Do you celebrate Father’s Day in your country? Here in the United States this past Sunday was a day where we honored fathers. (And there is a day in May where we celebrate Mother’s Day.) So what does Father’s Day have to do with marriage? It has a lot to do with marriage.
Father’s are supposed to take the responsibility of shaping their children for the better. If a father is a good one and shows his children how to be a good husband and father, the children are all the more richer. If he shirks that responsibility, it can have negative ripple effects beyond the children for generations to come.
Prayerfully, the children will eventually put their hands into God’s hand. This will help them to heal the hurts before the damage multiplies. But how this much hurt the heart of our Heavenly Father to see His children hurting their children! How tragic it is for all concerned!
With this said, we’d like to share something written by Judge James Sheridan. It’s titled, “Father’s Day and Marriage.” There are good principles in this article to take note of whether you’re a father or not.
Here’s what Judge Sheridan wrote:
“It takes two to have a marriage and two to have a child. Half of that ‘two’ is celebrated on Mother’s Day. It’s important to celebrate mothers’ essential role in marriages and families. However, five weeks later, when Father’s Day rolls around, somehow we sort of forget that there’s another half of the ‘two.’ We forget that men play an essential role in marriage and family.
It’s not just women that like marriage and think it’s important. In a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involving over 12,000 people, (May 31, 2006), more men than women thought that ‘It is better to get married than go through life single,’ (66% of men, 51% of women). Likewise, more men than women agreed that ‘It is more important for a man to spend a lot of time with his family than be successful at his career’ (76% of men, 72% of women).
“Men’s involvement with their family is of vital importance. Families where the father is absent make up 63% of all youth suicides; 71% of all are high school dropouts. Also 75% of all adolescents are substance abuse patients. 70% of juveniles are in state-operated institutions, and 85% of the children exhibit behavior disorders. 90% of all the homeless are runaway children. Herbert London, of the Hudson Institute, has noted, ‘It’s instructive that 87 percent of those incarcerated in American prisons either don’t know who their father is or haven’t had any contact with their fathers in years.’
“Men have a unique way of giving love and a sense of value and self worth to children. This is something children need, just as they need the love and nurturing provided by their mother. When the father isn’t there to give his special gift, children suffer. This happens just as they do when the mother is missing.
Truly Celebrating Father’s Day
“So how do fathers give this ‘special gift’? This is where a true celebration of Father’s Day eventually becomes a celebration of marriage. Author Theodore Hesburgh explains, ‘The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.’ Steven Stosny, Ph.D., put it this way, children ‘need fathers to live for them, to value them, and to value what they most value—their mothers.’
“But, what do we call a loving, uplifting, committed, publicly recognized relationship between a man and a woman, which produces children? Answer: Marriage! In the end, marriage is the social context in which fathers can father best. He fathers best, when he loves his children’s mother, and is publicly committed to her.
“Psychiatrist Scott Haltzman (Brown University) has some suggestions to help you become the world’s best Dad (because you’ll be the world’s best husband): ‘Keep your eye on the prize.’ Your marriage is ‘the prize.’ Don’t let anything, even career or hobbies, take over first place. After the honeymoon, keep doing what you did to court her before you got married. This is so that she always knows she’s still # 1.
Spoil Your Spouse
“It’s been said (and this applies to wives, too), ‘Spoil your spouse—not your children.’ Your children are watching. They’ll love you for it.
“‘Listen before you leap.’ Often women don’t want anything fixed. They simply want to be heard and understood. ‘Take time to figure out what’s really on her mind. Just listening, without talking, is a good start.’
“‘Leave a legacy.’ Haltzman explains that, ‘a healthy marriage teaches children important lessons about their own relationships.’ Kids from intact marriages have a lower risk of divorce. ‘So when your grandchildren celebrate Father’s Day, they’ll be doing it in the home of both their parents.'”
And all of this advice also goes for children other than your own who are watching you. You may be the only example of a great father and husband other children witness. They may not have a great example in their own home of what a good marriage should look like. They may not know how spouses are supposed to act towards one another. You have a mission field right in your own home. It’s one that can shed light on other lives as you live as God would have you.
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We hope you will take this message seriously and realize the awesome responsibility fathers and husbands have to point others to all that Christ can do in and through them as they live out a Bible-LIVING walk in this world!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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One response to “Father’s Day and Marriage – MM #257”
(USA) I’m glad this is out there, and it needs to be said more an more, STOP THROWING AWAY FATHERS. Many in the church are asking where are the fathers? The answer, the church and in many cases their wives and the mothers of their children are dismissing fathers and the role of men as unnecessary.
I don’t recall the feminist who said it, but the "We need men like fish need bicycles." way of thinking is alive and well, and often inside the church. The truth is, men are NOT abandoning their families, they are being kicked out of the family by their wives. Men don’t typically abandon their children. Instead, they are often being kept away from their children by a vindictive an often an unfaithful former wife.
The stereotype is that men are abusive, unfaithful, porn addicted, out of control dangerous creatures. The reality is that few men are like this. Yet the whole divorce industry operates under the assumption that men behave this way. Orders of protection are granted to women just because they filed for divorce.
I personally was physically hit by my ex-wife when I confronted her about her affair and when she categorized my attempts to seek joint custody with equal parenting time in response to her filing for divorce as "taking away HER children." And my story is not unique.
The thing is, on Father’s Day, the sermon is usually about how men fall short. Look at what candidate Obama said on this past Father’s day, we have to do something about all the irresponsible men. What about the greater number of RESPONSIBLE men who due to no fault of their own, no bad behavior of their own, were betrayed and divorced by the woman who stood in the church and pledged to always love him and be faithful to him?
In any group of divorced men, at most, 1 out of every 5 did beat, cheated, or subjected his wife to any sort of abuse or addiction. Four out of every five men who are divorced by their wife DID NOT engage in this sort of behavior.
So why so much focus on the negative behavior of fathers when it’s the minority? Two out of every three divorced dads DID NOT CHOOSE divorce. So out of 10 divorced dads, roughly speaking 2 of the were unfaithful, 2 of them were betrayed, and 6 or 7 of them did not file for the divorce. The numbers may overlap. But the reality is men are NOT choosing to divorce or abandon their families.
So I’d like to see a Mother’s day sermon that puts the same sort of scrutiny back upon woman that men have faced for the past 30 or so years. Instead of how wonderful mothers are, ask why they are choosing to divorce faithful men who don’t beat, don’t cheat, and their worst crime may be romantic/relational cluelessness.
Men are not abandoning families, they are being cast out by their wives, the mothers of their children, and a court system that buys the lie that men are evil and women are victims. It’s time for the church to stop treating the majority of men as if they were the minority that does engage in bad behavior. It’s time for churches that want dads to stop spreading the lie about dads abandoning their children and start encouraging moms who’ve divorced faithful dads to stop interfering the the father child relationship.
It’s time for churches to spend 100X more effort on eliminating no-fault-divorce compared to it’s efforts against same-sex-marriage. Same sex marriage will impact about 1% of the population. The other 99% can still get a no-fault divorce. That’s the bigger problem. Yet there is no effort to address that issue that matches the scale of the same-sex-marriage issue.