NEW! Want to Make Your Children Happy?
NEW! Courage and the Challenge of Parenthood
Married People Less Likely to Die from Preventable Accidents or Cancer — “The Social Side of Accidental Death”
Understanding the Definition of Marriage: Professor Co-Authors Book on What the Implications of Redefining Marriage Could Be on Families, Society
Dinner Can Change Your Youth’s Life
Being Fatherless Leaves Child Susceptible to Abusive Treatment From Father-Figure
Spice Up Your Family Time And Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's
Marriage & Family Resources
Unrealistic Expectations: 3 Things I Wish I Had Known Before We Got Married
The Importance of Dads
Resource: Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
Study Ties Cervical and Testicular Cancers to Increased Divorce Rate
Lack of Marriage & Work Are the Roots of Child Poverty Problem
Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles
How Can America Reduce Violent Crime and Gang Activity? Encourage Marriage
Americans Love Marriage
Research Continues to Uphold the Value of Marriage – Why Marriage Matters
For more information regarding Marriage and Cohabitation, click here.
Want to Make Your Children Happy?
Evidence suggests that happiness can become a learned trait. Making your children “happy” may be as easy as teaching them how to produce their own happiness.
According to Christine Carter, PhD, ‘Happiness is much better thought of as a skill or a set of skills that we need to learn and practice.’ For instance, having an attitude of gratitude goes a long way toward helping you feel happy.
Gratitude can become a legacy; teach your children how to be grateful and not take blessings for granted, and you’ve just given them a head-start to being happy.
Being other-focused also can boost the level of happiness a person experiences. It is important to teach your children how to think of others instead of focusing solely on them selves.
Children are never too young to learn how to be nice and look for ways to help another person. In fact, “Research has found that even toddlers act happier when they help others.”
Spending time with others, including family members, also increases one’s level of happiness. So play a board game with your children, take time to talk with them, prioritize quality time. Being together with family and friends can be a mutual benefit and contribute to both parties’ happiness. Being healthy and exercising can also contribute to the level of happiness one experiences. This would indicate making sure children stay fit and active could actually help guarantee their happiness.
Based upon research, perhaps happiness isn’t out of reach, it’s just out of practice.
Read more about making life happier — http://www.webmd.com/balance/balanced-life-13/happiness?page=1
[January 28, 2014, http://www.abstinence.net/our-blog/potpourri/want-to-make-your-children-happy/ ; http://www.webmd.com/balance/balanced-life-13/happiness?page=1 ]
Courage and the Challenge of Parenthood
“Only have a child if you’re prepared for the consequences,” writes Tom Keane in his recent Boston Globe article [http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/01/21/parenthood-overrated/8D60zw5Mxff1wT9V3HjybL/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw ]
The consequences to which he refers are not unfamiliar to the child/”child-free” debates that erupt every so often in online media: kids are expensive, raising children is a thankless task, raising children is going to mess up your plans, parents will never sleep again. And from what I gather from my parents, those are all true things.
Want to know something else that is hard? Marching, living without air-conditioning in temperatures regularly over 100 degrees, and going on convoy. Or taking organic chemistry, learning how to slice into a living human’s brain, and telling parents that their child has leukemia.
I’m not saying that any of these roles—parent, soldier, surgeon—is difficult in the same way, or that they are qualitatively identical roles. Rather, the point is that rarely are the roles that we assume for both the common good and our own good the easiest roles, or those requiring
the least of us.
Parenthood is a unique ordination to the common good (politically of the state, where parenthood brings about citizens to perpetuate the state; spiritually, because it brings about those who will be incorporated into the Church—properly, in terms of their corporeal being, ideally also as a secondary cause of the children’s integration into the Church).
Thus, parenthood is a relationship that is necessarily other-ordered, because it is good that this other exist—as a physical manifestation of the parents’ marital love, as a member of the community into which they are born, and most importantly, for their own sake as a spontaneous and unrepeatable instance of humanity: as this human being.
To be a parent requires that this other person intrude into one’s orbit of existence. While this is true of any relationship (to varying degrees), this intrusion is far more prominent in the case of parenthood due to the child’s dependence on the parent for everything for so many years.
