In Kenya, among the trending shows on YouTube is the Loyalty Test. In the videos, the show hosts interview dating couples and ask them to exchange their phones to test their loyalty to one another. Each then checks out the messages, calls, photos, or anything that may be a pointer of loyalty or disloyalty. In most cases, the show is characterized by drama as individuals get violent upon finding out that their partner is disloyal.
The makers of the show believe that they are ‘sanitizing’ society by exposing people who cheat in relationships. Whether stage-managed or not, the show seems to agree with the various stats given about millennials (born in the period 1980-2000). According to a report by the Pew Research Centre, a significant number of millennials live with a romantic partner. However, they lack commitment in their relationships since they are more cautious about getting into marriage. An article written in Times Magazine said that millennials want to ‘test-drive’ or see how compatible they are with their partner before jumping into what is supposed to be a lifelong commitment.
From the show, we see a generation struggling emotionally and hopping from one relationship to another. The loyalty test show also exposes the deceitfulness of the human heart and the wickedness therein (Jeremiah 17:9). Hence, we must go back to the crossroads (Jeremiah 6:16) and ask where we went wrong as a society and chart a ‘good way’ especially for the millennials in the subject of marriage and relationships.
Moved Ancient Boundary Stones
Proverbs 22:28 says that we should not move the ancient boundary stones laid by our forefathers. We shouldn’t try to push the ancient boundaries our forefathers placed to protect and preserve the institution of marriage. In the past, the African Traditional ways cherished, encouraged, and safeguarded the sanctity of marriages. However, with time, greed has consumed people, bringing them to the point of creating traditions that, to some extent, have made it a lot difficult for many a millennial to transit into marriage, forcing them to move the ancient boundary stones. One of the marks of this generation is the less to zero respect and fear of authority. During our parents days, men who impregnated ladies were forced by society (Parents and village elders) to have these ladies as wives and take care of the parental responsibilities for the child.
Today, young men and women live together while in college, and even after college, without their parents’ knowledge. They hop from one relationship to another and have kids haphazardly with different partners. The pressure has been so much that even Christians are not exempted. Those who try to stand for sexual purity are cheated on by their partners, who claim that they cannot survive the ‘dry spell’ Virginity is scorned. For this generation, it is more shocking to be a virgin than to be a prostitute. As the millennials push for their way of doing things, many end up heartbroken and depressed, with an increasing number of single parents in the society. The elderly generation and their old ways of doing things were largely successful, whereas many of the millennials today end up in ruin.
The Government’s Marriage Act
Marriage processes are today fast-changing. Most young people are opting for come-we-stay commitments, most of which are driven by pre-marital pregnancies and an alleged lack of resources required for formal marriage. The non-committal nature of come-we-stay unions will sometimes push women to the insecurity that will mislead them into thinking that the more children they have, the more secure they will be. This will usually result in abandoned children many times.
To help curb this come-we-stay ‘pandemic’, the government declared that a man and a woman living together for a period of over six months should be declared legally married, that is, after registering with their area chief. Besides that, one can get married at the Attorney’s General Office. With this clarified, one must ask, how many men and women do I need to live with, and for how long to conclude that marriage can work between us? The loyalty tests are exposing a sad state of affairs.
The Bible says that every person should be subject to the governing authority (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14). The government has a system through which marriages are to be officiated. The government has made things easy through the attorney general office for couples intending to marry. In addition, since our Creator is higher than the government in authority, we must live our lives in a manner obedient to his commands by honouring him with our bodies. If the millennials of today were to consider the above, I am certain shows such as the one on Loyalty tests would not gain as much popularity.
Millennials vs Church
The church is to be at the forefront of helping millennials in this arena. Unfortunately, some churches have not done well, while others are doing exceptionally. I was quite impressed by one particular church that had made arrangements for the older men to help the younger men with their dowry payments while women budgeted and cooked during weddings. The church also had committees that would raise money for other needs. Hence, the church was doing all it could to help young people transition into marriage as easily as possible. In that church, no young person would claim to have fallen into sexual immorality due to the high cost of weddings or dowry. In the face of the many economic challenges millennials face, the church is called to create a favourable system to assist them. Whether our places of worship have similar arrangements like the church above or not, there is no excuse for sexual immorality. We cannot surrender to evil to punish society, our parents, or the church for not doing what we want. Whether in marriage or singlehood, we are called to honour God.
Regardless of the effects of The Fall of Adam and Eve, marriage is still a Divine institution (Genesis 2:18-25). Marriage was instituted before the fall, and there was grace and mercy even after the fall. Things might be difficult in our times, but there is irrevocable evidence that marriage works. But it works God’s way, not ours. We, therefore, need to seek and know the God who designed marriage before we even think of getting married if we are to do it right.
Therefore, choosing the foundation on which you want to build your marriage is crucial. Our families can either be built on sinking sand or the rock which is Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27). Eventually, the place we choose to build our home will determine how well it endures through hardship.
Suffice it to say, society will have a lot to say about marriage. Listening to all the voices around can be exhausting and confusing. If we are to remain sane, we must desist from flowing with temporal trends and run to the Lord (Proverbs 18:10). We must let the Voice of the Bible be our true North because its principles are sure to transcend time and culture.