Friday, January 5, 2007

Getting Serious About Getting Married

I finished reading this book yesterday. I forced myself to read it slow and did a lot of underlining.

Debbie Maken, the author, was in her late 20’s and sick of being single. Finally, she admitted it to herself and set out on a journey to figure out why she wasn’t married and what she could do about it. The intended audience is women but I think everyone should hear the message.

Here are some of the answered questions. Is marriage the norm or do you need a calling? Is it God’s will for most of us to be married? What was meant when God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone?

Listen to this:

“According to the United States Census Bureau, just one generation ago, in the 1970s, approximately 64 percent of women had married by age twenty-four, roughly 90 percent had married by age twenty-nine, and 94 percent by age thirty-four. Just thirty years later, approximately 27 percent of women have married by age twenty-four, approximately 60 percent by age twenty-nine, and 78 percent by age thirty-four.”
That quote gives an idea how drastically things have changed.

The first section of the book gives a view of how people historically and Biblically viewed marriage and singleness. I was somewhat amazed to see how different our present view is from the not too distant past.

A focus of the book is that men are not stepping up to the plate. She contends that it used to be a sign of adulthood to prepare for and pursue marriage. Now protracted singleness with many associated problems is the norm.

She points out that many men are staying in school forever “the perennial student,” living in an extended adolescence, hanging out with the guys, playing with toys, dating without marriage in view and we view that as okay and normal.
“Many men want to keep jobs that resemble hobbies and to maintain hobbies as costly as their jobs.”
She points out that parents can be to blame for not preparing their children for marriage and instead being satisfied if their children have gainful employment and live on their own.

The church isn’t let off the hook either.
“Until the church returns to preaching the superiority of marriage over singleness and the duty to marry, and until some of these singles (especially the men) start squirming in their seats and feel the shame that is rightfully theirs to bear if they are refusing to follow God's leading into marriage, there will be no substantive improvement in the number of Christian marriages.”
That might seem like a loaded paragraph but it makes sense having read the book.

The second section covers various teachings you would find in many churches today. These are teachings that undermine the value of marriage and ignore the problems of protracted singleness.

The last section, written primarily to women, gives some good ideas on how to help marriage come about. Many of the ideas can be helpful as well to the men who want to be married but need some fresh ideas on how to meet a future spouse. It also tells the interesting story of how she met her husband.

This is a brief overview of an excellent book. I hope it’s message is heard and put into practice.

Philip

Debbie Maken's Blog
Info on the book at Amazon

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