But they struggle to promote “I dos” without sidelining single people in their flocks.
Married life has not lived up to Jai Kang’s vision of what union in Christ might look like.
Every day, Kang gets her nine-year-old son ready for school and sends him there before heading to work at an insurance company in Seoul. On the weekends, her husband works or plays golf while she cares for her son, leaving her busy and exhausted.
“I’ve been married for 10 years, and I face a lot of difficulties in my daily life,” said Kang. “I want to live according to the Bible, but it is hard to do so because it seems that money, success, and reputation are [more] important to my husband.”
Spiritual matters serve as another point of contention between the couple.
Kang’s husband does not go to church every Sunday because of his demanding work schedule. He is also against sending their son to a Christian school, preferring a public-school education instead to “broaden” their son’s perspective of the world.
Kang’s marital woes, while seemingly minor, may be emblematic of South Korea’s growing disenchantment with marriage within and beyond the walls of the church. Today, many describe marriage and child rearing as burdensome and 65 percent of unmarried Korean women have chosen to go on a “marriage strike.” Many young Koreans say this perception of marriage has arisen because of difficulties they face in securing stable employment and financial security.
Churches are also contending with a shrinking Christian population. The proportion of Protestants in the country has stagnated at 21 percent. More than half of Koreans say they are irreligious. Young people are losing interest in religion, leading more and more Protestant churches to become “sanctuaries …
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