Five Reasons My Generation is Not Getting Married…and what can be done about it

I’m single and 25. I’m not a psychologist, statistician or counselor. As girls within Christian, conservative, homeschooling circles go…I am a pretty average one. I’ve got lots of friends (both guys and girls), am well-traveled, love adventure, and am a forward-thinker. I’m the girl who knew at age 8 that I was going to be a wife and momma, and who sat her Dad down when I was 17 just to make sure that if Mr. Right came along before I was 18, we’d still be able to pursue a relationship. Yet as the years have passed and friends who have desired marriage (both guys and girls) remain single, my heart has been burdened for them and the prevalence of this reality.

Because of this, I have become a student of my generation for the past five years – observing my friends, acquaintances and life in our sub-culture. Everything I’m writing stems from this observation, extensive conversations with my friends and peers, as well as folks in both my parents and grandparents’ generation. I’ve read books, statistics, queried leaders of this movement, corresponded with folks, and lent a listening ear to many friends. This writing comprises not only my observations and conclusions, but theirs as well. My purpose is not to vent or point fingers, but to give hope and a challenge. I sincerely believe that these trends continue to be seen because too few of us have spoken our minds.

My generation as a whole is not getting married. Certainly, there are some romances and marriages amongst my friends, but they are too few and far between. No one, it seems, can find “the right one,” and even if they think they have, guys and girls both are too comfortable with waiting around for “something to happen.” Unfortunately, a vigorous pursuit of a spouse is looked down upon, or at the least marginalized, and often rebuffed. Guys aren’t expected to look for a girl until they are “ready,” and girls aren’t expected to have any help in making it clear that they are available. Singleness is viewed as a very blessed gift that one must never seek to change, or at the least as an individual concern not a familial or community concern.

In a generation and sub-culture that has grown up being home-educated, usually in large families, and with an entrepreneurial mindset, and thus more prepared than ever before – at least practically – to be wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, this is a sad situation.

We’ve heard more sermons on the godly role of men and women, seen (and helped) our parents raise children (from diaper-changing to graduation), and are much more knowledgeable about the functioning of families, both internally and as they interact with society at large than the previous two generations combined. We know how to talk about a multi-generational vision, and how to interact with multiple generations. Yet as I see few of my fellow generation-ers actively pursue marriage and get married…and fewer still begin to raise families, I am convinced of two things. First, our parent’s generation deserves respect and kudos many times over for their pursuit of that which is Godly and right, and, second, something has to change…and soon!

When one views this great disparity in light of the emphasis on relationships, marriage, and Godly families that so many of us were raised in – it is even more disheartening and baffling. Now is the time to assess, draw conclusions, and take action. As I stated before, I’m not willing to see a multi-generational vision die with mine, and I don’t think the Lord is either.

Abortion and Birth Control

Abortion in America was decriminalized in 1973 and as this most radical form of birth control became accepted, other forms did as well. Though it might seem ridiculous to credit the state of so many single folks in my generation to the scourge of abortion, the reality is that the science of love and romance starts with facts and statistics. While America is not dealing with horrors on the level of intense sex-selection abortions that have impacted China to the point of importing women into their culture, it has certainly had an impact. Just as our American social security system is failing (much sooner than anticipated) in large part due to a lack of workers to maintain the pool of funds, so the amount of people in our generation today has been greatly reduced by abortion. Simply put, my generation has a smaller pool of people to choose from than my parents’ generation had.

What to do?

This is a permanent, culture-wide state of affairs…and not something that can be fixed. A good place to start is to be mindful of the impact of a few small choices on future generations. Once you are married and a parent, commit to be forward-thinking and embrace ways to leave your children and the upcoming generation in a better place than you found it.

On a practical level, as single people we can look for spouses outside of “our box.” Be open to long-distance relationships, and don’t put strict age restrictions on those you would consider to be “spouse material.” Speaking with a 28-year-old single friend of mine, she remarked that statistically speaking, abortion peaked the year she was born, and that is one of many things which has caused her to realize that God’s best for her might be someone a few years older or younger. Another friend recently mentioned two sisters who are in relationships and marrying men from England – though they never dreamed that God’s best for them would be an entire ocean away from their hometown.

Unbiblical View of Singleness

I don’t agree with everything that Debbie Maken writes in her book, Getting Serious about Getting Married, but I do appreciate the challenge she puts forth about re-thinking the pop-Christianity view of singleness. In an attempt to give singles a place in the Christian community, often times being single is not only normalized, but viewed as the ‘holiest state of existence’. However, from a historical and Biblical perspective, “being single,” especially as an extended state, is not considered healthy or normal. While singleness is certainly not to be despised, and in rare occasions the Lord will even call a person to be single for a short time – or for a lifetime – this calling is few and far between. From Genesis to Revelation, the primary mode of living as unto the Lord and spreading the gospel is in the context of marriage and families. An entire book could be written on this topic alone, but let me mention just a few examples: we are commanded to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth’ (Gen 1:28); almost every great person in the Bible – man or woman – was married; and God rewarded those who sought marriage actively (ie – Isaac, Ruth, etc.).

Unfortunately, pop-Christianity implies, and sometimes out-right states, that being in the state of singleness allows for knowing and serving God better. I certainly grant that there are opportunities to serve as a single person that one simply cannot do once married, however there is not one shred of Biblical evidence that one should embrace singleness as a holier state than marriage. The issue here is not being single; it is a need to re-think our singleness in light of correct reasoning.

Unfortunately, because it is often viewed as a more holy state, I have seen young people – guys and girls alike – turn away from pursuing marriage, for intensely selfish reasons, and use the “holiness of singleness” as an excuse. It breaks my heart to know that they will regret that decision in years to come.

And for those who view singleness as the time of preparation (which indeed it is), far too often one is expected to remain single until they have “arrived,” whatever that means. For some, they are expected to be debt-free, for others, they must be debt-free AND have a certain amount of money in the bank. For others, it means having all their beliefs and convictions solidified.

