“Married at First Sight,” “Married by Mom and Dad,” and “Spouse House,” are just a few TV reality shows that have caught my weekly attention. Creators of the shows have seemed to pick up on the difficult quest many singles are finding on the path to marriage.
Critics might view these programs as just a play for TV ratings, or an indication of our culture not taking the matter of holy matrimony seriously, but maybe they are spotlighting roadblocks and real issues people are facing.
Although each show has a specific approach in getting married, overall what comes through is how difficult it has become for many individuals to marry.
Stories of heartbreak, devastating break-ups, cheating, rejection, disappointments, and more have weakened participant’s confidence in their own ability to choose a lifelong spouse. As well as fears of failing, being alone, making the wrong choice, or feeling like they are terribly flawed as a person.
Furthermore, the internet’s unlimited worldwide reach for meeting new people appears to bring an overwhelming sense of information overload and indecision into the mix, offering too many options.
Altogether it seems like it’s driving individuals to doubt their capability to foster a successful relationship to marriage, causing them to turn to relationship experts, parents, and whoever else might be willing to help in their pursuit.
Back in 2009 the “How Couples Meet and Stay Together Survey”(most recent survey on topic), found that introduction by mutual friends ranked first, followed second by web introductions.
The survey also suggested the happiest couples met through church and reported the highest overall relationship satisfaction.
In seeing the survey’s findings, along with observing the TV reality participants’ struggles in getting married, what ways can married couples reach out to single family members, friends, and fellow church attendees who may be experiencing these same types of obstacles to marriage?
Keep it Simple
Point single friends to scriptural basic guidelines for marriage to help in their pursuit, such as:
· One woman for one man, God’s design for marriage as outlined in Genesis
· Choose to marry a Christian as 2 Corinthians 6:14 directs to not be joined together with unbelievers
Seek to offer clear, simple insight to what might feel like an overwhelming goal. Try not to add to the overload of information for finding a lifelong mate.
These reality shows reveal the openness many singles have in accepting guidance in finding a spouse, including letting experts arrange their marriage with a total stranger.
The latest season of “Married at First Sight,” where total strangers are matched and meet for the first time at the altar, ended successfully with all three couples staying married.
Last year an episode of HGTV show “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines featured local Waco resident David Ridley buying a house, calling him, “Waco’s Most Eligible Bachelor.”
Although the program brought him national attention, Ridley stated he had given up on marriage and was ready to throw in the towel. That was until a friend stepped in and offered to introduce him to a close lifelong friend. The two soon discovered they were both Christians committed to being obedient to God and tied the knot on July 1, 2017.
Proverbs 3:27 encourages me to not withhold good from those to whom it’s due, when it’s in my power to act. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to pray, encourage, and facilitate introductions for singles looking for marriage, and have seen God work in their lives to bring wedded bliss.
So instead of criticizing people for taking such drastic approaches, look for ways to assist those who may want help in meeting a potential spouse but may not want to put friends, relatives, or fellow church goers on the spot or ask upfront for possible matches.
From praying, to encouraging, to coordinating a blind date or introduction, listen to what singles are saying and look for ways God can work through you to aid individuals in their endeavors to wed.
Many singles think if not married, “what’s wrong with me.”
However if married people are honest, there’s something wrong with all of us, married or single. Romans 3:23 assures all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Married couples can help calm fears of insufficiency in singles by being real and not misleading people by pretending to have it all together. Couples all deal with imperfection and one look around at married folk makes it pretty clear. Sometimes the ones who look the most perfect have the deepest flaws.
As a pastor and counselor, my husband has learned firsthand how couples that may appear flawless from all outward appearances, are often hiding what’s really going on in their relationship.
Let singles know marriage isn’t about two perfect people finding each other. Communicate how God will work in the lives of two imperfect people who are committed to each other. Let them know being flawed isn’t a reason not to marry.
Ecclesiastes 4:9.10 reminds me that two are better than one because if either falls down, the other will lift up his companion. Convey how imperfect people can help each other through life’s ups and downs.
Encourage singles that although marriage may bring out the best and the worst in a couple, they can trust God to work through issues to refine, strengthen, and purify their lives to bring them closer to Him and to each other.
I’m convinced taking notice and offering help to single adults on the path to marriage is a biblical response to the challenges individuals are facing in finding a spouse.
As a Christian, 1 Peter 3:8 encourages me to be sympathetic and compassionate towards one another. As well, Romans 10:12 urges me to be devoted to and show preference to fellow Christians.
With experts stating marriage is on the decline in America, my hope is instead of TV reality shows taking up the task of bringing people together in marriage, caring friends, family, and fellow church attendees will step up to the challenge.
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