An infant cannot feed or clean himself. A two-year-old still cannot, although by that point she can likely articulate how the parent ought to feed and clothe her. Children are not fully able to understand the world, and oftentimes communicate the existential crisis of living through shrill crying and tears. It is up to the parents to feed, clothe, and love the child, to offer comfort when being in the world is just too much. Lest parents think that this service ends when one’s child enters adulthood, rest assured that my own parents received a call about the existential crisis of existing in your twenties just yesterday.
Being a parent requires giving a lot. I’m sure there were times when my father would have rather gone hunting than have a princess tea party with his daughters (although he assures me otherwise); or at least, I’m sure that there is a time in his life when he would have done otherwise. I’m sure my mother would have much rather gone to bed many nights, rather than staying up to help with just one more pre-calculus equation. And yet, they had me, and as my parents, they put my well-being before their own.
Moreover, being a parent is a thankless vocation, certainly. Parents supersede the child’s existence (because biology, because logic), and so as far as the child knows, in the ideal situation, the parents are like gravity or air: mostly unnoticeable and taken for granted until the moment they are not there. So when we look at parenthood, the ROI doesn’t look phenomenal.
This brings us to the question: Should interpersonal interactions that are ordered to a good superseding our individual good be quantified in economic scale? I will do this for you only if you do that for me? Is that really how we measure the good that we do?
Perhaps, if the articles on “child-free” existence are correct, that is. But is that how we want to look at the bringing of a child into the world—as a monetary investment?
This touches upon another aspect of western culture: the desire to quantify all. While I can quantify, and thus acknowledge the numeric good of, my salary, that number tells an observer nothing about my quality of life. Qualitative experiences are rather difficult to measure.
Many of these “child-free” articles reference the fact that the “child-free” are often happier than the “child-raising.” I hear a good night of sleep will do that for you.
The underlying assumption there is that what is most pleasant is better for us than what is difficult. I suspect if we polled Med-Students against professional gamers, we might have similar responses. I know if I had been asked the month before I submitted my thesis to rate my “happiness” and polled it against someone not in graduate school, that report would present a strong argument against ever going to graduate school. However, in the case of my master’s, I can honestly say that the experience, including the tears and late night coffee sessions, made me a better person.
Perhaps parenting doesn’t make people happy all the time: it prevents them from going out like they once would, or keeping their hours their own. But in serving another, in making that self-gift to their child, parents learn to be selfless, to stretch beyond themselves.
Keane has to admit he would never do it otherwise. He merely wants people to be aware of the consequences of their actions—that pregnancy leads to children, and children change your life. I think people should be aware of the consequences: You will be pulled out of yourself and asked to give in a way wholly unexpected. You will be asked to do this without thanks or acknowledgement. You will be a better person for it.
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I have to reflect on the results that “fearing consequences” has reaped:
About 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in abortion [ http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/ ].
The victims of these acts are primarily the children lost, but include the mothers and fathers as well, who have been told that abortion is not a big deal, only often to realize after the fact how big a deal it is. They were told to fear consequences, rather than encouraged to be brave and rise to the occasion. Certainly in some cases, such as rape, the level of courage asked for is great. In those cases all the more must we encourage and demonstrate the good that can come. If a woman has a child conceived in rape, and then gives that child up for adoption, she has embraced parenthood in a truly heroic manner.
Raising a child can be hard, in some situations harder than I could ever imagine. But let’s not fool ourselves: Difficulty and challenge are hardly reasons to refuse an undertaking.
The good of raising kids is a good that goes beyond the good of the individual and touches into our interconnected experience as humans. It’s a way God calls us to union—with each other, with our community, and with Himself.
I’d be disappointed if such an enormous task were easy.
[Marina Olson | January 30, 2014, http://ethikapolitika.org/2014/01/30/courage-challenge-parenthood/?utm_source=Courage%20and%20the%20Challenge%20of%20Parenthood&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Flocknote ]
Married People Less Likely to Die from Preventable Accidents or Cancer
Commitment-phobes beware: According to a new study, unmarried adults – including the never-married and those who are divorced – are more than twice as likely than their married counterparts to die from preventable accidents. And a separate study finds being married is more beneficial for surviving cancer than chemotherapy.
For the study, called “The Social Side of Accidental Death,” researchers at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania studied 1,302,090 adults who survived or died from accidents between 1986 and 2006. Using demographic information from National Health Interview Survey, they compared the subjects’ outcomes against their age, sex, marital status, educational level, and socioeconomic status.