While these are great goals and we should strive towards them while single, I see no strong Biblical basis for excluding relationships and marriage until one has ‘arrived.’ Just a quick glance back at my own family heritage demonstrates that both my parents and grandparents supported and encouraged one another financially, emotionally, spiritually, and so forth as they faced the challenges of life together…and they became not only better people, but have had stronger marriages for it. It would be a shame to rob ourselves of the joy of growing together in marriage (and the world of seeing this progression) because one or both parties must reach some ultimate point of completion or wholeness prior to marriage.

What to do?

We ought to recognize, both individually and corporately, that singleness is a no more holy state than marriage, and that marriage should be pursued as the normal state of being for which we have been created.

To that end, I advocate an attitude of pursuing marriage. Young men ought not to be afraid to pursue a girl even if they are not “Mr. Perfect,” for they never will be. Young ladies ought to inspire Biblical Manhood by pursuing Biblical Womanhood. For those who especially have a desire to be married they ought to be good stewards of that desire and not squander it on singleness. As a start, I think it is wise that young men and young ladies both seek out advocates who will help them assess someone who might be a good mate for them, and who will guide them in this pursuit. Often times, this can be parents, already married couples, and spiritual mentors. The bottom line is that marriage ought to be pursued Biblically.

A Culture that is not Marriage-Centric

This goes hand-in-glove with the last point. We live in a culture that punishes marriage as a rule. There are marriage taxes, pressures from the outside world, and very few jobs are marriage and family-friendly. In short, it’s a lot easier to pursue OTHER things in a culture that is not Marriage-centric. These things might not even be BAD things, but if God’s norm for us is marriage, then they certainly aren’t His Best for us.

Unfortunately, even in our sub-culture, when someone has pursued a marriage relationship I’ve heard snide remarks along the lines of “Well, they finally fell…guess we won’t be seeing any more of them…” and “Are you ready for the chain and ball…?” I’m saddened to say that whenever I spoke up to counter this thinking it was not well received.

Add to this the reality that there is a Spiritual component to every marriage. As I’ve mentioned before, there are few things more powerful and representative of God’s love and continuing purposes in this earth than a Godly marriage and family. Satan is never going to be content to sit idly by and watch Godly people get married and have Godly families. He’s going to do his best to thwart that pursuit at every step, and we should expect him to. I’m convinced if we as a generation considered that just maybe Satan was pleased with the low marriage rates, he might have a fight on his hands…and very soon things might look different.

Historically, entire communities recognized that for their community to continue in the future it was incumbent upon them as a whole to see the next generation married. If a person were to remain single the entire community viewed it as their failure. Today, if a person is single, it is viewed as HIS or HER problem, not the community’s. What a radical change in thinking! No wonder they’re known as the “good ol’ days.”

What to do?
The truth is that no matter what our culture embraces in God’s economy, families are the cornerstone of society and marriage is the cornerstone of the family. We must resolve to be counter-cultural, to take the harder path and quit settling for the one of least resistance. Yes, that means taking risks. It means putting ourselves in a position of possible heartbreak. But, we can do this with confidence knowing that our Lord will never leave or forsake us, and He will only allow our heart to be broken if it is within His sovereignty and for His purposes.

Pray. Pray. Pray. Don’t underestimate the efforts of our enemy to keep our culture, churches, and individual lives from being marriage-centric. The only sure defense against spiritual powers is to put on the full armor of God which begins with diligent prayer and continues to an active pursuit of a counter-culture lifestyle – including one that places every institution that God has created in its proper place.

Begin thinking with a community mind-set. Realize that a person’s pursuit (ie – YOUR pursuit) of marriage has a direct impact on the sustainability of the future of your community, belief system, and our culture. If Christianity and Christian culture is to wake up to many more sunrises, it will be because of the choice of individual people to pursue counter-cultural living, even if that means going counter to pop-Christianity.

Easy Accessibility

Another stumbling block is the easy accessibility young people have to each other – particularly young men to young women. This is a double edged sword. Without some measure of accessibility our generation can’t connect, become friends, and develop relationships. On the other hand, the ability our culture provides for easy and instantaneous connection many times serves as a deterrent for serious relationships. With tools like Facebook, cheap texting plans, and Instant Messaging at our fingertips, one can have a host of friends without really BEING a friend, or at least not a good one. For guys, this often provides them easy access to a host of girls who are more than happy to affirm and encourage them (which they should be receiving exclusively from a spouse or girlfriend). To put it bluntly, why would a guy (or girl), want to pursue a deep, meaningful relationship with one person if they can get basically “all they need” (instantaneously) from a myriad of friends who are at their beck and call? Of course, this is a poor substitute, but we are by nature lazy creatures and not prone to change our circumstances unless forced to by necessity or conviction.

For girls, easy accessibility is typically a source of much grief. As they interact with guys through these new technological modes, a girl has no way to measure the type of relationship she has with a young man. In my parent’s generation, the “rules” were much more defined. If a young man called a woman on the phone, it meant something. He was, at the very least, interested. Today, those cultural indicators have been blurred. What does a phone call, text message, e-mail, Facebook message, or any other such communication mean? More often than not it means nothing more than “hey, I’m your friend…,” and unfortunately, many times I’ve seen both guys and girls suffer from reading too much (or too little) into this type of interaction. I wish we lived in a culture where single guys and girls could interact AS FRIENDS, that both parties would understand this. But, one can’t blame a girl for wondering and a guy for being over-cautious.

Too often though, this easy accessibility and lack of understanding works to stifle what could be a healthy friendship between guys and girls. Taking it one step further, once a friendship understanding has been reached, even that has gotten in the way of what would have been Godly pre-marriage relationships. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a guy say “Oh, I couldn’t be interested in her…we grew up together, and she’s like a sister…” Well, what’s a girl to do? We are taught all growing up to treat our fellow male friends as brothers in the Lord, only to wake up single one day, hearing that type of person is not what a guy is looking for.

What to do?

Take your friendships seriously. Be sure that the people you surround yourself and invest your life in are like-minded, healthy, wholesome and edifying people…the kind of person you would want your future spouse to be.

Be a good friend by having boundaries in friendships. There’s something sacred about friendship, as it’s one of the most intimate forms of relating. In the Scriptures it was a high privilege to be known as the friend of God, and friendships of all sorts are something we take far too casually these days.

