Friday, November 27, 2015

Faith, Community and the Family

Have you heard of the African adage, "It takes a village to raise  a child?"

It takes a village is a proverb that leverages the cultural context and belief that it takes an entire community to raise a child. A child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.

To me, the "community" part means our religious community.  Being involved in this type of community gives me and my family support.  It can also be strengthening to our marriages. In a study done on fidelity involving 3,000 couples, found that religious involvement appears to protect against infidelity, but only among those who were reportedly satisfied in their marital relationship.  

Another recent study that was done addressing Internet pornography and it's effects on the marital relationship and family ties, found that greater church attendance was related to lower rates of pornography use. Similarly, it was found that regular attendance at religious services was related to lower rates of domestic violence for men and women.  

Just imagine what our world would be like if everyone would have a religious belief and would attend church.  I believe that this world would be a better place and people would be more honest, caring, loving, etc.  

As families nurture and strengthen individuals, so also communities nurture families, providing a setting within which they can become and stay strong. Families are both protected and assisted by strong communities. Strong community organizations, including schools, churches, councils, service clubs, and so on, supplement and complement the efforts of parents, not only making their work easier but often making the difference between success and failure. Without denying in any way the paramount importance of the family, the old African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child has much truth in it. 

Women are much more likely to have children if they are involved in a faith community.  When religion is important in a woman's life, this appears to shape childbearing attitudes and behaviors, and that family situation (such as the presence of children) also seems to influence religiousity.  This holds for some men as well.

I have found in my marriage, that having the same beliefs and attending the same church helps us to be "equally yoked."  by this I mean, we work as a team.  We have the same goals, desires for our children, and we attend church together.  Same faith marriage are much more stable than interfaith marriages (Bahr, 1981).
All marriage will have their share of challenges and problems, including some related or made worse by their faith involvement.  Overall, marriage-based families in which the parents share religious involvement seems to fair comparatively well.  Shared faith is a principle that "successful marriages and families are established and maintained," even during the storm. 

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