Shortly after I wrote my A Lesson from the Cosby Show post, I was watching Reba. Reba probably wasn't as popular a show as the Cosby Show, but it ran for YEARS, and it had a lot of really good lessons. Sometimes they were in your face (like their run on the topic of alcoholism), but I am always excited when a single moment really speaks to my marriage or parenting in some way.
In the scene, Brock (Reba's ex husband) is promising to do something with Jake (their son). After Jake leaves the room, Reba scolds him for making big promises that he doesn't keep, and how it affects their child. It hit me how great she handled that.
I am a HUGE believer in every thing we say affects our children. I think it molds how they see themselves and the world around them, even in the baby years. I speak positive things over my sons DAILY. The responsibility I have as a mother is ENORMOUS in that respect. But how many times do we find ourselves in a position where we react to our spouse with the kids right there? And not always with words seasoned by love and grace? I am guilty. My husband and I hit a rough season recently (brought on by absolutely NO time together other than a couple hours while the boys were up). With no one on one time and tensions high from a deprived relationship, I had many a day that I felt guilty in how I had reacted to something. I could see recognition hit my oldest son's face one day, and I vowed to stop the madness. Luckily, our relationship isn't quite so deprived now that things are balancing out, but I'm challenged on occassion in how I respond to things.
Reba did the right thing in waiting until Jake left the room. I'm not saying that you should never have disagreements with your spouse in front of your child. It is good for them to learn how to handle conflict in a responsible manner, but when your top is about to blow, let it go for a minute, so you can reach a point where you CAN handle it responsibly. Who knows how many times if I had waited, the whole thing would have been forgotten by the time my little ankle biters weren't around (it is really hard to stay mad at my man for just about anything, especially with how hard he tries to do the right thing). But either way, that one scene plays in my head now. I like a visual to go with my lessons. They are a little easier to remember.
Kids are sponges...let love and grace and hope and God's truth saturate them. That way they are so full that all that yucky stuff can't be soaked up so easily.
If you have your own strategies for how to responsibly handle conflict with your spouse, feel free to comment below!