Is It Necessary to Have a Family?

Chapter 8 | Summary

A Critical Time for the Family

The Original Plan

The news dropped like a bomb; no one could believe it. The family was a model to every other: a faithful husband concerned about the wellbeing of his children; a loving, sweet, and hospitable wife who had raised their children with concern and care. The kids had been raised in a home with an atmosphere filled with love and understanding. Suddenly, when everyone thought nothing could separate them, they gathered the family and announced their divorce.

A friend of the couple, upon hearing of the news, asked in dismay: “If they separate, does any other family stand a chance? They were perfect, loved each other, educated their children with devotion, helped so many other couples. How could this tragedy occur?”

A Critical Time for the Family

The family experiences a critical time in history. Each year in the United States more than 1 million children suffer the divorce of their parents. And half of those born to couples still married, will witness their parents’ divorce before they turn 18.1 Divorce has grown in an alarming way in the most powerful nation in the world.

In 1935, for every 100 marriages there were 16 divorces. By 1998, 51 percent of marriages ended in divorce.2 In 2012, the percentage increased to 70 percent. This social catastrophe generates all kinds of problems, from crime to drug addiction to suicide. It is proven that an increase of delinquency is proportional to the increase of divorce. Recent research about the relationship between family history and delinquency indicates that instability at home frequently causes children to join criminal gangs. A close relationship exists between family structure and delinquency, drug use, and alcohol abuse.3 Studies conducted in the state of Wisconsin, United States, dramatically show that the rate of incarceration of young offenders is two times greater in young adults of divorced parents than in young adults of married couples.4

The drama is not limited to the United States. Robert Whelan, a retired judge from the New York Supreme Court, asserts that in Great Britain the risk of child abuse is six times greater in homes entering the aftermath of divorce than in stable marriages.5 In Canada, two psychology professors from McMaster University maintain that children under the age of two have between 70 to 100 percent greater probability of being murdered by stepparents than by their biological parents.6

The deep scars left by divorce in family members affect all aspects of their lives, leading many to think of marriage as a failed or outdated institution. Some even believe that commitment is the enemy of love, and that being in love would be better without the pressure of a signed document.

How has it come to this? Why has it become so difficult to live together in a household? The apostle Paul described the profile of average individuals prior to His return: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4). This description is extremely accurate. Today’s society is deeply selfish. Everyone demands satisfaction of their own needs and hardly thinks about the needs of others. To that we must add attitudes that are of very little help in marital relationships: arrogance, insensitivity, ingratitude, insults, as well as disobedience to parents. With such selfish behavior it is difficult for marriages to survive.


A healthy relationship demands a mature perspective about love. The following test can help you on this subject.

  1. Long-lasting love is one that…
    1. Maintains the same intensity as the first day.
    2. Substitutes the initial passion for a feeling of friendship and mutual understanding.
    3. Gradually changes and matures into different phases throughout the relationship.
  2. An intelligent way of falling in love is to…
    1. Choose someone attractive who shares your own interests.
    2. Give greater importance to your loved one’s inner substance than their physical appearance.
    3. Admire the other person and to want to share your life at their side.
  3. After a bad romantic experience, to find true love we should…
    1. Continue searching until we find the right person.
    2. Reject possible companions who demonstrate characteristics of the person who hurt us.
    3. Give ourselves a break to understand what went wrong and pay attention to our true needs.
  4. To avoid arguing as a couple, we must…
    1. Overlook conflicting issues, or those not agreed on by both.
    2. Learn to hold a conversation without hurting the sensitivities of the other person.
    3. Accept the imperfections of the other person, focusing on their virtues.
  5. The first secret of seduction is…
    1. To take care of our physical appearance and our attire; seduction occurs through the eyes.
    2. Talking in a way that the other person feels comfortable.
    3. To love and respect oneself.


Each (c) equals two points and each (b) one point, while an (a) has no score

Seven or more points:

Your view of love is mature and your heart is ruled by temperance. The only risk you run is to overly rationalize the feeling of love.

Four to six points:

You demonstrate a balance between impulse and reason. You have to stand guard against inconsistency in the art of love, which requires patience and dedication.

Fewer than four points:

You have a superficial view of love and are at risk of being dazzled by first impressions and later disappointed.

Excerpt from: Enrique Rojas, No te rindas (Don’t Give Up), Madrid: Planeta, 2011, pp. 51-52

But this is not new. In the nineteenth century Count Agenor de Gasparin warned about the obligation of avoiding selfishness in the family. Even in the best homes it grows in a dangerous way, which is why we must fight it without mercy.7

If to the previous description we add the fact that contemporary society is characterized by individualistic attitudes, then the present situation experienced by institutions such as family, school, or church becomes more comprehensible. In other words, it is not because of the obsolescence of the present-day family model, but rather, the individualistic emphasis of contemporary life promotes attitudes that hinder social coexistence, mutual respect, and cooperation among human beings, fundamental elements for the institution of a family.

