Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Life Isn’t Fair

In Choice, Divorce, Families, father, Freedom, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Sanctity of Life, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, working mothers on January 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

parent talking with daughter 2

by Rebecca Mallory

All of us, at one time or another, are brought to our knees because of unexpected events. Trials and tribulation hit each of us whether we’re rich, poor, short or tall, young or old. We all have them. These moments often jolt us back to reality in reflection of what is truly important. I’ve had one of those weeks.  Not from personal experience, but from the experience of others.

 How do you deal with trials, devastating news and/or set backs?
What purpose do trials serve?
What are we supposed to learn from them?
Without core beliefs and a trustworthy support group, many of us would be caught up in the “why’s” of life. No, life is not fair. Life is precious and can be cut short at any time.Though tragedy strikes us all, we still have a choice of how we will react.
Will we allow it to destroy us?  Or will we pick ourselves up, be forgiving, loving and patient and move on?  I contend that our reaction depends on those core beliefs. So as you kiss your kids or spouse “goodbye” today, let’s not take anything for granted.
If this was your last day on earth, would you be a different person?
How would you treat the people around you if this was so?

Would you look for the good?

Such was the case for some friends of ours. Mary, (not her real name) had been divorced for many years. She raised her sweet kids, got them through college, and did it alone. She recently met a great guy from Australia online, they dated and got married over Thanksgiving, 2015. They were so incredibly happy together,  Mary seemed to glow. Last week, Robert (not his real name) was playing pickup basketball and literally collapsed with a massive cardiac arrest and died at 54 years old.  Why? How is that fair to this darling girl?

A couple of days later, I heard of a young mom in the neighborhood who was taking her little four year old out for a walk in hopes that mom would soon go into labor and deliver their new baby sister. The little girl somehow let go of her mother’s hand, dashed into the street and was hit by a car and killed. Why? How is that fair to this grieving young family?

Life is anything but fair. So how do we deal with these tragedies of life? I had a sister who died of lung cancer three years ago. She never touched tobacco.

I know that each of you have these same stories or know of close friends who have. Here’s what I do know, however. We must all come to grips with what life may throw at us. We need to have a strong support system and core beliefs to guide us through those times. For many people that is their religion,  a faithful friend, strong families, or belief in a higher power, etc. It is so important that we have access to something or someone bigger than us to support us through these times.

I reflected on the words spoken in the funeral of this newlywed. His two sons spoke and were obviously distraught. One son recounted how he always got on his dad’s case because he didn’t save money like the son wished he would. “But,” he answered, “I’m creating memories with my precious family.” This son was so grateful for that. Mary, his wife, bravely spoke also. She spoke of Robert’s goodness and positive attitude. She spoke of the seven glorious weeks they had together and how grateful she was for those precious memories. Certainly she could have sobbed and wailed about how unfair it was that he was taken at such a young age. From her core beliefs, however, Mary chose to look at the bright side of having had those wonderful weeks with a wonderful man. The difficulty will not stop for a long time of course. Loneliness will settle in and those pesky “why’s?” will creep into her thoughts as they do all of us when we face trials.

Life rarely turns out the way we planned. As teenagers many young girls picture their life with a handsome and rich husband who showers them with anything they want. Large families who all love each other and live next to each other in total bliss. Problems and life’s road bumps would never be an issue for them. What if that actually happened? What kind of growth is gained from that perfect life? How would they learn to be a little more kind, compassionate or empathetic to those around them?

Look back at your life. What experiences brought you the most heartache and/or joy? I’ll bet it was those that were most difficult and brought you to your knees to search the depths of your soul for what is truly important. “Stuff” suddenly does not matter. Petty grievances are often forgiven, and hopefully, we learn life’s hard but valuable lessons that then prepare us for the next big challenge we will face. I remember feeling sorry for parents who had a wayward child, one who had a drug addiction, lost a job, or died at a young age. It wasn’t until my family faced similar trials that I truly understood the pain of those who went before us.

Like the rough stone that tumbles into a river and is constantly bombarded with debris, freezing cold water and other elements, it slowly becomes smooth as it yields to the river. On the other hand, think of those you know who choose to remain heartbroken and bitter because of refusing to yield to life’s curve balls. Often these people look much older than their age and are in poor health because the worry and stress that they allow, yes allow, to consume them will age or even kill them faster than most diseases.

