Friday, October 5, 2012

Looking for Mr. or Miss Right...

I have written of this before -- both the thinking that neither male nor female really needs the other so that marriage can be defined as we choose, that marriage is optional unless we decide for it, that no one should ever surrender any part of self in marriage for in it two independents merely cooperate out of common interest, etc..  Marriages are being delayed and marriage is being rejected at and, dare I say it, unprecedented rate (see earlier blog post).  Let me quote some statistics.

  • Currently of women under 35, only 40% have ever been married [1]. 
  • Seventy percent of African American women and fifty-one percent of Hispanic women are currently unmarried. 
  • Forty-five percent of white women (non-Hispanic) and 
  • Forty percent of Asian women are unmarried [2]
There are now more single than married women in the US. Women in American society are less likely than ever to have a husband.  I am only picking on the female statistics here but you can see parallels for the men as well.

Some have suggested that the cause of this is romance -- the desire to find the perfect mate.  Others say that marriage is not only optional but seen in negative terms.  Still others point to the high divorce rate and suggest that fear of failure is one reason why young people are so cautious about marriage.  No one can deny that the acceptability of co-habitation has had a profound impact upon marriage.  In the end, perhaps we have taught our children too well to be independent and not to settle for less than perfect  -- oh, wait, are these the same young people who are moving home in, well, unprecedented rates?  I guess my point is that the whole discussion is fraught with issues and problems so that no single or simple answer can be found.

For the Church this presents a profound challenge and opportunity.  I am not sure when we will begin talking again about marriage as divine intention and mean it.  We are so worried about offending people that we act like marriage is something like the choice of side items to go with your entree -- some like and some don't -- when according to Scripture, marriage is the entree.

The sad truth is that many churches today have decided that you cannot argue with the idea that sex is the expected choice and marriage is the occasional option, that marriage is for all things you decide and, may also, for children, or that you getting what you want is the goal and purpose of life (vs you giving and serving anyone else).  We have stylized worship to make it fun and we have adopted and baptized the self-centered approach to  things so that faith is primarily a matter of self-interest or personal choice.

And then we wonder why we have so few weddings.... or why Sunday school attendance is down...


Anonymous said...

Marriage has declined because there is this depraved idea that it is bad for young women to marry.

These are the most desirable women, of course, but the good news (for bad guys) is that society approves of these same women, aged 18-25, using contraception and having lots of sex before marriage. By the time these women are "ready" to get married, they are no longer desirable because they are older and have had so many sexual partners already and suffer the emotional consequences.

It is not just that milk is free. It is also that the cows aren't for sale. You are not allowed to buy the cow for the milk. You have to take the milk for free or get no milk. Period. Only old used cows are available for sale.

I know this sounds horribly harsh, but that is the truth. A decent guy aged 25, with a good job literally cannot marry an 18 year old virgin from a good family. It is practically verboten.

This is the depraved world our kids live in.

Anonymous said...

The reason women don't marry is that their parents, teachers, friends and yes even pastors pressure them to go to college and have careers. Unspoken message is that only losers get married young and have children. So they dutifully fork over their youth and beauty not to a kind and loving husband but to the hook up culture in college. It is not fair to blame the young for what we are doing to them. We want to have it all. We want "successful" kids to brag about. So, we pretend that "our" kids aren't like that and it is everyone else's kids that are doing it. It isn't funny. It is abusive. This culture is blowing up in our face. We have a whole generation of nominally credentialed, unemployed/underemployed, indebted and emotionally broken young people because of our vanity and competitiveness. We focused on winning not virtue. We are like Narcissus staring forever at his reflection (our fantasy of perfect children).

Anonymous said...

We have stylized worship to make it fun and we have adopted and baptized the self-centered approach to things so that faith is primarily a matter of self-interest or personal choice.

As soon you adopt the new, you actually become its promoter.

If the church faithfully promotes the true message and it is rejected, that is not her fault.

If the church does not faithfully promote the true message then she herself has rejected it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should TALK to a few single women, especially one over 40, professional and 10-20 lbs overweight. Single men (over 40) want young, slim women they can mold into what they want. THAT's why there are a lot of single women over 40.