Broken thinking, broken training, broken families, broken society…it seems to me that in the case of some people, the thought process is that marriage is dreaded. Playing the field is celebrated. Sometimes, couples claim to be committed to one another, but they do not want to get married. They choose instead to live together, as if they are married. This is unfortunate. Marriage seems too risky for many. Unfortunately, plenty people view marriage as scary, likely temporary, and disposable.
As we read the word of God, and are blessed in our relationship with Him, we understand that He rejoices tremendously over those who are His. By no means is Jesus Christ hesitant or casual about having His Bride! Throughout time, plenty women were extremely excited about marriage. Marriage has been such a big deal to many women. Contraily, marriage has often not been one of the biggest dreams of, or one of the most celebrated goals for lots of men. Why is this?
It has a lot to do with conditioning. There are certainly exceptions, of course, because some men do love the idea of marriage. Some women don’t. Women however, are generally lovers and relationship-oriented by nature. Women typically have been marriage-minded. Women have been encouraged by family and society to marry and have children. When a woman remains unmarried for longer than people think she should be, people wonder what’s wrong. She is thought to be unwanted, or seen as a potential “crazy cat lady.”
A man that remains single is often called a bachelor, or maybe, in an endearing, glorifying way, he is called a player.
In society, the idea of marriage for some men has not been celebrated as much as making money, or as much as loose, male promiscuity and sexual “conquest.” How can this be when God recognized it was not good for the man to be alone, and formed him a helpmeet in Genesis chapter 2: 18-23?
Notice, God did not create Adam ten wives, but only one wife.
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2: 18.
God has wired men so that they desire women and pursue them, but not just for sex!
God is the one who ordained and officiated the first marriage between the first man and first woman. Marriage is of God. The problem is, society has had it’s own expectations for boys and men, girls and women. These expectations largely do not match God’s intentions and requirememts.
A large percentage of boys are conditioned to be the most physically strong or the baddest; they become ego-driven performers; are expected to be self-sufficient; and to strive to be respected in the eyes of society, based on societal standards for so-called masculinity.
Social pressure focuses on men performing, making money, being desirable and popular in the eyes of women and admired by people in general. The admiration typically comes from his performance in the corporate world, in athletics, his money, his material assets, physical strength, and popularity with women.
What about characteristics such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance?
• What about a man or woman’s character? Galatians 5:22-23 shows us what righteous fruit or characteristics are.
• I don’t expect the world to emulate Jesus Christ, but even Christian households are tainted by societal influence.
• Righteous character has not been celebrated by many as much as material assets, worldly popularity, and personal achievement in other regards.
• What many have been doing is performing for societal expectations, and not concerned enough about God’s approval.
• Even though there is societal conditioning influencing girls, girls are often trained in their homes to act better than boys in general. Girls are also better trained for relationships in many cases.
Since some people learn to perform for societal expectations, this usually means big trouble, because society doesn’t necessarily require or expect people to behave according to God’s righteousness. For men, getting money is highly esteemed. Making money is good, and being a provider is good!
Falling in love with money, or becoming obsessed with money is not good. Using one’s money to measure one’s character, worth, to take advantage of others, or using money as a weapon to control others is not good. Although Christ-like masculinity does not match many of society’s expectations, it is a Christ-centered principle to be a provider. Provision however, is not limited to financial provision.
What about relationships? Who is training the boys for relationships?
Godly provision is all around-spiritual provision and protection, as well as emotional, physical, and financial provision. Fathers should be setting these examples for their sons. Men want to be respected. This is good.
The way to get respect is to indeed be respectable, and what is respectable for men and women is obedience to God’s commandments.
One harmful example of society’s conditioning is the idea that sexual “conquest” makes a “real” man. Despite this, some men desire to be married for love. Others desire to be married because of familial pressure, or because it looks better to be married. This is especially true if men are well known and a public figure. Many of these men cheat on their wives.
I understand concerns of people when it comes to marriage. The pickings are slim. There is high-risk and high-reward. Marriage is a very important decision and event!
• It is probably even harder for women to find a wise, safe choice in a husband, than it is for a husband to find a suitable wife. This is largely due to differences in how boys and girls are raised and influenced by society.
• Because of lust (covetousness) and conditioning, some men do not celebrate the idea of faithfulness and loyalty to one woman for the rest of their life. Why crave monogamy when the world in so many ways says the best man is the womanizing man?
• There are men who seem to even be ashamed of loyalty or feel shame about being a virgin. This is not biblically sound thinking (1 Corinthians 6: 18; 1 Corinthians 7: 9; Thessalonians 4: 3). Boys and men are taught this by ungodly societal conditioning.
• Marriage- in particular, a godly marriage, is to be celebrated. Marriage is ordained by God and is reserved for one man and one woman in a loving, holy, permanent union. It is divinely beautiful, because it reflects the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church. Ephesians 5: 22-33.
Sometimes, I reflect on the way the world is, as it pertains to relationships and in general. I think about the different aspirations throughout time of some men and women. I see that some women seem to have given up. They are behaving more like what I would expect from socially conditioned, improperly trained men. I realize that people’s aspirations tend to be rooted in how they were raised and conditioned.
Not only is there a lot of brokenness in the way people relate to each other, but in most regards, things are a mess. I think about societal expectations for men and women. I realize how in some households, wrong thinking that comes from society is not efficiently counteracted by parents.
Various types of abuse, including sexual abuse is going on in many households and changing some boys and girls forever. No parent is perfect. Even still, some parents fail their children by being too “busy” to love them, keep them safe, and train them properly. Often, fathers are not around or are abusive and neglectful.
Sometimes, the mother is a problem. Career may be more important to her than proper child-rearing. It could be both parents are not fulfilling their parental roles, according to God’s design in many cases. This ties into why the family structure in many households is the way it is. It is why some people are not well, relationships are unhealthy, and consequently, why society is unwell.
How can individuals and society as a whole get better?
To sum things up, herein lies the root problem: people are rebelling against God. Usually, if doing something one way is not working, the wise thing to do would be to try something new. However, as people have turned their backs on God, the world becomes crazier and crazier. This logic does not seem to register with most people.
We are not without hope!
Each individual needs to turn to God in prayer, with a humble, contrite heart. People need to turn from wickedness and humbly turn to God. Global repentance and healing is needed for husbands and fathers; wives and mothers; men, women, boys and girls.