The Breakdown of Marriage and Family

June 24, 2013

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Why is the breakdown of marriage and family the same inside the church as outside?

In 1994 in the US, there were 2.4 million marriages. 1.2 million of these ended in divorce. In the 1980’s, couples marrying who previously lived together were 50% more likely to divorce within 5 years of marriage. The statistics are the same or higher in the church.

For someone who lives and works in South Africa, I see this everyday. I only know a few people of certain tribes who even know both their parents, much less have the family unit intact.

With my recent review of The Meaning of Marriage, coupled with the review of Real Marriage last year, it show these are relevant issues in all nations.

What does the Bible say about family and marriage?

God created the world perfectly, but in Genesis 3 the world was broken. Sin entered and the planet has been corrupted ever since.

Marriage began as a perfect act between one man and one woman, Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen. 2:24-25). When sin entered, we see this relationship tainted with the man ruling over the woman as a result of the curse of sin (Gen. 3:16).

As you walk through the pages of Genesis, you see the continued breakdown of marriage and the family.

One of the next accounts shows Cain murdering his brother Abel. The areas of family and marriage continue to follow in this path. There are rapes, incest, homosexuality, and manipulation all present in Genesis alone. This all traces back to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

Sin affected the family as well. In Genesis people sinned so that they could have children (lying, deception, etc.) Today we sin so that we do not have children (abortion).

The perspective on family and children has gone from a blessing to a burden. Where as the elderly used to be honored and respected, now they are cast off, even killed.

In the New Testament, Paul and the other writers attempt to bring reform into a culture that was male-dominated and viewed marriage as a prison. It used to be said that wives were only for childbearing, while extra marital affairs were for pleasure.

When Paul talks about husbands loving their wives in Ephesians 5:25, it was a radical statement. Many times the Biblical authors push their churches closer to a godly standard without making absolute statements which would be dismissed immediately.

Paul didn’t say marriages were a mess. He started with admonishing them to love.

How can we see these sad statistics reversed? One marriage and one family at a time.

We as a church need to get back to the original intent of family and marriage.


  • How can we support marriage more within the church? We know marriage is hard work. Let’s encourage couples not to walk into it too quickly, making sure there is support for the relationship they are entering. Let’s also encourage supporting couples who have been married as they work through the tough issues.
  • Consider what priority family has in your life, even when compared with ministry or serving the church. It is cliché to say family comes first, but does it? Make decisions based on God’s value system of family and relationship, not money or selfishness

biblia del disipulo2

This post is one in a series of devotionals which were published in La Biblia Del Discipulo (The Discipleship Bible), which is a Spanish language Bible. For more information on the Bible, please visit :

The E-Version is also available for IPads or mobile devices. Copyright 2011.

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God