Their conclusion? Being single ranked right alongside low educational attainment as one of the largest risk factors for dying from what the World Health Organization (WHO) says are the most-preventable causes of accidental death: fire, poisoning, and smoke inhalation.
“Well-educated individuals, on average, have greater socio-economic resources, which can be used to their advantage to prevent accidental death (i.e., safeguarding a home from fire),” said Justin Denney, the study’s lead author. “In addit
ion, these individuals tend to be more knowledgeable about practices that may harm their health, such as excessive alcohol and drug use.”
Denney explained that “marital status is influential in that it can provide positive support, may discourage a partner’s risk and offer immediate support that saves lives in the event of an emergency.”
The link between marriage and positive health outcomes has also been noted by researchers with Harvard University’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where a recent study of over 700,000 patients diagnosed with the 10 deadliest forms of cancer found that married people were diagnosed earlier, received better treatment, and had better survival rates than those who were single, divorced, or separated.
In the case of prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal, and head/neck cancers, researchers concluded, “the survival benefit associated with marriage was larger than the published survival benefit of chemotherapy.”
“It is pretty astonishing,” senior study author Dr. Paul Nguyen told CNN. “There’s something about the social support that you get within a marriage that leads to better survival.”
Lead study author Dr. Ayal Aizer told Forbes, “We suspect that social support from spouses is what’s driving the striking improvement in survival. Spouses often accompany patients on their visits and make sure they understand the recommendations and complete all their treatments.”
Nguyen told CNN that married people are more likely to be diagnosed early because they typically encourage one another to get preventive scans. “You’re going to nag your wife to go get her mammograms. You’re going to nag your husband to go get his colonoscopy,” Nguyen said. “If you’re on your own, nobody’s going to nag you.”
In addition to making early diagnosis – and therefore more successful treatment – more likely, Nguyen said the benefits of marriage can carry a patient through debilitating treatments that can sometimes cause more physical and mental anguish than the illness itself.
“If you’ve got a spouse with you who is kind of helping you at the end of the day, helping you get your other stuff in order and really encouraging you to go to your treatments, I think you’re probably much more likely to complete those treatments and get the benefit of the treatment,” Nguyen told CNN. “I’ve definitely taken a lot of patients through treatment where there’s no way they could have made it through without their spouse.”
[1 Nov 13, Kirsten Andersen, Houston, TX, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/married-people-less-likely-to-die-from-preventable-accidents-cancer?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4d26e1a38f-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-4d26e1a38f-326232694 ]
Understanding the Definition of Marriage: Professor Co-Authors Book on What the Implications of Redefining Marriage Could Be on Families, Society
Robert P. George is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University. He is an expert on marital law and a strong advocate of traditional marriage.
Along with Sherif Girgis, a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, and Ryan T. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation fellow, George is the co-author of a new book titled, “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, $15.99). It’s based on their renowned academic paper on the same topic that appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
George recently spoke with Our Sunday Visitor about the book, his work and the main arguments surrounding same-sex marriage.
Our Sunday Visitor: In the book, you say the entire marriage debate hinges on one question: What is marriage? Why is that question so important?
Robert P. George: Advocates of redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships appeal to the principle of equality. We cannot, however, understand what equality does and does not require without first determining what marriage is.
Marriage laws will always draw distinctions between the types of relationship that count as marital and the types that do not. Appeals against the distinctions they draw based on claims about equality will in every case depend for their validity on whether the distinctions are arbitrary. Whether the distinctions are, in truth, arbitrary or non-arbitrary will turn on a judgment of what marriage is.
So, the key question is: What is marriage? Yet this is the question that those seeking to redefine marriage seek desperately to avoid. They hold to the unquestioned assumption that marriage, properly understood, is simply an especially intense emotional bond, and that the marital relationship is merely a form of sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership. This assumption underwrites their claim that distinguishing “same-sex” from “opposite-sex” partnerships in defining marriage is arbitrary and therefore a form of invidious discrimination.
The assumption, however, turns out to lack credibility. It cannot be squared with the history of our law and practice of marriage, or with aspects of marriage that remain, to a considerable extent, uncontroversial.
For example, it cannot make sense of why marriage is necessarily a sexual partnership, as opposed to a partnership that could just as well be integrated around other (nonsexual) shared interests, activities or objectives (a love of tennis or literature, a shared commitment to a political or religious cause, or whatever).
Nor — quite crucially — can it make sense of why marriage is a union of two persons, and not three or more (triads, quadrads, etc.) in polyamorous sexual partnerships.
