Focus on the Family's James Dobson began his current radio series, "Longing for Marriage," on "Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson" Monday by saying that he is not surprised by statistics showing that men and women are waiting substantially longer to get married.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that since 1969, the average age for women to become married has risen from 20 to 26, according to the hosts of Dobson's Family Talk Radio Program. The average age for men has risen from 23 to 28.
"That statistic doesn't surprise me, because the institution of marriage is changing and it's undergone some very significant revisions in its structure in the past three decades," Dobson said during the first part of a two-part interview series, which includes discussion with a married couple, David and Brodie.
"There are many reasons for this, but one of them is that many young people, even those growing up in Christian homes, have seen marital conflict and divorce within their own families," he said. "They've seen agitation, pain and conflict. Many of them are weary of getting into a relationship that may not last."
As the result of contradicting messages coming from many different places, understanding God's design and plan for marital love can be overwhelming, Focus on the Family stated recently on its website. "As a result, many couples fall into the trap of looking everywhere but to the Designer to find out what God intended for marriage," states Dobson's ministry.
"Being loved by someone who promises to be there for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health all the days of your life, that's a great concept – and yet many young people are nervous about it and concerned about it. Some are not willing to go there for their own reasons," Dobson said Monday.
During the interview portion with David and Brodie, the couple shared how at one point they separated from their dating life in order to make sure they were following God's plan in their lives.
David recently wrote on the couple's website, www.thechristianworldview.com, "About 10 years ago, Brodie and I dated for the first time after my father encouraged me to consider her as a potential wife. Unfortunately, I didn't have a strong desire to be married at that time and I was about to make a career transition as well. Brodie asked me where things were going after a year of dating, to which I couldn't give a definitive answer. We stopped dating, yet something interesting happened – our relationship began to grow from good friends to best friends over the next several years."
Dobson shared during the interview that during his own dating period with his future wife, Shirley, there was a time when they decided to go their separate ways. In much the same way as the couple interviewed, the relationship became stronger as a result.
"The relationship often flowers when you say, in effect, 'love must be tough.' If it isn't going to work I'm not going to force it. Love will not grow when it is not free," Dobson said. "God will not compete with anything or anybody for preeminence in our lives. You have to put Him in first place and it's sometimes hard to do."