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America’s Need for Family

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Drug Use, Families, father, Government, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on January 9, 2015 at 7:42 am

troubled teenMekelle Tenney

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study conducted in 2013 that stated the following:

  • 20% of high school students reported having had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row
  • 18% of high school students reported having had a drink of alcohol before the age of 13
  • 40% of high school students reported having used marijuana
  • 23% of high school students reported that they were currently using marijuana
  • 22% of high school students reported that they were either offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property
  • 46% of high school students reported having had sexual intercourse
  • 34% of high school students reported that they were currently sexually active
  • 22% of high school students reported having used alcohol or drugs before last sexual intercourse

Why do these problems exist? Where are we failing as a society? Could it be that our school systems are not sufficiently instructing our youth? Our government has made a big effort to educate our youth on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and there is still a problem. Perhaps it is time for us to look to another source to instruct our youth; the family. Studies show that family has a substantial impact on children, their choices, self-image, and success. Consider the following:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of high school drop outs come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes
  • Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and four times as likely to need help for emotional and behavioral problems

The family is by far the most powerful unit in society, creating the biggest impact and effecting the greatest number of people. Yet we have seen it steadily deteriorating in the United States. In 2013 the New York Times published an article entitled “The Changing American Family” in which the author quoted some statistics on the family:

  • “Fewer women are becoming mothers and those who do have fewer children”
  • “More than 40% of American babies are now born to unmarried women”
  • “Marriage rates have been falling for several decades and are now at a historic low”
  • “Both men and women are getting married later, shifting marriage to an act of later adulthood and increasing the number of births to unmarried parents.”

It is clear that family is not the main focus for many Americans now. Even more alarming is the report that our youth have taken on the same attitude. In 2012 The State of Our Unions stated, “Less than a third of the girls and only slightly more than a third of the boys seem to believe,….. , that marriage is more beneficial to individuals than the alternatives. Note also that young women have seen their faith in marriage’s capacity to deliver happiness fall markedly over the last thirty years”.

It is clear that the family is necessary in society. Such attributes as personal responsibility, morality, honesty, and dependability are most effectively taught and understood within a family. The very nature of our democratic society calls for a closeness of family. In fact Alexis De Tocqueville stated in Democracy in America that democracy created a environment where society has less of a hold on the individual thus allowing the individual to create stronger and sweeter bonds with their family.

President Reagan shared a similar sentiment stating that “Families stand at the center of society, so building our future must begin by preserving family values.” The future of America depends on her families. Family must, once again, become the center of our society. Families are needed to teach our youth.  Government run institutions cannot and should not be counted on to raise the rising generation. The family is vital not only to our progression but also to our happiness. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “by a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the enduring connections of our families.”

Ways to Save the World and Reduce the Population

In Abortion, Abstinence, Birth Rate, Child Development, Demographic Decline, Diane Robertson, Drug Use, Families, Government, Human Rights, Parental Rights, Parenting, Population Control, Prostitution, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, The Family, UN, Values on November 26, 2014 at 8:00 am

UNDiane Robertson

If I had a conversation like, “Do you want to know what the UN is doing now?” And then actually repeated some of the information in the UNFPA’s State of World Population report on youth , no one would believe me. They would think I was an extremist, a radical, and a fear-monger. I’d be tempted to think that of myself, because really, who would guess that comprehensive sexual education, lowering the age of consent, ending all restrictions on abortion, legalizing drugs and prostitution, and reducing parental involvement would solve the world’s “over population” problems.

I can just imagine the delegates brainstorming what needs to done. One delegate raises his hand and boldly declares, “If we legalized drugs then driving under the influence would surely increase, and more people would die young! That would reduce the population.”

Feeling excited at that idea, another delegate chimes in, “If we lower the age of consent, oh and teach children as much about sexual activity as possible from pre-school onward, we are sure to increase STDs. Even more people will die young!”

Then of course there are nods of approval when along the same lines another delegate puts forth the idea that legalizing prostitution would spread STDs even faster.

One more thoughtful delegate would then say, “We need to be sure that parents aren’t involved in the sexual development and decision making of their children because they really don’t do a good job at that.”

Finally someone else raises her hand and says, “We need to get rid of all restriction on abortion. Sex can cause pregnancy, and pregnancy can cause population growth. Add abortion on demand to the document too.” But here I digress. Abortion is proven to lower the population. Since 1973, 53 million babies in the United States alone, were never given the chance at life. And voila, the national birthrate decreased.

So that’s it. The UNFPA wants to give our kids the façade of safety by telling them to act on their every sexual urge and do all the drugs they want while giving them condoms and telling them to wear their seatbelts. Thanks UN. I’m so glad you are trying to find ways to save the world and reduce the population.

*And just in case you are thinking I am an extremist, radical, or fear-monger, or really don’t like satire, here is a really great article that carefully explains the details found in the State of World Population report on youth.

Mom Shame

In adoption, Birth Rate, Breastfeeding, Child Development, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, stay-at-home mom, The Family, Values, working mothers on November 13, 2014 at 9:40 am

  busy mom  Rebecca Mallory

We thought there was pressure raising our four girls during the 80’s. All four girls are now very busy wives and mothers but believe me, my life was cake compared to theirs.  In the 80’s my diaper bag said “Safeway” on it. We bought an $80 crib that we used for all four kids until the last baby karate chopped the spindles on the bottom so she could simply roll to the floor to escape. It was not required to have a designer diaper bag, a $200 blinged out cover for the car seat (Heck! We didn’t even have a car seat!) that matched the high chair, stroller, toddler seat, crib and the partridge in a pear tree.

Whew! It’s expensive, and exhausting to be a mom today. Another “must” are clever 4×6 glossies printed for the baby shower invitations and cutest shower deco that matches the car seat, diaper bag, and decked out nursery. Nursery?! A Pinterest original, of course. And when mom arrives at her own shower, she can’t look stressed, tired, haggard, huge, or miserable. She must be perky, fun and at all times joyful.  What’s worse though, beyond this perfect personae that most mommies can’t afford let alone master, is the shame or judgement that moms fling at each other. Why is it that many opinionated mothers seem to grow mother claws as they have children. It’s their way or the highway. I recently read an article by Stephanie Barnhart about this very subject that really struck a cord with me. Here’s my take on some of her insights.

No doubt you’ve heard all the hubbub about breast feeding especially in public. To breast feed or not is very controversial in the mom community. My girls were all bottle fed. Not one grew up to be an ax murderer. Pretty good, huh? If you’re a breast feeder aficionado, congrats. But before you pass judgement on a mom bottle feeding her baby, consider this. What if she tried for weeks and just couldn’t do it? What if the baby requires a special formula? What if this mom had breast cancer and a double mastectomy? Maybe she simply chose to bottle feed? What if?

Snacks and eating habits. I’ve had to seriously consider super glueing my lips shut on this one. To see the kids eat an entire bowl of “Goldfish”, chips, or some other equally “fake” substance makes it hard not to blurt. But here’s the deal. My kids didn’t always… no they never…. ate totally balanced meals nor followed the four food groups 24/7. In fact if we were on a road trip, we’d lay the seats down, spread a few blankets, load them up with chips, candy, and other yummy but tooth-decaying items just to make it to our destination without fights, whining, and screaming while maintaining an iota of sanity. And yes, you read that right. No seat belts. Those were the days when saying “Be careful!” was enough, I guess.

Dress and fashion. Ok, we all need to back off on this one. “Mom jeans” to you, may not be “mom jeans” to her. Maybe that’s all she has, or can afford. Maybe she thinks yours are “mom jeans”! Looking perfect is in the eyes of the beholder, right? Let’s judge each other the way you want other women to judge you. Fair enough?

Lots of Parenting Styles

Discipline and parenting styles. All of our girls and their husbands have different parenting styles. It’s fascinating to watch them parent; especially having grown up in the same house with the same parents and rules. But as we choose a spouse we become “one” with them in almost all decisions which is an awesome blessing! (Ok maybe not totally awesome…) We have one daughter whose husband has been pretty stern with the kids. Result? They go to bed perfectly, eat their broccoli, and sit quietly in church.

