According to a Washington Post article dated 2011, the
proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows. It went on to
say . . .
The marriage patterns are a striking departure from the
middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in
the low single digits. In 1960, for example, 72 percent of all adults were
married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a
couple of years older.
NY Times similarly reported:
Married couples have
dropped below half of all American households for the first time, the Census
Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less
traditional forms. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households
in 2010, according to data being made public Thursday and analyzed by the
Brookings Institution. This was far below the 78 percent of households occupied
by married couples in 1950.
anyone working in an urban context, that’s a stunning stat. In 1950, eight out
of every ten households in America were occupied by married couples.
A Pew survey done
last year gives helpful insight to this seismic shift in attitude towards
determined that more than four in ten Americans younger than 30 consider
marriage passe. D’Vera Cohn, a Pew researcher,
concluded that many young adults today “…see marriage as an obsolete social
In an urban
context, it’s worse. African
American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period
between 1970 and 2001, one study showed that the overall marriage rate in the
United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent.
Such statistics led Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to
point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the
country. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin lamented, “I was
stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both
parents during slavery days than he
or she is today.”
In another Washington Post article written by Joy
Jones, whose title came from one of her black 6th grade students, “Marriage
is for White People,” wrote:
- I was pleasantly
surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very
important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy
wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to
talk about being married and rearing children."
- "Oh, no,"
objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage.
Only about how to be good fathers."
- And that's when the
other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth:
"Marriage is for white people."
It is obvious from these stories and statistics that for
many Americans marriage is no longer esteemed as it once was. And sadly for far
too many Christians, the world’s way of thinking (Rom 12:2) has successfully
influenced the attitudes and actions of Christians.
But what do the Scriptures say about the importance of
marriage? If Christians will be Christ-like, then they have to learn how to
think biblically. So what significance does the Bible place upon the institute
- The Bible explicitly
teaches that God made marriage.
- In the OT, God, Himself,
performs the first wedding ceremony.
- In the NT, Jesus
performs His first miracle at a wedding, allowing His presence to affirm the
beauty and dignity of marriage.
- The people of God in the
OT are extolled as God’s wife.
- In the NT, the church is
given the lofty title of the bride of Christ.
- The love between a man
and a woman is marveled over as one of the great mysteries in life. Proverbs
30:18-19 says it this way:
three things, which are too wonderful for me,
which I do not understand:
of an eagle in the sky,
of a serpent on a rock,
of a ship in the middle of the sea,
way of a man with a maid.
- The Bible teaches that marriage
itself existed as a mystery throughout the history of the world to be unveiled
in the NT as the God-ordained picture of what His love relationship with His
people would look like.
- In the beginning, only
after God officiated the first marriage did He say, “Behold it is very good.”
- And interestingly, the
end of history reaches its apex with the marriage supper of the Lamb.
From this brief survey, it would be hard to conclude
anything other than the fact that the Bible places a tremendous amount of
importance on marriage.
There is even an entire book of the Bible—The Song of Songs—dedicated
to expressing the wonder and joy of marital love. And because these truths are
so self-evident, I am not sure that there has ever been a time in history, or a
place in the word, where there has been a need to appeal to men to seek and
find a wife.
But here we are today, faced with this life and death
challenge for the church and our society—men, even Christian men, in critically
high numbers are not getting married. As marriage declines, a million other
biblical expectations will decline with it. So what does the Bible teach about
the significant of marriage? Let’s look at that together.
The Bible Teaches All (Including men) that Marriage is Important
Hebrews 13:4, says “Marriage is to be held in honor among all.” The meaning of the verse is
clear, regardless of how outdated the world may consider marriage; regardless
of the number of people shacking. The Bible says “to all” Christian men and to
whoever else will listen, that marriage is to be held in honor. That is to say
that marriage is to be thought of as valuable as gold and jewels. It is to be sought
after like a great treasure and to be held in high regard and with great