The average age at which a Millennial is expected to marry is now well into their thirties for some and possibly never for others. A poll by Gallup found that 59% of Millennials, those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, are single and have never been married. The same poll, and numerous others, have pegged the reason for this delay in marriage as being Millennial’s shifting priorities. Namely, their careers and financial concerns.
But, what if I told you that these things are more indicative of Millennial’s unwillingness to sacrifice? What if I also told you that this Millennial delay in marriage is also directly connected to their declining Church attendance as well?
From what we know, Millennials genuinely desire a deep, personal relationship with God and if they don’t feel that relationship then they leave the Church. But what do we have to do to enter into a loving relationship with our Lord and Savior? Why are so many Millennials leaving the faith because they do not feel this relationship?
The answer ties directly into why Millennials are not getting married. As any successfully married couple will tell you, building a relationship requires effort and sacrifice. Many men know about the countless hours they used to spend with the boys that they had to scale back for their wives. Likewise, many women put their professional aspirations on hold in order to raise a family.
But today, as Gallup’s own poll admits, Millennials aren’t quite so willing to make these sacrifices. Deceived by radical Feminists, many young women now place their careers before all. Refusing to scale back their professional advancement in order to have a successful marriage. Likewise, many men have retreated from both work and the home in order to spend ever more time with the boys. Indeed, Millennials are not willing to make sacrifices in order to enter into a relationship with another that could have in turn led to marriage. But how does this have anything to do with Millennials leaving the Church?
Because Christ calls us to sacrifice our sinful desires to him that we might be able to enter into a loving relationship with him. He already made the ultimate sacrifice for us on the Cross. Dying that we may enter into a relationship with him. Jesus makes clear in John 14:16 that, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we are told by St. Paul that, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Again in Galatians 5:19-21 we are told, “ Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before,that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Sound familiar? These are things that are staggeringly common in our culture today, especially amongst Millennials unfortunately. Jesus tells us back in John 14:16 that no one will come to the Father in heaven but through him. So the only way to enter into the Kingdom of God is to have a personal, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. But then we are told by St. Paul, Christ’s apostle, in both 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:19-21 what will NOT be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. All of these things listed are enjoyable, sin itself feels good although it is greatly evil. This is why the late Saint Gregory of Nazianzus said that he bore all evils and, “despise(d) all pleasures.” It is also why Saint Augustine famously said, “Lord make me chaste….but not yet.”
We all struggle with sin, it is in our fallen, human nature. But Christ calls upon us to turn away from our sin and repent of it. To try our hardest not to give in to the temptations of the flesh and the pleasures of the world and to confess and repent of our sins when we do stumble and fall. In short, Christ has asked that we sacrifice our desire to engage in these Earthly pleasures that we might enter into eternal happiness and salvation through him.
If Millennials seek to ever get married they must learn to sacrifice for their would-be spouse. Likewise, if Millennials seek to follow Christ and enter into a meaningful, loving relationship with their Heavenly Father then they must abandon their sin at the foot of the cross, repent, and choose to follow Christ every day.
Nothing worth anything in this life comes without a little effort and sacrifice. Millennials need to learn this if they wish to get married and enter into a loving relationship with Christ. Just as Christ carried the cross so too must we. As our Lord makes clear in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Millennials, take up your cross!