excerpted from an online article from Time.
A new report from Pew Research predicts that more folks under 35 will be single forever.
The number of Americans who have always been single and will never marry is at a historic high, says a new Pew Research report, partly because they don’t have jobs and partly because marriage is becoming less highly-regarded. Most people think it’s important for couples who intend to stay together to be married, but the number of single Americans who want to get married has dropped significantly even in the last four years.
The report, based on census data and Pew’s surveys, is the latest in a series of indicators that marriage’s stock is on a sharp downward trajectory. Fewer young people are getting married and many are getting married later. About 20% of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9% in 1960. In the black community, the numbers are even starker: 36% of black Americans older than 25 have never been married, a fourfold increase from 50 years ago.
Why aren’t people getting married anymore? The three main reasons people give for their singleness are that they haven’t found the right person (30%), aren’t financially stable enough (27%) and are not ready to settle down (22%). Many more young people are eschewing tying the knot, at least for a while, for shacking up. The researchers don’t see that as the new normal yet. “Cohabitation is much less common than marriage and cohabiting relationships are much less stable than marriages,” says Kim Parker, co-author of the report.”It’s hard to imagine marriage being replaced any time soon.”What does this mean for the church?
It means that we have to be more intentional ministering and accommodating older single people in the church, and not making them feel like outsiders. The majority of focus, outreach and ministry of the church is focused on couples and their children, we are going to have to expand beyond that narrow focus.
It also means, as a church, that we better be intentional, clear and constructive in helping these older singles navigate a potential life-time of singleness - all the while living morally pure. We can't be silent in helping them honor God with their sexuality and ignore the real challenges and struggles that they are facing.
And lastly, as the church, we need to develop a better apologetic that will encourage singles to consider marriage (that is if they are simply resisting marriage on terms of $ or personal comfort). Marriage is a tremendous means by God to help in our sanctification. Marriage is hard. Yet it is through the testing and trials of marriage that God uses to help make us holy. There is a real spiritual benefit from marriage that needs to be communicated to singles in the church.