We have one daughter who has five little kids, the fourth and fifth are twin 1 year olds. Her biggest concern used to be shopping, getting her hair and nails done, and keeping up on “What Not to Wear.” Now she stars in her own “Survivor” episodes and hopes to make it to bedtime each night without any broken bones or something catching on fire.

One daughter speaks very softly in all situations and is amazingly patient. All three oldest girls have five kids each. Their baby sister has one and vows she will never have five. Our kids have crazy lives.

We’re all in survival mode

Stay at home or have a career? Another potentially heated topic. I had to teach school when our kids were little. I was overcome with guilt a lot of the time and wanted to be a stay at home mommy. We just couldn’t afford it and had four jobs between us at times.  So when you see a mom dropping her child off at daycare, don’t judge. Is she going through a divorce? Did her husband lose his job? And if you drop your kids off at daycare while passing a mom in her husband’s sweats, with a stroller and three other kids walking to the bus stop, don’t immediately assume that her life is boring and unfulfilled. Or vise versa. What good comes of that? Nothing.

I have two sisters who had horrible experiences with trying to have babies. They both adopted and then were able to have their own naturally. Go figure. I have another sister who was nearly killed in a tractor accident at age 14 which resulted in the heartbreak of her inability to ever have children. Yet she’s had to endure the stares and insensitive questions from non-thinking women. “When are you going to have a baby? Or “Why don’t you have any kids?” She even had to endure her seven sisters whining about the day to day stress of motherhood when she would have given a million bucks to be experiencing our pain.

So you get the drift. Most moms are in survival mode. We all yearn for love and acceptance. It’s such a boost when it comes from our peers. (I know we’re not supposed to care what others think; but darn it, we do!) Instead let’s all admit that parenting is the hardest but most rewarding job there is. But when those sweet kids get out of the bathtub and into their jammies with faces shining, and hair dripping wet, and throw their arms around your neck with an “I love you mommy” it becomes more than worth the daily wear and tear.

Let’s love each other for trying to raise productive and happy children. With so many people choosing not to have children, let’s applaud and lift each other up for our efforts in parenting. Let’s look for the good.  It’s right in your own mommy community.

 

Make the Choice

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Demographic Decline, Divorce, Education, Families, Feminism, Government, Marriage, Parenting, Population Control, Schools, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values, Women's Rights, working mothers on November 7, 2014 at 9:49 am

mother teaching daughterMekelle Tenney

Over the last 50 years the fertility rate among Americans has dropped from 3.65 to 1.89. The rate of households with one child or more under the age of 18 has also made a significant drop from 48.8% to 32.3%.

In 2010 only 30% of high school girls and 40% of high school boys reported that they believed they would have a fuller and happier life if they were legally married as opposed to cohabitation.

Sixty three percent of high school female seniors and 69% of males agreed that it was a good idea for couples to live together before marriage to make sure that they “get along.”

What exactly are these statistics saying?

  • Children are no longer a priority.
  • Marriage is not seen as a means for a happier and fuller life.
  • Marriage is not essential and shouldn’t be entered into unless you have given the relationship a “test drive”.

In short, family is not worth the sacrifice.

This same sentiment was shared by our President just recently. On October 31 President Barack Obama delivered a speech to a crowd in Rohde Island. President Obama stated,

“Sometimes, someone — usually mom — leaves the workplace to stay home with the kid, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

The purpose of President Obama’s speech was to promote equal opportunities for women in the work force. Though this statement invokes many different discussions, one stands out. Let’s say that many women do choose to stay at home, they do give up career opportunities. Since when does family not require sacrifice? Are our children not worth it? The idea that we can have a family without sacrifice and work is unrealistic and dangerous. Obama has implied that we do not want Americans to make that choice?

America’s families cannot afford not to. If we are to save the state of our families we must not make decisions for ourselves alone, but for our families. We have all seen this in our lives. We saw our parents sacrifice sleep, personal goals, ambitions, dreams, and desires, all to raise their family. And where this sacrifice was given, the families are closer, stronger and more united. Everyone was blessed.

I believe that the desire to create and cultivate a family is a natural desire. And yet society it telling us not to. Each generation has to decide for itself what its priorities are. What will it be America? Will we choose to make the sacrifice for family?

