I read the following on Clay Reed’s blog and thought every married couple should read it. Teri and I went on a date last night, and I can verify that dating your mate is a great way to strengthen your marriage.
The statistics are shocking regarding the problems of children who grow up in homes split apart by divorce. What do we know about children from single-mother families?
1. Children from single-mother families are 2.21 times (221%) as likely to have one or more total problems than those from two-parent families, twice as likely to have an emotional disorder, etc. (The probability of this being due to chance is smaller than 1 in 1,000.)
2. Weighted projections to reflect national population of children.
3. Data for items so annotated apply for 6 to 11 year–olds only. All other data in the table apply to 4–to 11–year olds.[Source: GROWING UP IN CANADA, National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (Human Resources Development Canada, Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 89-550-MPE, no.1, November 1996, p. 91)]
So what should the response of the church be to these statistics?
1. The church should endeavor to offer support and supplemental help to parents whose homes have been touched by divorce. The church should not ignore these people. Many of them have done nothing to warrant their situations and are innocent victims of situations. This is particularly true of their children. Children are helpless bystanders in these situations and could use the love and support of a church family.
2. The church should take an uncompromising stand against divorce. Scripture does make allowance for divorce in cases of marital infidelity but is clear that God intends for married people to stay married.
3. The church should encourage healthy marriages in which husbands and wives are in harmony with each other and provide loving leadership for their homes.
The purpose for this article is to focus on point three. The church should be vitally concerned with helping marriages stay strong.
In society, we spend far too much money on disaster relief rather than disaster prevention. To cite an oft-used metaphor, it is as if a steady stream of automobiles is hurtling toward a cliff then plunging to death and destruction. Rather than finding a way to prevent drivers from going over the edge, most of our resources are designated to parking a fleet of ambulances at the foot of the cliff.
One of the most important things husbands and wives can do to stay married is to continue doing the things that led to their decision to get married. Continuing the actions that kindled their love is not only a luxury, but is vital to any healthy marriage. Such actions include going out on dates.
Dates are not just for people falling in love; they are great for people wanting to stay in love. As life gets more complicated and children come, it is easy to let the focus of the marriage slip from loving each other to loving the kids. Children take priority and the marital relationship takes a backseat. Things change after the wedding and a couple of kids, but dating is still vitally important in a marriage.
Dates help keep romance and attraction alive between spouses. A weekly date is the equivalent of going to church on Sunday. Church is a weekly date when God’s people assemble together to worship God and enjoy Christian community. The same needs to happen between spouses. Good couples need to keep in touch, stay on the same page, and make time for each other.
Dating is a way to continuously improve marriage. Dating requires that a couple exercise commitment to each other. They must find a babysitter, and figure out where to go. Making time to spend with a spouse and focusing on their needs takes discipline but yields a happy, healthy marriage.
In your own marriage, give your relationship attention by trying to go on at least one date a week.