Is it really so wrong to "stay together for sake of the children?" Actually, we’ve seen that couples who realize that their marriage is less about getting their own needs met and more about leaving a legacy of lasting love frequently go on to have a fulfilling, lasting marriage. When you grasp that your love is a light to your children and the world, it gives you more motivation to hang in there and work at it. And if you do hang tough, there are some pretty incredible blessings down the road for you and your family.

For our twenty fifth wedding anniversary, we gave our sons a ring with a family crest Bill and I designed. We wanted the boys to have an heirloom that could be passed down from generation to generation that would symbolize the values the Farrel family stands for. We’ll try to describe the crest:

The three L’s down the center stand for Learner, Leader, Love God. Each year from the time our oldest was four, we have had a "Learner and Leader" Day. On that day we negotiate privileges and responsibilities, select one leadership trait to focus on for each son that year and give a gift that applauds the uniqueness we see God building in each of their lives. (*Resource on how to do a Learner/Leader day at the end of this article) We want our sons to be known as:

Learners: Those who want to compete in life so they are willing to do the hard work to learn and become excellent.

Leaders: In their sphere of influence using their own unique leadership style

Love God: We want them to own their own faith.

The cross with the star rising from it represents our desire for them to seek God’s vision for their lives. We want the source of all their hopes, dreams and desires to come from God’s heart.

The two interlocking hearts represent integrity and commitment. When a Farrel says something we want it to be truth, and we want to be known as a family that keeps all of our commitments, especially the marriage covenant.

Inside the ring is inscribed the verse and phrase we have used as our motto by which we raised our sons: Psalms 84: 11 ". . .No good thing does God withhold from those who walk uprightly." Our job is to walk uprightly, God’s job is to decide what good things will come as a reward. In other words, Those who honor God, God honors. Somehow, some way God places his hand of anointing and strength on those who have a pure heart and walk. When the boys feel like the narrow road is too confining, we want them to remember the walk is worth it because Those who honor God, God honors!

Now you try. What do you want your family to be known for? What are your core values, those 3-4 traits you want your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to possess? See if you can draw a symbol to explain the values you cherish most.

My (Pam’s) grandparents were happily married for 60 years. At their anniversary party I asked them their secret to success. My grandma looked at me, then at grandpa and with a twinkle in her eye, a wink and a smile she replied, "Honey, pure grit and determination!" Determine today that the marriage you are in will be one that lasts—for the sake of your kids, your grandkids and your great grand kids too.

*For more information on planning a "Learner/Leader" Day in your family or other parenting tips, check out Pam and Bill Farrel's The Treasure Inside Your Child (Harvest House).


Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers and the authors of over 20 books including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti and their newest, Every Marriage is a Fixer Upper. For more information on their books and ministry: 800-810-4449 or http://farrelcommunications.com.