Author(s):  Drs. Beverly and Tom Rodgers
Title:  "The Singlehood Phenomenon"
Publisher:  NavPress

The husband and wife authors of a new book on single life and attitudes believe a negative stigma about marriage is partly to blame for the way that institution is under attack in contemporary U.S. society. America currently has the oldest and largest population of singles in the nation's history, the couple notes, and their recently published book explores the top ten reasons why many people are not getting married.

Doctors Beverly and Tom Rodgers are the founders of Rodgers Christian Counseling in Charlotte, North Carolina, and members of the American Association of Christian Counselors and Certified Imago Relationship Therapists. The two have been relationship counselors for the past 26 years, working with individuals, couples, and families.

The Rodgerses are also the authors of a number of books on relationship, including "Soul Healing Love:  Ten Practical, Easy To Learn Techniques for Couples in Crisis"; "How to Find Mr. or Ms. Right:  A Practical Guide to Finding a Soul Mate"; "Adult Children of Divorced Parents:  Making Your Marriage Work"; and their latest release, "The Singlehood Phenomenon:  10 Brutally Honest Reasons People Aren't Getting Married" (NavPress, 2006).

Dr. Beverly Rodgers says "The Singlehood Phenomenon" was written partly "to uncover unconscious beliefs, unhealthy behaviors, and toxic relationship patterns that can hinder one's ability to have healthy relationships," and partly "to educate the culture on the positive notion of marriage." The authors sought to integrate biblical and psychological principles to help people look at past hurts and determine how these may have affected them as adults, she explains.

Dr. Tom Rodgers says the fear of marriage is very prevalent in contemporary culture, whether it is a byproduct of the culture or a basic part of it. "We've also become very self-focused as a culture," he observes, "and I think we've created a kind of narcissism in our culture that just feeds these fears in a way, because we become ultra-self-focused rather than focusing on relationship."

This cultural trend goes against the heart's essential design, the therapist continues. "I think we are hard-wired by God for relationship, with Him first and then with one another at all levels," he says. "But this kind of narcissism that's fed by our culture [is oriented toward] instant gratification and instant access, so we're kind of overindulging ourselves even as we're pushing farther and farther away from relationship."

The ultimate goal of "The Singlehood Phenomenon," Mrs. Rodgers says, is to help each unmarried person become "the healthiest, happiest, single person possible while overcoming the fear of marriage and the reasons that keep people single." Among the most common reasons the authors cite why contemporary singles stay unmarried are skepticism about love and marriage, lack of faith in God's provision, unresolved issues from the past, fear of getting hurt, and perfectionism.

Also, the Rodgerses note that many singles are confused about "the rules" and feel they do not know how to date or how to be in a relationship. Others, the authors suggest, may have a poor understanding of the purpose of marriage or an unbalanced emphasis on their career. And many, the Christian relationship counselors add, are simply concerned that their marriages will fail -- and rather than risk being in a bad marital relationship or ending up divorced, they simply avoid marriage altogether.