Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is It Good for Man to be Alone?

Are you single and loving it? According to an article in today's issue of USA Today, “Free as a Bird and Loving It: Being Single Has It’s Benefits”, there are many adults, young and old, who are bucking tradition and retaining their singleness. This is not a new finding and it has been written about in many different venues in recent years. And it’s not something that is foreign to the Christian environment either. We are seeing a host of young people in our churches who are postponing marriage in pursuit of prolonged “fun”. Singleness just offers more freedom.

A friend of mine recently wrote about the “marriage culture” on a Christian college campus that has freshmen women toting bridal magazines in quest for “Mr. Right,” yet he addressed the problem that this offers for these women because their hope is resting on a marriage partner’s arrival—not on their Savior. This is true, but I think it is addressing a very real desire in these women’s hearts—a desire that was placed there by God. But in contrast to that, there is another very real aspect of this culture on campuses that has many young people bemoaning marriage, and treating it as a mere lifestyle choice—and not necessarily an institution ordained by a sovereign Creator.

Bella DePaul, a social psychologist, was quoted in the article saying, “What I love about my single life are the nearly limitless opportunities it offers.” The people in the article were choosing singleness because freedom was worth far more than settling down and sharing life with another person. Our American quest for independence and personal autonomy has left us with a warped view of what it means to live in the world. The supposed “benefit” that we receive by being single is rooted in a rebellion towards any form of commitment and dependence. As the article states, the singleness revolution started blossoming in the 1960’s—and so did the sexual revolution and feminism—which declared war on any semblance of moral virtue and values.

So what does this mean for us as Christians? How can we fight for the sanctity of marriage in legislation if we don’t fight for the sanctity of marriage in our own churches? All of the correct and biblical legislation in the world will mean nothing if we do not first model and practice what we preach. The Gospel is displayed in godly marriages. Even our precious Savior died in order to redeem His Bride, the Church. Marriage matters. It shows to a dying world the image of a perfect Savior leading, dying for, and pursuing His Bride. We should want that. It should not become an idol, but it definitely should not become a source of cynicism.

Our culture does not need anymore Christian twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and so on, capitulating to their values. Our culture needs redemption and a Savior—and it must begin with us. Maybe what we need to do is to find the bride magazine toting young women and not condemn them, but actually teach them that their desire for marriage and children is right, and then teach them what it means to live how their Creator created them. The fight for marriage begins in our churches—in our Sunday school classes and in our women’s ministries. That is counter-cultural—and it is definitely not “independent.”

3 comments:

Katie said...

i dont really know what to say about this. is it wrong to love being single? we are suppose to be content in everything, but if i understand what youre saying, we should (or are supposed to) long for marriage. is that being content?

cdt said...

Katie,

I should have been more clear with what I said. It is not wrong to enjoy being single. Discontent in our particular situation would be discontent towards God, as I have stated elsewhere on this blog. But, what I was speaking to is the "singleness culture" that treats marriage as a bad and confining thing. Our desire to remain single should not stem from our love for our own independence and personal autonomy.

There is a difference between contentment in singleness, yet recognizing that God created as beings who should desire marriage, and actually writing off marriage as not a big deal. Does that make sense?

The Bible is very clear about being content in all situations (Phil. 4:6-7), but the Bible also did create us for marriage (Gen. 2:18)--with a small amount being called to a life of celibacy. Does that help?

I should probably clarify my statements a little better. I was speaking primarily to the culture's effect on the church, and not necessarily individual cases of devoted Christians.

Thanks for your comments.

cdt said...

I just realized that I said the Bible creates us for marraige, and I meant that God creates us for marriage.

Oops :)