What can account for, explain and justify these features of marriage is the traditional understanding of marriage as a conjugal union. This type of union is a multilevel (bodily as well as emotional) sharing of life that is made possible by the sexual-reproductive complementarity of man and woman. It is oriented to, and would naturally be fulfilled by, the spouses’ conceiving and rearing children together.
OSV: Some people wonder why the government even concerns itself with marriage. Why does it regulate this type of relationship?
George: Marriage is critical to the success of any society because it is the way that mothers and fathers are united to each other in a relationship uniquely apt for the project of child rearing. Now, obviously, law and the state have a profound interest in successful child rearing. Every other social good depends on that.
So, although the state did not invent marriage — marriage, properly understood, is a pre-political institution — the state rightly and necessarily recognizes marriages, distinguishes marital from nonmarital forms of relationships, and supports, regulates and promotes marriage in the hope of sustaining a vibrant marriage culture.
This explains why, historically and across cultures, governments have formally recognized and regulated marriages, even though they have not done that for ordinary friendships, relationships among siblings or purely religious sacraments and ceremonies, such as baptisms and bar mitzvahs.
OSV: How would legally recognizing same-sex marriage weaken the marriage relationship?
George: Marriage properly understood is not exclusively about procreation and child rearing, though that is what grounds the state’s profound interest in marriage. But it is always linked, if indirectly, to those human goods and purposes. Mar
riage, as a conjugal union, is the kind of relationship that is oriented to, and would naturally be fulfilled by, the spouses’ having and rearing children together. Where a marriage is not blessed with children, it remains a marriage because being in a relationship of this nature is intrinsically good and fulfilling; it is not merely instrumentally valuable as a means to successful child rearing.
So, the law has always recognized consummated marriages as valid and perfected marriages, even where the spouses know that their sexual congress will not give them children. And the law has always treated all marriages, including the marriages of infertile spouses, as bound by the norms that shape and structure marriage as a conjugal union: sexual exclusivity and fidelity, and the pledge of permanence.
When the law abolishes the conjugal conception of marriage and replaces it with a counterfeit, the rational basis of these norms will be lost, and people’s belief in them and willingness to abide by them will erode as the norms make less and less sense to each generation. They will seem more and more like mere relics of a bygone age when marriage was understood differently.
Initially, of course, habitual ways of thinking and sentimental attachments will cause some people to continue to think of the norms as valid and binding, but that won’t last.
Is this conservative “scaremongering”? Hardly. Candid activists in the same-sex marriage movement say essentially the same thing. Writer Victoria Brownworth, for example, acknowledges that redefining marriage “will almost certainly weaken the institution of marriage.”
The difference between Brownworth and me is only this: She thinks weakening marriage by redefining it would be a good thing, something that would liberate people and free them from constraints and “hang ups.”
I think it would be a catastrophe for children, for families, for communities and for the larger society, all of whom depend for their well-being on the health and vibrancy of the original and best “department of health, education and welfare,” the marriage-based family.
[2 Jan 2013; 13 Jan 2013, OSV; Aug/Sept 2013, Family Resources Center News; Brandon Vogt is a writer and speaker who blogs at BrandonVogt.com. He is also the author of “The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet” (OSV, $13.95), which you can find at www.churchandnewmedia.com. He writes from Casselberry, Fla.
Dinner Can Change Your Youth’s Life
Everyone has to eat, preferably 3 meals a day.
New research shows that spending just one of those meals together as a family a few times a week can make an enormous difference in the life of a child/teen.
Studies show that the dividends of eating together as a family go far beyond nutritional benefits. In fact, according to studies, “Teens who eat with their families at least five times a week are 40 percent more likely to get A’s and B’s in school than their peers who don’t share family meals. They’re also 42 percent less likely to drink alcohol, 59 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes, and 66 percent less likely to try marijuana. They were also less depressed.”
Want to raise a healthy youth? Then incorporate family meal times into your schedule. The article suggests, “…scheduling non-essential activities around your dinner [hour], and not the other way around.”
Family time can make a huge world of difference in the life of your youth. In fact, research also suggests that eating meals together can help prevent teen pregnancy as well.
As a parent it is important for your children/teen to know you care about them and want to spend time with them.
Family mealtime can help create good family bonds, as well as, help parents keep in touch with what is going on in their children’s lives.
Read more about family dinners here — Documentary: The Family Meal — http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/14/family-meal-documentary.aspxe_cid=20131214Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20131214Z1&et_cid=DM36510&et_rid=366748016#_edn3
and here — Family Dinner Linked to Better Grades for Teens — http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Health/story?id=1123055&page=1
[January 2, 2014, Abstinence.net, http://www.abstinence.net/our-blog/potpourri/dinner-can-change-your-youths-life/ ]
Being Fatherless Leaves Child Susceptible to Abusive Treatment From Father-Figure
A TV show, "…titled 'Boot Camp my Pre-Teen'… a former Marine trying to shape up seemingly incorrigible boys." One particular episode had a young boy who, when asked, said he would want to have the gruff Marine be his father. Why? Because, even though the marine had been yelling at the boy, the boy still preferred to have the Marine shout at him and be a father-figure than to have no father at all. This scenario not only shows that a child truly desires to have a father, but also that without a father a child will tolerate poor treatment so long as it is by a pseudo father-like figure.
We encourage you to also watch the powerful video that the article includes.
Spice Up Your Family Time And Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's
Board games not only are fun to play, but research now shows that playing board games one time a week with your family is not only beneficial to enhancing family time, but also can prevent you from developing dementia and Alzheimer's. Board games also help children, “…practice essential problem-solving and [enhance] other cognitive skills.”
Furthermore, according to the article, board games can help you, “Relieve Stress, Gain Mental Balance and Relax.”
With health benefits to all ages, it is no wonder that board games are making a comeback. So next time you get the family together, you might consider digging the board games out of the cabinet, dusting off the monopoly board pieces, and playing a round.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY RESOURCES
Book — Sex Is Not The Problem (Lust Is)
Best selling author Joshua Harris shows how lust deceives you. Specific and honest without being graphic, this book- for both men and women- will guide you in creating a custom plan for fighting lust and celebrating purity. http://www.abstinence.net/store/?wpsc-product=sex-is-not-the-problem-lust-is
One special way NAC can help you promote the abstinence-until-marriage message in your community is through our pre-recorded public service announcements. These 30-second sound bite is ready to be sent to your local radio station to get the positive message to teens in your community.
This brochure aimed at teens tou
ches on the important issues of self-esteem, building lasting relationships, the correlation between sex and alcohol or drugs and love vs. lust. Teens will get useful information that will help them in making healthy choices, both physically and emotionally.
The following article points out that many people go into a marriage with unrealistic expectations. Disney movies and chick flicks may be to blame, but this article seeks to make the expectations of its readers a bit more down to earth. “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” is a great read for all!
[Posted on October 14, 2013, http://www.abstinence.net/our-blog/unrealistic-expectations/ ]
3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married
I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.
Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.
This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.
This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.
However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.
According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.
Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight.
The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.
1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.
Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.
I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.
The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she's looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.
Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.
I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.
When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.
[Ed. As a wise sage once said, "Marriage is more about Holiness than it is about Happiness."]
2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.
Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.
When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.
However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.
For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.
To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.
Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.
Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
3. Marriage can change the world.
John Medina, the author of "Brain Rules" and a biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”
Medina's answer alludes to a surprising truth.
In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.
What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.
Re-enter John Medina, the biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?
“Go home and love your wife.”
Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parent
The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.
So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.
[Tyler Ward, January 23, 2013, http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/3-things-i-wish-i-knew-we-got-married ]
The Importance of Dads
Nearly every man who has a child wants to be a good father; I truly believe that. It's a natural longing of the human heart to care for and cherish your child. But this longing must find concrete expression. Raising a child requires sacrifice, effort, time, and presence.
George W. Bush
Numerous studies show that children need involved fathers just as much as they need their mothers. The studies demonstrate the positive impact an involved father has and the negative impact an absent father has. Fathers are the model of manhood for their children. Sons learn how to be a man from their father's example and daughters look for a husband just like their dad.
We salute all fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, granddads and those who fill the shoes of absent fathers.
Thanks to all of you for all your selfless love and sacrifice for your children!
Belated Happy Father's Day!
[Human Life Alliance Weekly Wire, 18 June 2010]
INSTITUTE FOR MARRIAGE AND PUBLIC POLICY. Each week, free of charge, the Institute surveys hundreds of news stories about marriage, sex, babies and family life to bring the five most interesting stories of the week.
