Marriage – The Mystery of Fathers and Mothers

If you have been reading this newsletter for any length of time you would have realised by now that I am a self-confessed marriage junkie. In other words I am very interested in the latest research on marriage and family. Not only do I like the latest research, but I love viral videos on marriage and family just as much. This week I want to give you a bit of both as I have special request.

The viral video ‘100 Years of Beauty: Aging|Cut has a Field Day’ has garnered 14.5 million hits in 16 days as of the 30 May 2015. It is a brilliant production in more ways than one and it packs an emotional punch. In other words it passes the WM tear test. Show it to your wife and see what she has to say. Pass it onto your family and broader networks. If the link below does not work – go to this link:

Those that want to redefine marriage say that mothers and fathers don’t matter but we know they do. Let’s now go to a new article containing some of the latest research on the complementarity of the male and the female by Jenet Erickson called ‘Why Mums and Dads Both Matter in Marriage’.

Gender Diversity Is in Our Genes

In the late 1970s, Azim Surani tried to create new life using two sets of genes from only a mother, or a father. Everything then known about genetics suggested that with the right number of chromosomes, life would develop normally, even if all of its genetic material came only from a female or a male. But the eggs with only the mother’s genes could not survive. A similar fate met the eggs implanted with two sets of father’s genes.

As science reporter Paul Raeburn describes, Surani discovered that mothers and fathers each contributed something in their genes that was critical to sustaining life. These ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ genes appeared completely indistinguishable in every way, yet expressed themselves differently depending on whether they came from the mother or the father. And both were essential to the survival of the egg.

The essential need for both a mother and a father to provide genetic material for survival parallels what social science tells us about the importance of mothers and fathers in children’s development. Fathers and mothers bring similar, even indistinguishable, capacities that enable healthy child development. But like the complementarity of the left and right halves of the brain, they also bring distinct capacities that provide complementary, irreplaceable contributions to children’s healthy development.

Coo and Cuddle vs. Tickle and Toss

Consider what social science research reveals about how mothers and fathers distinctively influence children’s social and emotional development. Mothers are biologically primed to provide nurturing oriented toward creating a strong attachment relationship. Dramatic increases in oxytocin and oxytocin receptors during the process of giving birth and caring for infants act like a switch in mothers, turning on maternal behaviours. New moms find themselves expressing positive feelings, affectionately touching and gazing at their infants, and engaging in “motherese” vocalizations. Infants’ levels of oxytocin parallel their mothers’, producing feelings of calm and well-being that similarly bond mother and offspring.

Fathers also experience significant physiological changes that “prime” them for bonding. But the same hormones elicit different types of responses. Instead of inviting “security-inducing” behaviours, fathers’ levels of oxytocin are associated with “stimulatory” behaviours, like tickling and bouncing. This suggests a biological foundation for what we observe all around us. While mothers are more likely to “coo and cuddle” their infants, fathers are more likely to “tickle and toss.” These differences foreshadow more extensive complementary patterns exhibited across children’s development.
Identity and Emotional Capacity vs. Social and Relational Capacity

A mother’s capacities are uniquely oriented toward identity formation and emotional security. Her ability to detect, interpret and respond in positive, non-intrusive ways to her infant’s needs has been identified as the strongest and most consistent predictor of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Neuropsychological studies indicate that mothers have a uniquely sensitive ability to modify the stimulation they give to their infants, matching their infants’ inner state and providing the optimal “chunked bits” of positive interaction needed for development. In the process, children experience positive effects on memory, cognition, stress tolerance, and emotional and behavioural regulation, as well as cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune function.

In this secure attachment relationship, children develop their own sense of identity while learning to appreciate, understand, and empathize with the feelings of others. From infancy on, children are more likely to seek out their mothers for comfort in times of stress. And mothers are much more likely to identify, ask about, listen to, and discuss emotions with children. A mother’s unique orientation toward identifying, expressing, regulating, understanding, and processing emotions is not only important for self-awareness and emotional well-being; it also lays a foundation for moral awareness, including a sense of moral conscience with the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong.

Fathers demonstrate a complementary influence. While mothers are uniquely important in developing secure identity and emotional understanding, fathers are uniquely important in developing social and relational capacity. Interestingly, this complementarity is reflected in the way mothers and fathers hold their infants. While a mother is likely to hold her infant to enable maximum contact with her face and body, a father is most likely to hold the infant in a way that gives the baby the same view of the world as the father has. This “football hold” orients the infant’s face outward, toward others.

For full article go to:

Love Work

We need your help. Mr Bill Shorten, leader of the Opposition, wants to redefine marriage. On Monday the 1st of June 2015 he introduced before the Federal Parliament in Canberra a bill to do just that. Marriage redefined is marriage destroyed. Marriage is what it is and can be nothing else but what it has been from time immemorial. If you believe in the need to protect this magnificent mystery of a lifelong love between two opposites and the beautiful complementarity that mothers and fathers give to their children please sign the Canberra Declaration TODAY to protect Marriage, family, faith and freedom. Click this link to sign

Yours for the Mystery of Love between a man and a woman
Warwick Marsh

PS. Our third Train the Trainer Summit, held at Stanwell Tops last weekend was a great success. We had two fathers fly in from South Africa who will be running the first Good to Great Fathering Coursed in South Africa later in the year. We had a total of just under 40 new recruits and former trainers joined us for the weekend. We had amazing input over the weekend from Dr Allan Meyer from Careforce Lifekeys, Robert Falzon from Men Alive and Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures. We have set dates for next year’s Train the Trainer Summit for 13-15 May 2016. This is always open to past Good to Great Trainers who have attended a previous summit so please mark it in your diaries now. Applications to attend in 2016 will open shortly.

By |2019-03-05T08:55:38+10:00June 6th, 2015|Dads, Families, Marriage, Other Topics|0 Comments

About the Author:

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker.

Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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