Recently my 80-year-old grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, and loved ones celebrated with a reception in their honor. In the days leading up to the occasion, I tried to explain to my daughters, ages 8 and 5, what a monumental occasion this was.

“Isn’t it amazing?” I said. “Nana and Papa have been married 60 years! They have kept their wedding vows for a very long time!”

I knew the concept of “wedding vows” was fresh on their minds because just a few days prior, the subject had come up. They noticed that so-and-so’s mom was dating so-and-so’s dad and asked if they had been divorced. I took the opportunity to discuss the vows we make when we marry and what God intends for marriage.

Unfortunately, we can’t hide our children from divorce because it is so prevalent in our society. But I think it’s important we make it clear that it is not God’s original plan. God intends marriage to be a life-long union between a man and woman, (Gen. 2:24, Mal. 2:16). But much of what our children see in the media, our communities, (even our churches!) teaches them marriage is disposable. Even if you are a divorced mom, you can discuss with your children what mistakes were made and what God would have desired for your marriage. If we as moms don’t teach them God’s design, who will?

During the days, weeks and years of raising our kids, we have to look for opportunities to remind them of God’s design. We can read scripture together (especially the account of Adam and Eve). If we’re married, we can celebrate our own anniversaries with exuberance and be careful to talk about our marriage in a positive light. We can help them dream about their own life-long union someday. And we can point out the negative consequences we see in the world when people don’t follow God’s plan and the positive ones when they do.

Throughout scripture, it is clear that God values commitment, endurance, and perseverance through trials. Looking around at the 100 plus people at my grandparents’ anniversary celebration, the benefits of their choice to stay married through the ups and downs were evident. Present they had six children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren and their spouses, and thirty-something great grandchildren. Not to mention all the members there of the church they pastored for 50 years. Every person in the room had benefitted from my grandparents’ strong example of diligence and commitment.

While my kids may have just thought they were at the event to eat cake and play with cousins, I believe the importance of marriage was being again imprinted on their hearts. I hope and pray the memory of their white-haired great-grandparents sitting side by side and hand-in-hand in their tie and white dress stays with them as an example to work toward all the days of their lives.