Find a set of railroad tracks and put your ear to the rail. Feel it? A distant hum, a low vibration. Arranged marriage is coming.
This is not your mama’s version nor an extraction from eastern nations nor taken from the tradition of Jewish matchmaking. Fiddler on the Roof anyone?
“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch. Matchmaker, matchmaker look through your book and make me a perfect match.” (Fiddler on the Roof)
Today’s digital information panorama has so confused the waters that our former straight shot to marriage now resembles the Mississippi River: muddy and winding, it even went backwards once. Consider the sand bars that the late adolescent must navigate around if they ever hope to get downstream and achieve this traditional marker of adulthood:
Loss of Confidence – Divorce has rocked the stability of the institution of marriage
Loss of Wonder – Pornography and Erotica (literature designed to arouse) are two sides of the same coin and have destroyed the hidden wonder of intimacy, a magnet that use to pull people towards marriage
Loss of the Trades – Skilled labor (manufacturing, construction, business) is out of favor, giving way to an endless forage into ‘education.’ One now needs a graduate level degree to match what used to be gained by a bachelor’s. This results in debt and the delay of traditional adulthood accomplishments (career, marriage, family)
Loss of Financial Recovery – The phenomenon of student loan debt is a cultural monster, often fed by forces beyond a student’s ability to process. 18-year-old optimism can suddenly become a 23-year-old’s disillusionment.
One thing is sure:
The short-timed social era where farms were abandoned for cities, where kids had nothing immediate to do other than to create an adolescent bubble, hang out, fall in love and get married….is long gone.
The complex world of sexuality, where students often spend 15 or more years in adult-ready-bodies, requires your help. It’s possible that this challenge may be partially met by arranged marriage, coaches and mentors who deeply enter the lives of single professionals. One thing is certain. Risk taking almost always carries a gender expression. If you’re meeting with a young man or young woman, your advice- if followed- will usually lead to godly masculinity or femininity.
But beware of the extremes as they generally backfire:
Extreme #1 – Where one’s reputation for match-making is so ambitious that it becomes their identity. Young singles sense this a mile away and cross to the other side of the street.
Extreme #2 – Buying into the old mantra that students should finish school, land a career, pay off student loan debt, save a gazillion dollars and buy a house- all before marriage. Good luck doing this before 40.
So, what could godly coaching look like?
- Let God bring it to you. As you work with students and single professionals, work on first things first. Their love for God and his community
- Pray for their private lives, including their deep longings for marriage
- Assign risks in areas where their behavior seems counter to what they really want
- Demonstrate trust in God as you overcome your own stage-of-life fears through faith
- Invite them to activities where significant interaction with marriages and families occur
- Point out a good match from time to time for them to process godly character
- On rare occasions, arrange a blind date
Because of an increasingly complex culture, customized coaching is a growing need for our younger generations.