The Family, 4th Edition

A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


Two respected senior professors in the marriage and family field cover every issue that affects family life, including marriage, parenting, sexuality, communication, social dynamics, and family life in modern society. This proven resource for studying the most established of human institutions has been in print for over twenty years, with over 80,000 copies sold. The fourth edition has been updated to address current family-related issues and refined to reflect teaching practices for the contemporary classroom, including updated references to online resources.

Praise for a Previous Edition

"An excellent resource for preachers and teachers and an obvious choice for a text in family studies in a Christian college."--Calvin Theological Journal


Part 1: Theological and Social Perspectives on Family Life
1. A Theological Foundation for Family Relationships: Developing a Theology of the Family
2. The Family as a Developing Biosocial System
Part 2: Marriage: The Foundation of Family Life
3. Mate Selection and Cohabitation: Romance and Reality
4. Establishing Marriage: Moving Toward Differentiated Unity
5. A Model for Biblical Marriage
Part 3: The Expansion of Family Life: Parenting and Beyond
6. Parenting: The Process of Relationship Empowerment
7. Developing a Mature, Reciprocating Self
8. Family Spirituality: Nurturing Christian Beliefs, Morals, and Values
9. Adolescence and Midlife: Challenging Changes
10. The Joys and Challenges of Family in Later Life
Part 4: Gender and Sexuality: Identity in Family Life
11. Changing Gender Roles and Relations: The Impact on Family Life
12. Becoming an Authentic Sexual Self
Part 5: Communication: The Heart of Family Life
13. Expressing Love--Achieving Intimacy
14. Expressing Anger--Negotiating the Inevitable Conflicts
Part 6: The Social Dynamics of Family Life
15. Becoming Powerful through Empowerment
16. Through the Stress and Strain of Family Life
17. Divorce and Single-Parent Families
18. Complex Families in Contemporary Society
Part 7: Family Life in Postmodern Society
19. The Erosion of Biblical Truth in a Modern World
20. Creating a Family-Friendly Society

The Authors

  1. Jack O. Balswick

    Jack O. Balswick

    Jack O. Balswick (PhD, University of Iowa) is senior professor of sociology and family development at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

    Continue reading about Jack O. Balswick

  2. Judith K. Balswick

    Judith K. Balswick

    Judith K. Balswick (EdD, University of Georgia) is senior professor of marital and family therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

    Continue reading about Judith K. Balswick


Praise for Previous Editions

"A well-written text. . . . In style and content, the book is an excellent resource for marriage and family studies in the church and in academia. Few texts come close to this one in blending the biblical ideal with the contemporary scene."

Joe E. Trull,

Theological Educator

"This is a rare book in its synthesis of rich sources in family scientific theory with a theological vision of the meaning and purpose of the family. I consider this book an excellent resource for preachers and teachers and an obvious choice for a text in family studies in a Christian college."

Peter L. VanKatwyk,

Calvin Theological Journal

"Every sociologist who teaches courses on marriage and the family or who engages in personal or family counseling ought to read this stimulating book. Many will conclude that it is the best textbook for college, seminary, and marriage preparation courses."

Christian Sociological Society Newsletter

"As a consequence of [the Balswicks'] theological foundation, presentation of major sociological perspectives of the family, and integrating visualizations, The Family is a most helpful resource for understanding the modern family."

Diana R. Garland,

Review and Expositor

"No other book has been written [on family living] from a Christian perspective with as much care as this one by the Balswicks. . . . Christian workers anxious to update their libraries with one readable yet pertinent book on family concerns will want to add this book and refer to it frequently."

Joyce Carroll,

Reformed Review

"This Christian perspective on the contemporary home, based upon social science research, clinical insight, and biblical truths, is skillfully written and extremely insightful. Almost everything a person would like to know about the family and its many stages, functions, and problems is included."

Wesley Engstrom,

Evangelical Beacon

"An excellent text . . . from a distinctively Christian perspective, integrating the very best of theology, ethics, and biblical studies with the social sciences and clinical perspectives. Pastors will find this text a superb update on Christian family life."

Guy Greenfield,

Southwestern Journal of Theology

"The Balswicks are well qualified in experience and education to write such a book. . . . The book is divided into seven parts, each one containing extensive research and analysis of the dynamics that affect marriage and the family. The authors discuss in considerable detail various social systems, comparing those that are traditional and cultural with those that are developing in our world today. Significant research data is shown that reveals the varying influences and their impact on the family. . . . This is not your everyday, easy-read, feel-good book on the family that involves ten steps for improving relationships. It is more suited for analysis in the college classroom. It is well worth the effort and investment, but will demand time and considerable analysis."

Danny Dwyer,

Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought

"Jack and Judith Balswick have met a critical need in the study of the family by integrating the disciplines of theology and sociology in a readable introductory text. The reader looking for simple prescriptions will not find them in the Balswicks' text but will find instead thought-provoking reflection and an honest attempt to do meaningful integration. . . . This book is profitable for the serious student as well as the parent looking for help."

Jonathan D. Rohrer,

Criswell Theological Review