So why focus on marriage? I probably don’t have to tell you that marriage is a hot button topic in our culture, but just so you understand the trends in America, I want to give you a few statistics from a fascinating survey conducted by TIME and the Pew Research Center.
- In 1960, 68% of all twenty somethings were married. Today just 26% are. There is a continuing trend in younger generations away from the idea of marriage, leading some researchers to question how many of today’s youth will ever get married.
- Almost 4 in 10 people say that marriage is becoming obsolete.
- 44% of all adults say that they have cohabited at some point in their lives, and 64% of those say that they thought of this living arrangement as a step towards marriage.
- In 1969, 68% of people said that premarital sex was wrong, but today 60% of people say that premarital sex is not wrong.
- In 50 years, marriages have dropped in every race, but in minority groups it has been most pronounced:
- in Whites, from 74% to 56%
- in Hispanics from 72% to 50%
- in Blacks from 61% to 32%
- Percentage of women giving birth in 2008 who were unmarried
- 72% of Blacks
- 53% of Hispanic
- 29% of Whites
- Kids raised in these households were often raised by one parent:
- 52% of Blacks
- 18% of Whites
- 27% of Hispanics
- Divorce rates have actually gone done over the past 20 years, but America continues to have one of the highest divorce rates in the world at 3.7 divorces per 1000 people.
So why focus on marriage? Because of two serious problems: 1) Americans are disenchanted with marriage, largely because nearly everyone has been touched by divorce, separation, abuse, tense homes, boredom with romance, adultery, and a thousand other common problems, and 2) Americans have never been more idealistic of what “true love” and romance should bring them.
All you need to do is watch any romantic movie or read any love story and you see this distortion. Our culture today has taught us that love should be easy, should sweep us off our feet, should right all of our problems, should make the world a better place, should finally make us feel secure, should help us to fulfill all of our future goals, should keep us completely satisfied passionately and romantically, and should make us better people.
So, not only are Americans disenchanted with marriage because of all the problems it brings, but they also have ridiculously high expectations for true love and marriage. They are both overly pessimistic and optimistic at the same time! They are conflicted with their heart’s idealistic hopes for romance and the cold harsh reality of crumbling marriages all around them. No wonder why there are trends away from marriage in America!
This series of sermons and blog posts are meant to give hope, but not an overly idealistic hope. God intends for marriage to be so much more than the mundane, fight-infested, struggles of every day. And yet, at the same time, God never intended for marriage to complete you, save you, heal you, secure you, give you hope, and bring heaven to earth.
Marriage is a gift from God to enjoy. Companionship, romance, sex, friendship, love, respect, and intimacy are all good gifts from God, but they are a poor substitute for God.
This is the first in a series of posts about marriage. Each of these posts piggyback off of our current sermon series on marriage. Some of these posts will be extremely practical “how-to” marriage posts, others will be deep-thinking theological ideas that provide a solid foundation for marriage, and others will simply be informative. Sometimes, marriages need some extra help. Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment for free marital counseling.