Why are older Christian men less marriage-minded than men in the world?
It was sparked by this comment that I received recently from an Assistant Pastor: "I know about six or seven single Christian guys well, but I have to be honest that most of them do not seem to be anxious to get married for some reason."
Now I don't know the ages of the men concerned, but I get the impression he is talking about mid-20s guys onwards.
I do think younger Christian men are marriage-minded. But something happens to them as they get older. What it is? It can't be just the direct influence of the enemy, because that would also apply earlier in life. Why is it that single Christian men seem to be able to live for years, even decades, into adulthood following sexual maturity and not feel the need for a woman in their life?
Men in the world may also delay marriage, but they have lots of "mini-marriages" ie. they have girlfriends, they have sex with them, they even live with them. (They also end up having lots of "mini divorces" when they then eventally split up!) But actually, a lot of them then find that is ultimately unsatisfying and they do end up marrying. Not so for many Christian men, who you'd have thought were more keen to marry given that they are apparently living a chaste life. Why it that?
I think the answer is this: We are bombarded daily with pornographic, or near pornographic, images. A man may be watching an innocent wildlife or sports programme. Up come the adverts and it's for a perfume and there is a beautiful and seductive, near naked woman suddenly before their very eyes. A man may go into the kitchen at work. There is a newspaper lying on the table and, low and behold, there is another near naked woman in front of them. You get the idea, and I do think it's probably a daily occurrence (and this is aside from any deliberate attempt to view this stuff).
Now here's the difference between the Christian man and the worldly man. The worldy man is also exposed to the reality of a naked or near naked woman. They have sex with real women, after all. The single Christian man doesn't (okay, most Christian men don't) have real sex. So for him, his sexual drive is only fired by these unreal images. Therefore, when he meets normal-looking, more modest Christian women, he is actually ceasing to find them attractive. And of course, the longer this goes on, the more reinforced this becomes. And then when the pressure gets too much, and they have a computer in their bedroom, with no one looking over their shoulder...
Another issue comes into play here. I think it is natural for men to be a little commitment phobic. That's why in previous generations, men got married younger and in higher number than they do today, because of the pressure on them from society, the church, and parental influence. They knew that remaining a bachelor for too long was weird and that they would be viewed strangely by society (and probably nagged by their mother!). Today, we have lost that pressure. It is remarkable to me that men in the world however still do get married at all. They can have sex, they can have a woman to ease their loneliness, and still they choose to commit to marriage. I think that's because deep down they are hard-wired to want marriage as much as women, despite the effects of the fall, and find these constant mini-marriages ultimately unsatisfactory. They may also come under pressure from their "partner" to commit at some point otherwise she'll be off! Of course, with the divorce rate such as it is, unless they take their marriage vows seriously, it is probably not a great deal different for them if they do marry - they know they still have an opt-out clause! Not so the Christian man. And nowadays with the church no longer exerting any pressure on them to get married either, they see no reason to do it. Their sex drive has become so warped over time, they possibly view marriage as having a stifling effect on their sexuality, rather than the God-ordained outlet.
Going back to the Assistant Pastor that told me about the single men he knew that were not anxious to get married, he also appeared to believe that it wasn't his job to encourage them to seek a wife. Instead he tells them to "seek first the Kingdom". Which apparently means doing just about anything but making finding a wife a priority! It reminds me of Debbie Maken's point that we see Kingdom expansion now coming about through evangelism alone, and not by the raising of Godly children and being fruitful with our stewardship of our bodies. And as for the creation mandate, well, it appears that, along with all the other exhortations to get married, is not on the curriculum of Bible colleges! (I think a possible reason for this is that it never needed much teaching. It was normal for men and women to get married in their youth, and not much needed to be said about it. Not so nowadays, but if there is any teaching on this subject at all, it is probably of the "gift of singleness" variety and does more harm than good!)
Again I say, this leaves single Christian women with a double whammy. There are not enough single men to go around, and the few that there are available, are the least marriage-minded of all men!
That's why I say single Christian women must look for marriage-minded believers in the world that they can then encourage in their faith, as another avenue for marriage. It's not an either/or proposition, but an essential both/and!