SECRETS CORNER – Pressure to wed
THE CHURCHES PREACH that sex outside of marriage is not what God intended.
However, sex permeates everything aspect of life, and men and women who start courting expect as the relationship develops that they will eventually have intercourse.
So how does the church counter this? They encourage couples to get married. This pressure, said a caller, is wrong because this sometimes forces two people to come together though they may not really be good for each other. But they would have only gotten to know that if they had a chance to allow their relationship to grow naturally.
However, given their focus of not wanting to disappoint the church elders, they do what is expected and eventually get married.
The caller who gave this scenario said this was what she has seen happen in more than one church here, and this practice needs to stop as it has led to great unhappiness between couples who prematurely take this step.
In response to her concern, we asked: Given church policy to encourage marriage, could the churches be pressuring young people into getting married before they may be emotionally ready?
The majority of those who responded agreed that as it is church policy to encourage wedlock, leaders tend to frown on couples in their congregation having long engagements as this can create an environment for sexual relations to occur before marriage.
But they disagreed that because of this policy that churches may be pressuring couples to wed before they are ready.
The callers, who claimed to be knowledgeable about church proceedings, said that in most cases the priest or pastor in charge meets with the man and woman and discuss matters to help guide their growth as a couple. They also seek to ascertain their compatibility as a couple by asking them a number of questions. These include:
• Why do you care for each other?
• What does he (or she) do that you don’t like, and why?
• When he (or she) does something that angers you, how do you react? Can you discuss it with them? And when you raise the matter, how do they respond?
It was explained that going through the exercise of honestly answering these questions individually and not in their partner’s presence helps to inform the pastor as well as the man and woman about aspects of their union that they may never have seriously considered before.
A male pastor explained: “There will always be pressure on couples to have sex. There is pressure from one’s discipline and adherence to God’s principles, or pressure from a partner. So people need to recognize this.
“Despite the bashing, though, churches will still maintain that the sex within marriage is what was ordained by God and is still the best way to guarantee stable responsible and faithful relationships between men and women. It is based on the principle that the stable family is the basis of a stable society.
The following are edited versions of responses:
• “The question should be, is anybody ever really emotionally ready for marriage? Just as life is a journey filled with many ups and downs, so is marriage. It is a good thing that churches are encouraging young people to get married and once they put God in the centre of that unity, He will lead them along the way.”
• “Getting married should not be done without full knowledge and understanding of what you are doing and what is required of you, but sex is right alongside marriage.”
• “The church is becoming less influential – good or bad, you decide. The concept and urge of getting married within the younger generation is not as potent as with the older. Younger people are more independent of the church and know what they are about, so even though they might be pressure, it’s not effective.”
FOR NEXT WEEK please respond to this situation: Your relative has two young children for a man, but the relationship is an abusive one. She left him for several months, but they get in touch because of the children. She is now determined to go back with him for the children’s sake as well. What would you advise your relative to do, and why?Share your views by calling or texting your comments to telephone number 262-5986, or by emailing us at [email protected] (SP)