Our society is afflicted with chronic loneliness. Concerned experts warn that loneliness is at the epidemic stage, affecting both genders of all races. It is a global problem.
Of course, it is only human to feel lonely at times. Professionals refer to this as situational loneliness. For example, the death of a loved one can cause painful loneliness. However, this condition generally lessens with the passage of time.
Chronic loneliness is far more dangerous. Confronting loneliness daily is a difficult struggle. Medical professionals now see it as a serious health threat that can lead to heightened stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disorders and depression.
The irony is, world population is at an all-time high. Cities are bulging with people. So why should anybody be lonely? What is the cause? What is the cure? You may be surprised at the answers.
People Living Alone
To understand the cause of loneliness, we must first recognize that it is a modern malady. Previous generations did not have the problem on the same scale. Why? Sociologists have collected some interesting data to help unravel the mystery.
In the United States in the 1950s, about one in every 10 households had one person living alone. By the 1990s this figure had jumped to one out of four households. New Census Bureau figures show that “just me” homes are 27 percent of U.S. households today. These figures are similar for most countries throughout the Western world.
So we can see there has been a marked change in our social landscape. More and more people live alone. The startling truth is, single-person households are the fastest growing segment of our 21st-century populations.
No wonder loneliness has risen so dramatically. Some predict that this century will be known as the lonely century.
Several centuries ago, when large extended families dominated society, a single adult living alone would have been unthinkable. Even in the mid-20th century, single adult homes were dominated by either young, pre-married males or older widows. Yet today, the majority of one-person households are middle-aged men and women.
Why are so many people living alone? Some are forced to because of the death of a spouse, but this primarily affects the elderly; younger widows and widowers often have children living with them, and they are far likelier to remarry.
The majority of people living on their own today are those who have suffered through divorce. Worldwide divorce rates have risen sharply in recent decades, and second and third marriages have far less chance of success. In America, 41 percent of first marriages fail, and 60 percent of second marriages. Among third marriages, nearly three out of four end in divorce.
In addition, a growing number of men and women are simply choosing to postpone getting married or avoid marriage altogether. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Americans plans never to marry. Some—especially well-educated, upwardly mobile single women—delay marriage until well into their 30s to pursue careers. Many young men are choosing not to marry in order to remain free to pursue personal hobbies unhindered by responsibilities. Some refer to this choice as enjoying the me years.
Others decide not to marry because of a poor family life. After growing up amid parental bickering and fighting, or witnessing excruciatingly painful divorces firsthand, they are soured on marriage. Living the childhood years under the stress and tension of parents at war has caused many to fear repeating this tragic history. They want nothing to do with marriage.
More and more people are failing at family or avoiding it completely. Experts have concluded that all this aloneness has led to chronic loneliness.
Their solution seems simple enough. Chronically lonely people need to develop strongly bonded loving relationships.
Yet are these conclusions true? Do the experts truly understand the cause of chronic loneliness? We must get to the root of the problem, or nothing will change.
The Real Solution
Is the solution to the problem merely developing strongly bonded relationships?
Today, there is a desperate search for such relationships, and people are experimenting with all kinds of ways to make these relationships happen. Many couples live together without marriage. Others get into same-sex “marriages.” Some people even try to develop strong bonds with pets, including exotic wild animals.
In the end, these relationships will not work. Loneliness often remains. The needed strong bonds cannot be built. Human beings are meant for better.
Let’s look at this problem honestly. Why are people chronically lonely? The facts lead us to the only viable conclusion: We have chronic loneliness because we have been systematically destroying the God-ordained institution of marriage and family.
The traditional family of a married couple with children—so common just a couple of generations ago—is disappearing. Society today doesn’t just embrace all other possible combinations—it exalts them at the expense of the biblical model. Men and women, by their own self-acquired wisdom, have created their own ideas of family. Yet the truth is that all the combinations man dreams up will never be truly family!
Chronic loneliness is a curse resulting from what we have done and are doing to marriage and family.
God never intended for men, women and children to live alone or be lonely. At man’s creation, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). From the beginning, God created man to need human contact and support. He solved the problem by creating a help suitable for Adam, which happened to be Eve—a woman. No other created being could fulfill such an important role (verse 20).
Then, to insure that men, women and children would remain in a state of togetherness, God created marriage and family. After creating Eve, God said: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (verse 24). Adam and Eve were the first humans to be married, yet their children were also to marry.
Marriage and family were created to ensure that no human being would suffer chronic loneliness. God has an awesome plan for mankind. He earnestly wants us to become His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). To ensure man’s success, He created the family.
A full understanding of God’s plan for man reveals that marriage and family are eternal institutions. For more details on this subject, request our booklet The God Family Vision. It will be sent to you at no charge. This stirring booklet explains in detail that God is a Family and that man, made in His image, is destined to be in that Family for eternity.
To permanently solve the problem of chronic loneliness, humankind must get back to building family God’s way.
Gain True Education
The Prophet Isaiah stated thousands of years ago that family life would nearly be destroyed in our day. Isaiah 3:1-12 discuss this breakdown and its tragic results.
Newscasters and commentators recognize that our world has been turned upside down, yet they don’t know the cause. Most blame our failing economy. Others condemn the politicians. Most seem to forget that we the people have chosen those who lead us. We must come to see the truth as Isaiah prophesied it: that today’s failures in leadership and our collapsing economy have their roots in our sick family life.
God holds everyone accountable for our upside-down world. Each individual must point the finger at himself or herself. God sees our problems clearly and tells us how to solve them.
He states: “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16). This society has rejected God by saying He made me not. This one simple statement sums up everything written on the subject of evolution!
By rejecting God, mankind has also pushed aside His revealed knowledge about marriage and family. In doing so, we are saying that God had no understanding when He created man. How arrogant of human beings!
Even though mankind has stockpiled vast amounts of knowledge, we lack the understanding of how to build and maintain right relationships. We have lost true education in the things that really matter.
To end the human suffering caused by chronic loneliness, we must come to know and apply what God teaches about marriage and family.
God used Herbert W. Armstrong to restore this incredible knowledge for those willing to read and study it. Request our free book The Missing Dimension in Sex. It thoroughly explains God’s purpose for creating marriage and family. This knowledge opens up to us the only workable solution to set right our upside-down family life.
All lasting, loving relationships are built and maintained within God’s design for family. God intended the family to be the training ground for building right relationships. It is within the context of family that we learn to love, care for, serve and support others. If our family life is twisted and distorted, all our relationships will be twisted and distorted. We will continue to suffer from ills such as chronic loneliness.
However, when our family life is strong and oriented in God’s ways, the results are miraculous. No elderly person is left alone. No couple experiences a painful divorce. Young people marry and have children to help build up a stable society.
Does this seem unreal to you? This is the kind of world Jesus Christ will build at His return (e.g. Zechariah 8:4-5). You can begin to enjoy that world now. It is your choice. ▪