There has been a collapse of the covenantal nature of the social structures related to marriage and the family. Today's society reflects the fragmentation of youth and adult relationships: the non-covenantal nature of these relationships can be seen in the way individuals relate to families, the way families relate to the community and the way families relate to the world through the community. Tension arises in the conflicting claims of responsibility to society (and present-day circumstances require conscious responsibility towards world-wide needs), and responsibility to the person to whom one is bound by marriage. In the family environment, responding to the needs of society may be seen as inhuman, and the individuals concerned feel unrelated to their vows, to each other, or to society as a whole.
Most couples are unable to articulate for themselves what their marriage covenant signifies and demands, and are not conscious of the decisions which are symbolized in the marriage covenant itself. Marriage vows no longer have any social role, but simply represent the expression of a one-to-one, emotion-laden relationship. Domestic structures have been reduced to emphasizing only the goal of material security and physical well-being. For some, family life is regarded as one of a range of competing sexualities and entertainments offered by life. Couples do not see the need to keep their marriage in mind so they may constantly recommit themselves to obey and honour that covenant. Marriage covenants have clearly failed to place this demand on each individual and merely require a "once-off" decision.