This past weekend, my husband and I were enjoying a warm lazy Sunday afternoon as we sat in a park by a river near our home. Sitting behind us was a table of 12 people discussing the various pros and cons of marriage. Much of their conversation tilted toward the humorous and raunchy, but as we listened, a few individuals inched their way toward vulnerability — not an easy thing to do with a large group.

Some samples from the group conversation we overheard:

  • “ I love being married. It makes happy.”
  • “ I tried it once and hated it. Never again.”
  • “Marriage is obsolete and dying.”
  • “ I’ve tried living with two different women and I won’t ever marry. It’s not worth giving up my financial freedom.”
  • “I’m in no hurry even though I’m 32. My grandparents didn’t make it after 40 years, and neither did my parents. In fact, my dad is on his third marriage.”
  • “Marriage amounts to nothing more than fulfilling a need for health and death benefits. Other than that, who needs it?”

The woman who shared her happiness in marriage was met with dead silence. Not one person said, “That’s great!” or I’m excited for you!”  But, when someone expounded on the less-than-virtuous side of marriage, everyone chimed in with some comment.  The one remark that hit me hardest, though, was, “Marriage amounts to nothing more than fulfilling a need for health and death benefits. Other than that, who needs it?”

Marriage: Who needs it?

Sadly, the consensus of  “who needs it?” is not far off the mark, based on an article I found this week.

According to “Marriage: More than a Century of Change,” the U.S. marriage rate is 31.1, the lowest it has been in more than a century. That equals roughly 31 marriages per 1,000 married women. Compare that to 1920, when the marriage rate was a staggering 92.3.

Since 1970, the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 percent. “Marriage is no longer compulsory,” said Dr. Susan Brown, co-director of the NCFMR. “It’s just one of an array of options. Increasingly, many couples choose to cohabit and still others prefer to remain single.”

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Is marriage becoming obsolete? I don’t think so. I believe a resurgence is around the corner and have faith the societal trends of the past 50-60 years will shift back to the stability marriage provides for men, women, and children. I pray frequently for eyes and hearts to be opened worldwide to grasp God’s design and purpose for marriage.

So, what do you think would have happened if my husband and I had the nerve to ask if we could join the conversation? What if this group of 12 people heard us say, “We still love each other deeply after 40 years of marriage, enjoy sex, pray together, and serve God and his people together”?

You never know. They might have put us in a glass case at the museum, next to the dinosaur exhibit.

Copyright © 2016 Sheri Mueller, Growthtrac Ministries