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Blessing Your Child’s Marriage

What if the engagement season presents a unique opportunity for parents to bless their child’s marriage?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

One day your child is crawling around in diapers and the next she’s engaged. In the months that follow you’re adrift in a sea of wedding details, showers, and ever-growing expenses. Like a marathon runner on mile twenty-five, the end of your parenting journey is in sight. Another mile. Another chance to bless your child before marriage.

Last November, I watched my parents enter the final leg of their race when my sister shared a photo that forever changed our family. She and her boyfriend stood with their backs to a beautiful mountain sunset. Yet, it was not the view that captured our attention, but the new diamond ring glittering on Allison’s finger.

Soon after, our family was caught up in wedding preparations as she scoped out venues, assembled the guest list, and selected a color palette.

If you have a child preparing for marriage, perhaps this sounds all too familiar. The engagement season can be both exciting and stressful not only for the couple, but also for the parents. It’s easy to get swept away by all the details, especially where finances are concerned.

In 2023, wedding planning companies estimate parents will pour tens of thousands of dollars into their child’s special day. While there’s nothing wrong with organizing a spectacular celebration, it’s important to ask, are parents missing out on an opportunity to invest in more meaningful ways?

Two Kinds of Treasure

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus differentiates between two kinds of treasure. He says, “‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’” (Matthew 6:19–21).

As wonderful as weddings are, they come and go in the blink of an eye.

The cake is consumed, the champagne flutes drained, and whatever is left ends up in the trash. Now, I’m not saying don’t give your child a fabulous wedding day. Rather, I encourage you to think about how you can bless her marriage during this special engagement season.

Your intentionality could be the difference between storing up treasure on earth or in heaven. What does that look like, you ask?

Here are a few ideas.

Bless Your Child’s Marriage Through Prayer

Within the church we often hear about praying for our child’s future spouse, as well we should. But are we persisting in prayer for her marriage after we throw the rice? Do we carry this couple to the Lord and ask for His grace when the rubber meets the road?

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

How might you bless your child by “praying at all times in the Spirit” for her marriage? Maybe you pray daily, or maybe you pray on a specific day of the week at a certain time. If it helps, set a reminder on your phone, or leave a sticky note somewhere you’ll see it often. You could also pray a specific passage of Scripture over your child’s marriage, such as John 17:20–21 or Galatians 5:22–23.

Get the Book

How do you, as a parent, provide your young adults with the room they need to grow? This book is what every parent needs to help your teenagers soar out of the nest and into the next season of life with confidence.

Welcome Your Child’s Future Spouse

Think back for a moment. Can you recall any details about meeting your in-laws? I’ll wager there were some nerves mingled with excitement. You wanted to make a good impression. The first few conversations may have felt clumsy, but over time the awkwardness faded. Now you greet them with hugs and a smile.

Others of you may not have a good relationship with your in-laws. Consequently, you feel like you’re entering uncharted territory. The good news is you can set a different tone in your relationship with your future son- or daughter-in-law.

Whether your experiences with in-laws were good or bad, you have the opportunity to bless your child’s marriage by embracing this addition to your family. Danny Huerta, Focus on the Family’s Vice President of Parenting and Youth, suggests parents carve out some one-on-one time with their child’s future spouse.

Moms, why not take your son’s fiancée out for coffee? Dads, invite your future son-in-law to play a round of golf or go for a hike. Since my sister’s fiancé and my dad both participated in Ironman events, they decided to bike together on occasion.

Whatever time together looks like, use this opportunity to express your enthusiasm for the upcoming wedding and loving acceptance toward your child’s partner.

Speak a Blessing Over Your Child

In his article “The Blessing: How to Bless Your Child,” John Trent says, “…blessing comes directly from God and His design for humanity. Blessings can encompass elements of love, spoken affirmation, and unique encouragement from a parent to their children.” Trent goes on to describe various components of extending a blessing to your child, such as recognizing her talents and abilities and reminding her of God’s good purposes for her life.

In addition, Huerta suggests parents lovingly direct their child’s attention to areas with room for growth. Another option is to draw from a passage of Scripture like Ephesians 3, Numbers 6 or a psalm. Although we cannot predict what God has in store for our kids, Huerta says we can ask God to move in their lives and marriages by speaking a blessing.

Blessing Her Marriage by Letting Go

When it comes to marriage, Genesis 2:24 is one of the most frequently cited Scriptures. It says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

In Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley’s book Ready to Wed, Ted Cunningham explains the verse is not saying couples must pack up and move away. He writes, “The focus of this text is relational and emotional leaving. ‘Leaving’ is the idea that no relationship, apart from your relationship with God, is more important than your marriage.”

However, this principle is a two-way street. Yes, children need to prioritize their relationship with their spouse, but this begins with a firm push from the parents according to Huerta. “One of the best wedding gifts you can give your kids is giving them the freedom to build the rhythms of their home,” he says.

Let your child know you understand she’s heading into a new chapter of life where Mom and Dad don’t figure as prominently in the story and that’s okay. Hold your expectations for the holidays and other family gatherings loosely, choosing instead to savor the time whenever you’re together.

Seize the Opportunity

With a sister in the thick of wedding preparations, I realize the engagement season is a busy one. Yet as the day of the wedding approaches, don’t allow these transition months to pass you by. Be sensitive to how you can bless your child’s marriage even as you invest in her special day, and then…let go.

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