Musings on Marriage in a Confused World
Musings on marriage in a modern Christian Society.
The present generation seems to have a very loose attitude to marriage. In the past generation, marriage was taken seriously. You took the marriage vows to mean what they say and commitment and faithfulness was important. Society in general was religious and the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 19 was believed and practiced. “Haven’t you read, he replied, that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female”, and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate”. (Mt. 19:4-6 NIV translation) Divorce was a problem and simply living together was not normally a consideration. How the times have changed!
In today’s society the traditional roles in marriage have changed and so has the attitude of most people in the younger generation towards the teachings of the Bible. What “feels good” seems to speak louder than what God says. The aging of the population in many traditional churches seems to indicate this. In some societies, empty church buildings have become a monument to this new thinking and the marriage and divorce statistics also testify to this. In some areas 50% of children grow up in single parent homes, usually with no father figure to teach those values that the older generation saw as sacrosanct.
Male and female roles are no longer defined in the way many of today’s generation experienced while growing up. Here the father was the bread winner and the mother a homemaker. New feelings and values breed confusion in the minds of some who are still holding on to what they experienced while growing up. As women seek “freedom”, they have broken loose from traditional roles and men sometimes have difficulty in understanding this. Many men still want to hold on to the role of “being in charge” and so are threatened by this new attitude that they experience. In the old roles the wife did the washing, cooking and cleaning while the husband was at work. On returning home from work, he relaxed and ate what had been prepared. Now both are working and so the old roles simply don’t work.
In order to meet the economic demands of a modern, money driven society, both husband and wife work, and so expectations are that both share in the home making demands. The children are sent, often from a very young age, to outside care givers and so the traditional example is no longer experienced. If we then look at society today, it is no surprise that many choose an alternative to marriage, and when things don’t work out in the way they expected, they simply move on.
In the area of children and how they need to be brought up, huge changes have taken place. Respect for their elders and obedience to parents has often been replaced with a feeling of entitlement in the hearts of children. It seems as if children often live in a magic world of pleasure and entertainment, often fueled by modern technology. One often wonders how this spoilt generation will cope with life’s many challenges.
It is certain that as society moves forward, the generation gap between what was experienced in the past will often come into conflict with what is happening in the present. The clock cannot be turned back and so insight is needed in order to make sense of what is happening today.
For the Christian who holds on to the belief that God’s word is eternal and still relevant today, there are guidelines that will help in a society that is confused. Marriage is God’s way and even when society attempts to rewrite the rules it is comforting to know and believe that certain principles are right no matter what happens in society in general. The love principle is what makes marriage work. In the famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul defines love as being “patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, rude, easily angered, keeps no record of evil, rejoices in truth. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Respect for others and a love of all, needs to somehow replace the greed and selfishness that often overshadows characteristics like “me, me, me!”
The above lesson needs to be mixed liberally into every marriage and family where both partners are serious about providing a relationship that will also bring stability into their lives and so also into society. The choice of a topsy-turvy world, where everyone is simply guided by emotions and what feels right at the moment, will result in confusion and desperation, usually resulting in chaos.
References: NIV Translation of Bible.
Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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