In the late 1960’s 60% of those 19-29 were married. That number now is only 20%. That’s a whole different ballgame. Half of America is unmarried.
There are a whole lot of reasons for this. We’ve talked about it many times here in one way or another. Lack of ability to interact with the opposite sex, fulfilling sexual desire outside of marriage, creating false spiritual platitudes, and over spiritualizing the whole thing, just to name a few.
But there is one thing that I haven’t talked about here. And this is going to probably make some people uncomfortable and possibly even mad. But to not talk about it at all, seems to me to be a cop out and if you read here at all, you know I’m not usually willing to do that. So here goes.
I think one of the unnamed reasons we have less marriage comes from one of the sins and addictions that we don’t like to talk about in the Church. That is our bad relationship with food and the sin of gluttony.
I’ve mentioned before that attraction is not a choice. Ok I’ve mentioned that about a hundred times. Now to be fair, I’ve also talked about how our attraction scale is jacked up, and how there is no one who is perfectly attractive or attracted. I’ve clearly stated that there will always be someone “hotter” and that we need to be careful as to what we “require” for attraction.
But again, attraction matters and we don’t get to sidestep this fact. From a physical standpoint this is especially true when it comes to how we deal with women and their attractiveness to men. Again, we correctly point out that our standard of beauty is warped. We have created an airbrushed world that no woman can live up to. That is absolutely right to point out and fight against. But that doesn’t give us a pass on dealing with gluttony (for men or women).
To ignore this issue is a mistake. According to the CDC 69% of Americans age 20 and older are overweight. 35% are obese. Now we can argue over what counts as overweight and BMI and all of that. That’s fine. But bottom line there are a lot of people struggling here. In case you are wondering, Christians are doing worse here, not better.
My point here today is not to “fat shame” anyone. I don’t want to shame anyone, for any reason. It’s also not to put more pressure on anyone to look perfect. But I think that the fear of implying those things or of dealing with this issue in the wrong way, has pushed us into not dealing with issue at all which is not ok. It’s as if due to our fear of being politically incorrect we have stopped being honest and this is not helping us as singles or marrieds.
Food, just like alcohol, porn, and many other things can be an addiction. Just like we have a broken relationship with sex in our culture, we also have a broken relationship with food. In fact, I’d say that they often sort of play on each other. Just like there are people in bondage to sexual addiction and drug addiction, there are people in bondage to food in one way or another. It can for sure be a coping mechanism and one that leads excuses, lack of self control, and rationalizations just like all the afore mentioned vices.
This is important for many many reasons. There are the obvious heath issues. But as a single person, it matters in specific ways because you are sending a message with your appearance. All of us are. If we are overweight – especially if we are considerably overweight – we could be sending a message that we are out of control, are undisciplined, aren’t good at taking care of important stuff, or just don’t care.
It also affects how we feel about ourselves in two very important ways. First, if we are unhealthy we don’t feel good. I mean this is sort of obvious, but if we don’t feel healthy it’s hard to engage with life the way we want to. It also affects our confidence and how we carry ourselves. If we see ourselves as unattractive it’s infinitely more likely that others will as well. It for sure affects our confidence when it comes to how we interact with the opposite sex.
I think that in the Christian culture we often like to pretend that none of this should matter. After all we should just love people where they are at. I agree. But part of loving someone is helping therm deal with reality. If we tell people that it doesn’t matter and shouldn’t have anything to do with them attracting a spouse, to me, that’s lying.
Now in the same way we can’t just stand in the pulpit and tell men to “man up“, we can’t just stand up in the pulpit and say “lose weight”. We have to actually walk with people. We have to do the hard work. That starts with honest assessment.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it now. One of the things about my 20+ years as a single is that I wish more people would have given me more practical help and less spiritual platitudes. We don’t control a lot about our appearance. But we do control some things. We should work on those.