As a result, states and society at large watched helplessly by for some time as the institutions of marriage and family fall apart. Lately, when the social and economic costs sustained from scuttled marriages and broken families began to spread and reach alarming proportions, state authorities in many places have started to take a hand in the problem. This paper discussed the ill effects of the breakdown of marriage and family and the prevention-intervention measures that are increasingly adopted to address the problem. It highlighted the negative influences of marital distress, cohabitation and divorce on people's productivity, physical and mental health as well as on the quality and character of children produced from such a troubled family environment. Finally, the paper examined the effectiveness of measures designed to strengthen the institution of marriage as catalyst for social stability.
When a man and woman exchange marriage vows, they enter into a legal agreement to start a new family unit and care for each other and for any children that they might have. Since marriage is a legal instrument, it is the duty of the state to ensure that the contracting parties in marriage adhere to these provisions. Until recently, however, intervention in marriage and family was not part of public policy (Benson, 2005). ...
Since marriage is a legal instrument, it is the duty of the state to ensure that the contracting parties in marriage adhere to these provisions. Until recently, however, intervention in marriage and family was not part of public policy (Benson, 2005). This thinking started to change as research after research unmistakably showed that the mounting cases of physical and mental illnesses and the dwindling levels of productivity in the workplace (Stanley, 2001) are attributable to failed marriages. Illnesses that require medical care create a drain on public resources while low productivity hampers the march to economic growth. These are as much a concern of the state as the Christian churches, which represent the only entity that used to undertake efforts at instructing couples on the sanctity of marriage and the adverse effects of marital distress. Realization that the state presence is needed in the deterioration of marriage gave further impetus to activities designed to achieve better understanding of the dynamics of the modern-day marriage and family with an eye on preventing marital distress and divorce.
2. Literature Review
2.a. Marriage & Family Breakdown
When the National Council on Family Relations in the US conducted its annual meeting in 2003, the theme was: "What is the Future of Marriage" This captured the essence of the problem on the changes that erode the value of marriage and family. Marriage as a social institution has vastly deteriorated because of such factors as the increased opportunities for sexual relationships outside marriage, greater tolerance of single parenthood, declining marital fertility, improved job opportunities for women and