Disclaimer: This post and the outbound links contain mature material. But it’s a conversation that needs to happen.
Okay, I confess. I went to college hoping for an “MRS degree”—you know, the ones that end in engagement rings instead of diplomas. But I learned how the law of supply and demand affects the marriage market. Young men don’t emerge from their parents’ basement until they turn 30, and young women are happy to settle for hook-ups while waiting to get hitched.
Kate Taylor called attention to this trend a few months ago in “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too,” a five-month project for the New York Times
A “Major” Change
Taylor talked with students at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League School in Philadephia. What she found was unsettling. Literally.
The once-celebrated goal of “settling down” to a life of marriage and family is long gone. Career building and post-college success is the focus of many female students; relationships are just too risky, wasting too much time and energy.
So, for the sake of efficiency, time management, and, well, pleasure, traditional dating has gone by the wayside. It has been replaced by simple, uncomplicated (or so they say) “hooking up.”
Romance is over. Now it’s all about his-needs, her-needs, minus the wedding bands. Or any friendship at all, for that matter. As one student noted in the article, she doesn’t even like the guy she’s sleeping with—they’re not even friends. We’re down from “friends with benefits” to just “benefits.”
Being 20-something in the 21st Century
As I read the article, shocked in some ways, but also not surprised in others, I had a hard time relating to the women Taylor spoke with. Finding basic common ground wasn’t a problem: female, young adult, single. That’s pretty much it. The only other similarity I could draw was the drive for career success. Like those college women, I’d like to have a meaningful and profitable career—who wouldn’t? But here’s the thing: my drive is out of necessity.
I didn’t graduate with a husband, or the engagement ring to go with him. Now when asked that life-direction question, I still say that “when I grow up, I want to get married, have kids, bake cookies for the neighbors, and write on the side.”
But that’s not happening right now, and I’m learning to trust God’s timing. My mom, a successful homemaker and mother (and also my hero), was surprised to hear me say that I’d be just fine making a home for the rest of my life. Which is true. But in light of Taylor’s research, apparently I’m an anomaly.
In college, I knew that not all of my friends were making good choices. Sexual exploration and experimentation happened all the time. And—to be completely honest—a small, scary part of me was kind of jealous. Friday nights were pretty lonely for me. My point is, not even Christian college students are immune to cultural trends.
Let me say that again, perhaps more specifically: The Church is not immune to cultural trends.
While we may all agree that the “hooking up” shouldn’t be happening, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. And what are we doing about it?
We aren’t the Champions…
…And that’s a problem. I see a serious lack in the Church’s action in this issue. However, some are doing something about it. Like one of my heroes, Dannah Gresh. She’s a gifted speaker and author, and an advocate for purity in our sex-crazed world. I had the chance to sit down with Dannah a couple months ago and we talked a bit about her ministry, Pure Freedom, and her heart for purity and godliness in women of all ages.
That interview is in the current issue of the Baptist Bulletin. I’ll post a link to the online version when it’s available, so be sure to watch for it!
In part two of this post, I’ll suggest what we as the church can do about it.