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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why Marriage is Out of Style

As Christians, sometimes we get hung up about other people’s hang-ups. For example, we get frustrated that people don’t get married anymore. We look at all the singles, divorced people, and “friends” living together, and we tend to think, “Why don’t they get married? What’s the problem?”

Without going into “problems,” I really and truly believe the biggest issue with marriage is marriage. I mean, what is marriage? Marriage is a life-long commitment to another human being.

And, most people don’t want to commit to anything for a long time.

Nada. Zilch. No strings.

Marriage is the ultimate string tier. Marriage is actually becoming one—for life. It’s as permanent a bond as you can get on this earth. It’s better than Gorilla Glue!

We laugh at the goofy priest in the Princess Bride who says “Mawage.” We see disasters at weddings on YouTube. (I love the ones where the whole wedding party is posing on an old pier, which slowly gives way, dunking almost everyone in the lake!) But, the wedding isn’t the issue; it’s the commitment.

What if it doesn’t work out? (Anyone who asks that is doomed to failure before he begins. The same goes for pre-nups.) What if . . . .

What kind of examples have our kids seen? Do they think it’s so cool how Mom and Dad still hug, laugh, and kiss? Do they want a relationship like we have? Are we modeling a great marriage for them? Have we given them security? Have we demonstrated how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful, non plate-throwing way? Have we shown them what it’s like for the husband to sacrificially love his wife and a wife to respect her husband? Have they actually learned how to do it by watching us? Would our kids like to grow up and have a marriage like ours?

Not trying to send anyone on a guilt trip, you understand, but the truth is, most marriages—at least 90% of them—aren’t the kind that anyone would want to copy. So, why are we surprised when young people just aren’t interested?

Another hindrance is cultural. Watch any movie that was made after 1980. (I rarely ever do, by the way, and this is one of the reasons why.) There’s a dysfunctional family at best and a non-family is the norm. I remember seeing E.T. at someone’s home many years ago. At the beginning, I almost left the room because of the rude talk between parents and children. Nasty! Why would anyone want a home like that?

Nowadays, it’s worse. A film “family” has a million definitions, and they’re not convincing enough that people want one. I looked up “family” on a photo-sharing site. Seriously, I got: skunk families, ape families, some couples, a few couples with children—very few—and even insect families! “Family” no longer seems to mean human marriage. No wonder people are confused!

I believe another reason for the non-marriage phenomenon is financial. Years ago, any man with a decent job—just about any full-time job—could provide basic housing and food for his family. His wife wouldn’t absolutely need to work outside of the home, and his children could grow up comfortably, if not richly. Today, with the same full-time job, most men can’t provide housing and food for their family. The wife must work—either from home or outside the home. When they’re blessed with children, they have extra stresses: costs of childcare, schooling, etc. Many singles look at this scenario and feel like why get married, if it’s financially even harder than what I’m struggling to do to take care of myself?

Some people are “running scared.” Through the years, I’ve known some wonderful young women who actually met and dated Mr. Right. They admired him, respected him, and knew he was top quality—but they couldn’t commit. They wouldn’t let themselves love. They couldn’t take that huge (to them) step from a great friendship to marriage.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but I believe it’s not a problem we need to live with. Let’s do more modeling, more praying, and more biblical counseling. Let’s encourage true, normal friendships—not matchmaking or setting up blind dates for people. Let’s just be Christians who live seeking God’s will.

I fully believe that if our churches were full of more truly Christ-like Christians, we’d see more lovely marriages.* They might even come into style again!

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(Mark 10:7-9)


* No, I don’t believe it’s God’s will for everyone to marry. It’s not Scriptural. Neither is it biblical for women to go out looking for a man. But, it is God’s will for most people to marry. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I have a heart for singles. (Many of my best friends are single women.) Do a search, and you’ll see!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fiction Review--Restored: Never Give Up Hope

Restored: Never Give Up Hope, by Kimberly Rae is the third book in The Broken Series. I’ve reviewed the first two books, Shredded (here) and Shattered (here). They’re about childhood sexual abuse and human trafficking and slavery. These three books are best read in order so that you know the characters and understand the backstories.

Slash, the trafficker of women, is in prison for murder and attempted murder. Elderly Florence is about to be married, and horror of all horrors, bridesmaid Candy—a former prostitute—is trying on her bridesmaid gown. It’s bright yellow polyester and covered in yellow tulle. It even features puffed sleeves and a bow! No way is Candy going down any aisle in that!

The fashion emergency ends once and for all when Florence sees her. She’s so pleased! “Candy, you look exactly as I always imagined my bridesmaids would look . . . . You probably feel silly wearing something so old-fashioned, but it means so much to me to see this dress that I dreamed of for years . . . .” Candy wonders if she’ll get a reward of heaven. She knows she’ll have to wear it. At least Jean has one, too!

Grant is still in the hospital, depressed and trying to figure out his possibilities. He’s in denial about his paralysis and not dealing with that at all. He doesn’t understand that his fiancée, Jean, is working through even more than he is—and she’s sleep deprived.

Jean tries on her yellow polyester creation while Candy uses the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with Grant. She tells him he’s being selfish and a few other things. She also confides in him about her fears—which are life-and-death reality.

Champagne is missing, and someone’s talking to the media. Slash will soon be released from jail, and Candy feels her world is turning upside down. Plus, Candy realizes if she talks, her friends might be killed. She’s afraid. She doesn’t want to paint big round targets on everyone she loves.

Read this wonderful concluding book to find out what happens when Florence gets married, Slash gets out of jail, and two others secretly get married and search for answers. I know you’ll enjoy this and be challenged anew to reach others for Christ. No one is beyond His reach and His forgiveness.

There is some violence, no sensuality outside of marriage (only hinted at), and no bad language. This is a distinctly Christian book and the perfect ending to this series. It's probably not for teens due to the adult subject matter.