Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. Psalm 22:4 (NKJV)
Alysse ElHage[i] writes about how marriagesmakes for better fathers. According to her, one study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the University of Oklahoma concluded that “marriage per se confers advantage in terms of father involvement above and beyond the characteristics of the fathers themselves, whereas biology does not.” Interestingly, University of Maryland professor Sandra Hofferth, concluded that “cohabiting partners, even if they are biological father to the child, do not invest the same amount of time with children as married biological fathers, and they are less warm than the married biological fathers.”
In other words, cohabiting fathers are not as invested even in their own children as married fathers are. One of the reasons is because cohabiting relationships are less secure than married relationships. One study[ii] found that children born to cohabiting parents in their twenties are three times more likely to experience parental breakup than the children of married parents. Sadly, the large-scale Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study[iii] found that “father involvement drops sharply after relationships between unmarried parents end.”
What really makes the difference is the team effort with your wife and how both of you partner to raise your children. Researchers have referred to this as the “package deal”[iv] of fathering, where a man’s relationship status with his child’s mother predicts his level of involvement in that child’s life. According to the Mother Bodies, Father Bodies report,[v] “Fathers tend to parent in triads with mothers. “Especially with their young children, fathers defer to mothers, look to them for permission and guidance, and are more apt to exit the lives of their children when the primary relationship with the mother ends.”
Finally, a 2008 study[vi] found that “the combination of a supportive co-parenting relationship and an encouraging partner is one in which involved, competent fathering behavior is likely.” So, partner with your wife and commit together to the well-being of your children.
Father God, strengthen our marital team effort to raise our children.