In 2008, iMAPP's study "The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce" provided groundbreaking data about how much high rates of family fragmentation cost — not for only children, families and neighborhoods, but also for taxpayers.
Finally, iMAPP's policy briefs summarize useful information relevant to important public policy debates in an easy-to-read format. [http://www.marriagedebate.com/ ; 15Dec08, abstinence.net]
Study ties Cervical and Testicular cancers to increased divorce rate [NOTE: worldwide, 99% of all cases of cervical cancer involve the STD human papillomavirus HPV. As this study progresses, it should consider the effect of premarital and extramarital sexual activity on divorce rates.]
People who develop cervical or testicular cancer may face another harsh reality: they are more likely to get divorced than those without the disease, a new study says.In research presented 27Sept at a meeting of the European Cancer Organization, Norwegian experts found cancer patients were no more likely to get divorced than people without cancer, except for those with cervical and testicular cancer. The divorce rate actually dropped slightly in the years following diagnosis for most cancers, they said.
But the study showed women with cervical cancer had a 40 percent higher chance of getting divorced than other women. Men with testicular cancer were 20 percent more likely to get divorced than similar men without cancer. Both types of cancer are curable and are diagnosed at younger ages than other cancers.
The researchers didn't have any information on why the couples divorced. Experts thought that the breakups could be due both to the cancers, and to the youth of the couples involved. Older couples might be more committed to each other and less likely to get divorced even when faced with a serious illness.
The researchers said the risk of divorce among those with cervical or testicular cancer dropped with age.
"It seems to be worse for your marriage to get cancer early," said Astri Syse, an epidemiologist at the Norwegian Cancer Registry who led the study.
The researchers looked at 2.8 million people, comparing the divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors and couples with no cancer. They did not ask about the reasons for the divorces, but only looked at marriage and divorce registration data between 1974 and 2001.
The researchers said since Norway's divorce rate is the same as other developed countries the results may apply elsewhere.
Lesley Fallowfield, a professor of psycho-oncology at Sussex University who was not connected to the study, said that because sex is a particularly important way for young couples to cement their relationship, a cancer diagnosis that affects a couple's sex life might be very damaging.
"No patient develops cancer in a social vacuum," she said. "The diagnosis will always have an impact on a loved one, and in some cases, they may decide to leave."
Syse said that her study was good news for some cancer patients.
"There's a myth that if you get breast cancer, your husband will leave you," she said. In fact, she and her colleagues found that survivors of breast cancer were less likely to get divorced than similar women without the disease.
Another study presented Wednesday at the Barcelona meeting found that children of cancer patients were so affected by the news of their parent's diagnosis that they had post-traumatic stress symptoms years later.
"We clearly need to be looking closer at how cancer affects a patient's loved ones," Fallowfield said. "There is more to treating cancer than just medical care."
[27Sept07, AP, By M. Cheng, BARCELONA, Spain; European Cancer Organization: http://www.ecco-org.eu/; http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070927/ap_on_he_me/cancer_divorce_3]
Lack of Marriage & Work Are the Roots of Child Poverty Problem, Says Researcher
A researcher at a prominent conservative think tank says child poverty in the U.S. is self-inflicted due to the bad decisions of parents.
Dr. Robert Rector says a lack of work and a lack of marriage are the two main factors producing child poverty in the U.S.
The senior research fellow in domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation notes that close to two-thirds of all poor children are in single-parent families.
According to Rector, the major reason for that is that each year, about 38 percent of American children — the equivalent of about 1.5 million children — are born into homes without a father.
"Those children are about seven times more likely to live in poverty through their childhood, than are kids raised in a married couple's family," says Rector. "In fact, you can take data on the mother and the father, and if that mother [who] gave birth without being married was actually married to the real father of the child, in about 70 percent of the cases the child would be raised immediately out of poverty."
The researcher says the average family with poor children only works about 16 hours a week on a yearly average.
According to Rector, if the number of hours worked per week were raised to 40, those children would be "immediately raised out of poverty." And throwing more money at the problem, he adds, will not fix anything. Instead he suggests that the underlying behavioral issues need to be dealt with in order to see results.
A newly released Census Bureau report says the nation's poverty rate was 12.3 percent in 2006.
Rector also notes that one out of ten people living in poverty in the U.S. are in the country illegally.
