The husband’s hand resting on the shoulder of his wife indicates the authority of the man within the family. The pink carnation in the hand of the wife is a token of fidelity to her husband. The girls are playing with an apple, symbol of love and marriage, and with a bundle of sticks. The sticks are the symbol of harmony between man and wife and solidarity between members of the family.
It is interesting that a man/woman family is portrayed here, it was the ideal type of family in that era. It is a heterosexual image as there was simply no other image. You will not find a ‘historical’ painting in this museum of, for example, two women with a family.
Since marriage was made possible for couples of the same sex, adoption is now an option in The Netherlands. Sadly, there is a difference between hetero couples and gay couples. Not only Dutch legislation is taken into account but also the legislation of the country of origin of the adopted children. That legislation often stands in the way of gay couples adopting children from abroad.