Should Parents Be Preparing Their Children for Marriage?

Most conversations about parental involvement in their children’s marriages begin and end with a cruel mother-in-law joke. New statistics reveal that parents should do a lot less backing off when it comes to guiding their children through rough relationship seas:

Much changed during the decades when Millennials were growing up. Marriage is no longer seen as an economic or social necessity, especially for women— who are more educated and more prevalent in the workforce than before. Moreover,  24% of Millennials experienced their parents’ divorce or were  raised in single-parent homes. The widespread availability of birth control, including long-acting contraceptives and the morning-after pill,  has heightened expectations for casual sex-without-strings. Media has become more sexually aggressive, and pornography more widely available. Relationships have been complicated by technology, including the pressures of social media and the illusion of constant contact.

All of these shifts create a relationship landscape that is confusing—with competing interests and expectations, and the lack of a recognizable pattern for relationships or even life progression. Unlike earlier generations, who learned from clearer relationship scripts, the lack of social norms about how to find a partner add to the sense of romantic bewilderment felt by Millennials. Only 8% of 18-25-year-olds surveyed report having ever casually dated. Although most Millennials desire marriage, they are marrying later, if at all. This later and less trend is at least in part caused by the uncertainty Millennials have about how to get to the loving, stable relationships suited for marriage.

In other words, millennials like the idea of marriage, they just don’t know how to go about making it a reality. Hence women who express a desire to get married are suspected of “being desperate” by the same critics who hound them into aggressiveness on the career front. Culture simply doesn’t support a woman’s or a man’s desire to wed. So, with few role models to look up to, many millennials stink at it.

Two generations after the Boomer rebellion against God, we’re finally starting to quantify secular humanism’s impact on our general happiness and wellbeing. As these latest stats indicate, it isn’t good. The reality is that the happiest folks in our culture are the ones who welcome God into their life. Christians have better sex. Observant Jews do, too. And while both groups have differing interpretations, the bottom line is that they base their sexual conduct on Biblical principles.

As for millennials, even the unmarried ones are having less sex these days. Researchers attribute their lack of sex to a slew of reasons including career culture and the impersonality of online dating. The factor underlying any and every reason given is that millennials haven’t been given a context, a hardcore set of “do’s and don’ts” to guide them into a healthy sex life. So they’re simply avoiding it (and the marriage and the babies) altogether.