Church and Marriage – Part 3
This is the third of a four part blog series answering the question: Why do couples who are actively involved in church have a lower divorce rate?
# 3 – Children
Children are a gift and a stress to any marriage. Kids are fun to make but hard to raise. Couples need help! But a break from the kids can be expensive. When Julie and I were first married, we didn’t have much by way of material possessions and I didn’t make much money. We had our first two kids while I was in seminary. We lived in the on-campus trailer park in a 1976 single-wide Champion. Not exactly luxury accommodations but we were happy. We were also cramped. We literally were next to each other all the time. One year while in seminary I reported on my W-2 $17,000 in wages. It’s hard to pay for a baby sitter on that kind of income. One thing I’ve noticed about most young couples who have kids is that those early years are the ones when you need a baby sitter the most but when you can least afford it. My daughter is 14 now and starting to babysit. She tells me the going rate these days is around $6 per hour for one child. That means a mere three hour break from junior could run the average couple $20. And that’s not counting the price of a meal or movie or whatever. There’s no way Julie and I could have afforded this needed break when we were starting out and I know that many couples feel the same strain.
If both parents work, the news is even more grim. Not only is quality childcare hard to find but most couples will spend thousands of dollars a year for someone they can trust to watch their children.
Now consider the church. Quality childcare. Nurturing environment. Open availability. And it’s FREE. That’s right. It doesn’t cost a thing. Every week (at least once a week) families can come to church and know that their children will be well cared for while they get a “break.” They can attend the much-needed social environment of a peer group while they study God’s Word. They can hold hands without having to hold a diaper bag at the same time. They can walk slow, enjoy adult conversation, and worship God. They will walk away with tools and encouragement from God’s Word to help them be better moms and better dads. Better wives and husbands. Better people. This experience is designed by God to fit any budget. Even if you lose your job you can still partake.
And let’s not forget the benefit for your kids. They need a break from mom and dad too! The church experience provides friends, biblical guidance and teaching, and opportunities for fun and games. Some churches, like mine, even offer a children’s worship experience on Sunday tailored specifically for the needs of kids. Once again, this costs nothing. And families desperately need it.
Church also offers numerous other activities and opportunities for the family. Some of them are for the whole family such as mission trips and ski trips. Others are for just the kids or just the adults. Our church offers Mother’s of Pre-schoolers (MOPS). MOPS is a ministry just for moms with little ones. It’s a break in the middle of the week. Kids are taken care of while moms bond. Most churches have dedicated women’s and men’s ministries where they offer free childcare. Churches offer for kids things like summer camp, discipleship weekends, retreats, etc. Yes, these do cost but any fee is always rock bottom and I do not know of a church that does not provide financial help to any family that wants to send their kid to a camp or retreat.
Everything I have listed above and much more is provided only by the church. The church is a unique entity, from the mind of God and commissioned by Jesus. Church gets a bad wrap by many today and that’s a shame. The reality is that the more involved a family becomes in the life of their church the higher the level of marital satisfaction they experience and the less chance they have of ever divorcing. What the church provides for couples by way of childcare, activities, biblical guidance, and friendships is all a part of why.
Save your marriage. Go to church.