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Studies show children grow up happier and healthier when their parents' marriage is stable.
Studies show children grow up happier and healthier when their parents' marriage is stable. (iStock photo )

Studies have shown that if children grow up without a mom and dad, there's increased risk that they're going to fail in school.

Kids without two parents are more likely to not graduate from college, to be involved in substance or alcohol abuse, to experience depression and the risk of suicide. And it increases the risk that they will divorce or bear children outside of marriage.

On the other hand, statistics say that children who live with their own two parents growing up will enjoy better physical health than children living in any other family form. Every single study done has proven that kids develop best with a mom and a dad.

All that's just saying something real simple: When you do marriage God's way, it works out better in your life and your kids' lives. Kids grow healthier and stronger when they grow up in a stable family, with a mom and a dad in a stable marriage.

Why did God create marriage for the protection of children? Because when children are born, they are completely helpless. God knew that children needed a safe environment and somebody to feed and dress and nurture and protect and train and care for them.

The Bible says in Proverbs 14:26, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge" (MEV).

That's what every child needs growing up—a place of refuge and security, where they don't have to worry if mom or dad is going to walk out.

For many generations, when people "stayed together for the sake of the kids," it was considered an honorable thing. Those people were considered unselfish and mature.

Today people laugh at that statement. "Stay together for the sake of the kids? What are you talking about? You've got to do what's best for you."

Really? Do you always have to do what's best for you? That's called narcissism. Can you sometimes do something that's best for somebody else? For someone who's more vulnerable than you are? That's called maturity. That's called unselfishness. That's called love.

Talk It Over

  • Do you believe there is ever a right time for a husband or wife to walk out on his or her family? Why or why not?
  • What do you think God wants a couple to do when they are tempted to walk away because they believe it would be better for them and their children?
  • How can you prepare before marriage to raise children in a stable, godly home?

Rick Warren is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.

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