Alison and I have always been passionate about having a good marriage and supporting and encouraging marriages everywhere. That passion is not getting weaker but it is getting stronger as we get older. Maybe my main motivation is the pain I experienced from growing up in a divided home: when Mum went her way for many years and Dad went his way. The trouble of course was that my brother and I got torn in two, quite literally.
I worked out that before I left home at 17 years of age, I had spent roughly a third of my life in a two-parent home with my mum and dad; another third was spent with a single mum with little interaction with my dad at all (Scotland is a long way from Australia for the standard every-second-weekend-visiting-schedule for a non-custodial parent) and the final third of my life was with a single dad, with regular visits from mum when her work permitted.
No prize for guessing which were the happiest moments of my life growing up? You got it! Life with Mum and Dad living together (when they weren’t having verbal stoushes). Sometimes it felt like we were growing up in World War III while at other times it just seemed picture perfect. For me, Charles Dickens words, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times” sums up the first 17 years of my life.
No child should have to go to 13 different schools or live in poverty, prevented from going to school because Dad was too embarrassed to send us as we couldn’t afford shoes (though we preferred the carefree life of trapping rabbits and catching quail rather than school and arithmetic). By the way increased levels of poverty is a very common result of family breakup.
However the up-side was that I learned to love moving location regularly and not having ‘everything’ makes one very inventive. I am very thankful to my Mum and Dad for the good times and the hard times. I am thankful that my Mum and Dad, while leading separate lives, did not get divorced because it at least gave me hope for a better future.
Currently there are tens of thousands of Australians praying and fasting for marriage and families all over Australia throughout the month of October. You can sign up to get your daily devotions here if you wish. The devotions you missed can be found here: You might have realised by now that Dads4Kids is a faith based charity.
In other words our desire to help the children of Australia through Dads4Kids comes because of our faith. This should not be surprising to you because Australia’s Constitution says “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”. Our nation has been built on Christian Values. Many in our elite political and media worlds would like us to forget this but we will never forget. It is these same dark forces that have been denigrating men and fathers and families for many decades but we are also praying that this will change. For this reason, Dads4Kids has been a big supporter of the month of prayer and fasting for marriage and families.
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It does not matter whether you believe in the power of prayer or not. The very fact that thousands of people are bothering to pray and fast for marriage gives all those who ‘do believe’ and those who ‘do not believe’ more hope for a better future. The overall goal of this prayer call is to promote a renewed culture of marriage within our nation. By the way, the definition of marriage is as it has been from the beginning of time. “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
Spread the news, marriage is good for you, good for your children and good for society.
For this reason we would like to remind you of the updated ‘21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters’ which contains 146 footnotes of research from all over the world demonstrating the amazing benefits of marriage between a man and a woman. Passionate marriages build stronger families.
1. Marriage helps fathers be better fathers.
2. Cohabitation and marriage are not the same.
3. Marriage prevents divorce in children.
4. Marriage is a universal human institution.
5. Divorce increases poverty.
6. Married couples are wealthier.
7. Married men earn more.
8. Divorce increases school failure.
9. Divorce reduces children’s chance of financial success.
10. Marriage increases children’s health.
11. Marriage lowers infant mortality.
12. Marriage reduces drug abuse in children and young adults.
13. Married people live longer.
14. Married people are healthier.
15. Divorce increases mental illness in children.
16. Divorce increases risk of suicide especially in men.
17. Married women have less depression.
18. Boys raised in single parent homes are more likely to become criminals.
19. Marriage stops criminality.
20. Marriage lowers domestic violence.
21. Marriage protects children from death or injury.
We released this updated version of 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters on National Marriage Day 2009. The mainstream media ignored the fact that 500 people filled the Great Hall from all over Australia to show their support for marriage. The appointment of former Governor General Michael and Mrs Marlena Jeffery, who had then been married for 43 years, as Marriage Ambassadors was also ignored by a media, obsessed only with bad news. Senator Ursula Stephen’s address midway through a full morning’s programme, was interrupted by two very rude and rowdy protesters, who were escorted after a brief disruption, from the Great Hall by Parliament House security. No guesses needed about what the media focused on in their reports.
On a sad note the day after being in parliament to champion marriage between a man and a woman and the important benefits of marriage to our children, I drove back from Canberra to attend my mother’s funeral service. You never really appreciate your parents until you lose them. My mother was a great woman. She had enormous integrity and wisdom but an independent streak. Scottish people are not known for their conformity. She and Dad lived apart for a great deal of their married life, but in spite of their differences, loved each other deeply. You could argue that reconciliation came in the end despite their fiery relationship. It was only fitting to intern my mother’s ashes in Dad’s grave as the bagpipes played Amazing Grace in the country church yard on the edge of town. This was my mother’s wish.
Marriage requires a great deal of amazing grace. Don’t wait to die in order to live together. Give your marriage partner ‘grace’ now, and you will be ‘amazed’ at the difference it will make. Marriage matters and love is stronger than death.
Yours for more love
PS. Bulk copies of 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters can be purchased. Phone (02 4272 6677) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your orders through. You can also download your free version here: Let’s get the news out – passionate marriages build strong families.