Don’t be afraid to interact. All solid marriages are built on solid friendships. A Godly marriage is never going to survive without a foundation of friendship, so don’t shy away from it, but also don’t share your deeps thoughts, desires and wishes with someone of the opposite sex.

Cover your friends and friendships in prayer. There’s nothing more powerful, and don’t be afraid to pray towards marriage on behalf of your friends, or towards one of your friends. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – God desires our pursuit of His Will for our lives, and that includes marriage for almost every person.

Divisive Issues

Satan fully recognizes the power of two people yoked together towards a common goal, and he’s not about to see that take place on a regular basis. You know, Satan is tricky. He recognizes that he’s not going to win ultimately, so just like the coward he is, he’s determined to cause as much destruction as possible in his downfall. Each marriage he destroys is another trophy. How much bigger a trophy is it when he’s able to keep two people from ever reaching the marriage altar? And what better way for him to do that than by causing division in relationships over minor issues.

My parents and I have often talked about how much they have grown in their own faith and as individuals through the differences, trials, and challenges the Lord has brought them through as a couple. The truth is that I think more often than not, the Lord brings two people together who do not see eye to eye on secondary issues and causes them to work through that as a couple, forcing their dependence and their relationship as a couple to be on Him.

One famous couple that comes to mind is Martin Luther and his wife, Katherine von Bora. Many times they disagreed on the practical day-to-day aspects of life, but they provided an example of marriage to the entire European continent within a culture that likely had more misconceptions and confusion about it as a Godly institution than we do today.

What to do?

Be discerning. Step back from situations and assess if this “issue” or “difference” you have with a person you may be interested in as a spouse is over a primary issue, or not. Make sure that these issues truly are essential ones. I’m not condoning compromise on essential issues, but neither am I going to watch mountains being made out of molehills. Whether it’s a slight difference in dress or a minor disagreement over a doctrinal issue, the point in pursuing a relationship must always be to seek God’s will, not finding every way in which it may not work. We need only to look at our hearts to find an answer for that.

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147 comments
Hope4ever
Hope4ever

What an insightful article! My husband and I have two in college now. About eleven years ago, we bought into the "courting" philosophy and encouraged our children to only date seriously those they would consider for a spouse and not date others. The problem with this was that it enouraged the boy to look for the "perfect" girl to date and encouraged our daughter to explain to boys who wanted to date her that they had to make it a consideration for marriage...of course after two boyfriends, that was an absolute disaster and she missed opportunities to get to know other young men. We now hope things revert to the non-pressured dating my husand and I got to experience. This was almost Thirty years ago. Guys asked girls out. Girls either accepted or declined and no one cared either way. They either hit it off or didn't and people moved on. Guys didn't wait for the "perfect Christian looking" girl. They didn't judge to the extent they do today. I've even witnessed Christian guys put up facebook posts about why their not asking girls out "they need to wear less or no makeup...girls need to be just like my mom in order for me to ask them out...I need to be single and have everything set in my life before I think about dating...I'm just not in a place in my life where I can date right now...just too busy...and it just wouldn't be fair." You know what those are? Excuses. Arrogant excuses. Today's Christian young man likes to make a list and post about the qualities his future wife will have based on his "scriptural knowledge" (usually extrabiblical legalism). They love to blame girls for the way they dress that makes them lust. Jesus didn't blame girls first. He spoke to guys first and expected them to be HUMBLE and not point fingers. I really think Christian young men *think* they are showing respect to a girl by telling her his ultra-scriptural qualifications for dating when what they are really doing is squelching her spirit and being proud and stuffed up. I'm glad my oldest is now asking girls out on a random basis after he befriends them a little bit. They don't have to be perfect. He hasn't found a serious girlfriend yet, but at least he isn't trying to create the "perfect spiritual woman" that simply doesn't exist. Our daughter is still waiting to be asked. She's beautiful, modest, outspoken for her Lord and her Beliefs, and a sinner...just like all the guys who are simply to "righteous" to date right now.

lolly
lolly

I am a Christian. I did a study of the Bible on this. For various reasons couples often are not getting a license from the government and getting officially married. But the Bible indicates that as soon as a couple has consummated a sexual relationship, they are married or united in the eyes of God, The problem is young folks are not taught this. The Church does not teach this especially to the young men. So young men run around having one sexual relationship after another, not realizing that before God they have married in union each one of the gals they bedded. Same with the gals. So there is much polygamy. Licenses are a new thing. The Church needs to step up and teach the young folks and everyone if you have sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex, you are married. Even the state recognizes Common Law Marriages. The original meaning of "wife" is" my woman" or "his woman". I understand in Old Israel, it would be known a woman was becoming a man's wife, when the woman with her things moved down the main street to her husband's home. When the union was consummated, they were married. Even the Catholic Church grants a desolution of a marriage if it was never consummated. Even among Kings and Queens, they would sit and watch the first sexual mating of a couple to make sure their union was consummated. The problem is naiveness and lack of proper Bible education. And when a young man or woman decides to break up or divorce one they had sexual relationships with, THEY MUST GIVE THAT PERSON A BILL (PAPER) OF DIVORCEMENT. That is the way of order. Right now everything is confused. The Church(each Christian denomination) must step up and put everything back in order. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Weesha
Weesha

I think you need to be careful with the scripture you are using. Marriage is not a commandment by God; He has a plan for every individual's life and how they can best glorify him (whether single or married). If you look at the New Testament, Jesus states, "Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.a 7I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife." -1 Corinthians 7-10

Spirit-led
Spirit-led

There is no one formula for marrying happily. A person really needs to be Spirit-led. Eg, one young fellow I heard of, felt that he should move to another town for work. When he did so, and attended his usual type of congregation, he soon met and married Miss Right. Another fellow was sitting in his car at the lights when a cyclist rode past. "That's your future wife" he heard in his inner ear. So he made her acquaintance that day, and they were soon married. A college girl was dissatisfied with her small Bible study group, so she switched to her friend's group. There 'he' was. Happily married for decades now. God really works on behalf of those who truly love Him. Since the time is short, make sure Jesus really is your FIRST LOVE. That desperate determination to be married COULD be an IDOL. And let's not deceive ourselves - GOD has no grandchildren. Which means that those gorgeous little bundles will likely not follow the Lord Jesus chapter and verse as YOU would like them to, once they reach the stage of freedom. In many families, a lot of prayer and heartache goes into getting those children truly 'born from above', especially in this day and age. Be Spirit-led !

lawtonokieguy
lawtonokieguy

Seriously??? Is the author of this article even married??? As much as I would want to agree, being a Christian and all, I can't but feel that this is a direct attack those who choose to be single, such as myself. I already know all the cop outs. "You'll find the right one someday..." "You don't put yourself out there enough..." and the all time favorite "You'll make a lucky woman happy someday..." I have had enough heartache to last a lifetime. And seeing how my parents panned out, I won't be getting married till Christ shows up!!! Regardless, this article in my view is bias and lack any real essence of how "dealing" with those who are single should be done. Maybe if this person suffered any real heartache, maybe they would understand...

