An article recently came to my attention, called “5 reasons Religious millennials aren’t marrying.” (http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/04/08/5-reasons-religious-millennials-arent-marrying/31633) I agree with all the reasons, but I would add an additional reason; one which is especially true for Orthodox Christians: isolation from others like ourselves. (That, however, is a topic for a later post.).
I’ve decided that I will examine these reasons in depth, as time permits. They’re worth exploring and commenting on in further detail.
The first reason given is that we find ourselves more driven by career these days, than perhaps before; that instead of making marriage a keystone/cornerstone of a successful life, it’s now become a capstone.
In a sense, I agree. Even Maslow’s hierarchy of needs seems to suggest that, before one can give away love, so to speak, you need a stable foundation. And the second of only two Orthodox woman I ever attempted to date gave a similar rationale for not wishing to pursue a relationship with me; my life and finances were simply too unstable without a career to act as a balance, and a point of provision for a family.
So yes; career is important. The fact of the matter, however, is that, if you’re going to choose a partner, you need to find someone who respects your said career. If they respect your career, they’ll respect you as a person, and mutual respect is a cornerstone of ANY relationship, romantic or otherwise. Without mutual respect, a relationship will cease to function. If, for example, I chose to date and marry someone who hated the wine industry, or felt it was pointless, or was a teetotaler, she would not respect what I do. In the end, she would think less of me. I have seen cases where romantic partners (of both genders) try to sabotage things, and make their significant other’s lives more difficult, simply because one, or the other, doesn’t respect what they do for a living.
In some senses, I feel that Orthodox Christians have a better mindset for a career-first mindset. We don’t avoid works. Works are a part of faith for us; just as much as grace. We have a positive theology of work. Career is part of work, or can be, if looked at properly. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel I’m doing God’s work more when I’m in the tasting room, or in the winery itself, than I ever did when I was in seminary.
In a sense, yes, some of us are refusing to date because of our careers–absolutely. We want more stability, and in a world where many of us have to pay over 10,000 in student loan debt, is it really such a bad thing that many of us are starting to wait until we can support a family before we even begin to find a partner? I’d argue it’s not at all; it demonstrates that we’re working on long-term fulfillment, rather than looking for something quick and simple. In other words; we’re seeking to be responsible lovers and companions, rather than moochers.
EDIT: Here’s another article which I found interesting, and perhaps you guys and gals, if there’s any reading will too: (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/in-the-end-people-may-really-just-want-to-date-themselves/) Apparently, we really like to find people like ourselves. Say it ain’t so. (although it’s nice to have the statistics to finally back that up.)
Furthermore, we at Orthogents would like to welcome the illustrious Derek to our staff. Say hi to him, everyone!