The Original Plan

Divorce was not God’s original plan when He established the first family in Eden. According to the biblical concept, man and woman were to remain together to live happily and fully satisfied. The biblical account records: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’… So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:18, 21-25).

In this passage we find biblical principles established by God for family protection and permanence. Humanity was created in the image of God. In God we see the unity of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God without distorting the characteristics of each person. The Father is not the Son, nor the Spirit. Likewise, the Son and the Spirit are not the Father. Nevertheless, all three are one. They are the same God but not the same person.

Humanity, having been created in the image of God, had to have the same experience. Adam and Eve, two different persons, lived as if they were one being with their own characteristics and individuality, but not separated nor on opposing sides. One cannot speak of a complete human being without mentioning man and woman at the same time. Adam and Eve were distinct but complementary at the same time.

“It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him,” said God. What is the meaning of “suitable help?” People might think “suitable help” implies man’s assistant. Thus within the family, man would be the primary figure and a woman would simply be a type of assistant. But this concept distorts God’s ideal. To better understand the biblical concept of “suitable help” it is necessary to read another verse in which this same term is found.

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (Ps. 146:5). The translation for the word “help,” referring to God in this verse, is ezer (Hebrew), as in the case of Eve. It does not mean assistant. God could not be an assistant to man. Ezer means “support,” “defense,” “help,” and, in this specific case, the latter term.8

As Adam wakes from his sleep and sees the recently created woman, he does not view her as an inferior, but as someone to complement him. Then he composed a piece of beautiful poetry: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Man acknowledged woman as an equal in her human essence. In Eve, Adam recognized his own humanity. But at the same time, he is surprised and perceives something different in her that makes her attractive. So begins the unique characteristics of each. These distinct and particular traits of a man and woman have a common origin, but were developed in specific and different ways.

Such development, however, is only possible as long as both are “one flesh.” This is the origin of a family. Adam and Eve recognize their own origin and identity, but they had the challenge of learning to live in unity, a unity made possible, paradoxically, by the fact that they are both different. In the unit, two differences form one. Unity, unlike uniformity, recognizes differences because it is achieved in the harmonious relationship of two individuals. Man and woman do not fade away, nor do they lose their identity in marriage, but neither do they grow apart. Each one stands before the other and feels no shame, nor feels superior or inferior.

This reality is represented in the expression: “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Man and woman admit their need to complement each other and are not ashamed of it. They do not hide this nakedness, but accept it through complementing each other. Man and woman clearly discern that the plenitude of their own humanity is accomplished through being a unit with separate parts.

In the unity of husband and wife there is no room for aggression. Man and woman, recognizing the need for one another, do not relinquish their individuality, despite being one. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Most family problems arise because of the desire for supremacy. Men dominated women for centuries. But when God created man and woman, He had in mind the fact that they would be equal to the other, both important and complementary, distinct but equal. Male chauvinism and feminism are a result of the inner confusion in human beings caused by sin.

In the past, and even today in some societies, females are viewed as no more than property. But Jesus came to restore things distorted by sin, such as the concept of family and the role of men and women in society. That is why He said: ”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:7-9).

Jesus presents two interesting thoughts. First is the concept of equality and unity in marriage. Neither member of the union was created with more worth than the other; both are one flesh. They are no longer two, just one. Both have the right to dream and fulfill themselves, and both must help the other in this process of growth and development.

On the other hand, marriage is an institution in which no one should interfere, not even parents.

There is no telling how many homes have been destroyed because husbands or wives did not cut their parents’ umbilical cord. Living apart from parents is a biblical principle established in Eden and supported by Jesus.

However, despite respecting the biblical principles for happiness and harmony in the home, it is necessary to know that happiness is not a destination, but a journey. One is happy while walking next to a beloved one. Marriage is like a school where one learns every day and every moment. The difference is that one never graduates from the school of marriage. It is possible to learn something, even at the hour of death.

The other line of thinking we read in the passage is that marriage must last “until death do us part.” Problems exist in every marriage. Two persons do not easily live in unity after the entrance of sin, because character has been corrupted by selfishness.

The apostle Paul established a principle that helps us understand why, regardless of how much a man or a woman tries, they are not able to love the right way. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25-27). In this passage, Paul presents the beginning of self-sacrifice: “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

To love as Christ loved requires us to live in permanent communion with Jesus. Our natural human emotions are corrupt. Effort, will, or self-control cannot do anything to wash away the blemish of selfishness. In the inner world of humanity, emotions and feelings are in a permanent imbalance, and divine intervention is necessary to put inner disorder in order. Only when the character of Jesus is reproduced in husbands and wives will they be able to love like Christ. Only then will they be able to renounce and surrender self. Such an act of denial will foster growth in each.