Spirit-led
Spirit-led

Thank you Elysse. So many interesting comments, too. As in every life decision, there is not one recipe for all, but God uses Scripture, and directs as HE wills, by His Spirit. To Wilfrid especially - as you seek God in specific prayer for your situation, He will direct your paths. Society, as a whole, even 'Christian' society, will not change. I have seen new converts determined to marry only as the Lord leads, but as time went on and no guidance (acceptable to them) came, they have either married unwisely or else taken up with someone in sin. Why ? Mostly, they did not know how to be Spirit-led, or, they didn't like what the Holy Spirit showed them and turned away to an easier, more attractive, selfish way of living. God, in His foreknowledge, will lead you to just the right person. Be Holy Spirit-led.

TheTruthHurtsTheRight
TheTruthHurtsTheRight

The reason there are fewer "godly" men and women is because the delusion of god is becoming known. People are waking up to the FACT that god does not exist. Do not hate me, hate the truth, that you cannot accept. so you actually hate the liars that fed you the god delusion. Those people said they love you, but they lied to you. You cannot love a liar. I am not the liar, the people who sell god are. face it. when you look in the mirror you will see a person deceived by the god machine. They want to control you mind, and steal your money. I am sorry that you are angry when the truth is brought to light. Prove god exists, you can't.

Janet Aldrich
Janet Aldrich

I'm concerned when you say there is no Biblical evidence that singleness is intended. What about I Corinthians 7:8? "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am." Or I Corinthians 7:1 - "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." Or do you reject the things Paul taught?

Wayne McGregor
Wayne McGregor

Bad doctrine and the culture war have combined to frustrate many godly Christian women in their desire for a husband. The bad doctrine is not just an inherited thing that is ignorantly perpetuated by well meaning leaders and theologians, it is intellectually protected by these men even when they have been shown the truth, such is the lack of character in our civilization - this a major cause of the crisis we find ourselves in. The culture war is between the culture of Scripture and the culture of baptized feminist humanism. Your article highlights the problem of those women who were raised as god-fearing Christians wanting marriage but stuck in singleness. They want to fulfill the normal desire of every young girl to have a husband and a family. But where are the faithful righteous men that are supposed to come calling asking father for their hand, competing to rescue them from a life of barren singleness? Sadly, they cannot look to Scripture because, seemingly, the question is not addressed there. Where in Scripture is the role model of the single woman who finds herself without a husband? You would think there would be at least one godly woman somewhere in Scripture who finds herself in an age of apostasy (of which there were plenty in the Israel of Bible times) with few prospects of ever finding a faithful, godly, single man? Even WORLD asks, "But what if there are more Christian women desiring to be married than there are men wanting to be married?" It seems God has missed something here. Either that or we have. Let's look at this logically for a moment: God commands us to be fruitful and multiply. God makes you a woman in today's world. You want to obey God and reap the blessings of that obedience - a husband to obey, serve, and have as a covering protection, and children to raise for God's kingdom. But there are no godly single men to be had. We then must ask, "Is God providing, as a Provident God, a way to obey Him?" Of course. God is a loving God who has provided a way, demonstrated in His Word, shown in creation, practiced by His saints, and provided for in every place and every time in history. What is unusual about our particular view of Scripture is that we have, theologically and culturally, decided that we know better than God how marriage should be defined, what constitutes right and wrong, and who our source of law should be, and what parts of His Word we will and will not take seriously. This all makes it hard for us to look to His Word when looking for answers because we have, a priori, discounted His providential order for marriage as irrelevant to us. God is, in fact, very pro-marriage and has provided a godly husband for every godly woman who wants one. Only the one He has provided for you might just not be single. The very best ones are not. They have proved themselves to be godly men by the fruit of their lives. They obey and teach others to obey God's law. They are faithful to their wives and give them loving leadership, expecting their wives to submit to them as they submit to God's LawWord. They are Christ like in their faithfulness to God and in their kindness to the needy and strangers, orphans and widows. If they know God's law and obey it they will also be willing to take more than one woman under their wing. Yes, under God's law, any woman can have any man for a husband, so long as they are equally yoked. All men are available. All women under 60 years of age are expected to be married and serve God by serving a husband. All women who can have children are expected to be married and obey the command to be fruitful and multiply. To the unintentionally single girls: Thus for you to find a good husband you must be able to discern which ones are obeying God's LawWord and which ones just talk a good line, telling you what you want to hear. To discern which is which you must become a student of God's LawWord. When you have spent a year or two reading and studying Biblical Law let your father know and tell him to contact the man you can then recognize as a godly man. To the fathers of unintentionally single girls: You have a part to play in helping your daughters fulfill the command of God to be fruitful and multiply. A godly daughter will remain under your authority until you transfer that authority to a godly man. She should not have to do this alone. You are better equipped to tell a rotter from a godly man. Look around: has God provided a good man for your daughter? And do not rule out a man just because he is already married. And do not waste too much more time. And provide her with a dowry and ask for a bride price (negotiable). A good man will not balk at this. To the would be suitors of unintentionally single girls: Its time to exercise your sanctification and get in good spiritual shape for the challenge of being a true believer of YHVH in a apostate age. There is no culture of belief around you to teach you the ongoing validity of God's LawWord. But you have the Scriptures and there are able teachers available if you search for them. This article makes some powerful assertions as to the nature and doctrine of marriage. Are they backed up by Scripture? Dark spiritual forces in our culture have cowed just about every Biblical scholar and teacher for some time on this issue, but not Tom Shipley. That is why I consider him to the most important man alive today. With his book, "Man and Woman in Biblical Law," Tom has pierced the heart of humanism (feminism) with the LawWord of YHVH. Hallelujah!

20lady2
20lady2

It is true that pre-marital sex is a big problem in this. I have actually talked to Christians who have no problem with pre-marital sex, (they'd prefer to have slept with their significant other before marriage), and some who are even ok with cohabitation. How have we come so far? Why do Christians think that cohabitation is acceptable?

L
L

Hello, Miss Elyse. I read your article and I have a few questions. I wasn't raised in a Christian home or come from this sub-culture with which you identify, but I'm learning my Bible, and working on my convictions on things, by God's grace. I'll just say that I've always dreamed of being married and raising children; it's something I've always wanted. But what I have also wondered if God wants me to give up those desires for the sake of furthering the Kingdom in another way. I know that raising your children to follow Christ is certainly important, and a lack of good marriage/family life is a huge problem in this culture. But I also wonder how the Gospel will be preached to those who haven't heard if we focus on our own desires for marriage and family. .. Just hear me out... I look at someone like that Apostle Paul, who, starting out in a strictly Jewish subculture, probably would have had many duties to fulfill in having a family, but he had to give that up, or else we might not even have half of the New Testament. I'm not saying that it's wrong to get married and have a family; those are great things. But to me, those are things I've always wanted anyway. Maybe I've bought into the pop-Christian idea that singleness does accomplish more for the Kindgom. Anyway, I hope I don't sound like a fool, and I'd appreciate you input.

MillieSarah
MillieSarah

Thank you so much! I wholeheartedly agree with your article!

Cathy
Cathy

This is a great article. I haven't really examined it yet, but I like that it is being discussed. I think what helped me was a conversation I had at a bar with a Christian friend when I was 18. I had just become a believer at 17 and had been sexually active in the past. We were talking about relationships and he mentioned that God's plan was for sex to be for married couples, not single. (This is biblical, although he didn't mention that at the time - later I researched it). I said to him that I thought that was an old-fashioned idea. He then asked me what I had gotten out of the sexual relationships I had in the past. I thought for a minute and the thougths that came to my mind were: heart ache, broken heart, low self esteem, deep depression, days and months of crying, long nights of sadness and despair. I mentioned, sheepishly, that I had only gotten pain. He said "Well, maybe God knows what he is talking about". 7 years later I started dating my husband (we had been long distance friends for a while) and we had sex about the same time we got engaged. We got married 3 months later and have been married for 25 years. At age 16 I had been in on the early "Planned Parenthood" visits at my school where they showed a film of a pap-smear, and taught us how to put on a condom. What they didn't say is that women (much more then men) have oxytocine and other hormones that are released in the brain when she is envolved in physical contact and these hormones BOND her to the person involved, against her will - it is hormonal. I had always had a strong sex drive so I did have some sexual contact with men during those 7 years, but no intercourse, so I very much cut down on the amount of heart ache I had before getting married. I have had plenty of heart ache as a married women, which is a topic for another day and my temperment may not be the best candidate for marriage, but again, that's for another day. We do have children and in a very expensive, selfish, tourist area on the coast of California it has been hell raising kids. Society used to put family first - if you were the single Uncle or Aunt or neighborhood grocer, etc. you went out of your way to help the families in your life. Now everyone is selfish and uses their money, time for their selfish endevors. The same with the wealthy in the USA. They care nothing about paying their employees a living wage. They are greedy and contine to grab as much as they can. When they get old, and need a young person to take care of them in the hospital or at there favorite restaurant - well, they will be out of luck. Keep the discussion going.

Denis Khan
Denis Khan

God Did Intend marriage for couples. “It is not good for Man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18).It is also a sad fact that men take advantage of the laissez-faire system of easy dating & companionship to evade marriage. However, if some women still prefer spinsterhood, there is an international Church Organization, “Society of Our Lady of the Way". Please contact the undersigned for further particulars. Denis Khan

OttoV
OttoV

Marriage has become a joke with two men or two women marrying. Also too much of a percentage ends in divorce anyway. In civorce actions, the male usually loses everything so it is a huge gamble.

Von
Von

Another issue, indeed I think it is the biggest one is that we have abandoned the Biblical method of getting married: which is neither courtship nor dating. Both of those methods contain anti-Biblical principles which, among other things, help prevent marriages.

Randolph
Randolph

I agree for a Christian community and subculture to sustain itself, Christians must be about the business of marriage and reproduction and discipleship of offspring. Otherwise, the community must be proficient in converting large numbers of non-Christians to the Christian worldview. However, I think a more balanced approach would address scriptures that encourage singleness and the examples of singleness in Bible. The comment is made "almost every great person in the Bible – man or woman – was married; and God rewarded those who sought marriage actively (ie – Isaac, Ruth, etc.), " without even noting that the overarching influence in the New Testament, the apostle Paul, remained single and encouraged Christian believers to remain single. Even Christ Himself, Our Lord and Savior, remained single. I haven't conducted a study on the disciples of Christ, but other than Peter, do the Scriptures reference a spouse for the remaining eleven disciples? To argue a marriage-centric view of Christianity one must address Paul's admonitions in 1 Corinthians 7:27: "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife." He continues, "....if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life and I am trying to spare you......But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but the one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit, not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." In verse 38, Paul states, "So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage WILL DO BETTER." I read these scriptures now and find myself wondering why Paul was not concerned about the continuation and sustainability of the Christian culture and community through marriage and the propagation of family. He does say in verse 29, "the time has been shortened" and I wonder to what he is referencing. Also, the current day means of finding a wife is vastly different from Biblical times. I would argue that Isaac did not actively seek marriage. His father, Abraham, sent a servant to find a suitable wife among the family clan. Isaac did not in any way pursue Rebekah. There wasn't even a courtship. The marriage was arranged, as was the prevalent custom of the day. In early American history, even through the beginning of the twentieth century, courtship was the norm. Although many people met and married within a short period of time without even a courtship. Today, dating is the norm of our culture. One must actively pursue a relationship by expending energy and finances to plan romantic dinners and events. It is not uncommon for Christians to date many men or women in their pursuit of the 'one' they want to spend the rest of their life with. In contrast, my friends who are from cultures (and often other religions) that still follow arranged marriages state that "marriage comes first, then love. And you remained committed to the marriage regardless."

parick stanley
parick stanley

Younger single women today don't have to seek a male to "take care of them". Single women look for the government to do that. Look at voting statistics. Young white men are facing an unfair employment, career situation. Jobs are given go women, minorities as required by government policies, etc. TV & movies present white males as bad, abusive, lazy, dumb, etc. No encouragement there. Even the commercials show how cleaver, smart, etc. women are and have to put up with some dumb,lazy husband. Why should young men want to marry? (I am not a young man so I don't have a dog in this fight.)

