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Prophetic Endurance

What Generation?

I was sitting in a coffee shop and could not help overhearing the conversation of two young women at the next table. The redhead when talking to her friend, called her spouse, "my current partner." It was shocking to realize that Genration Z is coming out into the open as adults, and acknowledging that relationships in the modern world are transient, don't last, and whoever you're with right now is "your current partner." I came out of "Christian" marriage in a Menonnite church where I suffered from the silence that surrounds domestic violence. I was disillusioned with marriage and the idea of keeping a sworn vow to someone regardless of how you are treated.

When I discovered my husband was cheating on me, we moved into separate bedrooms, and the marriage ended the next year when we moved out. The defamation I suffered from as a result of leaving a marriage in which an affair was "the last straw" shows that people didn't take the time to get to know me as a person, or they would conclude that only at the very end of a lot of unstable events would I decide to leave my spouse. Generations Y and Z however, don't take life as requiring that degree of personal sacrifice. They don't plan to be anyone's sacrificial lamb. If something doesn't work for them, they will move on. 

I am aware of more and more differences between generations as I navigate life and encounter life with the Baby Boomers, life according to Generation X, then there's life among the Generation Y, and the Generation Z. What I call the last generation (known as Alpha) that comes after them is 'Generation Apocalypse'.

The Baby Boomers were great at playing house. Everything from Betty Crocker, to wearing a nice dress for your husband who comes home form work at 5 for dinner. I've actually read a Home Economics textbook from this time that said, you should meet your husband at the door in a dress when he comes home from work with a nice smile and make everything in the home life pleasant for him. This is because he's had a stressful day and would like to relax.

Oh how the next generation of two income earners would laugh at this one. It's a date in a common-law household if he throws a cold chicken burger across the table at you from Burger King. Common law households may, by the time Generation X has matured, has risen to almost 50% of modern marriages. They made this disillusioned response to playing house a more accepted outcome. It seems the average partnership today could be a marriage, common-law, or a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Seldom do we see people just dating, or perhaps we should say just talking, as the Christian religion would advocate in shopping for a potential partner. (By this I mean an innocuous non-physical relationship.)

Young people don't have time in their busy workaholic schedules, while they try to get ahead and climb up the corporate ladder. So the next generation just rides around together, does life together, and if you wear a nice dress it's a date. Generation Z thinks if you text repeatedly all day, you're a couple. Just staying with the same person for your lifetime is a challenge that requires more than just self-discipline, or will-power, or even a gold-standard upbringing with stellar values. It requires us to understand our identity and that of others through the personhood of Jesus Christ. Jesus literally has to live as a resurrected person in our bodies, and guide our response to others, their imperfections, and their sin. People will fail us daily. It can't be anymore a matter of what makes us successful, but what gives Him the glory.

I will say that Generation Y has been noted to chase after what really makes them happy in life. Generation Z may be living in the same house with Generation X, Y and others. They have their own conclusions, draw all new lines, make all new rules.

Just for the record:

Baby Boomers: Born from 1946-1964

Generation X:  Born from 1965-1980

Generation Y (or Millenials): Born from 1981-1996

Generation Z: Born from 1997-2010

'Generation Apocalypse' (also called Alpha): Born from 2011-onging

I hate to think that Generation Apocalypse probably won't have the time to grow up to actually realize fulfillment in relationships. Their ethic seems to be, you'll do what I want or "you're dead, dear."  They have their ways of flirting, with violent undertones. They bare actually flirting with power and flirting with death. A relationship is a power struggle, and moreso than Generation X had in individuating from the Baby Boomers.  

The church tends to accept reality in the modern age. They are not naive that a spousal relationship may be common-law. They probably wouldn't mention it; and I take it you have the sense not to mention it to them either. Don't flirt with power. Don't insinuate you are being sinful by being an adult. You may go to church and not have to feel inferior to Mrs. and Mr. with a marriage certificate and a honeymoon. Just don't draw attention to your decision making process. 

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