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A few days after we’d had some cousins to stay, Bella announced one morning: “S_ says we don’t have to live with our dad.”

Bella’s closest cousin started school this year. Suddenly the world has changed.

I have no idea what we were in the middle of at that moment, but it was dropped.

I took a breath, picked up my little girl, sat her on my lap, and we had a long talk.

I spoke about when J and I argue sometimes, and how we always talk about what hurts us, say sorry, forgive each other and begin again. I am so grateful that we never go to bed angry so that I was able to tell her that. Her parents start every day together and are committed to doing so.

And I explained what happens when people don’t forgive each other, and that they might stay angry and unhappy, and after a long time of being angry they may forget that they love each other. And that is why some families don’t live all together. Some children from families that aren’t all together are in her cousin’s class at school.

My poor Bella. She cried for those children and their parents. We prayed for them and she found some comfort in entrusting them to her Jesus.

Another sister took her children to a wedding last month. Their aunt was re-marrying. After they got home her nine year old came to her very confused. Their cousin already had a mom and dad, his mom already had a husband, how could she have another one? My sister considers their family very fortunate to have gone so long without encountering divorce. She was also happy that the issue came up at a time when she and her husband are getting along particularly well. We looked after their two youngest this weekend while they went to a marriage seminar. “Because we value our marriage,” they told their children.

I love marriage. I wish every woman could marry a man who values his marriage like J does. I wish every couple understood that marriage is designed to grind the sharp edges off of us, to move us out of selfishness, to bring us to wholeness and to holiness. It’s a tall order, a lot of work, a great joy, and worth every difficult moment.

I hope that my children will have a good picture of what a marriage can be by the example that we are battling so hard to give them. I pray that they will rest secure every night, knowing that their parents love each other, love them, and are committed to the good, health and happiness of our family.