The concept of staying in a troubled marriage for the sake of the children should still be seen as a mature, selfless decision, says megachurch pastor Rick Warren. The pastor of Saddleback Church in California wrote in a recent devotion, “Today people laugh at the statement, ‘Stay together for the kids.’ But I say this is a mature decision.”
Warren claims that some modern couples dismiss the traditional idea that it is important to stay in a difficult marriage for the sake of their children’s happiness. “What are you talking about?” people ask. “You’ve got to do what’s best for you.”
Rick’s response? “Staying together for the sake of the kids used to be considered unselfish and mature.”
He continued. “Do you always have to do what’s best for you? That’s called narcissism. Can you sometimes do something that’s best for somebody else? For someone who’s more vulnerable than you are? That’s called maturity. That’s called unselfishness. That’s called love.”
Warren also writes that it is important to do marriage “God’s way” so children feel secure and protected, and therefore have the opportunity to flourish in ways they may not be able to if they grow up in a divorced household.
Children need “a place of refuge and security, where they don’t have to worry if mom or dad is going to walk out,” the pastor writes. “Why did God create marriage for the protection of children? Because when children are born, they are completely helpless. God knew that children needed a safe environment and somebody to feed and dress and nurture and protect and train and care for them.”
Warren concludes, “When you do marriage God’s way, it works out better in your life and in your kids’ lives. Kids grow healthier and stronger when they grow up in a stable family, with a mom and a dad in a stable marriage.”
About the Author
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America’s most prominent megachurches. Warren has written several best-selling books, including The Purpose Driven Life.