This blog post has been cathartic for me as I struggle with the “why’s?” of life. What have I learned? The same lessons that I learn each time a tragedy happens and yanks me back to the few things in life that matter: my God, my family, my relationships. Life is fleeting and you can always expect the unexpected. Love your children, spouse, neighbors and friends. Treat the people in your community with love and respect. They are experiencing life just as you are. They have feelings, families, trials and joys just like you. Let’s try to be a little kinder, a little more gentle in our reactions, less likely to take offense, and more filled with joy and laughter.
Be the bright spot in someone’s day. It takes so little on our part to bring a smile to someone’s face. And the great secret is that you benefit even more and feel great joy. No, life isn’t fair, but we can overcome the unfairness with our choosing to look at the good in all including ourselves!

The Results Are Out: Children Need a Married Mom and Dad

In Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on January 22, 2016 at 7:50 am

family in forrestby Elise Ellsworth

About a year ago I noticed that a bird had built its nest above my neighbor’s garage. It was the most uniquely situated of any I had ever seen.   I commented on the nest. My neighbor responded with something like, “Oh, that stupid, stupid bird.” I wondered what she meant. She explained to me that the previous year the bird had built her nest in the same spot. The baby birds, when venturing out of the nest had plunged to their death on the pavement below. And yet this year the bird was at it again – building a nest in the same place.

It seems that society has become fixated on creating novel and unique family arrangements that do not work well: cohabitation, no-fault divorce, unwed parenting. And the results from social science and data have come back. Overwhelmingly. Resoundingly. Go back to the tree.

Children do best when raised by their happily married biological parents.

An article published in the Journal of Marriage and Child Wellbeing was entitled: “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation.” In this article, the author studied children who grew up in a household with two biological parents as compared to those growing up with one biological parent. The conclusions were that these children were “less likely to experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and social problems, not only during childhood but also in adulthood.”

Many other such studies have been performed with similar results. Children need their biological mom and dad. We don’t need more new alternatives. We need to learn from history. We need to do better what already has been done. Our children only get one chance at life. Let’s build the best families possible for future generations.



Just Wait Twenty Years

In Choice, Divorce, Families, Marriage, Values on December 10, 2015 at 10:13 am

older married coupleby Tashica Jacobson

My biggest shock when telling people of my recent marriage is the negativity that comes in response to this life event. They want to know if I am happy, and when I respond in the affirmative they respond with “just wait…” Just wait for whatever they think will give me a reality check. Just wait until the honeymoon is over, just wait for children, just wait until he makes you angry, just wait twenty years. This negativity is darkening the views that today’s young people have on marriage, and overshadowing the real life benefits that come from marriage, including the benefit of happiness.

Married people are happier than their non-married peers. This happiness is contributed to many things, such as the boost in standard of living marriage typically brings, the friendship, and the promise of fidelity and permanence. But regardless of these things marriage boosts psychological wellbeing, and those who marry are less likely to experience depression and chronic stress.

The debate has gone on for years of whether marriage makes people happier or if happy people are more likely to marry. In The Case for Marriage Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite explore this idea. They state “The selection of happy and healthy people in marriage cannot explain the big advantage in mental and emotional health husbands and wives enjoy.” Meaning that marriage does indeed increase an individual’s overall wellbeing regardless of their emotional state beforehand.

I have heard it said that marriage is just doubling your amount of problems; and it’s true that marriage offers its fair share of challenges. Married couples have to deal with things that their single counterparts don’t. However marriage also provides a partner to go through these things with. They have a shoulder to lean on, a shoulder who has promised to be there for better or for worse.

The Institute for American Values did a report on divorce; they found “two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later.” Showing that even when difficult times arise in a marriage couples that work through it end up experiencing the positive effects of marriage on happiness.

My favorite thing about marriage is that I get to plan my life with someone who has just as much invested in it as I do. Because we both have so much invested we get in more “discussions” about how to spend money, where to live, and what career path to follow than either of us would do with our parents or friends, but it also means that we are thinking about how our choices will affect each other.

