My husband and I have been together for 11 years, and we’ve always been affectionate towards each other. During our early years — we were in high school — we lived an hour away from one another, and the only way we were able to see each other was if we met at public places, so we’ve never been afraid of a little PDA.
When we had our first child, it became more important to continue our affectionate tendencies. At that time though, the focus of our public display of affection was redirected to doing it in front of our child, and sharing our affection with other loved ones, not only between us. In becoming parents, my husband and I found it important for our child, now children, to see us as examples of the following:
1. Learning to Share
We want to help our children learn that they do not own us. Showing affection to each other and other family/friends helps our children see that we are not their property, and that they need to share us with other people.
2. Being the Example
In showing affection towards each other, my husband and I are setting the tone for our children. We are their examples of giving and receiving love. I love that my partner is in on this idea because it provides our children a different way of giving and receiving love. The more they see the exchange of love, the more they witness healthy ways of giving and receiving it.
3. Healthy Relationships
My husband and I are also setting our children up for healthy relationships. This isn’t to say that our methods are protecting our little ones from unhealthy relationships later in life, but it gives them a foundation of what a healthy one looks like. Having access to the knowledge of what unconditional and reciprocated love looks like, I believe that our children have a better chance at experiencing healthy relationships, or at least being confident enough to speak out against unhealthy ones.
Displaying affection for our children to see — especially after arguments between us, which my husband and I occasionally do in front of them as well — is a great way to express that we continue to have love each other. Our hopes is for them to understand that they continue to be worthy of love even if they disagree with someone.
5. Embracing Affection
I remember being a child — and even through young adulthood — and thinking that it was gross for my parents to kiss or show affection towards one another. It took me having my own partner to not see it as gross. I want my children to embrace affection now. I don’t want my kids to have to wait to experience affection with someone outside their family to see it as normal.
I am cognizant that not everyone is a natural at giving or receiving affection, but I am convinced that we need more of it in our world and in our homes, so why not get to lovin’?
How do you feel showing love to others in front of your children? —Jasmin