In my last major post, I discussed the important role that parents need to play in helping their children marry. As a brief summary, I advocated that parents: 1) help their children find worthy spouses and 2) help their children marry those worthy spouses while young. Such an effort would help children to maintain a virtuous life and keep away from sexual immorality, something which pervades every drop of modern culture.
But what about those for whom this advice comes too late? Once children are “out of the nest” the ability to help them in this way diminishes rapidly. What about young Christian adults whose parents didn’t help to prepare or aid them in marrying young? Parents can make up for this to a degree- while training and preparation might not be possible any longer (or of limited value), they can still help their children find worthy spouses. Unfortunately, not everyone grows up with God-fearing or responsible parents, or even an intact home. Those with parents who aren’t willing or aren’t able to help are truly in a forlorn position.
Its understandable for those parents who still have young children to not be overly concerned with young Christians who have “slipped through the cracks.” When the world at large is constantly attacking you on every front, and seeks to destroy or corrupt everything you hold dear, there is a natural inclination to enter a “bunker” mentality. Everything not connected to you and yours is simply pushed out of your mind and disappears into the nebulous aether of “out there.” Again, understandable. But in my view a mistake.
I believe that this is a classic instance of similar interests aligning such that “if we don’t hang together, we shall surely hang separately.” That means parents with young children should try and help single, young Christian adults to find worthy spouses to marry, and that young, single Christian adults should try to help parents with young children prepare their children for marriage and help them (as time passes) to find spouses for themselves. Setting aside the moral considerations (in my view this is a great act of Christian charity here), there are strong self-interest reasons to work together in this manner.
The first reason to do this lies at the heart of success for both groups: networking. More than anything else, the collapse of the old networks between between members of faith communities is the single biggest impediment to devout, young Christians marrying. In the past you used to be able to count on friends and family to help you find a spouse, or to help your children (or grand-children) find a spouse. Coupled with the relative dearth of actual, devout, God-fearing Christians (as compared to “Churchians” -those who attend church for the social value but are not Christian in act or belief), it is extremely difficult for many young Christians to find suitable mates. Those who are fortunate enough to be born to a rebuilt network, such as a traditional church or a home-schooling group, fare somewhat better. But even they suffer from the limited pool available. If both groups of Christians- parents and singles, work together they can rebuild the old networks of faith communities much faster than if they operate solo. Every new person that is brought into the network is another chance to branch out and bring even more people into the fold. In mathematical terms the growth of the network is exponential, not linear.
The second reason lies in future hopes and opportunities. If your youngest son is still in diapers, it might not seem beneficial to you or your family right now to help a 20 or 30 year old Christian man find a wife to marry. But in 20 years your son might be looking for a wife, and if that man you helped two decades earlier now has daughters… well, that might make all the difference in the world. Naturally the same logic applies for a young Christian woman as well. Remember, you reap what you sow. As for Christian singles, helping those who are parents now can benefit any future children you have. Or grand-children, for that matter. This kind of project requires long-term planning and thinking, and that means laying the foundation for the future, today.
In my next post in this series I hope to cover some of how both groups can actually help another, both in the moment and in the future.