I’m a pretty avid fan of John Piper’s “Ask Pastor John” podcast series. Often he answers interesting questions about Christianity and applying the Bible to one’s life. Well, for the past week or so Francis Chan has been answering questions on the podcast and yesterday’s installment was regarding why he feels Christians are getting married later.
As my mother likes to remind me: everyone is getting married later these days. Of course, this isn’t something I’ve experienced in my circle of friends to a great extent. One friend did get married last year at the mature age of 30 but for the most part, 26 is still spinster territory. So, I stick out like a sore thumb and a giant weirdo a lot of the time as a 30ish (and counting) singleton. But, hey, statistically I’m not alone.
After Francis Chan mentioned what my father would call “shacking-up,” I thought he touched on an interesting point about the perception of marriage and its limitations. (Very true.) I’ll take it a step further by saying the married folks around us just don’t make marriage look all that appealing a lot of the time.
I can remember sitting across my dining room table from my brother and sister-in-law one day early into their marital bliss: “You should get married,” my (younger) brother told me with a besotted smile at his new bride. Shortly thereafter, however, the bottom dropped out and the new SIL was making his life (and pretty much the lives of everyone close to them) a living hell.
And the stories can go on and on from the friend whose boyfriend wouldn’t marry her unless she lived with him for a predetermined period of time (that went against her personal beliefs as he was well-aware) to the family members who were married anywhere from four months to 20 years that decided to call it quits. From the single person’s perspective marriage can often look like a disaster waiting to happen. So, why would I want to set myself up for failure and the worst case of heartbreak imaginable?
I’d also like to add another thought as to why we’re getting married later: We’re too, dang picky sometimes. I see it all the time with guys and girls alike. They have a list of must-haves that seems a little ridiculous at times. Even Christians who’d I’d expect to be a little less shallow on the the subject are incredibly picky about body type, tattoos (wanting a spouse with body art), hair color, and all manner of personal hobbies and habits.
“I refuse to date a girl any larger than a size 4,” a male friend told me once. And a female friend told me that a tattoo sleeve is a must. What happens if he meets a perfectly lovely girl who happens to wear a 10? Or if she ends up with a guy who is afraid of needles? Are those things really deal breakers or are these two capable of making compromises for the people they love? For the guy, I happen to know for a fact that he has dumped girls for not fitting his body type requirement.
At times it seems that we’d all just like a clone of ourselves sometimes (or what we’d like to be) when that list comes out. Almost like in finding our ideal mate, we’ll finally be able to love ourselves. Or are all these requirements just a way to shield ourselves from admitting to fear of marriage and the possibility of divorce? I’m not sure but it’s definitely worth closer consideration.
What do you think?