HRWG
HRWG

Actually, there is Biblical evidence for single life being a holier option than married life. St. Paul discussed that he wished all were like he in a state of singleness, but if you cannot bear it a person should marry to keep from being tempted with the sin of fornication. However, being wrong on that one point does not negate the rest of her article. I think the main problem with this generation is they have seen too many movies. Guys and girls think that lightening will strike when they fall in love (that is why they discount opposite sex friends as suitable partners). Some cases happen like that, but those are usually cases where the two people are severely incompatible which they find out two years later. The "in-love" phase typically lasts, for all couples, about two years then you begin to see yourself and your significant other in the true light. Friendship is the key to a solid marriage. Sometimes that does not work because marriage is hard. The main thing is to pray for your marriage everyday together. One thing she hinted at, but didn't say out right is that you must marry a Christian, if you are called to marriage. You should never wait for marriage because you have small debt or do not have enough money in the bank because God provides. The same thing is true about the concept of waiting to have children. Do not wait for money or anything else. God is our provider. It is a lie of Satan to believe that you need to wait for money or anything else to get married or have children. If you have prayed, if it has been confirmed this is God's will, then God will bless you and your spouse. It is another lie of Satan that you need to take birthcontrol to be able to financially pay for children. If God gives you 20 children, he will help you pay for them and their college tuition. He knows our needs and we need to start trusting God for everything. Birthcontrol is directly from Satan he wants to control the number of potential Christians in the world and this has been his best lie yet. That is why Christian numbers have been falling in current times world-wide and why Muslims are surpassing us because we have bought Satan's lie that we must ration the number of children we have to be able to afford a "good life" for them. Christians in the future will suffer extreme persecution, not the minor stuff we deal with daily now, but severe because of this sin. If you disagree look back on the protestant's original thoughts on birthcontrol. God said be fruitful and multiply and He meant it! It is even more said when a Christian couple aborts their children. So sad because God had a Godly purpose for that child; you may have just snuffed out the life of the next great evangelist. Think about people...God wants Christians to reproduce with other Christians bringing up Godly children to fight for more souls. How can we fight for more souls, if there are not more of us.

jth
jth

How can I get in touch with you? I know someone I would like to introduce to you.

Dennis
Dennis

Why did it take a young man like Josh Harris, in his early twenties, to write a book that should have been written many decades ago by a clergyman. Dating is not a biblical concept, courtship is. Parents are not getting involved in their children relationships with the opposite gender. Parents are willingly pushing the education of their children off on to the secular State because they are paying such high taxes to do so. Why are so many christian organizations telling their members get your children out of public education. However, of course, more government is the solution to the problem of too much government. Wrong world views, ideas have consequences. I did not have greater arguments with women than the women that obtained a secular education from a secular University. The most brain washed women I ever met where christian women who were convinced they were well educated from a liberal University. (Allan Bloom's book ignored.) I ignored any and all secular influences and got a good science education. Parents your children need to be educated not indoctrinated. Real science was discovered for the most part by Christians, not secularists.

Heather G
Heather G

I truly enjoyed this article. In most cultures throughout time, marriage was something that someone did deliberately - they had a "coming of age" in which everyone in their village or area understood that they were now ready to be married, and people met with one another for the express purpose of finding mates. Nowadays we have spiritualized this process into some weird ambiguous "don't look for the person, God will send them if you just focus on Him and don't look for a mate." We don't tell people to act like that in any other sector of their life - we don't tell people to just focus on God and wait and the right job or career will come along. Why do we tell them this about something so important as finding the person they will start a family with? The worst thing in our christian culture is to be perceived as someone who is "looking." We label that behavior and call that person "desperate." So we all have to pretend we're "not looking" so as not to be seen as "desperate" because the opposite sex is turned off by that. It's ridiculous. It's dysfunctional and these ideas need to change. Historically, marriage also was something that the community and parents played a role in. Your whole village tried to suggest to you who they thought you might want to meet. Nowadays, no one wants to "get involved." Everyone figures God will do it for you - God will bring you that person. No wonder the muslims are multiplying like mad simply by having children, and christians are a dying breed.

randellmd
randellmd

i chose to read and study about marriage and family because i came from a very disfunctional one. Although we looked good on the surface as most American families know how to put up a good front. I studied on "family" to get the truth about what a family should be for my own healing and to prepare myself to be the right kind of leader of my home (not to make the same mistakes as my father did.) In my studies and pursuits of truth did indeed bring much revelation/understanding and healing to my life. That was many years ago and now i am still single at 45. Why?? Because of the garbage taught in the church to singles that put them in emotional and even sexual bondage. It all stems from hyperfaith and hyperriligiosity of the "word of faith" and "charismatic" movements. The their teachings (bad opinions) have produced more self centeredness and worse- too many independent women! I think there teachings have had more influence on women and their "emotions" than men have. This "wait on God to bring "the one" or "Mr. Right" sounds like something out of one of those bad romance novels.

