So the song goes, “If you liked it, then you should’ve put a ring on it.” The “Single Ladies” anthem seems to be more than just a pop culture catch phrase, echoing melodiously from Beyoncé Knowles. Now if you’ve seen the video you would be distracted by the calisthenics and gyrations, yet there is a message amidst the madness. If I asked the single ladies across America to raise their hands, 51% of the women would acknowledge their unmarried status. There was a popular saying in the 1990s, “You go, girl!” which was used as a term of endearment and encouragement. These days the saying can be arguably rephrased to, “You go girl…and get married.” A recent Yale study indicates that fewer women are walking down the aisle, as 23 percent of white women and 42 percent of African- American women have yet to be married. The wise saying in Proverbs 18:22 declares, “He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord”. So, are men not looking or are they not finding? According to Time Magazine’s November 2010 issue “Who Needs Marriage?” in the year of 1960, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are. Back then, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married; in 2008 just 26% were. Is marriage becoming obsolete? Well, according to the Pew Research Center Survey, 4 in 10 say, “Yes.” It is no secret that approximately 60% of marriages end in divorce. The troubled state of our unions indicate that marriage is becoming less popular in America. Why are 60% of marriages ending in divorce? For a myriad of reasons as we have heard on talk shows like Dr. Phil, Oprah, and a host of other programs. Did Tyler Perry get the question correct in his 2007 film asking, “Why Did I Get Married?” The question now days is not “Why Did I Get Married?”, but America is asking why would I get married? As 60% of marriages end in divorce, 40% of the people feel there is no need for marriage. Our country is at a crossroads. What has brought our nation to this point? Is the institution of marriage under attack and in the crosshairs within our country? If we turn the hands of time back 50 years, it’s amazing to see how popular culture mirrors society. We have transitioned from the wholesome households of The Cleavers (“Leave it to Beaver”) to “The Brady Bunch”, and “The Cosby’s”. Now we’re in a false sense of Reality TV age, with a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” style of living and marriage. Going back 50 years some women had a degree in domestic engineering. Now it’s the norm for women to specialize in fatherless home child rearing, in which Mothers are told “Happy Father’s Day Mom” from 80% of black children, who grow up in single parent homes.
homes. The battle for the family is under attack. American culture shows the rapid transition in the familial landscape, as we have moved from “Family Ties” to “Divorce Court”. The Bible affirms in Mark 10:9, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Yet we’re putting our own marriages asunder. So many have “jumped over the broom” and used that same broom to sweep their issues under the rug. The woes of marriage is not excluded from our house, the White House, and even the church house. Can I get a witness? They met at church and began dating, you know how it goes. She dated thinking he was her Boaz, they got married and she discovered he was a bozo. He thought she was the Biblical version of Ruth, but found out that she wasn’t telling the truth. She had curves like the letter “S” but she was really a snake. He looked like Morris Chestnut, but he was a nut. Yes, we have heard countless stories. How does your church deal with marital issues? Something is wrong if we just continue to build churches and stand on the sidelines, while marriages are marred and families fall apart. It’s one thing to build, buildings but it’s another thing to build people. Our society has gone from “Married with Children” to shacking up with children. The soap opera baby-daddy and baby-mama drama, continues to cripple our communities. For the record, “wifey” and wife are two separate things. Yet in still, cohabitation is on the rise and since 1960, there are 8 times as many out of wedlock births. How do you introduce the relevance of marriage to an “I’m doing me” generation? How can you build a long-lasting marriage in an instant gratification society? People aren’t waiting 7 years to scratch their itch any longer. If you desire to be married, what is your motive? Is it love, money, loneliness, sense of obligation, sex, control, age, etc? A number of women flaunt their body, while many men parade their money. After the rendezvous is over she cries, “he only wanted me for my body” and he says, “she only wanted my money.” Well, that’s all they showcased. Now when it’s time for marriage he shouts, “we want prenup, we want prenup”. Read me clearly, I’m not saying she’s a gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no…I think you get my point. Where is our value? What are our values? If you’re exchanging your self-worth and character in hopes of carats, you will face the spectrum of disappointment. If you have to give an ultimatum, bribe, or convince someone to marry you, then you will have to do all of that to keep them from straying or leaving you. In the societal 18-35 age demographic, is the spectrum of marriage only relegated to a woman being the envy of her girlfriends or splashing her engagement ring on a Facebook profile? Do we only marry for the wedding? There are some weeds that grow after the wedding is all over and if the garden of marriage is not pruned, then it won’t last. In marriage, the husband must be the house band and a wife should offset strife. I know they say, “behind every good man is a good woman”, yet a wife may be better suited beside you than behind you. Marriage is a merger and if you partner with the wrong person, the ramifications can be taxing. We must think critically and evaluate ourselves. Marriage is not some type of taste test or product with a money back guarantee. In the marriage liturgy, “Till Death Do Us Part” does not mean until things fall apart. We must be sincere, sure, and committed to be true before we ever say the words, “I Do.” – Eddie Connor