Preachers and Christian Media Personalities: Re: Marriage – You’re missing the point – stop trying to argue or shame singles into getting married
Many evangelical, neo Calvinist, and Baptist preachers, as well as secular right wing persons, think tanks and personalities are continuing to operate under the false illusion that the reason so many Christian adult singles are not getting married into their late 20s, their 30s, and 40s and beyond is because they hate marriage or are intentionally choosing not to marry.
So, we see a spate of articles, blog posts, or hear podcasts where the likes of Al Mohlers, Mark Driscolls, and others, try to shame or guilt singles into getting married (some of these Christian personalities are harsher on male singles than they are female singles, while some distribute the harshness pretty much equally between the genders).
Some of these famous Christians enjoy citing dubious research to scare us singles into getting married, that supposedly, married people live longer and healthier lives ((Link): debunked here), and so forth.
While there may certainly be some adult (Christian) singles who have deliberately chosen to not marry, there are many, many Christian adults singles over the age of 25, 30, 40 and 50, who still desire marriage, but despite praying and hoping for a spouse, they are still single.
And some adult singles find this situation, and the incredibly obnoxious, resultant “blame game” played against them by pro-marriage Christians and the Christian pro-traditional marriage culture, very, very painful and frustrating.
I am one of them. I was a Christian for many years, and I had fully expected to marry by age 35 at the latest but am early 40s now and still unmarried.
I was told from a young age by preachers, my Christian parents, and Christian culture (Christian books about dating, etc), that if I prayed, had faith, waited on God’s timing, and stayed a virgin, that God would bless me with a spouse.
I did all that: stayed a virgin, prayed, had faith, trusted God for a spouse, but the wonderful Christian husband I was told would be mine never did manifest. I am still single after all this time.
And yet, some Christian preachers will ignorantly and presumptuously lecture me, and singles like me, in their blogs, podcasts, books, or sermons that I am still single because I must obviously, according to them, be
- a career driven, feminist, man-hating shrew;
- I must despise marriage and am choosing to avoid it;
- I must love singledom freedom too much to give it up;
- or, I must have committed fornication, so God is withholding a spouse
– all manner of false assumptions are made.
These types of Christians have no clue why I am still single, but it sure does not bother them from making malicious, insulting, rude assumptions and unfounded speculations.
I do not hate marriage. I am over 40 and have never had sex. I did not place career first. I am not a man-hating, secular feminist.
Yet, Christians continue to assume if you are single past age 25 or so, it must be due to a reason such as that, or else, they feel, you are intentionally avoiding marriage.
None of these ignorant Christians want to notice, consider, or opine on, the contributing factors undergirding unwanted, protracted adult singleness that are beyond the control of singles, such as…
The job landscape has changed, which prevents a lot of young men from being able to marry (it takes a lot of money to support a wife and child, which happens to be the stereotypical preferred Christian family structure (Link): Male Employment Trends May Not Bode Well For Marriage).
And no, pushing people to marry at age 18 or 21, and instructing the church to fund and finance young married couples to make the whole thing easier, is not the answer, either.
In addition, this nauseating push by Christian leaders to marry “teeny boppers” off by the time they are 18 or 21 years old still does nothing for me, age 40ish and still single, and there are many, many singles such as me, who are never married past age 30 who desire marriage: what church, will you do to help me and those like me get a partner?
Telling me I, a 40-something woman, should marry at age 18 is an anachronism. I’m past age 18 now. So what now? How will you help me achieve my goal of having my own traditional marriage?
There are other single men and women my age who are asking the same thing on other blogs out there; I am far from alone.
Another factor ignored by the Christians who try to shame and blame adult singles into getting married:
Christian teachings on gender roles and dating/ sex/ and marriage have themselves contributed to prolonged, unwanted singleness among Christian singles, which I shall not get into here, because I have explained it before in other posts (such as (Link): here, (Link): here, (Link): here).
To the preachers and Christian media personalities out there:
Stop assuming all adult singles do NOT want marriage.
Start addressing those of us who DO WANT marriage, but it has, for whatever reason that is not our fault, been DENIED us.
Stop fretting that marriage is not happening among younger generations and using that as an excuse to blame and rail against the phantoms of liberalism and secular feminism.
Start addressing specific steps churches and Christian culture can take to help marry off over-age 30 singles who desire marriage.
Consider re-examining, re-tooling, or scrapping altogether your teachings on sex, gender roles, dating, and marriage, because those are some of the very things which have inhibited Christian singles from dating and getting married.
