For Valentine’s Day, have you enjoyed expressing your love to your grandkids with gifts and expressions of your love? Maybe you aren’t done, or maybe you still have plans … and that’s great. Soak it all in!

While you’re doing that, I hope you realize that you’re probably doing something even more important that will help them in future relationships, simply through your modeling. Consider this statement from an adult woman:

I learned from my grandparents that relationships require not just love, but also dedication, sacrifice, strength, devotion, and prayer. Married almost 67 years before passing, they taught me what true friendship and marriage are all about. I can never thank them enough for being such an example.

That’s how modeling works, and we grandparents can help to shape our grandkids even in their values and expectations for their future relationships.

What makes a marriage work? As those of us who are married know so well, there are a lot of rewards and satisfaction in marriage, but it isn’t always romance and roses. There’s also a lot of hard work and sacrifice in the day-to-day grind of life. At times it may test everything we are and everything we believe.

Healthy examples can make a big difference. Our grandchildren, especially as they grow older and start dating and possibly get married themselves, will appreciate what it takes to build a strong relationship, handle conflict in a positive manner, and maintain a long-term commitment to a spouse. As is clear in the above testimony, our example will likely last in our grandchildren’s memories long after we’re gone.

Now, it’s true that those 67-year marriages are becoming more and more rare, and maybe dedication, strength and devotion are a far cry from what your grandchildren would see in your relationship history. Maybe you’ve been divorced a time or two. Maybe the grandkids have picked up some bitterness or sarcasm when you’ve talked about a past partner. You can’t change the past, but you can seek to set a good example going forward. And when they reach an appropriate age, you may have opportunities to talk about key lessons you’ve learned through the struggles.

Being a great grandparent isn’t tied to your role as a wife or husband, but a strong marriage is surely an asset that will bless your grandkids. Do all you can to be the role model they need.