Jim Brown, OneNewsNow.com, September 4, 2007; LifeSiteNews.com, 4Sept; N Valko RN, 5Sept]
MARRIAGE : REAFFIRM IT, DON’T REDEFINE IT. Released by 50 nationally respected scholars in fields from law and sociology to history and economics, the thought-provoking document Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles makes a strong intellectual case for the role of marriage in society—apart from its religious significance.
"As scholars," reads the Executive Summary of the Principles, "we are persuaded that the case for marriage can be made and won at the level of reason. Marriage protects children, men and women, and the common good. The health of marriage is particularly important in a free society, which depends upon citizens to govern their private lives and rear their children responsibly, so as to limit the scope, size, and power of the state."
Read Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles at: http://www.princetonprinciples.org
[“More Than 50 Distinguished Scholars Issue Landmark Principles on the Importance of Marriage and the Public Good,” LifeSiteNews.com, 06-07-06; Abstinence Clearinghouse, June 21, 2006]
HOW CAN AMERICA REDUCE VIOLENT CRIME AND GANG ACTIVITY? ENCOURAGE MARRIAGE.
A review released in a September iMAPP Policy Brief examining 23 recent U.S. studies published in peer-reviewed journals found that family structure has a profound effect on crime and delinquency.
Of the studies, all but 3 agreed that children from non-intact or single-parent households had higher rates of crime and/or delinquency.
One particular study reviewed was even more specific, stating “adolescents in married, two-biological-parent families generally fare better than children in any of the family types examined here, including single-mother, cohabiting stepfather, and married stepfather families. The advantage of marriage appears to exist primarily when the child is the biological offspring of both parents."(1)
Several studies focused on gang participation found similar results. One study summarized the dangers of single parent homes by saying, “the single most important variable [in ‘gang centrality’] is the family’s structure….the greater the number of parents in the household, the lower the reported gang centrality.” (2)
1. Manning, Wendy, & Lamb, Kathleen A. Journal of Marriage & Family, 65 (2003) p.890.
2. Lynskey, Dana Peterson, et al. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 51 (2000), p.10.
Source: iMAPP Policy Brief, “Can Married Parents Prevent Crime?” September 21, 2005, http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/imapp.crimefamstructure.pdf Abstinence Clearinghouse, 12Oct05]
MARRIAGE: AMERICANS LOVE MARRIAGE, HATE DIVORCE. The results of a new marriage survey reveal overwhelming support for the institution of marriage. The survey, released by the National Fatherhood Initiative, sampled more than 1,500 Americans over the age of 18 for information.
Here are a few of the impressive findings:
* 89 percent of Americans believe “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised in a household that has a married mother and father.”
* Marriage is considered desirable. 86 percent of never-married individuals hope to be married someday.
* Most married people are happy. 93 percent of Americans say they would marry their spouse all over again. Those most likely to be happy were college-educated and did not cohabitate before marriage.
* Divorce is not considered a good thing. 94 percent think that divorce is a serious, national problem. 59 percent think America would be better off if divorces were harder to get. (73 percent support a mandatory one year waiting period to make sure divorce is the best solution.) Three-fifths of divorced individuals wished their spouses had worked harder at making their marriage work.
[Universal Press Syndicate, “Closing
the Divorce Divide,” 11/29/05 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucmg/20051130/cm_ucmg/closingthedivorcedivide;_ylt=A86.I1ilJo1DEgEAogP9wxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA
Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, 12-07-05]
LATVIAN PARLIAMENT OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTS CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE. 73 of the 100-member Latvian legislators confirmed a proposal to enshrine the traditional definition of marriage in the country's constitution 1Dec; a two-thirds majority is necessary to effect a change to the country's constitution.
Although same-sex "marriage" is already prohibited by law in Latvia, a change to the constitution assures the law will be less likely to be amended by an activist court – a real worry in light of events in Canada and the US.[Terry Vanderheyden,2Dec05 LifeSiteNews.com]
RESEARCH CONTINUES TO UPHOLD THE VALUE OF MARRIAGE. [Heritage Foundation & Wade Horn, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families 18Nov05 program] new studies affirm marriage is vital to a successful society:
Horn emphasized that a federal investment in promoting healthy marriages helps to keep government small. This is because people are less likely to need governmental assistance if they grow up in stable homes.
Supporting marriage goes to the root of many societal problems and allows young people to become independent, responsible adults. The Institute for American Values detailed its findings in an extensive study called “Why Marriage Matters.”