Marriage provides many benefits, but when our culture is saying the opposite it causes people to stop looking for and expecting the benefits, causing hesitation towards marriage. If these benefits are not known and only negativity portrayed, marriage will be less sought after and people will be more likely to run when troubles arise rather than staying to work through the issues and find greater happiness. We need to stop portraying this negative message about marriage. The happiness that marriage brings needs to be known and worked towards.


Scrooges past, “Scrooges” present

In Abortion, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on December 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

Scroogeby Mekelle Tenney

My daughter is five months old today! This will be her first Christmas. Yesterday I took her with me to do some Christmas shopping at the mall. As we walked in and out of the different shops and boutiques I was observing the atmosphere, the shoppers, and the new “norms”. I found myself reflecting on Christmas’s past when I was a girl. American’s were not so passive then, we recognized wrong as wrong and we were not afraid to label it as such. There was plenty amiss in the 90’s when I was a kid. But since that time what was amiss has only gotten worse.

In Christmas’s past the biggest problem facing marriage was divorce. Rates were high and broken families were becoming the new norm. This Christmas marriage has been “redefined”. The essential elements have been tampered with and the family is facing its biggest challenge yet. What was considered dangerous in the past is presently embraced. Of course the “new definition” of marriage is not all that is wrong in the world today.

There is so much evil that is accepted that I have to wonder how we got here. The nation has been made aware of the inhumane, vile, evil actions of Planned Parenthood. We know about the brutal death of millions of babies. When I was a child I never could have imagined that such practices could be legally protected. Yet it has only been a year since the videos began to be released and America has decided it is old news. We go about our daily lives, shrug our shoulders and say “that is the world we live in”.

This same callous attitude was reflected by the well-known Christmas character Ebenezer Scrooge when he stated “It’s not my business. It’s enough for a man to understand his own business and not to interfere with other peoples’.” And yet as I look at our past and the steps we took to get to our present situation I realize that this callous attitude was one of the biggest factors that got us here today. In a sense, we said “Ba Humbug” to marriage, family, and morality. Dickens’ Scrooge liked the darkness because it was cheap, America’s “Scrooge” liked the darkness because it was easy. American’s decided that it was easier to go with the flow than to take a stand and be labeled a bigot, a hater, or old fashioned. The twist in the American Christmas Carol is that the streets are filled with “Scrooges” shouting their “Ba Humbugs” to those who stand for traditional families, morality, and religion.

My daughter’s first Christmas takes place in a time when the world is confused. People don’t know how to stand up to the “Scrooges” who march through our streets demeaning and ridiculing what is good and right. I am worried about our future. In his visit from the ghost of Christmas past Scrooge asked why his old business partner carried chains. “I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

American’s continue to build our chain, link by link. Some of it is out of our control. But most of it is not. We must not give up. There is still more that we can do. We must fight a good fight. It is vital that we continue to participate in the debates and in the political process. Join the conversations on line, in your community, and in the class rooms. Be active in what is happening around you. As Scrooge so eloquently said, “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if preserved in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”


Safe Zones and Just Deserts

In Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Education, Families, Free Speech, Parenting, Schools, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, working mothers on December 3, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Safe Zoneby Rebecca Mallory

Imagine this little scenario. Your 17 year old son comes to you with a notebook in hand. “Mom and dad, I have some demands I’d like to review with you. First, I’m done doing chores around the house. House work is just too menial for me and it makes me feel sad.  I will no longer have a curfew because it hurts my feelings when I come in late and you get mad at me. I don’t feel safe. I also demand that my weekly allowance be raised to $400 per month. I know that’s a jump but I also need a new truck and it will take a lot more upkeep.”

Ok enough of this nonsense. You get the drift. If this was one of my kids at my house or me at my parents’ house, that would have been met with raucous laughter or a slap back to reality. Yet this is what we’re hearing from college students all across the country. Demands for free tuition, all student debt forgiven, a “safe place” where no one disagrees with them, and a $15 minimum wage for all campus employees. What is even more incredible? That reputable American universities are caving to these children! The University of Michigan, Yale, Brown, Princeton, and Dartmouth to name a few. I won’t take the time to document examples of ridiculous demands because you can find any and all with the click of a button on the Internet.

