Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is this the culture we want for our daughters?

I read an article Voddie Baucham linked to regarding the dating experience of young women prior to getting married: Your Prince Is 22 Frogs Away. I don’t think this is a scientific poll and the sample is pretty small but the results are kind of what you would expect to see. These are some of the key finding:

The average woman will kiss 22 men, have four long-term relationships and get her heart broken five times before meeting “the one”, a study claims.

The path to true love will also see her endure six bad dates, have six one-night stands and be cheated on four times before finding her perfect match.

The typical woman will have met at least one partner online, been taken on holiday by three different men and had three long- distance relationships.

One-in-five even say they have a child with someone else before finding their soulmate – and most have lived with two men before they meet Mr Right.

Huh, why is Western culture such a mess? Even if this is half-right it paints a grotesque picture. The result? The typical young woman has endured years and years of heart break and sexual promiscuity before finally finding “the one”. Likely their spouse has experienced a similar series of dates, one night stands, live in relationships and multiple break-ups.

It is sadly true that many Christians follow a similar method. Sure there is the added touch of sending your kid to youth groups and making them go to church every Sunday but the end result is pushing your daughters out the door at 18 to go find themselves and eventually stumble across a spouse. How many of our daughters go through the same horrifying process of heartbreak after heartbreak before settling down?

As Voddie Baucham said in his link, there must be a better way! A better way than throwing our daughters into a world full of men fully willing to use and discard them, a world where women finally enter marriage with their hearts calloused by the scars of our dating culture. A hard, cynical heart familiar with disappointments is hardly a heart conducive to a happy marriage. Some may say this is all part of “growing up” but I say it is one of the leading reasons marriage is so discounted and divorce is so prevalent.

The same holds true for our sons and often we have a double standard here. We must be teaching them that women are not merely objects be chased for gratification but image bearers of God to be respected, cherished and loved. If your image of women is formed by years of serial dating, pornography and the constant barrage of women in the popular culture, why would we expect our sons to be husband who love their wives as Christ loved the church?

It makes marriage harder when one or both partners bring baggage to the marriage from previous relationships. There are plenty of memories that linger in the mind for a lifetime. I remember lots of stuff that I wish I didn’t but once that gets in your memory it is impossible to get it back out. I am speaking as someone who started dating my wife when I was 15 and I can only imagine what it must be like to be in today’s casual sexuality and hooking-up culture for my teens and twenties.

I can’t recommend enough What He Must Be If He Wants To Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham. I review it here and I think I might read it again!

Deciding on the person they will marry is the most important decision your child will make and parents simply must encourage their kids to seek their guidance in this process. There isn’t a foolproof “method” for ensuring marital bliss but having parents help guide their young adult children to be marriage minded instead of dating minded is a good first start. We need to instill in our daughters that a guy who is not interested in marriage, no matter how swell, is not someone they should waste their time on.

The choice of a spouse is more important than where our children will go to college or where they will live or what job they will have. Such an important decision requires as much loving guidance as possible.

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