Parenthood: The Importance of Being Affectionate

To all my married friends, some with little ones, those who’re wanting to be parents in the future and everyone in between, this post is dedicated to you.

“Homemaking is surely in reality the most important job in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government, etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? The homemaker’s job is one for which all others exist.” – C.S. Lewis


Children watching mommy and daddy dancing, 1950s

A pin on Pinterest, from my best girlfriend, Michal Conger (blogger and Opinion Staff Writer for the Washington Examiner), inspired and prompted me to write this post, which had been formulating in the back of my head for a couple of day. She captioned under it: Always let your children see how much you love each other.

If I had only one piece of advice I was allowed to give on the key to good parenthood, it would be that statement.

I can’t stress the importance of this enough. You may be thinking, “Well, you’re not a parent, so how would you know?” What I DO know is I’m the child of such parents and it’s forever impacted my life. I’m not saying to have a make-out session in front of your kids. I’m talking about the little/big gestures of affection and tenderness, like a hug and kiss goodbye on your way out the door, a little flirting, picking up some flowers, opening doors for your wife (all kinds), saying “I love you” and often, and all those thoughtful gestures in between.

Your children are watching you; to see how you respond when your spouse is being moody or your expressions and tones in your conversations. Yes, you’re going to fail – face it – you’re both human. But it’s how you address those “oopsies” in front of them or in private. Just to clarify, these are “habits” that you don’t wait to start working on until you have kids.

The other afternoon, my mom was in the kitchen whipping up some brunch for my dad and her. He comes in from walking the dog, stops her in the middle of what she’s doing, grabs her tenderly, kisses her and says unashamedly in front of me, “I love you.” They’ve been married 30 years. Oh, and this includes showing love and affection to your children (just in case there was any doubt in your mind).

Let me give you 4 reasons why you should care:

1) It’s a continual benefit in your relationship with your spouse (love of your life). It’s HARD work, but the great things in life typically are. Think of the reward both on earth and in heaven for loving well. Please note, love isn’t a mere emotion or a question whether you feel passionately head over heels for them in that moment – and it’s typically not all about you (sorry to burst your bubble). But yes, keep it spicy, guys.

2) Your kids will learn how to show affection and acts of love to you and others around them.

3) When they’re grown up, they will know what to look for in their spouse, and settle for no less.

4) They will show their kids their love for each other.

I don’t know why my mind will think in movie quotes, but I’m cool with it. This post made me think of a scene from “Something Borrowed” with John Krasinski, where his character (Ethan) is trying to hail a cab. He lingers to have an exchange with another main character, and the cab driver finally yells (angrily) something like, “Are you getting in or what?!” Ethan pauses, looks at the driver, and says, “Whoa, you need a hug, buddy.” But it’s so true, if your child isn’t hugged often or reminded how much they are loved, I think it does something to them later on in life. Joe Love, CEO of JLM & Associates, says:

Lack of love whether it’s real or imagined by the child can have serious consequences. It can lead to physical, mental and emotional damage that can have long-term if not permanent negative consequences on the entire life of the child. In fact most child psychologists and therapists agree that love deprivation is the most serious problem a child can suffer during his or her formative years (source).

There are so many things that I could say and things I could expound upon, but I only have so much time in the day, and it’s back to work for me.


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