It’s embarrassing but the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” is certainly prevalent here. These protesting students from the LGBT, black, transvestite, etc. communities make up a tiny percentage of college campuses. While I empathize with any group that feels oppressed or “unsafe” because someone actually disagrees with them, that’s….life. That would be awesome if everyone agreed with me and did it my way. Ain’t going to happen folks!  Everyone on this earth has trials and tribulations. There are people who have more than you, there are people who have less.  People who are more talented, richer, prettier, or smarter than you and way more who have less. It’s what we do with those challenges that makes us stronger, develop character and become productive citizens that can then contribute to our individual communities. Facing them head on is what will make you feel “safe” when someone disagrees with you. And they will!

 But why should anyone be surprised? American academia has been teaching their students for years about how awful and horrible their lives are here in America. That suffering is simply their lot. That America is such a terrible country that they will never have the chance to amount to anything because America’s best days are a thing of the past. They are practically taught to embrace victimhood. Nowadays, being a victim is admired.  Many “millennials”  (Born between 1982-2000) not only feel hopeless, they feel entitled to live the way their parents are living… Now! Without paying their dues first.  Many graduate from college in subjects that have zero demand in the real life workforce. What have we done to our kids to create such spineless cripples who feel they need to be taken care of cradle to grave and that its someone else’s responsibility?


I contend that Dr. Spock from the 60’s may have given birth to this idea that we were to shower our children with hugs and love and to tell them they were special at all times regardless of their behavior. Believe me, nothing is more important than love but something went a little haywire with this philosophy of raising children. Soon we were not keeping score at kids’ t-ball games and everyone got a trophy merely for showing up and breathing. I remember my daughter in the fourth grade receiving an orange ribbon for coming in last at a swim meet. Even at that young age she knew it was bogus and threw it in the trash. Did she feel “special”? No! What she learned was that swimming was not her gig. What she should have done was organize a sit in and demand that she get a head start before all the best swimmers. Certainly it wasn’t fair that she was terrible at swimming when so many others were great!

Nonsense! We would have been ashamed at such thinking.

There’s such a fine line with disciplining with love while raising children. The more stable a home environment the child has, the more secure he/she will be growing up. Studies have consistently shown that children in a two parent home who are taught principles of love, honesty and trust are generally more well-adjusted and can handle it when trials and challenges come up. Which is going to happen! As parents, our number one duty is to arm our children with the tools they will need when they encounter bullies at school, difficult teachers, trying to earn a spot on a team, tough coaches, learning to play a instrument, studying a difficult subject in school, etc.

I have talked to several young men and women who, when entering the world of adulthood have experienced obstacles and demands that have seemed almost overwhelming. There is a direct correlation between those in their youth who learned to face the difficult and demanding with stick- to-itness, and those who were pampered and coddled while parents picked up the slack when they failed.  The coddled generally had a much harder time coping with the cultural changes and the difficulties encountered. Failing is as important as succeeding. We need to allow our kids to experience both.

So here’s another scenario. You’re head of human resources at your company. You need to hire two new employees. You interview both and this is what you hear as they reveal a little about themselves. Candidate 1: “I graduated from Yale University in Chinese Women Studies. I led a group on campus to promote diversity and fairness for four years. Because I am 1/32 Indian, my tuition was paid for by the government. I was taught to do what I wanted throughout my life because life is unfair and I would never get as big a piece of the pie as other white kids despite anything I did. Life is unfair and that’s just the way it is. This would be my first job ever because my dad felt like my studies were way more important than me working.”

Candidate 2: “My parents were divorced when I was three. My mother raised us five kids while working three jobs. She would allow us only one hour of TV per week and demanded that we do our best in school. C’s were considered average, and my mother said we were above average. We believed her. I worked all through high school to contribute to the family budget, therefore, I didn’t play sports. She taught us that God had given us more talent than we would ever know and that we could do anything with those talents. I graduated in the top three I my class in college. We never had assistance from anyone. We did it ourselves.”