Mykl
Mykl

This is a good article. It explains the problem and urges a solution. It does not, however, address the questions I thought were most burning on the mind of those who agree with the authoress' point of view. Why do high quality young men, who want to be married, keep ignoring high quality young women who want to be married? And, even more common from my perspective, why do these same young women keep on TURNING DOWN the offers of young men? It's getting past ridiculous. Anyone have any ideas?

jaredcave
jaredcave

Elysse, Thanks for writing this. It has spurred much conversation in my circle of friends. I think you have articulated many of my own thoughts over the years. I have fallen victim to many of the issues you’ve raised. An unbiblical view of singleness I believe is huge in our culture. I found that after enough negative reinforcement I began to embrace my singleness. However when I step back and honestly evaluate why I enjoy being single it’s for entirely selfish reasons. I would justify my singleness with all its “benefits” because I felt guilty having a desire to be married and the frustration from being discarded in several relationships. Your insight has helped me embrace once again my desire to be married, but try to balance that with being diligent in furthering God’s kingdom while single and at the same time refine my vision for a family when God sees fit to bless me with that. I think your view on easy accessibility is profound. With the advent “social networking” sites, real relationships have been degraded. I am guilty of having friends that are girls whom I have met in person, but have had more interaction through electronic means. Your thoughts on this subject have pushed me to reevaluate how good these relationships are. I used to view these technologies as a good thing, providing people a way to get to know each other on a platonic level. But I have experienced the challenges associated with this form off communication of misunderstanding ones intentions. After thinking about some of the things you gave as issues, if marriage has been raised so high on a pedestal that no one can obtain it and turns in to a self fulfilling prophecy. I have often met young marriageable age girls who have idolized marriage and are sitting around waiting for a night in shining armor, or a Mr. Darcy. How can someone like me compete with that? These girls end up in the mid to late twenties and even thirties unmarried because “there is a dearth of good young men out there.” Some of these girls even have had suitors but discard them because they are not “compatible” or have some “character issue.” I admire women such as your self who have a good head on their shoulders, not just sitting round waiting to be married, but while still having a strong desire to be married, go out and do what God has put forth for you to do. Sadly at least in the circles I travel, girls like you are few and far between. While I can appreciate your view of growing up together and viewing other kids of the opposite sex as brothers or sisters in Christ to be a negative, I think that growing up together and developing close friendships that lead to life long commitment can be a great foundation. You will know as well as anyone can what you are getting in to. For many of us we may not have that luxury and I agree that we will have to look outside the box when it comes to developing relationships that will lead to marriage. Thanks again for writing this. God bless

Mrs. M
Mrs. M

May I introduce you to a group of people saw the upcoming plight a little sooner and developed a wonderful site called www.marrywell.org The founder is Steve Watters of boundless.org (focus on the family young adult division). Marry Well helps prepare, connect and advise conservative believers who are intentionally pursuing marriage. It is full of educational materials, discussions but also, a connection service to find people who are also desiring marriage. It uses safeguards and encourages mentors/friends/accountability thru free memberships for those who are advising and counseling you. Small fee for monthly plans or the best deal, "Member til married". Hope you will check it out.

shacked up 14 years
shacked up 14 years

when you find your perfect mate - when you are in the " perfect " relationship, remember that marriage will DEFINITELY change that relationship. Things will change. How much ? Depends. Do not let religion confuse the issue. the only real winners in marriage are the divorce lawyers. Remember, marriage ruins relationships.

Violet
Violet

I do not mean this unkindly but perhaps you should broaden your circle of friends. I was home-schooled, as were almost all of my friends. And we are almost all married.

Ken Love
Ken Love

I am amazed at the logic of some. To not want to marry a person you've known since childhood because that person is more like a brother or sister is dumb as dirt. The alternative is to try to develop that kind of acquaintance with someone from scratch - either quickly during a courting/dating time - or during a (often trial or failing) marriage. The male ought to be encouraged to run - not walk - run to the girl's father and ask advice on possible marriage to the girl. Sheesh!

Anthony J. Kunz
Anthony J. Kunz

Dear Elysse: Spot on in many ways. Just a few points. You blame the 50K lost to abortion for reducing th pool of eligible young from which to choose a mate. As horrible as that fact is, I'm afraid that argument doesn't hold water; 100 or 200 years ago our population was ever so much smaller and folks didn't seem to have a problem . Second, you put forth that in years past when a guy didn't marry it was regarded as a failure of society. That may have been true in some cultures - particularly Jewish- but I don't think universally.My family, and many families we knew had members that remained single and I don't recall that being attributed to anybody's failure. My bachelor Uncle Bob devoted his life to scholarly pursuits, among which being mastery of the piano. He imparted this skill to me and my siblings, and today I am a professional pianist and my sister a music critic. By the way , you are a gorgeous Christian gal - not just physically - and I still hope to meet someone like you, ten years or so older and Catholic! God bless you.

tridus
tridus

Fantastic article, and about time! I've been happily married for going on 8 yrs now, but I can easily recall my extreme frustration in the late 90's when at college. This was the era of "I kissed dating goodbye" - which I'm not necessarily saying is a bad thing - but for a quiet guy, I didn't know how to be a big social butterfly in order to win the hearts of the ladies. I tried to live being single as a "blessing", but it was a burden - especially when longing for a wife to share my life with. I think too of Paul speaking about burning with passion - well, this was a problem I faced also. I met my beautiful wife through work - she was great looking, an active Christian, and attending a protestant church. Yeah, there were "fluff" things we didn't agree on, but we were married six months later and we've had an awesome time of sharing life together. It's tough in today's world to meet other people who are serious about commitment, but don't give up!

pressedpages
pressedpages

4. There is one aspect I am still observing, though, and have not come to a conclusion. If a single woman enters and remains in the ministry full time, she will most likely not marry. I know single women who were involved in ministry, got out, and then got married. On the other hand, I know single women who entered the ministry full time, are still in ministry, and are still single with no prospect of marriage in sight,. Of those in ministry who marry, they only marry someone in the same ministry in which both are already working. I believe the reason for the ever expanding glut of sharp singles, Christian and non-Christian alike, is because there is a curse on our land. As you observed in your article, I believe the root cause of the curse is our national sin of abortion and sexual promiscuity. The question is: what do we need to do for God to lift the curse?

pressedpages
pressedpages

3. Many adult single Christians are not marrying because it is not being taught and encouraged from the pulpit to do so. When I ask pastors why they do not preach marriage to the young men in their congregations, they hum and haw and give some lame excuse. If they were honest about it, they would say because they are jaded by all the marriage counseling they do and the problems they see. They cannot, with a clear conscience, encourage another man to subject himself to that yoke. Remember, Elysse, you were raised in a minority home. You have parents with an intact marriage, had many siblings, were homeschooled, and learned how to divide the Word accurately. Therefore, your perspective of so many singles being taught about family, relationships, children, etc. is skewed by your experience. In actuality, the vast majority of young Christian singles today have not been trained in these areas at all.

