A group of teens gather for a weekend of fun and games in an effort to bond together before the start of their senior year. Among the laughter, food, fun, and games, the group is challenged to take a moment of quiet reflection and share with the group what is on their hearts as they face their senior year.

Up stands one teen … who quietly and tearfully shares, “My mother left our family.”

Another teen openly cries while sharing that his parents are getting a divorce. Once in a small-group setting, he shares with his peers, “If you have parents who love each other, you have no idea how lucky you are. Go home and thank them.”

Obviously, my daughter did come home and thank us and in the process shared with us the scene outlined above. She was visibly upset for her fellow students and spent some time talking with us about her concern for her friends and asking us if we would keep them in our prayers.

Then the very next day, she came home and announced, “Today in class, the teacher asked how many of us would want a marriage like our parents have. I raised my hand and only one other girl did — that’s it. Isn’t that amazing?”

Yes, amazingly sad.

Say what you will, but the age-old statement that children, even teens, are resilient, unaffected, and will “bounce back” if mom and dad are having problems is just not true. I think it may just be rationalization to absolve some guilt and dodge responsibility. Have you ever seen the website “Post Cards from Splitsville“? It clearly illustrates how a child feels when divorce is sought.

If you really want to understand what parental problems and fighting can do to a teen, watch this “Confessions of a Broken Heart” video. Sheds a bit of light on Lindsay’s situation, huh?

If you or someone you know is experiencing marital problems, don’t ignore them; seek help. Go talk to a Christian counselor, go to a Weekend To Remember Marriage Getaway, go talk to your pastor, or go to a godly older couple. But please, please do not ignore the problems or wait for them to escalate to the point where you just call it quits without trying to repair your marriage.

Yes, problems will occur, but you owe it to your marital commitment, and you especially owe it to your children to try and make it work. And there are success stories of marriages totally turned around — meet Hans and Star.

This morning as I reflected on my daughter, the lives of her friends, and the burden they are carrying around with them during their senior year, I openly wept and asked God to speak straight to the hearts of parents who need help and to give them the courage to seek it — no more broken hearts.

Will you join me in this prayer and reach out and offer support and help to those in your life who need it?

If you are struggling with hard to face challenges or in need of someone to walk by you for a time, FamilyLife has a wonderful resource for you called eMentoring.

If you’d like to strengthen your own marriage relationship, consider a Weekend To Remember Getaway or hosting an Art of Marriage event this February.