Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 10!

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 10: Concern that marriage will fail. No surprise here, considering the divorce statistics. Interestingly, however, there is a trend toward a more optimistic view of marriage among younger singles - Generation Y. Author Pamela Paul calls this "matrimania" and feels these younger singles are marrying in response to observing their Generation X friends and relatives growing older without getting married. Research from 1997 shows that 9 out of 10 twenty-somethings said that a happy marriage is part of their ideal life, ranking higher than career in most cases. Unfortunately, many of these earlier marriages are ending in divorce, and have been termed as "starter marriages." Yikes! Of course, "trial marriages" or cohabitation has been pervasive in our culture for the past 20 years or so. However, 4 decades of research have revealed that couples who choose cohabitation typically experience a higher divorce rate, have less financial stability, less faithfulness and are less happy than those who choose lawful marriage. Sadly, some parents of Generation Y'ers are encouraging cohabitation as a result of their own painful divorces. However, God tells us in his word that "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4. There is a plethora of help available to couples considering engagement, including books, tapes, counseling, personality inventories, relationship skill development, etc. I will leave you with Drs. Rodgers' bit of profound wisdom: "Marriage is not luck, it is skill!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon, Part 9

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 9: An Unbalanced Focus on Career. Many women are finding themselves entering their 40's still single and childless, yet very successful and fulfilled in their careers. The trouble is they are doing such a good job at their jobs that they have little room for anything else. Likewise, examples are given of men who are so involved in their careers and ministry that they don't feel there is room to add a wife and family. In taking a deeper look into their lives, however, it is often found that there are doubts and fears that are driving them so far away from seeking a godly relationship. As in so many aspects of life, a healthy balance is key. Three single counseling patients were found to have the following reasons for having an unhealthy focus on careers: 1) their careers were something they could control. 2) they were more successful at their careers than they were at love (they put their energy into areas where they did well in order to feel good about themselves). 3) their careers were something they could count on to reward them (there are no guarantees in the business of love) There is an interesting report of one client who was heavily involved in ministry and had a tendency "puff himself up" to such a level that it was a turnoff for woman. So, what about you? Are you using your career to compensate for loneliness or to hide your painful feelings of past hurts?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 8:

Not Dealing with Prior Heartbreak.
There is an insightful quote regarding the pain of a break-up by Mark McMinn in his book, "Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling": "Discomfort often motivates insight, and when we use clinical tricks to erase misery prematurely from our clients' lives, we short-circuit their opportunities for emotional and spiritual growth. Throughout Scripture and throughout the history of the Christian Church, God has used pain to bring people to maturity." Yet how many singles try to short-circuit the pain of a break-up by forming rebound relationships - relationships that are a forum for unresolved grief to be expressed in bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Chapter 8 gives some solid advice on dating after a break up, including "intentional dating." Read how "feeling is healing," despite our society's reluctance to express grief. Follow Bill and Stacy's journey of their rebound relationship that started our very rocky and how they found help to identify their reactivity and change their patterns, beginning with forgiveness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 7

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 7: Wanting the perfect mate. Could you be a perfectionist dater? Always finding something wrong with the person you are dating? Waiting for bells, whistles, rainbows, stars and stripes? While some level of attraction and chemistry is necessary for love to flourish, society has force-fed us with very unrealistic notions of romance and sex. In Chapter 7, love is defined, as well as what it is not. There are some very interesting pieces about the science of attraction, and how this is God's design for healthy offspring. Huh, imagine that! Read about the chemicals in your brain and the science behind infatuation and that feeling of euphoria or the natural high experienced with new love. What a clever God we serve! Read also about the specific time frame when these wear off and love suddenly becomes ... well, a little bit more like our parents (if they are still married.) We learn that love is a conscious choice, almost a daily decision that frankly isn't always easy. So, how about you? Are you always looking for that irresistible attraction? Perhaps you need to take another look. Sometimes true love comes in the form of a spiritual nudge - kinda like that still, small voice that we know is the Holy Spirit. (Footnote: for those too young to recognize the photo, check out the 1979 movie "10":

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 6

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 6: Fear of getting hurt. Many singles have been through a painful breakup or divorce, leaving deep scars and fears that either consciously or unconsciously prevent them from taking risks on future relationships. 39-year old Patti had worked hard to lead a righteous life and maintain her purity, only to find herself to be the last one standing among her not-so-righteous friends who found husbands. She lamented, "If I have to attend one more wedding of a girl in my church group who I know did not live according to Scripture, I'll scream!" (How many of you can relate to THAT?) The sense of unfairness of it all caused Patti to stop socializing, but instead poured herself into her work and children's ministry. She adopted the all-too-common attitude that if God wants her to have a mate, he will just have to make it happen. I chuckle that the authors write that "God is not a genie," when referring to those who bank on his omnipotence and don't feel that have to take any measures to make something happen. The fact is in most cases that fear has paralyzed singles so that they are unconsciously sending out "no dating" vibes. As you read this chapter, your eyes will be opened to the power of fear and how it presents itself in the form of negative messages from the enemy, control issues and even pride. Drs. Rodgers helped Patti to confront her fears and put feet to her faith, which allowed her to find the desire of her heart. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon, Part 5