There are entire blogs and sites dedicated to how the Christian dating book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” kept an entire generation of Christians single into their 30s and beyond, with its faulty, naive assumptions about sex, dating, and gender roles and so on.
And these still-single Christians (who have been damaged by books such as “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and similar Christian material) are people who were desiring marriage, not trying to avoid it! (Example: (Link): (Blog): I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness?)
Stop assuming all never-married adults past the age of 30 are single by choice, or that God has called them to be single. by the way, the phrase “Gift of Singleness” and “Gift of Celibacy” are NOT in the Bible. Here are a few instructive links about that:
Many of us singles over the age of 30 desired marriage and do NOT understand why God never sent us a spouse, as preachers say God will do if we just pray and wait.
Stop preaching that singles are “less than.”
What I mean is that fringe kook groups, as well as more “mainstream” preachers and speakers, have been teaching the last several years, that it takes one man married to one women to reflect God, or to fully express God, etc., when the Bible not only does not teach this dreck, but the Bible already says that an unmarried woman alone fully reflects God, as does an unmarried man alone.
Seriously, some preachers, or some Christian fertility cultic groups, teach that singles are not as fully Christian, or as fully human, as married couples are, and some of these nasty assumptions also spill over to married couples who are infertile (ie, you are not fully Christian or human unless you are married AND producing children). I have several posts like this one on this blog:
According to Pastor – Jimmy Evans – It Takes One Man and Woman Married To Equal A Whole – so where does that leave Christian singles ? / Too Much Sex Talk | Making Marriage into an Idol Marriage Idolatry Anti Singles Singlehood Singleness Unmarried Bias Prejudice
Why Unmarried – Single Christians Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy – because some Christians are teachng that unmarried people are not fully human or not “whole” – preachers who teach that single people are not fully in God’s image unless they get married
Jesus Christ never married and never had children, does that mean Jesus was not fully human, not fully Christian, and not fully reflecting God?
Putting aside for a moment that many of us older singles WANT TO BE MARRIED and find it puzzling, infuriating, or frustrating that we are not married…
Also, for those singles who do decide to remain single and/or never have children, and who are happy remaining single and childfree: respect those choices.
The Bible does NOT condemn singlehood, the Bible does not mandate marriage or procreation (both are presented as being OPTIONAL in the New Testament), the Bible does not teach that marriage is better or more holy or godly than singlehood.
Nor does the Bible teach that God “calls” anyone to singleness, or that singleness is only for “a few.”
Up to 44% (or more) of America’s population is single now, including a huge chunk of conservative Christians, so obviously, if one believes in that nonsense about God “calling” any one to singlehood, God is calling many, many to singlehood these days in the United States not “just a few.”
The Bible presents lifelong celibacy and singleness as being completely fine, valid options for the adult believers, and there may be a number of Christians who are truly happy and fine being single, but many Christians – the ones who have turned traditional marriage and having children into idols – completely ignore the Bible’s teachings on singleness to present it as being the option or last resort of only “the few” or only “those who are gifted with it,” or to make marriage sound superior to singleness.
It is especially troubling when the pro traditional marriage types, such as Al Mohler, quote the “singles die sooner than married” type studies with such glee, not only because such studies are usually flawed, but because they are denying or disrespecting God’s very own teaching on singleness: that God is totally fine with people choosing to remain single, and that the Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ were themselves single.
At any rate, there is a boat load of adult Christian singles out there who very much would like to get married, and we are being neglected. Or, Christian spokespersons keep wrongly assuming we are deliberately choosing to avoid marriage for any number of reasons.
Christians need to help us older singles get married, if we desire marriage, and they need to respect us as singles for so long as we do remain unmarried, even if that remains a lifetime.
I’ve yet to see any preacher discuss the following: why is God (that is, assuming the God of the Bible exists, and that He cares about people and actually listens to or replies to prayer) permitting so many adult Christians to remain single for so long, despite the fact they do, contrary to much Christian spin one reads, desire marriage, and have been praying to God for a spouse for decades?
The majority of Christians do not want to touch this topic at all.
I wonder why that is? Are they happier sitting back complaining about society and griping about liberals and feminists than they are in actually taking constructive steps at rectifying the situation (ie, helping older singles who want marriage to get married)?
(Link): Conservative Christians Are Now Blaming Homosexual Marriage on Heterosexual Single Adults
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Singleness is Not A Gift
(Link): On Vulgar Language at This Blog