Marriage and Max Palmer

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Categories: Pastors Blog

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Dear Pastors

Marriage and Max Palmer

In two months’ time Jeanette and I will be married 43 years. Shoot…..that’s a looooong time! BUT I wouldn’t choose anything else. My girl is amazing.

Marriage was designed and created by God. It is not a human creation or institution. The way we celebrate weddings are a cultural phenomenon but marriage as God intended it, is HIS idea…..always has been……..always will be. Further, marriage has served society at large really well. Like all created things marriage is subject to ‘the fall’, meaning it isn’t without it’s problems, challenges and even abuses but overall marriage is still the corner stone relationship of all societies, ethnicities and cultures. As the health of a nation’s marriages go so goes the health and wellbeing of the nation itself. But sadly in a secular country like NZ many people don’t believe this anymore. Have a quick look at the stats.

As at December 2021 Population 5.1m

Marriages: 15,657 marriages and civil unions, rate per 1000 people over 16 is 7.72, median age 31.5years old

Divorces: 6,372 divorces, rate per 1000 people over 16 is 5.1, median age 45.3years old

  • 4,842 children under 17 years of age had parents who were granted a divorce in 2021.
  • The number of marriages and civil unions has dropped significantly since its peak in 1971 when 27,201 marriages were celebrated – population 2.9m - a rate of 49.45 per 1000 people over 16.
  • The general marriage rate in 2021 (50 years later) was 7.72 marriages and civil unions. This rate is below the average of 10.1 over the previous five years and continues a long downwards trend.

Compared to 2001 Population 3.88m

Marriages: 19,971, rate per 1000 people over 16 is 14.7

Divorces: 9,681, rate per 1000 people over 16 is 12.1

Source: Stats NZ.


So in 20 short years the rate dropped by half.

We should note the huge drop off in marriage and civil unions in NZ since 1971. This therefore means that living together unmarried (otherwise known as de-facto relationship/marriage) is common place and although the trend has slowed down it still continues. It goes without saying that this is a sure indicator of how far away we have moved from this cornerstone Judeo-Christian ethic. It is, I believe one explanation as to why we have so many social problems especially amongst children and teenagers today. There are no winners when a family breaks down. Children are always hurt.

As NZ society increasingly rejects the institution of marriage I believe we as the Church can shine brightly in this space.

So how can we do that Pastors? What must we say and what must we do to shine a bright light on marriage?

A Tribute To Max Palmer

Max went to be with the Lord yesterday morning after a short illness. Since the early 90’s my life intersected with Max quite a bit. We served together on the Board of World Outreach International for a few years. See photo below taken in 1995. From L to R John Elliot (freshly minted new International Director), Martyn Norrie, Max Palmer, Ken Harrison, Bill Molenkamp (outgoing Int.Director), Des Short and yours truly. Crickey dickens…….good lookers or what?

Max had wide arms. A Pentecostal at heart but a ‘body of Christ’ man through and through. His love for migrant people was contagious. He was smart, spiritual and classy. I had the immense pleasure of travelling overseas with Max, he stayed in my home, we caught up regularly both by phone and over coffee and Jeanette just loved the Prepare and Enrich material that Max had oversight of. I came to love and respect this man and I will miss him hugely.

The celebration of Max’s life will be held at La Vida, Christchurch on Monday 11th July at 1.00pm.



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