Endurance

In Birth Rate, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Euthanasia, Families, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, The Family, Values on September 10, 2014 at 8:23 am

enduring hardship

 

 

 

 

Diane Robertson

Experiencing the birth of my own ten children has taught me something about pain and endurance. When I had my first baby, I was not prepared for the pain. The earlier pains of labor crippled me and brought tears to my eyes. The second time, I was able to endure it much better but began to succumb to the pain as it intensified. By my eighth labor and delivery, I had conquered the pain. The experience of giving birth changed from one of fear and intimidation to one of peace and triumph. I understood my body and I knew that even if the pain became worse than I had ever known, I knew that the time would pass and that I could triumph over it.

Like my ability to handle the pain of labor increased as I bore more children, my ability to handle the pains of life has also increased. Through each difficult time, I have learned that these times pass and the future will be brighter. I have learned that patience is a tremendous healing balm. Life cycles. Sometimes it is amazing; sometimes it is painful.

Pain, sorrow, heaviness, defeat, trials, darkness, and suffering have come upon all of humanity through all time. Sometimes dark times come to whole societies and sometimes to individuals and families. No one is alone, and no one is exempt. Studying the triumphs of others helps us to continue through our own dark times. Whether personal such as marriage difficulties, divorce, depression, job loss, rejection and death or societal troubles such as war, destruction, economic depression, disease, and rampant immorality the conquerors from history can help us face our difficult days.

Corrie ten Boom, author and holocaust victim taught, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”

We have the memories of the Pilgrims who suffered starvation, disease, and the deaths of half of their company, yet still conquered and built a beautiful life for themselves and their posterity. We have the memories of George Washington and the soldiers of the American Revolution. They suffered cold, hunger, death, and disease. They saw families and neighbors divide in anger. Even as they watched their countrymen die, they continued onward to become conquerors and heroes. Their patience and endurance brought freedom to their posterity and many, many others throughout the world.

We have the memories of the people who suffered through the Great Depression. They learned from their darkness. They endured, and they triumphed. We have the memories of the soldiers who fought in the world wars. They did not give up. They did not let death, degeneration, starvation, and anguish conquer them. Instead, they triumphed. We have the Holocaust survivors that endured some of the worst inhumanity of all time. Yet those who lived came out to tell the stories of the strength and goodness of the human spirit.

Pain, sorrow, heaviness, defeat, trials, darkness, and suffering are as old as time. For those who have kept going, kept fighting, and kept trying happiness, goodness, strength, and freedom have always won. Whether you are suffering from depression, job loss, death, illness, or any sort of pain know that the sun does rise in the morning. Your spirit is strong and you have the ability to endure. As we listen to news about ISIS and ebola and hear about how another judge attempts to change the definition of marriage, we can feel the darkness of our times. Yet, like before, we can conquer. Goodness can triumph. Like those before us we can experience war, death, economic depression, rampant immorality, degeneration, despair, disease, and inhumanity, endure them and conquer them.

Too Many People…

In Abortion, Abstinence, Birth Rate, Drug Use, Eugenics, Euthanasia, Families, Family Planning, Government, Health Care, Human Rights, motherhood, Parental Rights, Physician Assisted Suicide, Planned Parenthood, Population Control, Sanctity of Life, Values on September 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm

over population

 

The next time you think that everyone else sees the world as you do, remember the following.

 

http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/08/30-population-control-quotes-show-elite-truly-believe-humans-plague-upon-earth/

Consequences of a Sexually Desensitized Society

In Abortion, Abstinence, AIDS, Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Values on August 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm

youth in love (lust)

 

Tashica Jacobsen

In a review of many scholarly journals studying negative effects on youth, sexual promiscuity and early sexual activity, are listed as a risk factor along with drug use, delinquent behavior, and violence. However, society is now changing its standards, and is actually encouraging what once was considered (and still is) a risk factor. The encouragement of promiscuity and experimentation along with “sexual rights” are desensitizing our society to sex, and the consequences are great.

Promiscuous behaviors and beliefs are not only risk factors in themselves, they are also a catalyst for a variety of negative consequences. Widely known is their potential for causing pregnancy and STD’s. Other less known consequences are confusion and the destruction they cause to relationships.