The study lists 26 sociological findings from 16 researchers, who highlight 5 new themes in marriage-related research:
Even though marriage has lost ground in the minority communities in recent years, marriage has not lost its value in these communities.
An emerging line of research indicates that marriage benefits poor Americans, and Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds, even though these Americans are now less likely to get and stay married.
Marriage seems to be particularly important in civilizing men, turning their attention away from dangerous, antisocial, or self-centered activities and towards the needs of a family.
Beyond its well-known contributions to adult health, marriage influences the biological functioning of adults and children in ways that can have important social consequences.
The relationship quality of intimate partners is related both to their marital status and, for married adults, to the degree to which these partners are committed to marriage.
Why Marriage Matters, 2nd Ed.: 26 Conclusions From The Social Sciences – Scholars on family life have re-issued a joint report [first released in 2002] on the importance of marriage; it highlights 5 new themes in marriage-related research by a politically diverse and interdisciplinary group of 16 leading family scholars, chaired by W. Bradford Wilcox [Univ of VA], and includes psychologist John Gottman [best selling author of books about marriage and relationships], Linda Waite [coauthor The Case for Marriage], Norval Glenn & Steven Nock [two of the top family social scientists in the country], William Galston [Clinton Administration domestic policy advisor], and Judith Wallerstein [author, national bestseller The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce].
Since 1960, the proportion of children who do not live with their own two parents has risen sharply—from 19.4% to 42.3% in the Nineties. This change has been caused, first, by large increases in divorce, and more recently, by a big jump in single mothers and cohabiting couples who have children but don't marry.
For several decades the impact of this dramatic change in family structure has been the subject of vigorous debate among scholars. No longer. These 26 findings are now widely agreed upon.
Among the research findings summarized by the report are:
• Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college, and achieve high-status jobs.
• Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than children in other family forms. The health advantages of married homes remain even after taking into account socioeconomic status.
• Parental divorce approximately doubles the odds that adult children will end up divorced.
• Married men earn between 10 and 40 percent more than single men with similar education and job histories.
• Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than otherwise similar singles.
• Marriage increases the likelihood fathers will have good relationships with children. Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29% from non-divorced families).
• Divorce and unmarried childbearing significantly increases poverty rates of both mothers and children. Between one-fifth and one-third of divorcing women end up in poverty as a result of divorce.
• Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers.
• Married women appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting or dating women. Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still three times more likely to report violent arguments than married people.
• Adults who live together but do not marry—cohabitors—are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health and disability, emotional well-being and mental health, as well as assets and earnings. Their children more closely resemble the children of single people than the childr
en of married people.
• Marriage appears to reduce the risk that children and adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime. Single and divorced women are four to five times more likely to be victims of violent crime in any given year than married women. Boys raised in single-parent homes are about twice as likely (and boys raised in stepfamilies three times as likely) to have committed a crime that leads to incarceration by the time they reach their early thirties, even after controlling for factors such as race, mother's education, neighborhood quality and cognitive ability.
The authors make three fundamental conclusions:
1. Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.
2. Marriage is an important public good, associated with a range of economic, health, educational, and safety benefits that help local, state, and federal governments serve the common good.
3. The benefits of marriage extend to poor and minority communities, despite the fact that marriage is particularly fragile in these communities.
Another key supporter of healthy marriages, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), noted, “There are a number of important debates heating up about marriage, including whether we should redefine marriage. Before we consider changing what marriage means, we should look at what marriage is, what its benefits are, and why it is worth defending.”
Concerned Women for America (CWA) has actively supported the Healthy Marriage Initiative (HIM) since its introduction in 3/2005. President Bush proposed $100 million for this priority in his 2006 budget [S. 667 in the Senate and H.R. 240 in the House].
The funding proposed in the Healthy Marriage Initiative will go toward marriage and relationship education, through: public advertising campaigns; high school programs; programs for unmarried pregnant women and unmarried expectant fathers; pre-marital training for engaged couples and others interested in marriage; training programs for married couples; divorce-reduction programs; marriage-mentoring programs; programs to reduce disadvantages for married couples in government aid programs, if offered in conjunction with any activity described above. [http://www.cwalac.org/article_285.shtml; http://www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html; 29Nov05, LifeSiteNews.com; Single copies $5.00 each; Institute for American Values 212.246.3942; Amelia Wigton, 29Nov05]