The Family Unit is Disappearing

In America, the traditional family as we know it is fading quickly. In talking about marriage, Chip Ingram, a well-known pastor and author, stated that less than 25% of the marriages today represent the the “typical” family of a husband and wife along with their children. He went on to say that 65% of couples who marry will have lived together before marriage (incidentally, living together before saying “I do” actually increases the already-high odds that the marriage will end in divorce). Also according to Ingram, 40% of Americans now believe that marriage is obsolete.

The majority of teens and 20-somethings today see little wrong with living together before marriage. My wife and I were having a conversation recently regarding how dating and marriage are viewed these days by these age groups. She said (based on her experiences with people these ages) that the goal now is not necessarily to grow up and get married, but instead to find somebody to live with for a while and then maybe find somebody else for a while, etc.

I’m reminded of a concept I read about in The Last Christian by David Gregory. I’ve been unable to get this out of my mind. In Gregory’s depiction of family life in the year 2088, couples don’t marry. Instead, they simply sign a contract with another person to be “life partners”. To clarify, that’s not life partners as in partners for life, but rather life partners as in partners with whom to live and possibly have children, usually for a 10 year contract. At the end of this time, they can either renew the contract for another 10 years or else part ways and find new life partners.

The following morning after the conversation with my wife, I went to my favorite hair shop for a haircut. The owner/stylist and I were talking about how difficult marriage and relationships can be. I asked her if she’d ever been married. “Once,” she replied. “And that’s all for me.” She went on to say how she didn’t mind relationships but she didn’t want the hassle of answering to anybody again.

Her next statement nearly floored me. “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if the marriage was for 5 years or something, then you could evaluate it and see if you wanted to go on.” Interestingly, she’s 52 — not exactly a young adult.

I believe the reason there is currently such an overwhelming amount of sympathy for the homosexual agenda among young heterosexuals is that the Christian right represents an enemy not just to homosexuals touting gay “marriage”, but also to a large number of heterosexuals who are living together in sexual sin. I don’t believe that in general heterosexuals are necessarily that sympathetic toward the homosexual cause for the sake of the cause itself. However, Christians represent a threat to their chosen lifestyle as well. If Christians, or anyone with a moral voice, are allowed to say that homosexuality is wrong, then what’s to stop them from saying that heterosexuals living together is also wrong?

We have generations of kids today growing up in split families, perhaps with one or both parents living with a partner outside of marriage. Add to this the overwhelming dominance of sex and rebellion in the media. Prime time sitcoms and reality shows, not to mention movies and the gigantic popular music industry, all espouse a life of freedom from any sort of sexual morality whatsoever. Pick just about any TV show and you’ll find unmarried characters randomly having sex and/or living together.

Yes, I know this sounds very preachy and old-fashioned. I’m not pointing fingers at any one group. All of us sin. However, in my heart I believe that this is why America is how it is today. For most kids and young adults, they are not getting any sort of message whatsoever about sexual restraint. It’s get what you what, how you want it, with whom you want it, whenever you want it.

Our schools aren’t helping the situation either. I read recently where a school district in Oregon recently approved making condoms available to 6th graders! All they have to do is ask for them. Crazy.

The traditional American family is already a minority; it may become virtually extinct if our society doesn’t change. Is it too late for America? For the world? Only God knows these answers. I don’t know, but my gut feeling is that things are only going to get worse from here.

In Support of Kids!


Recently I was chatting with an acquaintance of mine. He is one of those guys who has a lot of friends. Countless times I’ve heard him mention something about “this buddy of mine”.

My acquaintance (I’ll call him Bob for simplicity) and I were talking about divorce, as he went through a divorce recently and has a young daughter. We had been discussing child support in terms of the mandatory court-ordered kind, but our conversation had drifted more into supporting a child in general.

Bob mentioned something to the effect that a child is the gift that keeps on giving — meaning not something positive, but in the negative sense in that it is something you have to keep paying for. “I’ve only got 8 more years though, and then that’s it,” implying that his financial obligation would be over when his daughter turns 18. To be fair, I’m not sure if he merely meant the monthly child support payment he makes, but it came across to me that he meant his entire obligation would end at that time.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a few moments later in the conversation Bob referenced “one of my buddies who got this ol’ girl knocked up.” He said, “I told him not to marry her just because you got her pregnant. Just look at it as another payment.”

Of course, Bob was talking about the assumed child support payment the father would take on.

How can you look at a child as “just another payment”. Certainly, the father should take financial responsibility for the child, ensuring that his or her needs are adequately met (not to mention those of the mother).  However, true responsibility for the child goes far beyond buying diapers, clothes, or school supplies. Children need a father just as much as they need a mother.

According to statistics recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , almost 41% of all births in 2012 were by unwed mothers. More shocking, at least to me anyway, is the statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau that 62 percent of women aged 20-24 who gave birth in 2011 were unmarried.

These figures are hard to digest. No wonder kids these days are suffering — emotionally, intellectually, mentally, and physically.

I realize many people in the world believe that it is old-fashioned to insist that a child be reared with one mother and one father, especially given today’s wide range of acceptance for what is termed a “normal” family.

I hate to say it, but as long as our culture believes it is acceptable to ignore God’s plan for the family, we will all continue to suffer.  He defines what a family should be in many places throughout the Bible.

Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Mark 10: 9 expands  on the idea of husband and wife remaining together: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

I’m not naive. Certainly, I understand that there are unavoidable circumstances where children cannot have both parents — a married male and a female — to raise them. I have all the compassion and sympathy in the world for single moms (and dads), and I know quite a few of them. I also realize that children are capable of thriving in a less-than-ideal environment. But why put our kids at risk for a lifetime of struggle and hardship if it’s not necessary?

Summing up my argument, as much as it is possible we should strive to create the ideal type of home as God set forth for us — a matched set of married parents living together with their children (and, of course, a chocolate lab).