During sexual intimacy powerful chemicals are released in the brain. One of these chemicals is oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin plays a role in adult bonding and is released during sex. It creates a powerful bond between the two people. This bond is good in a long term committed relationship where it unites a couple. However when couples engage in casual sex this bond leads to confusion and heartache; couples may verbally deny any attachment but cannot change the bonding taking place in the brain.

Dr. Van Epp’s RAM model is used to show the healthy progression of a relationship. In this model couples move through five different stages: know, trust, rely, commit, and touch. Each level moves up as the relationship progresses, but to remain healthy the previous level must be higher than the proceeding one. Touch is the last of these stages because it solidifies what a couple already has established. It is an expression of all they have gone through. Since sexual relations are the ultimate touch it needs to follow after the ultimate commitment of marriage.

Sexual intimacy has also been described as a funnel. Individuals enter in and experience a narrowing of mind and focus. When this takes place in a healthy marriage, it leads to bonding and fulfillment. However when this funnel is entered into alone it leads to isolation, confusion, and guilt. The same process, when entered into in a healthy versus unhealthy relationship, has dramatic consequences, yet society is teaching that sex is good, regardless of the circumstances or outcomes.

This devaluation of sexual intimacy is also affecting marriages. Premarital sex increases the likelihood of infidelity in a marriage. In a premarital relationship individuals are laying the ground work for patterns that will continue throughout their marriage. If there is a lack of sexual self-control before marriage, the likelihood of sexual self control within marriage also decreases. The rate of divorce is also higher for those who have sexual relations before marriage. One study found “women who lost their virginity before 18 doubled their risk of divorce, as nearly 31 percent and 47 percent dissolved their marital unions within five and ten years, respectively.”

Sexual intimacy is a uniting act. It unites people in the ultimate way; no other act can do this. “It is the union of their whole selves—heart, mind, flesh, spirit.” But what we are teaching our children is to disconnect this act from others, and focus solely on personal gratification. If we cannot connect the most uniting form of human expression with another person, how is it that we are able to interact and connect with others on a day to day basis? We won’t be able to. We will start to view every interaction in terms of our wants and desires, regardless of others, and view our urges as uncontrollable things we have no choice but to give into. As this happens we give up our power to make decisions.

Given the confusion and destruction of relationships that comes as we devalue sex, it is easy to see why sexual active teens are more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide. This new standard of morality is destroying relationships leading to isolation that then spills over into other aspects of our lives making us even more selfish, isolated, and alone.

 

Fathers are Necessary and Honorable

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Child Development, date rape, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Schools, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, Violence on June 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

dad with sonDiane Robertson

Fatherhood is noble. Despite the fact that popular movies tend to make fathers out to be stupid or incapable, mothers, children, and society need fathers.

Mothers need fathers present. When I had my first baby it did not take me long to realize just how much my little daughter needed her father. Having my husband around parenting with me made me a better mother. He helped me to be more patient, wiser, and to look at the bigger picture. He played baby games with her that I wouldn’t dare do. This helped our little daughter’s development. Sure, I could be a good and strong mother without my husband, but I was better because of him.

Children need fathers present. Children who grow up in fatherless homes face many more challenges than children who grow up with both their mother and their father. The statistics plainly illustrate how much children need their fathers.

  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, Vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. [National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows f for all God’s Children]
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father. [US Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988]
  • 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]
  • Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. [US D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999]

Society needs fathers. Clearly fathers make a big difference in the education and mental health of children. With 43% of children being born into single parent homes, government programs have stepped in to help. Yet, the statistics have not changed. Government cannot do what a father can.

As we approach Father’s Day, let us remember the importance of fathers. The men who marry, have children, and stick around to raise those children are honorable and deserve our praise. The world is a better place because of fathers.

Parenting: A Couple Effort

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting on April 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

mom:dad:babyDiane Robertson

As a stay at home mom of 9 children, I get many people asking me the question, “How do you do it?” My answer is simple. I do not do it alone. I am a stay at home mom of many children only because I am married and my husband and I have chosen to bear our children together and to make the financial sacrifices necessary to keep me at home.