Who do you hire? No commentary needed. We’ve done it to ourselves. Raised a generation of socially crippled children who cannot cope with today’s issues because they see themselves as victims. What can you do? Hug your children and love them. But make them responsible for their actions. Do not bail them out if they don’t do their homework or get in trouble at school.  Make them face the music. They will become stronger and develop a character of steel that will prepare them for the next challenge which is on the horizon. Wake up America! Celebrate your children’s successes and love them through their failures. That’s called a “safe zone”.

Feeling small? Getting involved Can have a BIG impact!

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Education, Euthanasia, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender Identity, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on November 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm

WCF9by Erin Weist

The World Congress of Families was held in Salt Lake City last week.  Amid mild protests from pro-LGBT groups, over 3,000 attendees from around the world gathered to support pro-family speech and activism.  Rather than being “anti-LGBT” the conference focused on what has been dubbed the “natural family” or the traditional family.  It seems impossible that any sane person would be “anti-family” but that seems to be the way the world is going.  The groups in attendance at this conference, rather than promote a hateful agenda that strips rights from others, focus on supporting public policy that places the traditional family (a father, mother, and children) at the forefront as the highest possible standard for society.  

Topics for the conference included parenting guides, marriage guides, self-empowerment & the worth of the individual, education regarding the dangers of pornography, support for groups intent on ending sex trafficking around the world, homeschooling, educational ethics, scientific studies behind the pro-life movement, and more.  Most encouraging was the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are not only emotionally invested in very similar ideals & goals, but also going out into their communities to do something about it!  People are looking for the good and doing good in their own part of the world.  

One of the great aspects of this conference was the Emerging Leaders Program.  This inspired program invited young adults (mostly university age) from around the world to attend the conference and go back to their respective countries as leaders in creating positive change.  I met delegates from many countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America and more.  These young men & women have a desire to be the change that they want to see and it was inspiring.  I feel so small but I learned from this conference that even one person can make a difference.  Just by getting involved with a group or talking to neighbors about promoting an ideal or writing letters an individual moment of action becomes coupled with other moments of action and it can turn into a movement.  Or it can create a positive change in one person’s life and those actions are extremely valuable for that one person.  Remember the story about the starfish?  A man wandered along the beach throwing starfish into the ocean when he was stopped by another man who questioned the futility of his actions because of the unending number of starfish…how could he possibly make a difference?  As the man threw another starfish back in the ocean he stated, “I made a difference to that one.”

This conference was tiny compared to the population of the world.  It may seem impossible to make a difference.  But being surrounded by like-minded people working for positive change showed me that it is possible.  There are thousands in my community, there are thousands in many communities all over the world who are dedicated to families.  We are not out to promote hate.  We are not out to trample on rights.  We are out to educate, to promote an ideal, one that places societal values over individual indulgence, one that teaches people how to be happier!  And we can do that one starfish at a time.

Rethinking the Sexual Revolution

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Family Planning, father, Feminism, Freedom, Marriage, Population Control, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on September 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

couple in love 5by Tashica Jacobson

The term, sexual revolution, can bring about many different positions, feelings, and arguments, but what can readily be agreed upon is that it has drastically changed society. With any dramatic change of norms it is easy for individuals to get swept away in the changing tides rather than being intentional about life choices.

Because of these changes we now view sex and its role vastly different than how our grandparents viewed it. The sexual revolution started in the 1960’s and left the world forever changed. Birth control and the increased focus on individualism were some of the major catalysts. None of these are inherently wrong, but they did have many unforeseen effects on the family. All of these things are still affecting families today, and each of us has the opportunity to be intentional about how we let them affect our decisions and our family life.

The birth control pill was first introduced in the 1960’s and was soon followed by other popular means of contraceptives. While this was beneficial for many and allowed parents to plan their children, it also drastically changed the way that sex is viewed. No longer were sex, marriage, and children viewed as linked together. It separated sexual intimacy from child bearing and families, and as such cohabitation and divorce began to rise.

When the birth control was first made widely public a reader’s digest article read” Everyone knows what The Pill is. It is a small object — yet its potential effect upon our society may be even more devastating than the nuclear bomb”(PBS, 2001). And while dramatic, this statement hits to the point that this small, seemingly helpful pill could have wider effects than what was originally thought.

