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The New Temptation for Senior Adults

Orginally published on Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 7:10 AM
by Todd Rhoades

According to an article over at Lifeway.com, many pastors are reporting that the most disturbing trend in their aging church is the number of couples who are living together. In todayís society we might expect that this number is increasing, but what is interesting is that the majority of these couples are over the age of 55. Many senior couples are living together for financial reasons. Although they want the benefit of companionship, whether made single by death or divorce, many decide that they simply do not want to get remarried. So how can a church address this disturbing trend?

1. Preach and Teach Godís design for loving relationships.
No matter what the age, God has a design for sexual integrity. Most of the teaching and preaching about sexual activity is focused on the young. In reality, however; many aged men and women commit the greatest sexual sins. For example, David when he was older and more established committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Church leaders would be wise to acknowledge that retirement in no way translates into a sexual drive standstill. The church must be cognizant to the needs of her people and the aged must be taught and prepared so that they are able to overcome the temptations they face.

2. Develop a small accountability group for seniors.
The best support comes from those that understand and can relate to the situation. James reminds us that if we confess our sins to one another God will forgive us. Seniors need a group of people with whom they can be authentic and real. The church can be a great help if she provides a group where feelings and temptations can be discussed, and where encouragement and support can be given in ample portions.

3. Help seniors find alternative avenues.
Sometimes in the midst of difficult situations we feel that we simply have no good options. However, it is important to remember that ďall of Godís options are good optionsĒ. Godís Word says that He will always provide a way out. Sometimes His escape is made known through the spoken words of His people. Churches and church leaders should provide seniors with counseling and other ideas and possibilities than simply what may seem acceptable and easy.

4. Confront in love and support unconditionally.
Finally, it is the responsibility of the church leaders to confront those members of the church that decide on a path that is not what is best for them. Leaders must confront in love but always remember to support unconditionally.

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  There are 7 Comments:

  • Posted by Camey

    Over the last few months, I’ve been dumbfounded by some of the conversations that I’ve had with seniors.... I guess the fact that I talk about sex and spiritual intimacy on a daily basis with so many women… (although be it teens and young women normally)… brings them on…

    In the past year alone, our town and church has had a number of deaths.. therefore.... widows and widowers.. those who were married but now are single again. And yes, even in the house in which we live.

    “Old-fashioned” has taken on new meaning… and not necessarily in good ways. The increase of “products” such as Vigra and alike are definitely affecting this generation… ages 55 +. 

    I personally believe that this generation is experiencing a great attack. And frankly? It is the belief that the possibility of getting pregnant no longer in their minds exist… makes it even more troublesome.... The real sense of sexual freedom..... and the financial impacts that come with marriage....  oh my.

    I’ll get off my soap box now....

    Thanks for posting this, Todd.

  • Posted by

    I have a friend whose widowed mother moved in with her significant friend. Turns out the reason they didn’t want to get married had to do with the status of her S.S. survior’s benefits, her dead husband’s pension, etc. I wonder how much these things factor into their decisions.

    Keep in mind too that people in their 60’s today were teens and young adults in the 1960’s-70’s. It might boggle our minds to know what granny was into when she was 19.

  • Posted by

    If a relationship stays platonic, is it still a problem?

    Just wondering what y’all think.

    Dave

  • Posted by

    So should a pastor perform a religious wedding service to make it right before God without worring about making it “legal” in the eyes of the government?
    This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’ve had several “older” adults raise this question because of the benifits issue while wanting to maintain their moral integrity conserning intamacy and marriage.

  • Posted by Daniel

    Sid--good question.  I say who cares what the government thinks?  Marriage is more a covenant than a legal contract. 
    A friend of mine had a grandmother who did just this (got married in a church but didn’t file any paperwork).
    God bless ‘em.

    Note: I post this with the intent to say that marriage isn’t primarily a legal status (marriage can exist without a government).  I should add that the elderly shouldn’t be forced to ‘work the system’ if the Body is being the Body.  Integrity in relationship to the State is important as well…

  • Posted by

    I don’t think this phenomena has as much to do with sex as it has to do with finances.  People (women, especially) loose out financially, big time, when they re-marry.  Social Security, pension law, and health insurance are all involved.  I’ve had couples explain this to me in great detail, and I was shocked and saddened to see the reality.  These couples wanted to live with integrity, but they not only lost out financially in the short term, they risked burdening (her) children with her care if he died before she did...which was a good bet.

    If we want to have an impact on this trend, laws have to change.

  • Posted by Camey

    Definitely, there’s proof that finances do play a part for some. I’m not talking about those individuals however.

    There are those who kept their vows and now feel a sense of freedom and perhaps.. if I dare say… entitlement to live life as they so choose because they’ve been there and done that. Individuals, who if a younger couple were to talk about wanting to live together before marriage - they would not agree that it is okay. Yet, for their own circumstances, they feel they’ve some how earned the right to say, “It’s okay for us.” I’m talking individuals who have had a strong Christian background.

    There are also those individuals who do not want to marry again but will live together until they are no longer “happy”..... or until the other person starts going down roads their spouse once had whether it be health wise or “Honey, bring me a beer.” As long as it’s easy, free and “sexy” to be together. They can live together but no real strings are attached… If someone “hotter” comes along…

    A few weeks ago.... I gave a woman the name of a clinic to go to.... outside of town. It appears she has a sexually transmitted disease and is not sure which “gentleman” she got it from. Based off what I am personally seeing.... and data I’ve been reading.... this age group will be seeing MORE of this and not less. There is a battle going on… And there is no doubt it will affect every other generation as well.

    For the record… my own mother would already be remarried. They are choosing not to at this moment due to finances and how complicated our lives are. We are fully expecting to be taking care of him one day too. We’ve had to have the difficult conversations as a family… as a pastor… as a woman minister....

    Since first posting my first comment.... I’ve talked with even more “older” women… To me it is even more heartbreaking than all I’ve times I’ve held a teenager’s hand or a young woman in her 20’s.

    Thanks again Todd for posting this…

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