“If this is the situation between a husband and his wife, it is better not to marry…” (Matthew 19:10).
At this time, more than ever, people are discouraged about marriage, and those who have desired it and not yet entered in are now afraid. They are disheartened and worried that they will make a mistake and endanger their lives… But their desire remains to marry, for a number of reasons.
Why do you want to marry? Perhaps it is because…
1. You think you are supposed to. You feel that you would be unfulfilled without ever marrying.
2. You want the companionship, friendship, and partnership. You don’t want to do life alone.
3. You want the dream, the romance…the love story. You don’t want to forsake the idea of having such an emotionally and sexually fulfilling relationship with another person.
4. You want to have children! For you, that’s the dream. To be a parent. To have someone who looks like you running around, and to know that they will be around to care for you in your old age.
5. You want to have sex. How else will you get to have sex if you don’t marry? Maybe you’ve already indulged in pre-marital sex, and you’re tired of feeling guilty about it, so you desire marriage for legitimacy.
6. You want to make someone else happy. Maybe you’re not keen on marriage, but your parents, peers, partner, maybe even pastor, are pressuring you to commit and do the traditional thing.
7. You want to solve a problem. Maybe a marriage of convenience will make life easier for you, open doors in life, business, and ministry that would otherwise stay closed to you.
These are some reasons that people desire to marry. Truthfully, any reason is valid, as long as you are aware of your reasons and your spouse is too… As long as there is no deception and both are equally committed, FULLY UNDERSTANDING what marriage demands, then whatever your reason to marry, it is good. Because it is good to marry.
As you can see, marriage has many benefits. And in times past, many people married for their family or society’s advancement, not for personal desire. And these marriages worked because of the understanding the parties who engaged in it had. Even today, arranged marriages still happen and they work.
But, it is better not to marry.
Why? Because of the demands of marriage. Because of the spiritual laws that govern this God-ordained institution.
Yes, many people choose to make up their own rules and break all the rules. In those situations, one party is usually oppressed for the benefit of the other, and both lose out because the oppressor does not understand that by cheating his/her spouse, they cheat themselves. They cheat themselves of the joy, love, peace, and fulfillment a good marriage gives to those who honour God and His laws.
It is better not to marry because it is EASIER for you if you do not marry. You are free to do what you will, without having to take someone else’s wishes into consideration. You do not have the responsibility of caring for anyone but yourself, and maybe your parents. You can make do with family for love, friends for companionship, and associates for partnership. Some people have chosen this path and succeeded. They still fulfilled purpose and found joy in life.
The challenge for many, though, is with romance and sex. These things are reserved for those who are married (sex and romance) or working towards a marriage (romance). If you plan to remain single, you best stay away from both, otherwise, you may find yourself fornicating…engaging in inappropriate behaviour or sexual immorality.
There’s also the desire to have your own offspring, which is forsaken with the desire for sex when you choose to not marry. The former can be even harder than the latter, because of the blessings and joys children bring. But in our society, more than in previous times, there are many more options available to those who choose singleness. For starters, you can adopt. There are far too many children without parents or proper guardians. You can give them the gift of love you desire to give a child of your own…
But the point I want to make is – it is better not to marry. This is true and biblical. The disciples said it, and Jesus affirmed it. Paul also endorsed and taught it in 1 Corinthian 7, when he taught the believers about marriage. He encouraged them that those who were single should seek to remain single…
But, if they have strong desire for a particular person who they are drawn to and are beginning to have inappropriate behaviour towards, because of their desire, it is better for them to marry and make it legitimate than to sin and fornicate or ‘burn’ without satisfaction. Such a person is lustful, unfocused, and prone to temptation and sin. They would be better off married so they can live guiltless and content before God, and not bring shame to His name.
Yet, Jesus’ advice is – “Let him who can accept it, accept it...” (Matthew 19:12). So, though it may be hard to accept, and not all can accept it, let the one who can, accept it and live free.
At a time like this, I believe the Church should be teaching this… Ministers should shed light on this teaching for believers. Pastors should encourage the singles, as Paul did, to remain so – single. But what is happening is that many are having a knee-jerk reaction to this reality of the challenges of marriage, and rather than give singles the full picture, they still promote marriage above singleness, making it as though singleness is not an option, or it is even a disadvantaged position.
Few are teaching and encouraging singles to enjoy their singleness, to start living now instead of waiting till marriage to begin to build their lives.
If you are one of those who cannot accept singleness, because you know how much you ‘burn,’ whether for someone specifically or in general, then admit that to yourself, and prayerful and intentionally seek to marry, using wisdom and godly counsel. But if you know you can accept it, you are empowered to accept it, you are not concerned about it, your mind is consumed with how much you are doing to advance God’s Kingdom that thinking about settling down and having kids seems like a burden or a distant dream, then accept it. FOR NOW, ACCEPT IT.
Your acceptance of singleness for now is not a covenant of singleness for life. It is contentment and trust in God, to lead you where He wants to…whether into marriage or into singles ministry. You know that He is your portion, your lover, and in Him, you are satisfied. You have chosen the better part, and He will not withhold the BEST from you! Trust Him to always provide what you need when you need it, married or not.
To those who choose to marry, please discard your fear of marriage. It will not serve you. In fact, if you focus on it and allow it, it will manifest into your reality. Also trust God to lead you to the right person. Bring into submission your desire, and honour God with your lifestyle. Do not be in haste.
Pray for your future marriage, your future spouse, and your present self, and ask God to order your steps. When a suitor comes along, please allow time for the truth of who they are to be evident, and when you are assured with peace, marry with faith. If there remains doubt or fear, do not commit to marry. Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
May God bless us all and empower us to live out His will in our lives.
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