While staying home to raise my children, I have the time to keep a clean and organized home, make healthy meals, help with homework, and be there for the little struggles and triumphs of my children. I could not be the same mother if I had to leave the house every day to work a full time job. I have the option of staying at home because I am married to a man who is willing to work hard to provide for a family. Being a mother is not hard when it is coupled with a supportive and loving marriage. In fact, motherhood under these circumstances is beautiful and rewarding.

However, our society is teaching the opposite– marriage is difficult–being parents is too hard–staying home to raise your children is a waste of your education and talents. These teachings and ideas about family life are simply not true. Sure, a happy marriage requires time and sacrifice, but the benefits always outweigh the costs. Yes, parenthood is tiring and messy. It is also wonderful and amazing, and completely worth the time and mess.  Of course, when a mother stays home she is not using her education and talents to earn money, but she is using her education and talents to teach and train the next generation—nothing is wasted.

Unfortunately, the negative voice about marriage and parenting is the louder voice and it is taking a toll on the family. With 41% of children being born to single mothers and 40% to 50% of first marriages ending in divorce, many, many mothers do not even have the option to be stay at home moms.  Not only do these mothers have to work, they are much more likely to live in poverty and their children are disadvantaged educationally, socially, and economically. These statistics are sad and sobering.

Yet, the answer to fix these problems is simple. As a society, we need to stop listening to the negative voices about marriage and family and make the choice to get married, stay married, and make child rearing a couple effort. Family life is a happy, fulfilling life, and marriage is the best place to raise a child.

Marriage: A Reflection After Fifteen Years

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Families, father, Gender, Health Care, Homosexuality, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, The Family, Values on April 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Ellsworth Family LDSElise Ellsworth

Next week my husband and I will celebrate fifteen years of marriage together.  Our marriage has weathered the births of seven children, four college degrees, eleven moves (four of them cross-country), job losses, being hit by a tornado, too many emergency room trips to count (we have six boys) and a host of other day-to-day stresses.

Frankly, I hope that the next fifteen years offer more smooth sailing than the last.  But despite having crossed some stormy seas I remain more committed than ever to the institution of marriage and more convinced than ever of the benefits of marriage between a man and a woman.  I am amazed at how many seemingly intelligent persons are being deceived by the popular argument that the best way to go through life is alone, cohabiting, or in a relationship with someone of the same gender.  I love being married to my husband!

There are so many well-documented benefits to man-woman marriage.  Married couples are healthier.  Married couples are wealthier.  Married couples are happier.  Married couples have better sex lives.  Married couples raise happier and more successful children.  These are all proven facts. So, I’d like to digress a bit and share fifteen little things I have loved about being married and being committed to my husband for the past fifteen years:

©     Our weekly dates – snowshoeing, hikes, learning a language, trips to the thrift store – the only date that hasn’t gone over well is tennis – I am a sore loser

©     Early morning runs – and after two near fires we have made the rule for the kids of “no attempts at cooking” while we are gone

©     Middle of the day telephone calls from someone who loves me

©     Making plans together – it drives my “let’s get going” husband crazy but I love to get his ideas

©     The little jokes my husband cracks right when I am in the middle of my serious tirades

©     Shared eye rolls when the kids are going out of control

©     When he “winks” his tail light at me when I’m following him in my car

©     Having an excuse to get dressed up

©     Entertaining together and watching my husband agonize as he tries to set “the perfect table”

©     Our nightly ritual of sharing one thing we love about each other – sometimes it’s “I like your nose hairs” (if we’re really mad), but it’s always something

©     The births of each of our children – touching heaven for just an instant

©     Swinging children between us on hikes

©     Trying to keep each other awake when we are driving on long road trips

©     The seemingly hundreds of soccer games we’ve attended over the years – sometimes I try to pretend I am not married to him when he loses it with the referee but I still love being there

©     Waking up next to my best friend (this is my husband’s addition J)

The cool thing about marriage is that this list is different for everyone but it’s still there.

Yes, today more than ever it is difficult to get married.  And it’s difficult to stay married.  But if you get the chance, if you fall really, truly in love – don’t settle for less.  Commit to lifelong marriage.  It’s been a fun ride.  I’m looking forward to the next fifteen years.

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