The rise in individualism also changed the way that families were perceived. In Marriage-Go Round Andrew Cherlin looks at this new idea of an individualized marriage. When describing this concept he states: “It is not incompatible with lifelong marriage, but it requires a new kind of marriage in which spouses are free to grow and change and in which each feels personally fulfilled. Such marriages are harder to keep together, because what matters is not merely the things they jointly produce—well-adjusted children, nice homes—but also each person’s own happiness” (p. 90) This growing individualism also leads spouses to divorce when their own happiness is not being met, leading to more family break ups.

The effects of the sexual revolution have become widespread and well known. Cohabitation, single mothers and fathers, promiscuity, divorce, and sex at younger ages all began to rise. 48% of all first births in the US are now born outside of marriage, and 49% of young adult females (age 20-24) cohabit. (Hymowitz, 2013)

So once again while these things have changed the world we do not blindly need to follow the trends they are setting. Birth control, helpful for fathers and mothers as they plan their families, also has the negative effect of pre-marital relationships and sexual promiscuity. Individual happiness and satisfaction of life while essential, is now taking on a life of its own and leading many to throw away good things. However these new societal trends can be slowed and even reversed as individuals make conscious decisions about what they mean to them and make intentional choices in regards to their families.

Works Cited

Cherlin, A. J., The Marriage-Go Round. 2009.

Hymowitz, K., Carroll, J.S., Wilcox, W. B., Kaye, K., Knot Yet: the Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America. (2013).

PBS. People & Events: The Pill and the Sexual Revolution. 2001

Make Sure Your Marriage gets the Maintenance it Deserves

In Choice, Divorce, Education, Families, father, Marriage, Values on September 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm

MacGyverBy Jessica Westfall

MacGyver was an 80s tv show that my parents introduced me to my Freshman year of high school. MacGyver was a jack-of-all trades, he could find a solution to any problem and was an all around helpful guy. I was impressed, and sometimes skeptical, of the daring escapes he made with common, and sometimes all-too-convient, everyday items. But one theme held true throughout the show, MacGyver saw use where others didn’t. More importantly, he used that knowledge and got out of sticky situations. Our lives are riddled with helpful metaphorical gum wrappers and paper clips, but it does take some training to recognize their usefulness. While MacGyver was heralded as an man who’s brain just worked differently, we all have the ability to improve our lives with a little guidance.

A huge part of every human life is social interaction, especially families. Anyone in a family will admit there are moments of friction, times when the right solution is not yet apparent. Like the many friends MacGyver met along the way, we have all the same tools at our disposal, but like MacGyver, only some know how to effectively use them. We all have ways of communicating, verbally and nonverbally. We all have choice in how we react and what we say. The MacGyver’s of the family world seem to have it all together, no situation is too sticky or harrowing to be resolved.
Those that seem to have a gift may indeed have a gift, the gift of knowledge. Some can learn this knowledge through personal experience, and many do. But a lot of the time it’s easier and more pleasant to learn from another’s experience. My mother and father attended a marriage seminar a few years ago and Mom remarked after that she knew first hand  what the presenter was teaching because they (my parents) had figured it out through trial and error. She joked that it would have been a lot easier to figure it out if they’d had the class 20 year earlier. What if your 20 years ago is now?

I have incredible respect for those that regularly service their vehicles. Buying a car from someone like that is absolutely wonderful (I’m pretty sure MacGyver kept his vehicle in top condition). Yet many of us, including me, do not take the time to do more than regular oil changes. Why not? Well, it’s hard, it seems like a lot of work for something that might not be needed, life is busy. Yet we all know cars break down, especially when neglected. We don’t regret our neglect until it’s too late and the car is broken down. That’s when the real inconvenience of a big repair happens. But those repairs can be costly, sometimes the vehicle isn’t even salvageable. When that happens the time and energy and cost of keeping up with the car doesn’t seem so steep anymore. Does that sound familiar?  It should, because many people have the same attitudes about marriage and family. There is no need to fix something that isn’t broken, in fact it’s often seen as embarrassing to seek guidance or the sign of a defective relationship. Many great cars stop working because of neglect, and so do many marriage and family relations.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to gain knowledge that improves a marriage. It doesn’t mean that a parent is subpar when they seek parenting guidance. I take it as a sign of great parental wisdom to seek out the best ways to raise children. The same can be said for couples. There is so much information about marriage and families. Other people, like researchers, scientists, therapists, and those like my parents that learned through trial and error, have discovered answers and want to share them. So read a parenting book, attend a  marriage seminar, research healthy communication and boundaries on the internet. It’s all out there and readily accessible for little to no cost. The real tragedy would be to ignore the incredible knowledge out there. MacGyver would not have been as exciting without his extra know-how.