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 5. A poor understanding of the purpose of marriage. Although most singles will state that they would like to find a soulmate and enter into marriage, they also participate in a lot of joking, sarcasm and negativity about marriage. With a divorce rate over 50% and all of the profound fallout thereof, it's no wonder that singles are fearful of entering into marriage. Those whose parents are divorced are unable to trust their partners for the security of their future marriages. Our independent culture, where everyone is out for themselves and it is much easier to be self-sufficient than in the days of yesteryear, adds to the dilemma. However, we know that we were built for community because we are commanded to love one another. It is one of the main ways we learn to give up our self-centered natures. Our culture needs an overhaul of our view of marriage, and it begins with God's word - his design for community at the most personal level, and that is within God's strategic design for marriage. This chapter deals specifically with reasons why men tend to avoid marriage, even though it was ADAM who originally longed for relationship.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 4

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 4: Confusion About the Rules. Society seems to have such a casual attitude about dating, as opposed to the ritual of "calling" of our grandparents and great grandparents' era. Women aren't sure who is supposed to take the lead, who is supposed to pay, and how does a best-friendship advance to taking more serious steps, involving accountability and intentional dating? Since the 1950's, social trends such as "hanging out," recreational and group dating, and the sexual revolution have caused confusion for both men and women. It was no shock for me to read in this chapter that women want men to take the lead and want to be pursued; we frequently hear this from our female members at Cache' Connections. The doctors write: "Men were designed by God to be the leaders, but they have stepped back. Women, in their impatience, have stepped up." This aggression from the women adds to the confusion for the men. In this chapter,Drs. Rodgers spell out what they have titled "terms of intentional dating," which is a balanced cross between the marriage-focused days of courtship and the casual, recreational dating of today. Read all about them, along with some real-life stories of couples who have experienced these issues and addressed them head-on with the help of professional counseling.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 3

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 3: Unresolved issues from the past. It is typical that people resist looking at the past to see how it has affected them. However, your past can have a huge impact on your present, especially when it comes to relationships. This chapter goes rather in depth of on the topic of soul wounds and the six stages of social development. If you were wounded as a child (and the authors claim that we all have soul wounds), this will greatly affect the type of mate you will attract, as well as how you respond in relationship conflicts. Lots of good stuff in this chapter, too much to give detail here! Get the book!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 2

Why aren't singles getting married? Reason No. 2: Lack of faith in God's provision. As the singles population is getting older, many of them are losing hope and finding it hard to believe that God has a soulmate for them. Many of these skeptical singles are looking outward with a critical eye and have sworn off dating, touting 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain (single) even as I am." Drs. Rodgers point out, however, that Paul did not say there is anything wrong with marriage and that being single is the only way to serve the Lord. Drs. Rodgers encourage singles to look inward at themselves and to ask the Lord to reveal anything that could be standing in the way of finding love. Poor experiences with the opposite sex and within your family of origin can cause "closed heart syndrome." God wants singles, along with others who have a deep yearning for something that seems impossible, to obey - and take a risk. This will naturally cause other lessons that God loves to teach us like faith, humility, trust and how to fully depend on Him. We can take comfort, however, knowing that God is with us through these acts of obedience and that He loves to bless those who delight themselves in the Lord. (Psalm 37: 4-5)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Singlehood Phenomenon Part 1

Cache' Connections is partnering with Drs. Tom and Bev Rodgers, along with several churches, to address issues discussed in the doctors' book, The Singlehood Phenomenon. The book lists the top 10 reasons why singles are avoiding marriage, so I thought I'd address these in my forthcoming blogs. Here we go:

Reason No. 1

Skepticism about Love and Marriage.

The number of singles in the U.S. is on the rise - about 50% of the adult population is single. This is the oldest and largest singles population ever recorded in history. The main reasons for singles' skepticism include the high divorce rate, relational insecurity, fear of getting hurt, and our narcissistic culture. We are reminded, however, that our desire for a mate is God-given. In Genesis 2, we see that God was pleased with all of Creation, except for the fact that Adam was alone. Adam desired companionship and intimacy; in fact, all humans are hardwired for love. So don't feel guilty or ashamed about your desire for a mate. Instead, let's take a look at what might be holding you back from seeking and finding your soulmate.