I just read an article off MSN that really got me thinking. After reading the title, "Couple get married at 7-Year-old son's funeral," I felt compelled to read it. And after reading it, I am overcome with sadness.
The biggest question I had before actually reading the article was, "Why?" Of course when I clicked to view the full story, the answer became clear very quickly. The little boy had been asking his parents to get married for a while before his tragic death. So, his parents decided to honor his request by marrying at his funeral. It is so sad to me that the little boy was unable to witness his parents exchanging those sacred vows.
I am happy that the couple has finally married, but it grieves me to read that their little boy had been asking them to get married for some time now - and that it took his death before they felt compelled to do it. I know that not all people will agree with me on this, but as a mother to a little boy myself, I just cannot imagine trying to explain to him why his daddy and I aren't married. I know that cohabitation is quickly becoming the new "norm," but in my opinion it is so sad. I honestly feel that parents are not thinking about their children's best interests when making the decision not to marry, but to just live together instead.
The people at http://www.familydynamics.net/ have compiled a list of the many benefits of having a healthy marriage. Although marriage has it's benefits for both men and women, my heart cries out for all of the children out there because the benefits are far greater for them. Just some of the ways children benefit from being raised in a family whose parents are married are that: they are more likely to attend college, more likely to succeed academically, physically healthier, emotionally healthier, less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, have a better relationship with their mothers and fathers, less likely to become pregnant or to impregnate someone as a teenager, and so many more.
The reason marriage is so benefical to children is that it gives them a sense of stability in such an unstable world. I was fortunate to have been raised by a mother and father who did not believe in divorce. I grew up with that sense of stability. No matter what issues I was facing at school, work or with my friends I knew that I was coming home to a loving mother and father who would always be there for me.
The key though is that parents are in a HEALTHY marriage. An unhealthy marriage is just as unstable as not being married at all, in my opinion. Children are so much more intelligent then we adults give them credit for. They pick up on everything and their behaviors often reflect our own. So, if you are in a marriage that is unhealthy - more then likely your children will be attracted to the same type of relationship down the road. On the other hand, if you and your spouse have a marriage that fosters love, understanding and compromising then your children will learn those behaviors and probably seek out the same relationship for themselves when they are older.
It is vitally important that we take this marriage business seriously - especially when children are involved. If you are single, regardless of if you have children or not, and are looking for that special someone, please consider how marriage, or the lack of it, will affect your children and/or future children. Children are the most precious gift that God gives us and all they want is to be loved and to feel secure. Why should we not provide them with that?