Human therapy can help us understand the reason of our reactions to different circumstances in life, but it cannot change our hearts. Only God can do that. The Bible says: “Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord” (Jer. 2:22). But the Bible also adds: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19).

The epidemic of divorce now spreading in society is a result of the need for God. Human moralism does not have a solution for the traumas and complexities carried by men and women in the depths of their beings. There, in the abyss of the dark cavernous soul, reside ghosts that disturb and neutralize the ability to be happy and make another person happy. How can that kind of heart love a person forever?

The non-transformed heart has difficulty understanding Jesus’ words: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” And in our endeavor to resolve things our way, we fall into the incoherence of our own behavior.

For example, logic tells us that if someone signs a contract for the purchase and sale of a house, and five years later decides to break the contract, no judge on earth will render a favorable verdict. Much greater importance should be given to a commitment made before God!

If a marriage has turned into a place of violence where the main victims are the children, it does not mean that a couple must stay together, even running the risk of death. Unfortunately, common sense dictates separation as the solution. However, that was never the divine ideal. God accepts the separation of couples under certain situations, but it is an emergency measure and should not become a rule.

Confusing love with physical attraction is a tragedy of contemporary families. Many couples arrive at marriage led by passion rather than love. Love is not just a feeling, but a principle. Principles do not change; they are permanent. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:4-9).

Is there room for physical attraction in marriage? Of course there is. Sex is one of the purest, healthiest, and most sacred pleasures God created. It is so pure that in the Old Testament, God identified His people in terms of the mark made on the male sex organ, circumcision;9 not the heart, the forehead, or the hands. In the New Testament, God uses the image of a sexual relationship between husband and wife as an illustration of the pure relationship He desires to have with His church.10

In Creation, God gave humanity many gifts: control over created beings,11 food,12 the mission of plowing and cultivating the land,13 among others. But He only used the word “blessed” on two occasions: upon giving the Sabbath14 and when entrusting it with sex.15

In order to be the pure, holy, and sacred gift God established, sex must be a relationship involving physical, mental, and spiritual faculties of human beings, and it must be practiced within the context of marriage between a male and a female.

According to the Bible, marital sex had three purposes: to be an instrument for reproduction;16 to be a physical, mental, and spiritual bond of unity between husband and wife;17 and to be a source of pleasure for both.18 Human beings are three-dimensional, as Paul states: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

According to Paul’s statement, confirmed by other biblical authors,19 humans are not only bodies but three-dimensional beings. To understand their behavior in any aspect of life, it is necessary to view them in their totality and know that their three dimensions are closely related. None exist apart from the other.20 That is why when people die, they do so completely: body, mind, and spirit.21 Nonetheless, while they are alive, everything that men or women do involves their three dimensions. When working, studying, at leisure, eating, sleeping, or waking up, their physical, mental, and spiritual faculties come into play.

Sometimes people fragmentize their unity, which gives rise to catastrophic consequences. For example, when people eat in a hurry, while they nourish their bodies, their minds continue working on a problem. Sooner or later they will end up with a stomach ulcer.22 The same occurs with sexual activity. There is no way to separate the physical, mental, and spiritual faculties. When a husband and wife have intimate relations, they do so in their three-dimensional unity, and such a relationship gives them security, satisfaction, and fulfillment.


  1. My boyfriend has money. He is a good option for me. What will you do if he runs out of money? If you marry him for his money, why is he marrying you? Is it fair to marry someone out of pure self-interest? What will you do if you meet someone later on—which is likely—who has more money than your husband? The Bible says: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Eccl. 5:10).
  2. I want to leave home. How do you know things won’t get worse? Many times bad things happen, which makes it worse. Marrying to leave home is a wrong reason to enter marriage.
  3. I am past my prime. Love is not exclusive to one phase of human existence. It can be enjoyed at different times. The most important thing is to be prepared to enjoy it in the best way.
  4. My girlfriend looks like a doll. Physical beauty is ephemeral. Will you continue to love her when she no longer possesses the same charm? Sooner or later, it will occur.
  5. I cannot be without her! My girlfriend is passionate. She turns me on every time I am next to her. What will you do when the flame of passion diminishes? It is better to concentrate on character: Can you depend on that person? Is she kind? Does she have a good relationship with her parents? Is she emotionally stable?
  6. We have already had sex. One of the biggest problems of pre-marital sex is that it blurs reason. It is difficult to make wise decisions in such situations. Additionally, sex before marriage can have consequences that are not beneficial for emotional stability, such as unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
  7. All my girlfriends are married, except me. Believing that marriage is the end of a love story is a soap opera concept. In reality, married life is the start of a new cycle of sharing life with another person. Instead, ask yourself: How many of your girlfriends have fared well? Do not permit social pressure to force you to make a wrong decision.
  8. He/she is not the best person. But love will change him/her. God is the only One who can transform the foolish human heart (Ezek. 36:25-27). Sadly, people do not always accept His invitations.
  9. If it is not with her, it will be with no one else. Becoming infatuated with a person clouds the ability to make wise decisions. This type of behavior will make you lose great opportunities.
  10. I do not love her, but she is a good person. Then why are you getting married? Sooner or later you will get tired of your partner. The worst thing is that you knew it from the beginning.
  11. Everyone tells me that we make a beautiful couple. Is that the best criterion to get married? People say a lot of nonsense. That is why the Bible says: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12).
  12. I feel lonely and have many problems. Marriage will not fix your emotional problems; it can end up adding to them. If you are not happy with yourself, the best thing is to resolve your conflicts before making someone else’s life miserable.

