine. But find a thing. This is a trigger to kids that things are good in the world of their parents' marriage.
9. Read to her while she cleans
Don't get excited. This is not a "get out of chores free" card, but at times when my mom's idea of enjoying some free time involved scrubbing out the sink, my dad would keep her company by reading a book aloud to her just to show he valued her company.
It's a little love tap that translates into knowing your parents are still really into each other.
11. Support her service
My parents had busy lives: lots of kids, deeply involved in their church, work and community. My mom volunteered in religious groups that would take her away from home for hours. He supported and encouraged her to do those things, even if it meant balancing the home life when she was gone.
12. Don't criticize her cooking
Your wife will probably never cook like your mama, and that's OK. If she is kind enough to cook for you, make sure you never criticize what she made, even if you can hardly choke it down.
We knew my Dad loved my mom, because he wanted her ideas and opinions. He wanted her to question his ideas and point out some of his bad ones. Children learn their parents are in an equal, respecting marriage if they make choices together.
Your children need to have confidence in your marriage. They need to know you're in love. Now at 41 years of marriage, I have just as much confidence that my parents love each other as I did growing up, and knowing that has made a world of difference.
Amberlee is the content manager for FamilyShare.com and earned a degree in journalism. She creates beautiful things with her experience in writing, graphic design, photography, video and music. She loves her family, the outdoors, baby foxes and podcasts.