I was running around the house this morning getting my two girls ready for kindergarten. This is my normal routine on a Tuesday morning. Then an interview on the television caught my attention. Journalist Sarah Fergusson was being interviewed about her experience, after spending six months on the ‘front lines’ talking with victims of Domestic and Family Violence. Seeing the stories and hearing the magnitude of the issue hurting our nation, I was personally challenged once again.
I thought to myself, how can I make a difference? To be honest I felt overwhelmed at the thought. I looked at my girls and said to myself, how do I stop this from happening to them? Watching my girls sitting so innocently, eating their breakfast, and having this thought, certainly personalised the issue for me.
My own thoughts lead me to the answer. I can prevent this from happening to my own daughters by showing them what a healthy, loving relationship looks like, by being a good partner and husband to their mum. In past weddings I have conducted, I often refer to a popular passage of scripture that I think gives a great description of love. In the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 4 to 7, It says “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I have used this as my benchmark of true love ever since I first read this passage of scripture. Now saying these words on the day of a wedding may sound romantic and easy to say, however, living it out is a lifelong challenge. I am truly committed to loving my wife in a way that shows my girls what a loving relationship looks like, so that they have something to aspire to when starting relationships of their own. This is not only to be an example to them, but because I truly love my wife and feel so grateful to have her as my lifelong partner.
Now I am certainly not perfect and my wife can attest to that, however, I am committed to my wife, despite all of life’s challenges that come our way. Yes, we have our disagreements, but conflict is a part of life. I will teach my girls that conflict happens in every relationship, but the best way to resolve it is by saying sorry and to recognise our own selfishness. However, it is important that they recognise that conflict should never be confused with control.
They need to see that their mum and I are a team and that if one hurts, we both hurt and that if one succeeds, we both succeed.
Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day, to highlight the issue of Domestic Family Violence. As parents, we all can take responsibility for modeling healthy and respectful relationships to our children and change this culture of violence in families in our nation for good.