To Marry Or Not To Marry?

Jenessa Hefler

February 13, 2017

To Marry Or Not To Marry? That is the (wrong) question

Jenessa Hefler


“For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name… Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” Isaiah 54:5,10

It’s the season for love. Everything in our culture and in our DNA screams for love. As the singer Ingrid Michaelson so wisely, yet simply, phrased it “everybody, everybody wants to love; everybody, everybody wants to be loved.” It is clear- we were made for love.

However, even the strongest human love is only a shadow of the love God has for us. We were made to be in relationship with God first- thus no human relationship will ever fully satisfy us. As Christians, we know that to some degree- at least as head knowledge. For many in the world, the closest they will get to understanding God’s love in this life is through the love of a spouse/significant other. So I’m not surprised by society’s idolatry and glamorization of romantic love- Hollywood continually shows us we are incomplete until we find that special someone to complete us, Disney’s happily-ever-after’s almost always come after a true love’s rescue, magazines are full of tips to find, keep, please, and get over your man, and social media newsfeeds are full of celebrations of life stages (new relationships, engagements, marriages, babies). This is to be expected in the world, where romantic love is about as good as it gets. However, why are so many Christians overemphasizing romance, soulmates, and marriage as a life goal? Why is it that the Christians I know are some of the first people to harp on others to get married and take the “next step” in life? Why do Christians ask each other about their love relationships first and far more often than they ask about their relationship with God? Why is it that when sermons are presented on marriage, all of the singles are told to listen to for “when” they get married? Why is marriage a goal in our churches?

Now, I know marriage is a gift from God and His plan for procreation and populating the earth. I have also heard and seen through friends’ marriages that it can be a season full of spiritual growth- you often don’t know how selfish, stubborn, and sinful you are until you get married. I agree that marriage is beautiful and something to be cherished and protected. But I also think the American church has overemphasized relationships and marriage perhaps to the detriment of spiritual growth. We treat marriage as a goal for all, not as an option. Singles are often seen as incomplete, told to patiently wait for God’s timing/plan. But really- what is our purpose in life? To get a good job, marry, have some kids, and retire? No. It is to glorify and worship God with every fiber of our being. And I don’t think you need to get married to do that. In fact, Paul (never married) said this “to the unmarried and the widows I say it is good for them to stay unmarried” for “the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For the world in its present form is passing away.” 1st Corinthians 7: 8, 29-31 Clearly something bigger is at work.

Pursuing God is far more important than pursuing a spouse and as a church we need show that.

As a church kid/teen, I wanted to know God but I also desperately wanted a boyfriend. I earnestly prayed to God for so many years to send me a boyfriend (not even a spouse, just a date, c’mon God). I saw other high school couples raise their held hands to glorify God and I promised God that if He would send me the one, we would be on fire for Him! But as God remained silent and I remained single, I eventually gave up and went to find guys on my own, apart from God. I was surrounded with messages from popular culture and my church that said I was not complete until I found my other half.

I have since learned from experience that no man can complete me and make me feel whole. I have experienced the approval of men and the ups and downs of crushes, talking, dating, and relationships.  And none of it has satisfied like I thought it would- none of it gave me the confidence, peace, and joy I so yearned for. And even while I currently have a boyfriend I love and am very thankful for, I would give it all up if God called me to- because my joy and peace does not lie in my relationship but in my God. So, single friends- you are not defined by your singleness. Married friends- you are not defined by your marriage. Neither of you will find peace in your life apart from God. And God is not waiting on a ring to use you. He loves you, wants you, and is using you NOW. Stop waiting. Start living.

BIBLICAL TRUTH

“For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name… Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” Isaiah 54:5,10

STAY GLAMOROUS

  1. What things are you waiting to do until marriage? Travel somewhere? Buy a house? Give your life to missions? Buy a new couch? Pray and choose at least one thing you’ve been saving for marriage and do it now. One of my dear friends so inspired me when she said “I’m not waiting for a wedding registry to buy nice dishes, I’m buying them now because I’m an adult and I can.”
  2. Talk to an unmarried woman who is older than you. Learn about her life story. Ask her questions. Find out where she gets her confidence.
  3. “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world- how she can please her husband.” 1st Corinthians 7:34
  • Meditate and pray over this verse and all of 1st Corinthians chapter 7. Whether you are married or single, ask God to help you be more devoted to Him in all you do.
  1. Corrie ten Boom was a strong, faithful, humble woman of God. After surviving the Holocaust, she devoted her life to traveling the world to tell others about the God who gave her life and abundant hope in the darkest of places. In her book Tramp for the Lord she has a chapter on singleness (she never married). Read the book if you can! Some of her words to a fellow single woman:

“‘The cross is always difficult. But you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Dear girl, it cannot be safer. That part of you which would cling to a husband is dead. Now you can move into a life where you can be happy with or without a husband– secure in Jesus alone.

RESOURCES

Read, “I Do Or Do I” by J. Robin Maxson

GLAMTALK

How does your current relationship status affect your outlook on life? Have you arrived? Is there still room for growth?

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