TWU Humanities Dean Dr. Todd Martin speaks on family resilience during COVID-19

"We know that families that are healthy are able to be resilient as they go through these crises. Such families often emerge on the other side of the crises as stronger and closer."
-- Todd Martin, Dean and Associate Professor of Sociology at TWU.

"Life markers give us an indication that we have moved from one configuration or stage in our family lives to another," says Todd Martin, a family researcher and Dean and Associate Professor of Sociology at Trinity Western University.

Weddings, births and funerals are major, universal milestones signifying individual and family development. All of these life events "are being incredibly impacted by COVID-19 and by public health directives," Martin observes.

As the managing editor of the Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Martin has deep concerns for families during this pandemic. He also speaks from first-hand experience.

"I've had two children get married in the past month and a half," he said, "both of those events were incredibly difficult and challenging on the bride and groom, because they were forced to determine who could be there."

One wedding took place in September and was permitted to host 25 people. Another wedding took place in October and was allowed to host only 10 people.

"And you can imagine the stress and the anxiety of choosing the few people who are going to be allowed to be there," he said. "We can look forward to celebrations in the future, but we don't know how long this is going to continue."

The news is more shades of grey than black, white and bleak, however. The challenges faced because of COVID-19 are variations of phenomena that all families face. Now, they're experiencing it in new ways simultaneously around the world. The challenges will be better overcome by some families compared to others, Martin says, meaning they'll be a test of individual family health and resiliency rather than a catalyst for families to become unhealthy.

"The healthier we are as families, the better we are able to navigate through the crisis," Martin says.

"We know that families that are healthy are able to be resilient as they go through these crises. Such families often emerge on the other side of the crises as stronger and closer."

Research that Martin and other sociologists have conducted this year confirms this. In studies of cultures around the world, Martin and his colleagues witnessed family resiliency and determined that COVID-19 has actually brought many closer together. Global findings supporting those conclusions are available in a recent special issue of the Journal of Comparative Family Studies.

Read the full article in Convivium:
TWU in Convivium

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, WA. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, & endurance produces character, & character produces hope, & hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit." - Romans 5:3-5

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