Marriage is in a mess in Iran. The young population is delaying getting hitched. ‘Temporary marriage’ (sigheh), and therefore sexual immorality, is rife. Divorce ends one in three marriages in Tehran. So the government is taking action. The regime has just launched a new matchmaker website, which, it hopes, could lead to as many as 100,000 durable marriages.
Under-30s make up 55% of the population. But most cannot afford marriage, and brief flings have become prevalent: ‘temporary marriages’ can last for as little as an hour. Over 300 ‘Western-style’ dating websites have sprung up of late to facilitate young people meeting. Unable to close them all down, the state’s moral guardians have decided to turn matchmaker instead. But many young people will be reluctant to turn to this new Cupid for help: “I would never put my name on a government-run site... no matter how desperate I felt,” says Farhad, a 32-year-old who has been single for the past three years.
Christians have a role to play in this matrimonial mess. Pray for Christian couples in Iran as they seek to model healthy, committed, and self-sacrificial marriage to their friends and neighbours. Let’s pray for pastors as they guide and counsel couples in their churches. If marriage is given to mankind by God primarily as a picture of Christ’s covenant love for his church, let’s pray that as Christians seek to live out godly marriages, many more Iranians would be drawn to Christ.