I read Everyday Christian editor Peter Elliott's news link yesterday, “Number of Weddings, Marriages At Record Lows.” The decline of the number of weddings was blamed on the recession. It may not be just the recession causing the shift in the historical culture of America. It may just be a sign of the times. Future generations are choosing to remain single. It is changing the structure of Sunday School as well.
Twenty years ago, when I got married at the tender age of 18, it was considered a little young to get married, but it was very accepted. Except for the fact that the church I attended pushed me from the youth group to the college group to Adult 1 in six months, it all went very smoothly. Most of my generation still expected to graduate high school, go to college, get married, get jobs, have kids, etc. However, somewhere along the way that ideology began to change. By the time my generation graduated college, many had made the decision not to get married and many who chose to get married also chose to remain childless. It was quite a shock at my husband's 10 year high school reunion to find many of his classmates never married.
Over the last 10 years what was at first an oddity is now quite common and accepted. The proof is seen in the church Sunday school rolls. Twenty years ago, Adult 1 & 2, married co-ed classes, those adults ages 20-40 were the biggest and fastest growing classes in the church. Today, those high numbers are seen in the singles departments. There are usually three types of single classes in larger churches. There is a class for young adult singles, perhaps looking for a mate. There's a singles class for those who were once married and now find themselves single again. The third class is made up of professional or career singles. These are adults who have made the decision to remain single throughout their adult lives. These three classes combined are growing larger every day.
There's nothing wrong with choosing to remain single. Paul spoke about this in 1 Corinthians 7. If you choose to marry, then marry and give your spouse 100% and if you choose to remain single, as long that is your voluntary choice and you're OK with it and happy, then enjoy the happiness of single life. As one who has been married now for almost 20 years and had four children, it is hard for me to accept that people are choosing to remain single and choosing to be childless. I don't understand it. My husband and my children give me such joy. Will there come a time in my own future where my children tell me they have decided not to get married or not have children? It's possible. Will they be miserable because of that decision? Perhaps and perhaps not. Only God knows, and how we feel today may change tomorrow. It will take some getting used to, that's for sure.
For all of you out there who are old-fashioned and traditional, as you know I am, hang on to your seats. The church singles classes may soon out number the young married classes. Baby showers that once happened on a regular basis may soon be a rare and highly celebrated occasion. We may not see as many spring and summer weddings as we have in the past. The times are definitely changing, but God is still in control. I encourage you to pray that God's will be done, no matter what that is. For those, who are called to be married, may they find their God given mate, and for those who are called to be single, may they live their lives with boldness and courage, giving God the glory for everything.