Focus on the Family expends a lot of time, energy and resources to save and strengthen marriages through our broadcasts, online tools, counselor calls, marriage intensive retreats and more. Why do we care so much about marriage?
1. We care about marriage because God does
In Genesis 1, God created humans male and female in His image and likeness. He designed us to reflect His character — His goodness, strength, holiness, beauty and love. Genesis 2 builds on this, as God fashioned Eve from Adam’s side and united them in marriage.
Those chapters are so important that Jesus cites them in Matthew 19:4-6 to teach that marriage is a lifelong union between husband and wife. Paul also pointed to these chapters in Ephesians 5:31, explaining that marriage depicts Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church.
2. A married mom and dad are best for children
Marriage isn’t just about two people who love each other. Research demonstrates that children with a married mom and dad have generally better outcomes than children whose parents divorce or were never married in the first place.
Mothers and fathers parent differently, offering unique benefits to their kids. Children raised by both parents in a healthy marriage are more successful in school, less likely to live in poverty, less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol and more likely to have successful marriages of their own.
3. Marriage helps both men and women
According to sociologist Linda J. Waite and researcher Maggie Gallagher, married men and women have better physical and mental health and report higher levels of happiness and well-being. They live longer, healthier lives; recover from illness more quickly; and have lower rates of alcohol and substance abuse. As an additional bonus, they do better financially. That’s another reason why we care about marriage.
4. Marriage is good for society
The importance of marriage is seen most clearly when it unravels. In their report, “164 Reasons to Marry,” Pat Fagan, Anne Dougherty and Miriam McElvain write, “Marriage is the foundational relationship for all of society. All other relationships in society stem from the father-mother relationship.”
In addition to the personal pain caused by the breakdown of marriage, all of society suffers. Poverty, violence and crime increase when marriages fail or when parents never marry. There are many more reasons why we care about marriage, but these four are essential in why we try to help people have happy, healthy relationships.