Leasing Love?

In Cohabitation, Divorce on September 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm

car wheelBy Victoria Black & Lauren Buchan

It all began with a drive. Born almost 100 years ago, Alice and Dale Rockey grew up in the small town of Hemingford, Nebraska. They had never paid any attention to one another until the day they were both supposed to go on a double date…with someone else. They ditched their dates and went for a ride that set the course for the rest of their lives. As soon as Dale turned 18, he asked Alice to marry him. Shortly thereafter they wed on December 29, 1933. This year Dale and Alice celebrated 81 years of marriage.  (Kansas City Star) At the time of their marriage, the country was in the middle of a depression. The couple had no money and no college education. Dale went to work at a garage. Alice went to work as a typesetter. The following years brought them five sons, then grandchildren, great-grandchildren and eventually great- great-grandchildren.

Today, such youthful confidence would be considered reckless, foolish…just plain dumb. The current path to marriage is considerably different. In the last decade, two-thirds of women in first unions cohabited before marriage. Once unheard of, society’s attitude towards the practice has shifted significantly. Before the 1970’s, cohabitation was illegal in every state. Today, cohabitation is considered the smart way to determine compatibility. More than 60% of high school seniors “agreed” or “mostly agreed” that living together before marriage helps a couple find out if they really get along. (National Marriage Project) Most couples see living together as a prelude to marriage and believe that doing so will improve their chances of a successful life together. On the face of it, cohabitation makes sense. We test-drive cars before we buy them. Shouldn’t we “test-drive” a relationship?

Don’t “test drive” a relationship

Despite the logic of testing a relationship and cohabitation’s growing acceptance, living together is not the fix for divorce one might suppose. There is mounting evidence that cohabitation hurts individuals and relationships. Consider, a couple who has lived together for at least a year is eight times more likely to break up than those who marry. Those who eventually marry after cohabitation, have a 33% greater likelihood of “separation or divorce.” Cohabiting couples report higher levels of depression and alcohol abuse than married couples.(5 Facts About Cohabitation You May Not Know) Uncertainty is also a greater characteristic of cohabitational relationships, which can impact their quality. (Is Marriage More Than Cohabitation? Well-Being Differences in 30 European Countries)

Cohabitation doesn’t only affect consenting adults. It wreaks havoc on the lives of children. As the number of cohabiting unions increase, the number of children living in cohabiting households also increases. As of 2000, 41% of households with cohabiting adults contained children under the age of 18. Three-fourths of children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents end their relationship before their sixteenth birthday. The outcomes for these children resemble those for children of divorced and single parents. Children of cohabiting parents have more emotional and behavior problems as well as diminished educational outcomes. Children living with their mother and a cohabiting adult likewise have more behavioral problems and lower academic performance. Surprisingly, outcomes for children of cohabiting parents are worse than those for children from single-parent households.(Family Structure and Child Well-Being) Poverty is also an issue for children with a cohabiting parent. Children from cohabiting households fare less well economically than children from intact families. The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting adults is 31% compared to 6% for children with married parents. Finally, many researchers believe that the growing incidence of child abuse in recent years may even be related to increased cohabitation in society as children in cohabiting households experience higher levels of child abuse than children from intact families. (National Marriage Project)

The thing is, relationships aren’t cars and people aren’t consumer goods. When you “test drive” a relationship, the focus is on how the other person measures up. A relationship based on that thinking becomes a short-term lease. A longtime marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, tells us that successful marriages are based on qualities individuals purposefully choose to bring to a relationship, qualities like kindness and generosity, friendship, respect and appreciation, as well as those they choose to avoid, like contempt and criticism. (Masters of Love) A successful marriage is about a couple committing to being the kind of people that makes a marriage last. And children? Don’t take them on that test-drive. There are no seat belts that protect from that kind of damage.

