Young American adults are eschewing marriage at alarming rates.
A recent report in World included this Census Bureau generated data: only 25% of adults ages 18–34 are married out of more than 126 million people.
There are 17 million unmarried adults cohabiting with a significant other — up 6 million from 20 years ago. Fewer adults ages 18–29 are even interested in dating (36% of women; 52% of men), much less marriage.
Why are so many younger adults not interested in marriage?
Several reasons include the following: failure to observe models of healthy marriage during their upbringing (thanks to the high divorce rate among my generation), changing gender-behavior expectations drain relational confidence (more often among men), acceptance of cohabitation as a morally acceptable lifestyle alternative, cultural pressures to prioritize other life goals (career, financial security, etc.) over establishing a family and economic pressures which make creating a family difficult (home purchase, child-bearing and child-rearing expense, etc.).
These are just a few of the reasons sociologists have identified. There is one additional reason that is not often mentioned.
We have systematically devalued marriage in American culture — in my generation, by changing divorce laws to make it so easy to end a marriage and, in this generation, by redefining marriage to include same-sex and other alternative lifestyle arrangements.
The current generation is simply following the lead of their cultural leaders who continually devalue marriage.
When legalizing same-sex marriage was being debated, proponents claimed it elevated marriage by making it available (and a desirable standard) for more people. That was a high-sounding argument to gain support, but it was a false narrative.
Redefining something this important, particularly in ways that contradict standards shared by every major religion and most developed societies anywhere in the world, actually devalued marriage by gutting its meaning.
Marriage is about companionship, procreation and relational stability — for the couple, their children and society as a whole. New definitions do not meet these high standards, thus devaluing the entire institution.
We have sown the wind, we are now reaping the whirlwind.
We have chosen to redefine and devalue marriage, making it less desirable to initiate and more daunting to experience in its fullness. As Christians, who still value marriage, we have a responsibility to advocate for marriage and teach young adults the importance of, value in and growth (spiritual and personal) that results from a healthy marriage.
‘Islands of marital sanity’
Through marriage, God does His most important work of procreation, creating community and shaping character.
While the culture around us continues to degenerate in confusion on this matter, churches must be islands of marital sanity, promoting marriage and teaching people how to experience God’s best in this high and holy institution.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally written by Jeff Iorg and published by thegateway.press.
Letters to the Editor
Associations must put away their sleepy tendencies of primarily providing pulpit fill, pastor search committee training and hosting senior adult luncheons.
The association of this new era is not an organization where an exhausted pastor or denominational leader comes to retire and hang out with tired pastors.
It is an organism where the associational leader is a learning broker that knows how and who to leverage within the family of churches to help other churches take their best next steps toward meaningful and impactful progress in the mission of God for their context.
Innovation and progress are celebrated when this happens, and apathy and the status quo are uncomfortable.
Blythewood, South Carolina
Gospel brings liberty, selfless love
Excerpt from April 30 sermon by Jared Wellman, pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Focal passage of Scripture: Gal. 5:7–15.
It’s not hard to see civilization is falling apart. The root of what we are seeing happen today goes all the way back … to that sin that first manifested in the garden — and that is the sin of self.
When man decides to put himself above God … that is when we see the collapse of society and civilization.
How are we to live in such a way not to contribute to this brokenness we see before us?
In a culture that prioritizes self fulfillment over the gospel … we must prioritize the selfless love that Jesus shows us.
3 points to remember
- A preoccupation with self leads to the destruction of humanity.
Theologian Carl Trueman argues we live in a strange, new world where everything is political … a world in which we believe everyone has to listen to what we think. … We compete with each other and this is resulting in a deeply, divided nation.
We no longer see one another as made in the image of God but as enemies in our way of having our self-fulfillment in the world.
- The gospel is a stumbling block in a fallen world and that is a good thing.
- The gospel brings liberty that leads us to an outward expression of love.
Freedom is held hostage when you try to use it for personal gain. True freedom is denying yourself. Serving others in love is a sign of a soul that has been set free by the gospel.
Has church become something you just do on Sundays and it doesn’t affect the other six days of your life? Following Jesus ought to mean we follow him into our Wednesday morning meetings, Thursday breakfasts and Saturday ballfields. God is asking you to leverage all that you have for His glory — no excuses. Let’s stop hanging out on the sidelines and offer our lives to Christ to use for His glory and His mission. He will give us all we need.
Wake Cross Roads Baptist
Church, Raleigh via Facebook
Holiness isn’t a spiritual gift designed for a few. God commands us to be like Him.
A simple conversation (John 21:15–17) with Jesus removed Peter’s days of depression, hopelessness, guilt and shame. Jesus could have left him alone to figure it all out; instead, He was intentional with Peter. Jesus met him right where he was. Jesus loved Peter so much that He prepared a way for the restoration of his heart and soul. Jesus will do the same for you.
Bill Brewster, author
“Revival: It’s Time to Live Again”
There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.
Charles Stanley, pastor
When we are seeking God for His perfect will, that is exactly that for which we must wait.
When seeking Him for a future mate, a new job or for the next step in our journey, we must always seek His will over that of our own and be willing to wait for His very best. For in the long run, we will be proud we did.
Entrusted Hope Ministries
I did not know the bad decisions I would make or how many times I wouldn’t turn to Him for help. But God did and He chose me anyway.
“Like little children”
Buying airfare for an overseas missions project always fires me up! Let’s go!
Mark Snowden via Facebook
Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
From the Twitterverse
We need calm, cooperation and commitment to the Great Commission and Great Commandment. We need to rise above messy turf wars and tribalism and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and go with Him, after the lost — together — not at one another’s throats.
You don’t overcome sin by thinking about sin. You overcome sin by thinking of the One who washed you clean.
We don’t have to be fearful about what this new week holds. God is already standing in every one of our tomorrows. Standing there with His love. Waiting on us with His wisdom. Going before us with His hope and His provision.
We often assume that if sufferers are bringing God’s glory into their suffering they will not scream or bleed, but sit quietly, hands folded and smile peacefully. Glory is never found in such pretense. Our glorious Lord screamed and bled.
Joy is contagious! Joy gives us strength to endure; Joy gives us energy to love; Joy is an oasis in a desert land; Joy is the Velcro that make’s relationships stick!
The whole point of giving something to God is to release it to Him, losing control of it and allowing God’s Spirit, through His church, to direct it where it needs to go.
The prodigal son returned home filthy, not fixed. That’s how you approach a God of grace. He does the fix’n once you come home.
“God speaks to those who are prepared in their hearts to listen. Discern the voice from heaven above the noisy … confusion.”
Don’t trust preachers that don’t trust the Bible.