This post is part of my Looking for The One series, whose purpose is to help young Christians marry in the current cultural climate.
If you are a young Christian looking to marry, you are probably asking yourself one question more often than any other:
How can I tell if someone is a Christian looking to marry?
There is no easy answer to that, not anymore. A century ago that wasn’t the case; nearly every young unmarried person fit that description. Almost everyone was a Christian, and almost everyone was looking or expecting to get married. Nowadays many young single men and women aren’t Christian, and most of those who do profess to be Christians are really Churchians. And even if someone is Christian, that doesn’t mean they are looking to marry. Women, even Christian women, are delaying marriage. And many Christian men aren’t sure that marriage is something they are terribly interested in, either.
Unless you happen to hear someone mention aloud that they are a practicing Christian looking to marry (and that isn’t a terribly common occurrence in my experience), finding out the intentions of someone you are interested in demands more than it did before. If you are lucky then perhaps someone you are close to knows the person in question, and can fill you in. More likely you will have to do some investigating on your own to try and determine whether someone of the opposite sex is looking to marry. To speed up the process you can always try and enlist the herd, but that carries risks of its own, and has its own burdens that must be managed.
All of this takes time and effort. Time and effort that many young Christians might not have. Especially if you are trying to play the number game. What is needed is a short-cut, something that will signal to others that you are a Christian looking to marry. People need a sign that they aren’t alone, that others are walking the same path that they are. In the early days of the Church Christians used a fish symbol to inform one another that they were believers. I believe that something similar is required now, a sign to others that will let them know your identity and your goals. It would need to be visible and easily seen. This rules out a ring (which might also be confused with an engagement or wedding right) or bracelet. Instead, an amulet or necklace would work best, as that should be easily visible to most people.
While investigating and developing this post, I searched for similar amulets or pendants or necklaces in various cultures. Interestingly enough, a rather popular and recent game, Skyrim, uses something very similar to what I propose: An Amulet of Mara. Essentially, it is an amulet that when worn will let members of the opposite sex know that you are looking to marry.
Of course, assuming that the idea of wearing a necklace to signify an openness to marriage is adopted by many Christians, that leaves the question of what kind of symbol or pendant to use. One image that I found while searching the web which works is this one:
I like it because of the simplicity of what is conveyed. The use of a Staurogram style cross conveys Christianity, but in a way sufficiently different from most cross necklaces to make it easy to distinguish. The double enclosed rings symbolize marriage in the form of wedding bands. I would change this slightly, however, and leave both bands open at the opposite ends, to indicate that the the union is not complete. Rather, the person wearing the necklace is hoping to close the bands by finding a spouse.
This proposal would only work if it was adopted in a widespread manner, which unfortunately I don’t expect to happen any time soon. Even if it were adopted, it is questionable how much it would actually help young Christians looking to marry. Also, while it may start out as a sort of counter-cultural expression, there is always the possibility it could be co-opted by the general public. But given how dire the situation is at the moment, I think that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.