Divorce Rates Are Dropping. But Are We Saving Marriage? by S Jones (Also discusses how Christians have turned marriage and family into idols)

This post, “Divorce Rates Are Dropping. But Are We Saving Marriage?,” on Faith Street, is essentially a rehash about two blog posts I made earlier this week and the last, here is one of the two:

(Link): Some Guy Ticked off At Recent NY Times Article about Declining Divorce Rate Declares that Marriage Still Doing Crummy and the Fam-bly Still Endangered

I still think this is worth reading because the author throws in a few of her own thoughts

(Link): Divorce Rates Are Dropping. But Are We Saving Marriage? by S Jones

Excerpts.

  • As with all demographic shifts, a number of factors are in play. The Times notes that lower divorce rates still don’t correspond to a higher number of marriages. Fewer people are getting married, a fact that’s long been a source of ire for marriage-minded Christians.
  • But those that do are still finding themselves in more stable unions, and as the Times indicates, that’s because people are marrying later than ever before.
  • The idea that later marriage can contribute to the institution’s stability is rather at odds with conservative rhetoric on the subject.

  • In the Atlantic last year, evangelical writer Karen Swallow Prior wrote that “prolonged singledom has become a rolling stone, gathering up debt and offspring that, we can imagine, will manifest themselves in years to come in more broken, or never-realized, marriages.”Prior, who repeatedly drew on the controversial work of evangelical sociologist Mark Regnerus to make her points, argued that marriage should be the “capstone” of young adulthood, and attributed her own professional success to her decision to marry at the age of 19.
  • Likewise, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in 2010 that, “The delay of marriage is a huge problem, and Christians should be in the forefront of seeing and understanding the problem — and countering the arguments against early marriage.”
  • …But further research suggests that Prior’s successful early marriage is an outlier, and that Mohler’s defense of the practice is likely misplaced. The University of Illinois-Chicago’s Evelyn Lehrer noted in 2009 that although individuals marrying in their late twenties and thirties had historically been most likely to divorce, that’s no longer true.
  • Now, marriages conducted at these ages can be the most durable. That also happens to be when most Millennials choose to marry.Religious commitment doesn’t necessarily improve an early marriage’s chances, either. Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin and the University of Iowa found that conservative Protestants are the religious demographic most likely to divorce, even when compared to their non-religious peers.
  • Early marriage and a refusal to use contraception are cited as the two primary factors behind that figure. “Thus the common conservative argument that strong religion leads to strong families does not hold up,” they concluded.
  • …This may surprise Prior, Mohler, and their peers. It doesn’t surprise me. As a graduate of a conservative Christian college, I’m well acquainted with evangelicalism’s marriage obsession, and with its potentially self-defeating properties.
  • …I have my own theories about evangelicalism’s inability to control the marriage narrative. Here’s one: the rigid relationship template it foists on its youth emphasizes the creation of a unit, but not the development of individuals.
  • (( click here to read the rest of that page ))

I left a comment on that page in response to some guy:

  • The Christian marriage culture excludes or marginalizes anyone who cannot or does not marry or procreate. Contra to Christ’s teachings in Matthew 10: 37,38, Christians have put marriage and the Nuclear Family on to a pedestal and worship it. This also goes against Paul’s comments in 1 Cor 7 that singleness is preferable in some ways to marriage and that marriage is difficult (the idea being that people really should consider staying single).
  • There are Christians such as me who had wanted to marry, but we never came across “Mr. Right.” I am now over 40 years of age. Most content and ministry by conservative Christians, especially Baptist, evangelical, and Reformed, is directed at marriage and parenting.
  • We older singles also get subjected to negative stereotypes. It’s assumed there is something wrong with us, that we are not as mature as our married counterparts, that we are sexually active to the hilt, etc. We single ladies are browbeat by conservative Christians in that they assume most of us deliberately chose to stay single (I for one did not), and they go on rudely assuming we put career before marriage.
  • I had only one marriage proposal in my life, but Christians assume every woman gets one billion marriage proposals from lots of good looking, financially stable men by the time she reaches 25 or 30 years of age – FALSE. But they take that assumption to say, “If you are still single at 35 or older, it’s all your fault for being too picky and turning down all one million marriage proposals you got when you were 25.” (I didn’t get my first boyfriend til I was around 27.)
  • You have this entire segment of Christian single women who WANT to get married, but they cannot find suitable single, age appropriate Christian men anywhere. The ones who identify as Christians on dating sites are often perverts (their dating profiles are loaded with vulgar sexually explicit jokes, etc)
  • More evidence that some Christians de-value singleness and idolize marriage:
  • Christian sociologist Mark Regnerus recently suggested that single Christian women should consider marrying regular pornography users. Seriously. This guy would rather see marriage happen at any cost than women choose to stay single or to choose wisely who they marry.
  • There was a Christian guy who wrote into Christian TV host Pat Robertson over a year ago to ask if one has to be married to enter heaven, as his church or Christian articles he read said or implied that un-married cannot receive salvation.
  • There are other examples out there of that kind of thing.
  • As I say often on my blog, Jesus no where taught that marriage and natalism are cures for sin, or to save a culture.
  • Jesus actually de-emphasized the importance of family of origin, marriage, and procreation. Jesus was no where as near “focused on the family” as most evangelicals are in America today. Jesus taught allegiance to him was to out weigh spouse, children, grandparents, and parents.
  •  I see evangelicals today putting family and marriage on about the same level as Jesus himself. But evangelicals continue to either ignore this or pay lip service to it, but hype marriage and as a result, they marginalize and shame single adults, widowers, the childless, child free, and the divorced.

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Related posts:

(Link): A Case Against Early Marriage by Ashley Moore (editorial)

(Link): The Nauseating Push by Evangelicals for Early Marriage

(Link): Study: Got Married Sooner Than You Hoped? That’s Depressing

(Link):  Southern Baptists Pushing Early Marriage, Baby Making – Iranians Pushing Mandatory Motherhood – When Christians Sound Like Muslims

(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear

(Link): A Response by Colon to Regnerus Re: Misguided Early Marriage Propaganda

(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States (2014)

(Link):  “Family-ing” Single Adults by D. Franck – How Churches Can Minister to Single Adults

(Link):  Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte

(Link): Misuse of Terms Such As “Traditional Families” by Christians – Re: Kirk Cameron, Homosexual Marriage, and the 2014 Grammys

(Link): On Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians

(Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

(Link):  The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):  Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts – another Christian betrayal of sexual ethics and more evidence of Christians who do make an idol out of marriage

(Link):  Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link):  “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link): How Christian Teachings on Marriage/ Singleness/ Gender Roles/ Dating Are Keeping Christian Singles Single