Adapted from Alejandro Medina V., “Doce razones para casarte con la persona equivocada” (Twelve Reasons to Marry the Wrong Person), Expresión Joven, Mexico, D. F., February 2012, pp. 8-10.

We live in a society that has trivialized sex. Today’s culture practices sex simply for sex. It is limited to a physical aspect, or possibly, one way or another it involves mental faculties, nothing else. Society has determined what is “good” for it, without worrying about God’s plan and forgetting the structure of its own being. The result is disastrous. Perhaps the body and mind accept the cultural pressure, but the spirit does not because of the imprint of God on humanity. Those who insist on sexual activity outside marriage run the risk of suffering “emotional ulcers” that will disable the joy and satisfaction of sex in marriage. The natural consequences of dissatisfaction are sexual depravity and aberrations.

Paul describes the behavior of human beings in a dramatic way: “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:19-27).

Our generation has lost its way regarding its own nature. Its lives revolve mostly around physical pleasure. Our generation annually spends the exorbitant sum of $13 billion on pornography in the United States alone. It is difficult to turn on a computer without seeing a reference to pornography. Books are written, songs are composed, and movies are produced, many times with sex as their central theme. Almost no advertising appears that does not appeal to sex to sell its product. Humanity has initiated a mad dash in search of the meaning of sexual life. Nothing satisfies. That imbalanced search often leads to perversion and depravity. All because of the ignorance about the essence of humanity.

Despite that, it is possible to build happy homes and bring children into the world as fruit of love that unites a couple. However, at the same time a couple has to search for God and to allow the Author of life to permeate the inner world of each family person. Only by being transformed by Jesus, will husbands and wives be in a condition to work toward the happiness of the other, and the result will be self-happiness.

People who form single-parent families, with or without their own choice, or decide to live alone, must not forget that they have to battle the same enemy as married couples: selfishness. If we allow it to grow, it will wreak havoc on the life of those who are alone. In that light, it is important to become involved in activities of social interaction and support to others that will allow for habits of selflessness. Likewise, the power of God will allow people to live in such circumstances as to feel fully realized and happy in the way they have decided to organize their lives.


1. P. Fagan, R. Rector, Consecuencias del divorcio en Estados Unidos, Santiago de Chile: Universidad Finis Terrae, 1999, p. 11.

2. Ibid., p. 15.

3. Fagan, pp. 20, 21.

4. Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Youth Services, “Family Status of Delinquents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Wisconsin,” April 1994.

5. R. Whelan, Broken Homes & Battered Children: A Study of the Relationship between Child Abuse and Family Type, London: Family Education Trust, 1994, p. 29.

6. M. Wilson, M. Daly, The Risk of Maltreatment of Children Living with Stepparents, New York: Ed. Aldine de Gruyster, 1987, pp. 215-232.

7. Agénor de Gasparin, La famille. Ses devoirs et ses douleurs, Vol. II, Paris: Michel Levy Frères, 1869, p. 66.

8. F. Brown, S. R. Driver, & C. A. Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977, p. 740.

9. Genesis 17: 10-14; Leviticus 12:3; Deuteronomy 10:16; Romans 2:29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11.

10. 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23; Revelation 21:9.

11. Genesis 1:28.

12. Genesis 1:29.

13. Genesis 2:15.

14. Genesis 2:3.

15. Genesis 1:28.

16. Genesis 1:27, 28.

17. Genesis 2:24.

18. Proverbs 5:18-19.

19. Hebrews 4:12; Deuteronomy 6:5; 30:10.

20. Psalms 44:25.

21. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.

22. C. D. Spielberger, M. S. Moscoso, “Reacciones emocionales del estrés: ansiedad y cólera”, Avances en Psicología Clínica Latinoamericana, Bogota, 1996, pp. 59-66.