While it may happen on occasion that couples get married straight out of college or university, most of the time these days, Christian male students will wait a good five years more after college is done and dusted before they are ready to pop the question to a long term relationship partner.
While there may be many practical reasons for this, it is probably more a result of maturity taking place later as well, according to a number of marriage experts. Being able to enjoy the single life and be boys longer is a major advantage for men not marrying earlier on in life. There is also far less pressure on men to get married earlier as it has become a generally accepted practice for young people to delay marriage as late as possible.
David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead did a study, which was released in 2002 and focused on the group of men from age 25 to 33 and they were able to pinpoint 4 other specific reasons as to why men in this age group were simply not ready for marriage.
#1: Head in the clouds expectations: Men’s views on marriage could be too high with the expectation that there is “one perfect soul mate waiting for them” and that they would, of course, find that person by the time they were ready to make a commitment. This thought process stems from the idea that God directs our steps and has the right person in mind who will be the perfect match to our direction and calling in life. But there are many Christian male students who are assuming that this “God-ordained mate” is going to come packaged exactly the way they see a perfect woman ie. someone who has no flaws.
The study suggested that men defined a soul mate as a woman who they are compatible with without any effort of having to change in any way and many of these men were in relationships with women they considered were second rate partners until their soul mate came along. But as Christians, we should know and understand the concept that no one is perfect because of sin. Being a Christian does not make us perfect, it makes us forgiven.
The bar for a potential mate has been raised to impossible heights but men don’t expect that they should have to be “perfect” as they should just be accepted as they are. What should, however, be happening is that men should be striving to make sure that the qualities he expects in a women are qualities he exhibits himself. Men who fall into this trap will more than likely never honestly evaluate the women who are already in their lives because they are living in a fantasy land that does not exist. No woman will love a man for all their strengths and weaknesses without judgement if they don’t feel real love and grace in return.
#2: Financial Limitations: Christian men today have big dreams about their marriages and their financial foundations. The most important priority for single men is to get set financially and making sure their careers are established. Owning a house in a good neighbourhood is almost a prerequisite to marriage and kids before you even start looking for a partner.
While a lot of energy is being spent by Christian singles trying to get out of debt (since college can be expensive) and buying a nice house, it would be a more practical goal to simply learn how to budget appropriately. Money may be a source of conflict in most marriages, it is not usually about the amount of money available and more about poor spending habits and not being on the same page concerning budgeting and priorities concerning money.
#3: Recreational Sex: Most Christian men may be delaying marriage but they are not delaying going into sexual relationships. This separation between sex and marriage cannot be overlooked when it comes to the reasons as to why men are delaying getting marriage. Men have strong sex drives immediately following puberty and since sex is often available without the added expectation of marriage, they have no foundational reason to commit to a marriage when they are getting the perks for free.
#4: Lack of role models: Many young men today have grown up in broken homes, deprived of good role models for a healthy marriage. They have only their peers to look to which often comprise nothing more than other single men. With the rise of the entertainment industry, the years of being single are often glamourized and made to look desirable. Most media messages are anti-marriage, anti-child and focus on freedom, and independence.
Due to these factors, there is almost no motivation for marriage since most marriage on tv and in the world itself is depicted as something that is undesirable and torturous. Joining a church and spending time with married men would help Christian single men to be able to get a better idea of what marriage really is about.
Men who are able to implement practical steps as far as their expectations, budget, sexual relations, and role models will find that they are more suitable partners and will be able to find their partners easier without getting caught up in the trends of the world.
Remember, that as Christians we are in the world, but we are not of the world so why do we allow the world so much influence over the way we see things, do things and react to things?
Think about it. God Bless!
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