When Families Disappear


Can a nation survive without strong families? You need to know, because strong marriages and families are disappearing.

Take Britain, for example. The marriage rate in England and Wales is at its lowest point since records began in 1862. In 2008, for the first time, fewer than 2 percent of women over the age of 16 got married over the course of the year as the marriage rate for women fell from 20.2 women marrying per 1,000 the previous year to 19.6, the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics (ons) has reported.

ons figures also show that the percentage of Britons getting married for a second time is falling. It’s not because marriages are lasting any longer; marriages are still breaking up at record rates. It is just that now fewer people are choosing to remarry following a divorce.

Britain has become a world leader in cohabitation. And now, the new trend is single mothers choosing to live alone on state benefits. New research by sociologist Geoff Dench shows that these premeditated single mothers believe they have no need for a spouse, and their children have no need for a father.

Of the one in four mothers who currently live without a man in their house, half have made the conscious determination to live alone.

Britain’s record breakdown of the traditional family coincides with several other dubious distinctions: Britain also leads in rates of obesity, public drunkenness, drug use, and sexually transmitted infections. It is also a leader in illiteracy, crime and teenage pregnancy. Yet despite this list of disturbing accomplishments, many people remain blind to the looming social and national disaster facing the country.

Divorcing in Order to Marry

History shows that once national family life breaks down, societies are on the downhill slide. “[T]he strength of any nation depends on the strength of its families,” Gerald Flurry wrote in the March 2009 Trumpet. “Family is the rock-solid foundation on which a country’s superstructure is erected. That was the case for both America and Britain.” Note the past tense.

Strong families were also the concrete foundation of the Roman Empire during its heyday. “Back then, when people talked about Rome falling, they were scoffed at and scorned,” noted Mr. Flurry. “When Seneca, the famous Roman, warned that Rome would fall—even telling people why it would fall—the people ignored him. In the words of Seneca, one of the foundational reasons Rome would fall was the fact that ‘they divorce in order to remarry. They marry in order to divorce.’”

Seneca warned that family breakdown would destroy the Roman Empire—and it did! And it is destroying Britain (and America) today.

In his masterpiece History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbons identified five major causes that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. First on the list was breakdown of the family. The other factors included increased taxation, an insatiable craving for pleasure, an unsustainable buildup of armaments, and the decay of religion.

Doesn’t Rome before the fall sound like today’s United Kingdom? The looming disaster is hard to miss.

“The Best Country in the World”

Some few in Britain acknowledge something is wrong. But the will to act is conspicuously lacking. Even those politicians who publicly support traditional families have shown through decades of inaction that they don’t have the will to stop the downhill slide and make the controversial changes necessary to help get families back on track.

Writer Melanie Phillips suggests things are to a state now that the government should give dowries to men who get married for the first time. This would “increase their worth to women” and “send a powerful signal that men are not worthless creeps but are essential to family life” (Daily Mail, March 1).

Wow. How the British man has fallen since the feminist revolution—to think that state-funded dowries are needed to show that men are not worthless in family life, of all things!

A real man should have his own career and be able to provide for his own—before getting married. And he should be the solid core of that marriage and family for the rest of his life!

Yet according to some, British family life is not in crisis. “[T]his country has never been broken by anyone or anything,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in September 2008. “[F]or all the challenges, I don’t believe Britain is broken—I think it’s the best country in the world. I believe in Britain.”

Sounds just like something Seneca’s countrymen might have said. All the while, nationwide collapse is thundering closer as the bulkheads snap under the pressure.

Cause and Effect

The evidence is clear. A host of studies have shown that stable families result in children who are less prone to violent crime, better educated, less likely to take drugs, healthier physically, healthier mentally, and less likely to have teenage pregnancies.

Why do we have children today who publicly harass and denigrate their teachers? Why does London have a higher crime rate than Istanbul? Why do government officials feel the need to hand out morning-after pills to 11-year-olds? Why are British girls having up to four abortions by their 18th birthday?

Because there has been a serious breakdown, of one kind or another, in those children’s families.

And because nothing is changing, Britain as a nation will—just like its families—fall apart. History provides no examples of societies that remained viable without viable families. Even the mighty Roman Empire fell.

It is cause and effect.

God says that when you break His laws on marriage and family life, He will send curses as correction. Through the Prophet Jeremiah, God says, “For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right” (Jeremiah 23:10).

In this verse, God says there is a direct connection between marriages and escalating national problems. The phrase “their course is evil” implies aggressively running after evil ways like runners in a race. As Melanie Phillips pointed out, British society is totally geared toward not only promoting single motherhood, but toward denigrating fathers. Britain is steaming full-speed ahead contrary to God’s laws.

Therefore curses are inevitable.

Jeremiah says the land will mourn and the pleasant places will be ruined. Britain is suffering intense natural disasters. Over the past few years it has suffered devastating crop failures and cattle diseases. Flooding has taken huge tolls. Severe snowstorms have blanketed the nation. Economically, its place as the world’s financial capital is gone, the pound is under attack, and the nation is on the brink of financial collapse.

The phrase “their force is not right” implies a failure in military action. The Hebrew word for “force” means valor, victory, mastery, might, mighty (act, power), power, strength. It’s a military word. God warns us that national sins destroy military might. Today, British troops are worn down and short on equipment. Troops are heading home from failures in Iraq and will probably come home from a failure in Afghanistan soon as well. In February, the Daily Mail lamented that if Argentina were to take the Falklands, the bitter truth is that Britain doesn’t even have the resources to send a task force to retake the islands. That is a far cry from the nation that once boasted the world’s largest empire backed by its most powerful navy.

But that is the thing with curses; eventually they result in destruction. Family breakdown in Britain is breaking the nation. And worse is yet to come. If you don’t believe it, just ask Rome—or the now largely vanished British Empire.