I tried a new church today. The topic was marriage and the pastor began by talking about a ceremony where a woman marries herself and states she will live life to the fullest. There have been four women that have had these ceremonies but no men. Now he went down the path of marriage being between a man and a woman and nothing else. I think he totally missed the point of those ceremonies. Those women weren’t being self-indulgent or trying to redefine marriage. As a society we have taught single women that they are less than married women. If a woman reaches thirty unmarried, she is inundated with questions. However as a society we don’t ask single men in their thirties why aren’t they married yet. I think those women were saying that their lives were no less full and happy because they were single.
Women do not have the same choices as men, even though society insists that we do. Women do not have an open door on fertility. Freezing eggs is not a choice for 99.9% of women. So if a woman wants children of her own and doesn’t want to do it alone, she must be married. Society has let men extend their adolescence into their late thirties and early forties. They focus on their career, having fun with their friends, sleep around and then decide to get married. If a woman waits until then to marry she may still be able to have children but it is not a given. A fifty year old man can marry a 30 year old woman and start his family. The reverse is not possible.
There is still a double standard. Men can date down economically and in age. While people make jokes about cougars, the reality is most men who don’t have a family yet, won’t give up that option by marrying an older woman. And if a financially successful woman is in a relationship with a man who is not her financial equal, there is static on both sides. But a financially successful man routinely throws away the wife that got him to where he is and marries a much younger woman. No one bats an eye.
So I think the pastor missed the point of those ceremonies. Women need to not feel less than because they are single. And rather than preaching about single women deciding to be happy being single, he should be preaching to the man-boys about growing up, being Godly men and putting away childish things. He should preach about how easily men are tempted and pulled away from their wives and families. He should be out there helping men of all ages see that a relationship with God will enhance their lives, make their lives richer (not $$), and ground them in a way they need.