May 22, 2016 Blog
Marriage—it isn’t as popular among young people today as it was back when I got married. Back in 1972 if you weren’t hitched by the time you were twenty-two you were, well, in a bad way. So why the hesitancy now to go before God and promise “til death do you part?”
I’ve asked lots of women that question. Here are few of the answers: “look around, it doesn’t last,” “why spend all that money, we are fine,” “someday we probably will.” All of those responses lack any enthusiasm for “taking the plunge.” Men I ask are even less able to articulate their reasons. I don’t think any guy I’ve asked has anything but a glance toward his girlfriend, as if to nullify any idea such a thing would happen soon.
Underneath the surface, there must be more to overthrowing this most traditional family practice from the beginning of time than the weak reasons described. One of the best books describing the complexities of commitment and the wisdom of God is The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. Here’s just a snippet:
The deep happiness that marriage can bring, then, lies on the far side of sacrificial service in the power of the (Holy) Spirit. That is, you only discover your own happiness after each of you has put the happiness of your spouse ahead of your own, in a sustained way, in response to what Jesus has done for you. Some will say, “If I put the happiness of my spouse ahead of my own needs—then what do I get out of it?” The answer is—happiness. That is what you get, but a happiness through serving others instead of using them, a happiness that won’t be bad for you. It is the joy that comes from giving joy, from loving another person in a costly way. Today’s culture of “Me-Marriage” finds this very proposal—of putting the interests of your spouse ahead of your own—oppressive. But that is because it does not look deeply enough into this crucial part of Christian teaching about the nature of reality.