17 December 2011

Setting Them Up for Failure

The church has failed the current generation:
There’s been noise in the media lately about how 80% of self-identified evangelical singles aren’t virgins.  Well, duh.  Most people can wait until age 22 for sex.  Asking the same people to wait until they’re 30 or 35 or older to have sex is just preposterous.  I generally think that after the age of 25, a lot of Christians say “F THIS” and do what their hormones tell them to do.  If Christians really are serious about preventing premarital sex and the social ills that result from fornication (single moms, bastard kids, poverty, demand for government entitlements, STDs, abortions), then they need to change their attitudes about (a) instructing their kids on marriage and its obligations, (b) when it is appropriate to get married, and (c) getting involved in finding good mates for their children.  I know it’s unpopular to try to shape your child’s romantic destiny (yet okay be a helicopter parent dragging your kid over the finish line to get the minimum SAT score necessary to get into a decent college), but wishful thinking is clearly not keeping the kids out of each other’s pants.
In the first place, the simple fact that humans (particularly women) reach their peak reproductive ability during their late teens and early twenties suggests that maybe, just maybe, humans are designed to be especially reproductive during their late teens and early twenties.*  This in turn suggests that maybe, just maybe, most human beings (particularly women) should be married by their late teens early twenties.  It is biologically unnatural to be denying one’s reproductive drive into one’s late twenties and early thirties.  Humans simply are not designed to do that. And the statistics bear this out.

In the second place, Christian parents have done a piss-poor job of preparing their children for marriage.  Marriage, at least according to most of the Christians to which I’ve talked or listened, is something you put off until your life is in place (Note: this applies only to men).  This nebulous phraseology belies a rather foolish concept.  Namely, that there is some perfect point in life where you are independent and doing well for yourself financially and are therefore perfectly equipped to provide for your wife.   Of course, this is a very materialistic mindset and worthy of ridicule and derision.  Yes, men have an obligation to provide for their families.  However, the bar for this standard is relatively low:  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”**

In these modern times, eating healthily and being protected from the elements is easily afforded.  One does not need to live in a McMansion and dine on caviar and filet mignon to meet this standard.  The problem that Christians have in their teaching that one must provide for one’s wife is that of expectations.  Specifically, their expectations are unbiblical.  The pathology of modern Christianity, then, is one that places unbiblical emphasis on material comfort, for that is usually what is meant when older Christians talk about getting one’s life in place.  One must essentially become an ATM for one’s wife, which generally requires having a good education so as to be able to have a good job, etc.

Women, on the other hand, are told to hedge their bets or play it safe.  This generally means going to college, getting an education, and then landing a decent paying job which you hold until Mr. Right comes along.***  Then you get married and stay at home while he makes enough money to cater to your every whim.  They do at least pay lip service to homemaking, though most of the time this means being able to score some sweet deals at Hobby Lobby.  Submission, in the biblical sense, is rarely discussed.

And the whole idea of getting an education, just in case, is simply ludicrous.  As we at Le Cygne Gris have documented extensively, college is a bubble.  Cost, and the debt associated therewith, is increasing radically.  The value, in terms of earnings, is decreasing radically.  If the plan is to basically survive until marriage, one need not waste four or more years of one’s life while simultaneously incurring an unholy amount of debt and foregoing a productive job.  Rather, one could simply take a job that requires a mere GED or high school diploma and be content to work their until one is married.  This is a much more economically sensible plan, at least assuming one is not materialistic.  Yet, parents encourage their daughters to follow the world’s advice, presumably because God cannot be trusted to provide.

And this is how the church finds itself in a position where men and women are foolishly delaying marriage until their late twenties or even early thirties.  Young men are told to delay marriage until they can afford to pay for some woman’s American princess fantasy.  Young women are told to prepare for the future, just in case.  Neither group, though, is taught about having faith in God, nor is either group taught about God’s expectation for husbands and wives.

In the third place, the church has managed to develop some sort of Christian Carousel.  Much like Roissy’s considerably worldlier version, young women waste their youth chasing after elusive dreams.  Except in this case, the dreams aren’t (supposed to be) alpha cads; they are instead supposed to be something more fulfilling, like a mission trip or a career.  Ignoring the fact that women were designed to be helpmeets for men, and were to desire to be ruled by their husbands, many in the church somehow labor under the delusion that women should derive more fulfillment in other ways.  And so young women, at the behest of the church, delay marriage and pursue elusive dreams of “fulfillment” only to find that, at the end of their twenties, they still want to be married to a man and bear his children.  The only problem is that they’ve wasted a lot of time; time they can never get back.

Finally, the simple fact that even single evangelicals are apparently incapable of keeping it in their pants should suggest that the church might want to rethink its stance on marriage.  Call us old fashioned, but we here at Le Cygne Gris believe that the Bible has some pretty good advice for marriage.  Detailing all the advice, explicit and implicit, is beyond the scope of this post, but we would like to note that the Bible does teach the following:  a) the purpose of marriage is the production and rearing of Godly offspring, b) sex is a big deal, c) getting married young is a blessing, d) wives need to submit to their husbands, e) wives need to be affectionate to their husbands, f) husbands are the head of their wives, g) husbands are to act in their wives’ best interest, and h) marriage is not to be terminated frivolously.

By following these basic tenets of scripture, the church should better be able to position itself for correcting the serious problems it currently faces with the all-too-common occurrences of fornication and delayed marriage.  This battle won’t be easy to win, but it must be fought.

* Yes, this is the sort of insight we here at Le Cygne Gris are known for.

** As a side note, the word translated “clothing” had a deeper meaning in the original Greek.  The original word [skepasma] simply meant covering, and can refer to an outer garment that also doubled as shelter from the elements.  That is, the garment in question was sufficient to be used as shelter if need be.  Therefore, the broader implication of this verse is that as long as one is sheltered from the elements and is free from hunger and thirst, then one should be content.

*** Every girl, without exception, that I went to church with during my high school years who was in my general age range (+\- 2 years) is either currently in college or has graduated from college.  Only one of them is married (mostly because she committed fornication), and another is currently engaged.  The other four are, from what I’ve heard, currently single.


  1. My suggestion to the church is to separate Christian marriage from Government marriage. Encourage young Christian marriage (with a tasteful church ceremony, etc.) while allowing government-recognized marriage licensing to be put off 'til later.

  2. @GMF- that's more or less what I recommended some time ago in a post titled "the disappearance of marriage (link left sidebar), although I simply recommended foregoing the legal nonsense altogether. The church is not, never has been, nor should ever consider itself to be beholden to the state. As such, it should teach the truth about marriage and let the chips fall where they may.