A generation that has lost hope in marriage

Article by Dennis Rainey continued:

Crisis #1: A generation that has lost hope in marriage

Two weeks ago Barbara and I had dinner with two couples who teach in one of the largest high schools in our state. When I asked what they are seeing in today’s teens, they unanimously agreed that their students are so wounded by their parent’s mediocre marriages, by the lack of healthy role models, and by the growing vacuum of strong, stable families that they have no concept of what a healthy marriage and family look like. Add to that a media-driven culture saturated with distorted, confusing messages about marriage, gender, and sexuality.

Is it any wonder that our nation’s young adults are bewildered and hopeless? They are avoiding marriage, postponing it, even giving up on it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 65 percent of Americans between 18 and 32 were married in 1960. Today only 26 percent in that age range are married.

Living together is the accepted means of determining compatibility for marriage for this generation. And if they do marry, they are tying the knot at the oldest age in our nation’s history: an average of over 29 for men and 27.5 for women.

It’s a hook-up generation—sex with no relationships and certainly no commitment. The teachers told us that young men in their classes don’t know how to relate to the opposite sex—they are increasingly passive and are clueless about how to initiate a conversation, let alone a date.  

On top of that, our culture encourages young people to experiment with a multiple-choice menu of sexual identities: Facebook now offers nearly 60 different sexual identities to choose from. How can young people think about marriage if they are uncertain about their gender? It all adds up to a generation that looks at marriage very differently than their parents.

If marriage is the headwaters of a family (and it is), and if family is the supreme conductor of morality, character, life skills, and faith (and it is), then stop and consider: What kind of world will this generation of young adults leave to its children one day? Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns us, “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children.”

The bottom line is that the Christian community has been far too passive, far too complicit, and far too silent for the past four decades as the foundation of the family has crumbled. And we’re seeing the impact of our passivity in today’s generation of young people. It’s up to us to create a climate of covenant-keeping love in marriage and offer biblical help and hope to a generation that does not know how to do marriage.  

If those who follow Jesus Christ don’t protect and champion marriage as God designed it, then who will? 

We must determine to take care of our own homes in the faith community and recapture the “high ground” of marriage as God designed it. Churches must become the marriage and family equipping centers in our communities and world. This cannot happen without redeemed men and women passionately devoted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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