Rebecca Hagelin

Plainly put: children need strong families made up of a mother and a father. When they grow up in a household lacking one or the other, they do far worse. What’s more, when kids grow up in a neighborhood full of other families that lack two parents, the child’s prospects suffer. Just as divorce is contagious, the harmful effects of family instability are ‘contagious’ within the wider community as well.

The positive take-away, according to W. Bradford Wilcoxof the National Marriage Project, is that, “[I]t looks like a married village is more likely to raise the economic prospects of a poor child.”

How to Save Your Family: Keep It Together

The divorce culture in which we live is a major contributor to the problem, but it’s only a portion of the complete picture. The divorce rate among better-educated Americans has actually fallen, while the rate of cohabitation and divorce among lower income Americans has sky rocketed. And the culture of free and easy sex, with little commitment, meaning, or regard for consequences has been a devastating contributor to the formation of unstable families as well as subsequent family breakdown.

Even so, there’s much we can do to build a strong marriage culture within our own circles and family networks. Each of us has a role to play in strengthening the American family. Nurture your our own marital relationships in common sense ways, making time for each other and practicing the small daily kindnesses that touch hearts and lighten burdens. Seek counseling and spiritual support if your relationship is struggling. (In my experience, couples may pursue ‘professional’ help but neglect to ask friends and family for the prayers and spiritual guidance they need.) By all means, if you need outside help get it - start with great resources and And, take a few minutes to to find out how you can help strengthen marriages in your entire community with proven methods that work.

If your marriage has weathered the test of time, consider becoming a marriage mentor. Young couples need the witness and wisdom of more experienced couples who can encourage and guide them towards a fulfilling, lasting relationship.

Finally, help foster a culture of sexual integrity among young people, through churches, after-school groups, and community outreach. We know that habitual sexual license produces poor soil for growing a lasting and fulfilling relationship. Mom and dads, not come-and-go “partners,” make the difference in a child’s future. For great materials and support in this effort, visit, the site of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, an effective and dynamic organization with proven results.

This is America, where every child deserves a chance, and every child’s “chance” depends on family.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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