pressedpages
pressedpages

1. People who got married at 23 or less were all about how they "laid down their desire for marriage" and met their future mate in the next few days or weeks. I have always had trouble with this -- waiting well for a few hours for something as tantamount in a person's life as marriage does not, in my mind, constitute "laying something down". 2. People began calling singleness a "gift" back in the 1990's in order to justify so many stuck in singleness. When I heard Elizabeth Elliot, who was married three times (due to the death of her first two husbands) say, "Singleness is a gift -- not one I would want -- but a gift for every day you remain single", I wanted to shout to her from the audience: If it is a gift, than why don't you want it?

pressedpages
pressedpages

Elysse -- Good attempt in trying to pin-point exactly where the problem lies regarding this ever expanding state of singleness in your generation. However, you have missed a crucial element. The church's (and world's) problem of massive numbers of singles, including many who want to marry but don't for whatever reason, began in your parent's generation, not yours. I was single until I was 45 years old when I married a wonderful (divorced) man, and have been grateful to the Lord for this blessing every second since we began our lives together. While on the journey, though, I observed the following:

RJMTr
RJMTr

Shotgun, You seem to be open to the belief that the biblical concept of created "kinds" forbids "interracial" marriage. As biblicalconservative pointed out, the Scripture supports no such proposition. If you believe Genesis, you should understand that when God created the living creatures, each "according to its kind," He created two humans. Only two (2); a male and a female. He did not create multiple kinds of humans then, nor did He elsewhere in Scripture. All humans are descended from Adam and Eve, and later from Noah. To divide humans into different races is artificial. Certainly, the Bible makes distinctions based on ancestry, recognizing different nations and languages. However, not once does God forbid marriage between two persons based solely on their differing ancestry; much less does He provide any guidelines for discerning what degree of differing ancestry would separate one "race" from another. The idea of different "kinds" of humans (in the Genesis 1 sense of "kind") is preposterous. Also, please don't equivocate between the concept of "family" as describing the ultimate relatedness of all humans and the familial relationships identified in the incest laws.

Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett

In the Jewish culture a century or more ago a man had to be married to be eligible to be a rabbi or a teacher. By age 18 a Jewish man was expected to marry and by age 19 he should have an established profession or livelihood. Jewish boys grew up quickly; by age 13 they were declared to be a man and ready to teach and continue the Biblical truths and traditions. Of course, the bride was chosen by the parents or a neighborhood specialist in finding suitable mates for the young Jewish men or women. I believe parents, family and Christian friends should take a greater part in praying for and helping young people find God's choice.

WaNetta
WaNetta

OOps I must add, he either had to be mentored by good men or had a good relationship with his father; his father has to have a good relationship with his mother from a two parent home (rare I know, even among Christians) etc.

WaNetta
WaNetta

I think, though Imay be wrong,that women have lost their 'mystery', and being in positions where men and women are too close together doesn't help it. It used to be that women would work in one place and men would work in another but today that would be too confining. Also, the androgenous (sp) dressing (im guilty of this too) jeans and t-shirts for everyone (started in CA but went everywhere like divorce laws). I remember that girls would only wear jeans if they were riding horses, now its rare to see a woman in a skirt. Little things like this dont make the marriage culture attractive, and lastly, I agree; THE GUY SHOULDNT TEXT YOU UNLESS ITS AN EMERGENCY. If he insists on using too much techno-junk to communicate, hes not worth it. period. you need to see each other in person for the 'body language' angle

Lynn
Lynn

Great article - addresses an issue I often ponder myself. I would have to agree with Dennis - both men and women have unrealistic expectations. Yes, today's young men seem to be afraid to make the commitment to marriage. One reason may be that they get many of the benefits of marriage without the commitment in today's casual society - and I'm not even talking about sex! (The section 'Easy Accessibility' is spot on!) BUT... The problem cannot be lack of choice. What did young people 200 years ago do when the selection was limited to those in their village? I have 2 daughters of marriageable age, who very much want to be married, and they have both turned down several potential suitors. Some of their reasons were good: "He flirts with all the girls on Facebook." "He's lazy." But, what about, "He differs doctrinally." "He hates to read." Or the clincher: "There's just no spark!" Too picky? I think so. But then what have their father and I have taught them for the last 20 years? To have high standards when it comes to a life partner! "You will have to respect and follow this man. "He must be mature and godly." "He must love kids." "He must be willing to lead." "He must have a vision." I don't want them to lower their standards, but where is the balance? Have we as parents contributed to the problem?

Weesha
Weesha

Sorry i meant to write Paul not Jesus who said this, as he is the author of Corinthians. :)

Josh
Josh

Von, I find your comment very intriguing; but just what is that "third way", since you say that neither "dating" nor "courtship" are the way to go?...

Josh
Josh

Heather--awesome comments! Are you single... :)

calpurnia
calpurnia

I cant believe a Christian today would say that: about interracial marriages :what about Moses and Zipporah also Ruth and Obed.

Shotgun
Shotgun

Mr. RJ, If you think the Bible supports the breaking apart of God-ordained distinctions and boundaries, then you should stay consistent with your views, and stop typing. Communication...after all, is nothing more than the systematic appeal to God-ordained distinction among men. It takes a real man to stand up against the prevailing whim of miscegenation and humanistic destruction of all meaning. If you are interested in defending your socially Marxist views...I wouldn't mind discussing it with you, perhaps in the American Vision Worldview Forums...(which can be accessed by clicking on the "community" tab at the top of the page. This blog response area is not the proper place for such a discussion.

Liz
Liz

YOU GOT IT!

TheTruthHurtsTheRight
TheTruthHurtsTheRight

It is for the woman to be SOLD to the man in slavery. Slavery the biblical way. just read the bible, you have NO argument against my statement. If the women does not cook, and put out sex on command she is to be tortured! That is the bible.

20lady2
20lady2

I went back and re-read these comments, and I can't find anything "socially Marxist."