Marriage makes our community strong

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marriage is a promise, a public and legally-binding religious promise that two people will stay together and act together as a team for their entire life. Marriage changes two people into one unit, and it challenges the way they perceive themselves and should alter the way other people see them. Marriage does not simply certify an existing loving relationship, but rather transforms the ways in which couples act toward one another, toward their children and toward the future.

The Adams County Families First Resource Center, a grant-funded resource provided by the Department of Human Services, recently celebrated “Marriage Week” last week.

Today nearly one-third of all American children are born outside marriage. Every 45 seconds in the United States a family is torn apart by divorce. This costs taxpayers roughly $112 billion each year. The corrosion of marriage during the last 40 years has had a large-scale, adverse effect on both the children and the adults involved. This problem lies at the heart of the many social and economic difficulties with which the people in the United States struggle.

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The collapse of marriage is the central cause of child poverty in the United States. Studies show that children raised by never-married mothers are seven times more likely to live in scarcity than children raised by their biological parents in a healthy marriage. Overall, nearly 80 percent of long-term child poverty occurs among children from broken homes or never-formed families.

Many feel that strengthening marriages will have little impact on child poverty because the absent fathers earn too little.

My belief on this statement, it’s a “cop out.” The importance of a two-income structured relationship is far better than just financial assistance. The children need more than financial support. They need to know that their father is supporting them not only financially, but also emotionally and physically. The absence of one parent is a primary reason why many children struggle today.

The Adams County Families First Resource Center believes that America must fortify marriages and families.

Strong marriages are crucial to building strong families and raising healthy, happy, and well-educated children. We as citizens have to bind together against the forces that undermine family values. Marriage has a strong positive impact on health also. A healthy relationship provides balance, stability and endurance and has many benefits. These benefits extend beyond better health to include physical, emotional, material, financial and spiritual advantages. This incorporates greater earning power, a more satisfying sexual relationship and children that are more successful.

Just like your body, your marriage should get a check-up. Some suggestions are to pick a day where things are going well, sit down, and have a chat. Ask your mate what he or she likes about your marriage. You should be considerate of the other person’s feelings; however, remember that honesty is always the best policy. You should always take a little time to address those small issues within your relationship that you would like to see change before they become big issues.

If a marriage falls apart it will strongly impact your child’s emotional and physical health. These also affect school performance and all areas of their life. It has been said repeatedly that vaccinations, healthy food and regular exercise are important, but the best things a parent can give his or her children are a strong healthy relationship (marriage) and a healthy family.

Adams County Families First is here to offer resources in active parenting, abstinence awareness, effective fathering and healthy marriage (family health and wellness).

We are located at 320 State St. in Natchez, and are funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

By participating in the Healthy Marriage Course, couples can learn communication techniques, how to energize their marriage, and how to develop a lasting commitment.

The Adams County Families First can facilitate discussion groups and offer lectures on subjects pertinent to successful families other than the Healthy Marriage Course. All programs and curriculums are available in Adams, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties. For more information please contact us at 601-304-7883.

Angela D. Ivory is the program facilitator at the Adams County Families First Resource Center.