In the 1980’s, the Ad Council began a series of public service announcements that declared, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” We were told to speak up and save lives. Well, it’s time to speak up when friends and family choose to cohabit. They need to beware. They need to know the bad track record, the failed relationships, the injured children. They need to be warned: “Danger ahead: Cohabitation. Steer clear of wreckage.” They need to know the choice is theirs to be the kind of person that makes marriage work. Make the case and help them join Dale and Alice on the only sure road to a happy, lasting marriage.

Lauren BuchanLauren Buchan is a student at BYU-Idaho. She will be graduating in December 2015 with a degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She has been married since 2009. She and her husband share their home with two spoiled Victoria Blackand loved dogs, Hiro and Lee. 

Victoria Black is a student at BYU-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies. She lives in the great state of Texas. She has been married to her husband, Rob, for 32 years. She has three daughters, four grandchildren, and one 90 lb. Lab named Rusty. 




Speak Up for Family and Life

In Abortion, Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Prostitution, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Technology, The Family, Values on August 26, 2015 at 8:47 am

Ashley Madisonby Diane Robertson

There’s this infamous company in Canada, Ashley Madison, which hosts a purportedly secret online dating service for people who are married or in a committed relationship. The company’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Customers pay Ashley Madison to help them have extra marital affairs and one night stands.

On July 15th of this year hackers stole the company’s “secret” customer data—including email addresses, names, home addresses, sexual fantasies and credit card information. At the time, Hackers said they would release the information to the public if Ashley Madison did not permanently shut down. On July 22nd, the company released just the first names of the customers. When the company did not comply with the demands of the hackers, they released all of the information on Aug 18th.

The fall out has been huge with ordinary people to celebrities such as Josh Duggar being outed for cheating on their spouses.

The Toronto police department even reported that two people committed suicide because they were outed by the hackers. The Toronto police department blamed the hackers stating this would “not be tolerated”.

Normally, I agree that hacking is wrong. It’s typically used to gain access to personal information for financial gains. I feel like this situation is different. I agree with the hackers that the company is abominable. They make money while facilitating the breakup of marriages and families. I think justice has been served.

Most people are standing by the fact that hacking is illegal, and that what these hackers did was wrong because they have ruined millions of lives. I agree that hacking is illegal and should be. But I do not believe the hackers are responsible for ruining the lives of the adulterers. Rather, those committing adultery are responsible for ruining their own lives. They made conscious choices to do something they were very aware would harm their spouse, their children, and ultimately themselves.

I am going to speak as a Christian in an appeal to other Christians. I believe that as Christians it is imperative for us to recognize what is wrong and damaging to families and to society and call it out. We need to make judgments so that we can understand what is good and what is bad. Sadly, as a society we have been bullied into a place where we won’t say something is right or wrong because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We cower at the being called names, and our unwillingness to face the criticism of those calling us judgmental or bigoted or hateful has led to a whole host of societal ills.

Ashley Madison would not exist if there weren’t enough corrupt people willing to pay for it. Companies can only exist if there is enough of a market to be profitable. Along the same lines, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many mothers and fathers willing to sacrifice the very life of their children for the sake of lust and convenience.

I look around me and see that as a society we have given our compassion to the people selfishly destroying life and family instead of those who have had their lives and families destroyed. The people who need our compassion are the husbands and wives whose marriages have been shattered by infidelity, the sons and daughters who are left without a mother or a father because of the resulting divorce, and the babies that never breathed because their parents did not want them.

Just 60 years ago, compassion was given to the real victims and as a result more people considered the consequences before breaking apart their families or taking the lives of their unborn children. The pressure to live a chaste life meant that life and family were cherished. Now, individual choice is cherished, and life and family are discarded.

To Christians, I say, make a choice. Is what we say and how we judge saving lives and strengthening families, or is it promoting (quietly or openly) the destruction of life and the breakdown of families? Those who hacked into the Ashley Madison website, may have committed a crime, but they also made an important statement about marriage and family. They stood up for love and fidelity. We can to, and we don’t even need to break the law to do so. We just need to speak.


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