Have you ever looked at a couple and wanted to be them because they seem to have the perfect marriage? Many teens experience this. Growing up, I had this perfect marriage in mind and hoped that I would someday find the right person to live the dream with.
What exactly makes a perfect marriage? To me, a marriage is perfect when couples share equal partnership in all they do. Equal partnership in marriage affects every other aspects of that marriage including children.
First, let’s look at some facts about the effect of equal partnership in marriage:
- 81% of equalitarian (egalitarian) couples were happily married, while 82% of couples where both spouses perceived their relationship as traditional (hierarchical) were mainly unhappy
- In relation to intimacy 98% of happy couples feel very close to each other, while only 27% of unhappy couples felt the same.
- The inability to share leadership equally (couple inflexibility) was the top stumbling block to a happy marriage.
- In traditional marriages, wives had been beaten at “a rate of more than 300 percent higher than for egalitarian marriages.
- Violence is more likely to occur in homes where the husband has all the power and makes all the decisions than in home where spouses share decision making.Children who grew up in a traditional (hierarchical) marriage are most likely to grow up and ended up like their parents.
- Children who grew up in a traditional (hierarchical) marriage are more likely to grow up and expect marriages like their parents.
My goal is to focus on the last bullet point on how marriage affects children. I grew up in a home and culture where the father would make all the decisions and the mother would go with whatever the father thought was good for the family. Rarely have I ever see my mom trying to discuss an idea or share her thoughts on something with my dad. I started to accept their example as what marriage should be like. When people told me otherwise, I tried to defend my belief on marriage by saying, “because I was raised that way.”…because that’s how I saw my father treating my mother”… “because that’s how it is in my culture.”
But is that the right way to have a perfect marriage? Should husbands be the decision makers while the wives just go with the flow? How are boys affected when they see their fathers making the choices, beating, and abusing their mother because he’s in control? Won’t they emulate such characteristics from their fathers? How about girls, sitting there and watching their mother being vulnerable and pretending to be happy and getting beaten by their fathers, will they ever trust in a happy marriage?
Marriage is and should be a happy union between two people who love and respect each other so much they share everything, equally. Marriage does play a big role on not only the couple but also their children. Children mirror how their parents love each other and they are more likely to use the same techniques they see their parents use. If you love your children, treat your spouse in a way that will positively affect your children. They and generations to follow will bless you for your example.
Deborah Wene, an intern from BYUI shares life experiences that have impacted her attitudes and beliefs. She is dedicated to learning how families develop loving and devoted relationships.