Marriage Helps Children Thrive

Children thrive on the love and attention of both their parents. Couples who marry are more likely to stay together than those who do not. A loving, stable marriage is one of the best gifts parents can give to their children.

Mothers’ Union believes that marriage benefits children. Research agrees, with many studies consistently showing that children are most likely to be happy and thrive when brought up by their biological married parents in a “healthy marriage”*.

Making A Difference

However, having a child puts a big strain on most couples’ relationships; the sleep loss, the demands on their time and emotional reserves, the effect on their social lives, the increased chores, possible financial strain – all mean there’s no longer the same amount of time and energy for each other.

So, knowing the difference you are making to your child, not just by staying together but by loving and supporting each other, can be one of the prime motivations for working at your relationship.

A Sense Of Security

God's design from the outset was to put love at the very heart of our world. He has done this through creating us in such a way that each child should be conceived in an act of great intimacy and love between his or her father and mother. Further, his plan is that children should be born into a home where there is a committed relationship of love between their parents. And then that children should grow up under the protection of that relationship, learning what love looks like and having the confidence to build loving, committed relationships themselves.

Much of this learning happens at a subconscious level. What children take in from those closest to them at a young age affects them for the rest of their lives. Knowing that their parents will stay together, working through differences and challenges and remaining faithful to each other, gives children a deep sense of security and helps them to trust others. Ultimately they are more likely to make a marriage commitment themselves.

Great Benefits

Marriage has the potential to hold inestimable benefits for those who marry and for many others around them, who reap the fruit of their love and commitment to each other, but none more so than children.

The following exercises are designed to help couples ask themselves what their children are gaining from their relationship and how their marriage is being used, or could be used, for the benefit of others.

Exercise1

1.      If you are parenting together, think about which of the following statements are true for you and then discuss what you would like to do differently.Our children have observed us showing each other affection through:

  • treating each other with respect
  • giving each other hugs and kisses
  • resolving conflict in front of them
  • saying sorry when we've been in the wrong  
  • expressing forgiveness when we've been upset
  • setting aside special time to be alone together as a couple
  • showing kindness to each other
  • making requests rather than demands of each other
  • listening to each other

2.      Complete the sentence: Our children know we are committed to each other because we....

Exercise 2

Write down up to three ways your marriage is being used, or could be used, for the benefit of other people.

 

Adapted from an original article in Families First Issue 16, by Nicky and Sila Lee: Used with permission.

* ChildTrends.org.Moore, Jekielek & Emig: 2002