What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a role model?
Most people will answer that a role model is someone they can look up to, someone whose behavior serves to lead others towards living a better life-or in the case of a negative role model, behavior that serves as a life lesson on what not to do moving forward. Celebrities, athletes, clergy, parent/caregiver, friend, super heroes are just a few places one can look to find role models. Listen to a conversation on the playground, in a church group, classroom or family dinner and you will likely hear kids dropping names and stats of current day "heroes" from the latest YouTube star to MVP's of the year. A quick internet search of the term good role models reveals post after post; 12 Best Female Role Models, Top 15 Athletes, Celebrity Role Models, Top Ten Role Models For Kids, Parents As Role Models...
Let's consider parents as role models for just a minute. When raising a child, whether you are biological parents, foster parents or temporary guardians, children are watching and learning how to maneuver life's obstacles by how they see you reacting and responding, especially how you treat one another. Truth is, as with any other role model, this can have either a positive or negative effect on children. Whether we want to admit it or not, we learn how to be in relationship with others by watching how our parents (or caregivers) co-exist. Research shows that children repeat the patterns and behaviors they saw while growing up- in their own relationships simply because it may be all they know.
I witnessed a lot of broken relationships growing up, including my parents who divorced while I was in grade school. But I also had the chance to see another side thanks to the parents of my best childhood friend. I spent a great deal of time in their home growing up and despite how young I was I was more than aware of how things were different. I saw the smiles that were exchanged, the loving glances, the grace that was extended. I heard how they spoke gently to one another and about each other. They lived and loved for the benefit of their growing family. For years I held on to that, it was a reminder of what was possible in a healthy strong marriage, my 'couple role model' if you will.
Couple role models or marriage mentors share a desire to help others grow and learn ways to work through everyday issues, communicate more clearly, find direction when stress or conflict has made the path less clear and they can provide hope and wisdom to couples at different stages of their relationship. Mentors aren't emotionally attached to a couple making it easier to be objective, seeing things from a different perspective, even being aware of strengths within the relationship that just need a little light shed on them, opening up a space for growth. No relationship or marriage is perfect but with the right tools and a great support system even good marriages can become greater. And what a great gift of positive role modeling that can provide for your children.
Who has been a couple role model in your life and how have they helped you create love and harmony in your relationship or marriage? Please feel free to share in the comments below.