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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why Marriage is Out of Style

As Christians, sometimes we get hung up about other people’s hang-ups. For example, we get frustrated that people don’t get married anymore. We look at all the singles, divorced people, and “friends” living together, and we tend to think, “Why don’t they get married? What’s the problem?”

Without going into “problems,” I really and truly believe the biggest issue with marriage is marriage. I mean, what is marriage? Marriage is a life-long commitment to another human being.

And, most people don’t want to commit to anything for a long time.

Nada. Zilch. No strings.

Marriage is the ultimate string tier. Marriage is actually becoming one—for life. It’s as permanent a bond as you can get on this earth. It’s better than Gorilla Glue!

We laugh at the goofy priest in the Princess Bride who says “Mawage.” We see disasters at weddings on YouTube. (I love the ones where the whole wedding party is posing on an old pier, which slowly gives way, dunking almost everyone in the lake!) But, the wedding isn’t the issue; it’s the commitment.

What if it doesn’t work out? (Anyone who asks that is doomed to failure before he begins. The same goes for pre-nups.) What if . . . .

What kind of examples have our kids seen? Do they think it’s so cool how Mom and Dad still hug, laugh, and kiss? Do they want a relationship like we have? Are we modeling a great marriage for them? Have we given them security? Have we demonstrated how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful, non plate-throwing way? Have we shown them what it’s like for the husband to sacrificially love his wife and a wife to respect her husband? Have they actually learned how to do it by watching us? Would our kids like to grow up and have a marriage like ours?

Not trying to send anyone on a guilt trip, you understand, but the truth is, most marriages—at least 90% of them—aren’t the kind that anyone would want to copy. So, why are we surprised when young people just aren’t interested?

Another hindrance is cultural. Watch any movie that was made after 1980. (I rarely ever do, by the way, and this is one of the reasons why.) There’s a dysfunctional family at best and a non-family is the norm. I remember seeing E.T. at someone’s home many years ago. At the beginning, I almost left the room because of the rude talk between parents and children. Nasty! Why would anyone want a home like that?

Nowadays, it’s worse. A film “family” has a million definitions, and they’re not convincing enough that people want one. I looked up “family” on a photo-sharing site. Seriously, I got: skunk families, ape families, some couples, a few couples with children—very few—and even insect families! “Family” no longer seems to mean human marriage. No wonder people are confused!

I believe another reason for the non-marriage phenomenon is financial. Years ago, any man with a decent job—just about any full-time job—could provide basic housing and food for his family. His wife wouldn’t absolutely need to work outside of the home, and his children could grow up comfortably, if not richly. Today, with the same full-time job, most men can’t provide housing and food for their family. The wife must work—either from home or outside the home. When they’re blessed with children, they have extra stresses: costs of childcare, schooling, etc. Many singles look at this scenario and feel like why get married, if it’s financially even harder than what I’m struggling to do to take care of myself?

Some people are “running scared.” Through the years, I’ve known some wonderful young women who actually met and dated Mr. Right. They admired him, respected him, and knew he was top quality—but they couldn’t commit. They wouldn’t let themselves love. They couldn’t take that huge (to them) step from a great friendship to marriage.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but I believe it’s not a problem we need to live with. Let’s do more modeling, more praying, and more biblical counseling. Let’s encourage true, normal friendships—not matchmaking or setting up blind dates for people. Let’s just be Christians who live seeking God’s will.

I fully believe that if our churches were full of more truly Christ-like Christians, we’d see more lovely marriages.* They might even come into style again!

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(Mark 10:7-9)


* No, I don’t believe it’s God’s will for everyone to marry. It’s not Scriptural. Neither is it biblical for women to go out looking for a man. But, it is God’s will for most people to marry. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I have a heart for singles. (Many of my best friends are single women.) Do a search, and you’ll see!


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