Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chastity, Marriage and Babies

In Mark Driscoll’s Blog today he talks about the Spiritual Discipline of Chastity. Now I will admit being married has helped me not worry too much about this topic. But there is a phenomenon happening in our culture (you know I love exploring cultural things) that has been shaping marriage, or rather when individuals get married.

Driscoll shares some interesting statistics:

Statistically in the U.S., the number of unmarried adults has continually increased, with 36 percent in 1970, 39 percent in 1980, 41 percent in 1990, and 44 percent in 2000. In 2006, for the first time in history, the number of unmarried people exceeded 50 percent of the adult population. Both men and women are waiting longer to marry for the first time; the median age for men went from 23 in 1950 to 27 in 2003, and the median age for women jumped from 20 to 25 in that same period.

But the other bit of information that Driscoll shares is that individuals are more sexually active at a younger age.

A 2006 report on NPR said that 80 percent of Americans are sexually active by the age of 20, and only 20 percent of women marry as virgins. Furthermore, cohabitation has increased 72 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the cohabitation rate increased ten-fold between 1960 and 2000. Fully 41 percent of Americans will cohabitate at some point during their life.

From a Reuters article in 2004 fewer teens were getting pregnant but more unwed women were having babies. 45% of all pregnancies were to unwed mothers. 12% of all pregnancies were to teenagers (compared to 15%in 1990).

So what does this all mean? Chap Clark in his book Hurt shares that adolescence continues longer in life than in past generations. For my generation you were fully out of adolescence by the time you reached 18. Today Clark states that there is a stage of life called post- adolescence which lasts for some individuals until they are 28. Is it an unwillingness to commit the issue? How does maturity play into this?

I am seeing more and more young people getting married later in life. I have had to encourage those that are living together and enjoying all the benefits of marriage to consider getting married. It was hard enough for my generation to attempt to stay virgins until 18, imagine the added difficulty to stay a virgin until 22, 25 or even 28. There are so many outside influences that work to destroy whatever foundation we have built into the lives of our sons and daughters. As a youth pastor it requires a renewed effort, filled with creativity, each year to share again the benefits of living a chaste life.

No comments: