Does God Want Everyone To Get Married?

“Marriage” series: (post #3)

(Note from the author: This blog post was originally written as part of a series on the subject of marriage. I wrote the post to answer the question, “What if I don’t want to get married?” However, in the years since I published the post, I’ve noticed that many of the comments have come from people asking the question, “What about the person who wants to get married but can’t?” The post really doesn’t speak to that question, but several of the comments, as well as my replies to those comments, do. So if that’s the help you are looking for, take the time to read through the comments and replies. And be sure to click on the “older comments” to access them as well. We’ve had a pretty spirited debate on the whole subject over the years, and my prayer is that God will use it all to help you find the answers you need. Thanks for reading, and God bless you.)  Pastor Russell Mckinney      

Is it God’s will for each person to get married? The Bible’s answer is, no. However, the reason the Bible names for remaining unmarried is an interesting one. It has to do with the single person being able to devote more time, energy, and resources to service to Christ.

The passage on this is 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. In those verses, the apostle Paul presents the advantages of remaining, as he puts it, “without care.” He says of the man:

But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord — how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife, (1 Corinthians 7:32-33, N.K.J.V.)

Then Paul applies this same thought to the woman, as he says:

There is a difference between a wife and a virgin (Paul’s term for an unmarried woman). The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world — how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:34, N.K.J.V.)

Obviously, we shouldn’t take these verses as an indictment against married people. After all, God’s ordained way of propagating the human race is through marriage, and a person can certainly be married and still serve the Lord. But Paul’s point is a good one. Anyone who has been married for one week knows that married life carries many responsibilities with it, and those responsibilities will eat away at time, energy, and resources that could be spent on matters that are more obviously spiritual.

I purposely use that word “obviously” because the fact is that every aspect of a Christian’s life is, in a very real sense, “spiritual.” This same Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17:

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (N.K.J.V.)

He said basically the same thing in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (N.K.J.V.)

Those two verses remind me of that little story about the woman standing at the sink, washing the dishes. A sign above her sink reads, “Divine service rendered here three times daily.” You see, even a marriage responsibility such as washing the dishes can become “divine service” when it is done to the glory of God.

But what Paul is saying in the 1 Corinthians chapter 7 passage is that single people can do certain things for the Lord that married people just can’t do. I was a pastor before I got married. Back in those days I could sit up all night working on sermons and not worry about bothering anybody else in the house. Do you know what made that possible? It was the fact that there wasn’t anybody else in the house.

Similarly, I could pray out loud while I laid in bed. I could plan my pastoral visitation schedule with no thought whatsoever to what was going on with my wife’s day. I didn’t have to concern myself with the cares of grocery shopping for anyone other than myself. I didn’t have two boys to get to their ball practices. I didn’t have a mother-in-law or a father-in-law to include in my plans for the holidays. I was, to use Paul’s words, “without care,” except the care I put into serving Christ.

In Matthew 19:12, Jesus gives this same teaching. He says:

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” (N.K.J.V.)

With these words, Jesus describes three different types of eunuch. First, the eunuchs who were born eunuchs would be those people who shouldn’t get married because of physical or mental problems from birth. Second, the eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men were men who were castrated in order to serve in royal service to a king. (In the East, it was common practice to castrate certain servants, particularly those who were placed in charge of kings’ harems.) Third, the eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake are those who have voluntarily committed themselves to celibacy and remaining unmarried in order that they might completely give themselves over to service to the Lord.

And so we see that there is nothing wrong with remaining single. However, if you are going to go that route in life, you must ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to remain single?” Is it because you don’t want to be “tied down” to one person? Is it because you want to be free to “play the field”? Is it because you are far too self-absorbed and self-centered to ever think about sharing your life with someone else? Or is it because you want to keep yourself free so that you can devote 100% of your time, energy, and resources to Jesus?

If that last one is your motivation, then you are in the good company of Christians such as Paul, people whom God is able to use in ways that are different than the ways in which He uses married people. You see, remaining single is certainly nothing of which you should be ashamed. You just need to make sure that you take the time, energy, and resources that you would spend on a spouse (and potentially children) and spend them exclusively on Jesus.

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74 Responses to Does God Want Everyone To Get Married?

  1. The Honest Truth says:

    It would make very much sense to me, instead of being Alone and having no one at all. Doesn’t It?

    • russellmckinney says:

      Yes, it does make sense that in the majority of instances God does have a marriage partner in mind for individuals. As I said in the post, though, it doesn’t automatically have to be His will in every instance. The fact is, some people might actually prefer to be alone. You might not feel that way, and I might not feel that way, but there are some who do. And God loves them too and has ways in which He wants to use them in His service.

      • Anthony says:

        You are wrong God doesn’t command us to be single oh another thing there are people with no arms or legs that are married one of them is a preacher that I watched live! Paul makes it clear that if you burn with passion it’s better to be married! I do agree some people want to be single and serve God or for selfish reasons or simply because they are tired if games but those are all people’s choice not commands!

      • russellmckinney says:

        I never said that God COMMANDS anybody to be single. What I said was that it isn’t His will for everyone to get married. Obviously His will operates hand in hand with the individual’s personal desires. If someone has a desire to get married, He doesn’t COMMAND them not to marry. On the other hand, if someone has a desire to remain single, He doesn’t COMMAND them to marry.

  2. Francisco Garcia says:

    The main reason I’m single is that Im too self absorbed and too self centered to ever give any single woman the time of day. I could care less about any single woman who might be interested in me. I will never marry and God cant force me into marriage. I care EVEN LESS about serving JESUS while im single! Im a narcissist and Im not ashamed of it..I love myself! No single woman will EVER win my heart! If you dont like what Ive said…too bad!

  3. chadadair says:

    It seems to me that the author forgot that I might be single because it is God’s will at this time. Maybe God does not want me to have a spouse now or ever, I don’t know. Yet, why does the article have to be tainted with the implications that a single person is at fault for single-hood? Maybe they are. Maybe not. But, I am not so presumptuous to assume that they single-hood is caused from a spiritual deprivation. This common idea of Marriage-Superiorty complex in the church is archaic, and quite unbiblical.

    • russellmckinney says:

      I went back and read the post again to find where I implied that a single person is “at fault” for being single. I couldn’t find it. I also couldn’t find where I assumed that a person is single because of a “spiritual deprivation.” But, Chad, if that’s how you read the post and I unintentionally offended you, my apologies. Have a great day.

  4. Micah says:

    I believe that simply not being interested in marriage is a good enough reason not to do it, whether one uses celibacy to devote “extra” time to the Lord or not. Marriage is a gift from God, not a requirement. For most people, He doesn’t even care one way or the other whether or not we get married – only that we serve Him the best that we can.

    Think about it. If a person gets married only because he/she feels obligated to for not using his/her celibacy to be a missionary or something, and not because he/she wants to truly loves someone, then it’s very likely that the marriage will end in divorce. At that point, more sin will have been caused than what would have been if they had both remained single (which actually isn’t a sin, although some people think and act as though it is). That’s something that pronuptialists need to bear in mind before shaming single people into getting married.

    (I’m not accusing you of any of this; I’m only expanding on things a bit.)

  5. Miss Rose says:

    Great explanation! I feel that those single shouldn’t feel condemned for choosing other routes in life. Not everyone is called to be married, but I still have respect for those who are. I just hate being treated different because I do not desire to be in a relationship like I use to.

  6. Jay says:

    Just maybe, if there weren’t so many selfish and spoiled women these days then many of us Good single men would’ve been married by now with a family already since many of us Aren’t single by choice.

    • russellmckinney says:

      Jay, it sounds like you might have had some bad experiences. My prayer is that God will have you meet the right woman one of these days. They really are some wonderful ones out there.

  7. brittany ribeiro says:

    I want to get married to my Christan boyfriend. Cause I been always wanted a mate in my life. I don’t want to sin of adultery anymore and if I marry my boyfriend of which I love. I won’t be sinning in the eyes of God when we sleep together. i think my marrying my boyfriend . we can do more great things for God. Together. I just can’t live my life single anymore . I’m 28 years old. And I’m ready to be a helper and wife to my boyfriend. I can see ourselfs growing old together.

    • russellmckinney says:

      Hey Brittany. Sorry to be so late in replying. Since I stopped writing new posts for the blog I haven’t been checking it much, and somewhere along the way I missed your comment. Sorry about that. I don’t know if you and your boyfriend are still together, but if you are still sleeping together and unmarried then, yes, that’s sin in the eyes of God. But don’t let your only reason for getting married be to “legitimize” the sex. You should have more reason than that. From what you say, though, about wanting to be a helper and do great things for God as a couple, it sounds like you do have more reason. As for being 28 years old and being tired of the single life, I hear you. I was 27 years old before Tonya and I got married. So I do understand your situation. The best advice I can give you is to sincerely seek God’s will on marriage and be obedient to Him whatever He tells you to do or not to do. Trust Him to guide you in the decision and listen hard for His still small voice of direction.

  8. Cheryl Williams says:

    My question is this. Why is there marriage at all if every person that is married was single. If people do better for the Lord being single then why do people get married?. Also, if a person desires to get married but it is not meant for them, then is it meant for single people to always dream but their dreams never come true? Is it meant for them to be miserable? What about the being somebody for everybody? I can see if a person has no desire. People who don’t desire children still have them, is it not meant for people who want to love children not to have them? What about the people who have kids and abuse them?

    • russellmckinney says:

      Hey, Cheryl. Thank you for your comment. I’ll try to take your questions one at a time.

      Question: “If people do better for the Lord being single then why do people get married?” Answer: I didn’t say that people do better for the Lord by being single. I even quoted Colossians 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 to show that the works and deeds of married life can become “spiritual” if they are done in God’s will and in God’s way. My point was that single people can do differently for the Lord. Serving the Lord in married life or serving Him in single life is not a right or wrong contrast. It’s not a good vs. best choice. It’s just two different ways of serving Him. As for why people get married, the institution has always been God’s foundation for society and the propagation of the human race. Even more than that, it allows men and women a means by which to rightly enjoy the intimate love, the life companionship, and dare I say, the God-designed sex drive.

      Question: “Also, if a person desires to get married but it is not meant for them, then is it meant for single people to always dream but their dreams never come true?” Answer: As I read over the comments this particular blog post has generated over the years, I find a common theme that runs throughout most of them. That theme is: “I WANT to get married but I can’t.” Frankly, I didn’t write the post to specifically address the individual who DESIRES to get married but can’t. I wrote the post to address the individual who DOESN’T WANT to get married but doesn’t want to go through life feeling somehow ashamed or lessened by remaining single. I’m not God, and I’m not running for the position. I don’t know why He does or doesn’t do all the things He does or doesn’t do. All I can tell you is that if you have a desire to get married, but you aren’t married, perhaps it’s just a matter of you waiting on God’s timing for Him to send along the one He has in mind for you to marry. Don’t assume that just because it hasn’t happened yet that it’s not “meant” to happen.

      Question: “Is it meant for them (single people who want to get married) to be miserable?” I wouldn’t say that it’s “meant” for anyone to be miserable. God showed His love for us all in that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Any God who loves us that much surely doesn’t mean for us to spend our lives in misery.

      Question: “What about their being somebody for everybody?” Answer: I realize that’s a heartwarming old cliche, but it’s not a Bible verse.

      Question: “…is it not meant for people who want to love children not to have them?” Here again, I’m not God. I don’t pretend to understand why certain undeserving couples can produce children while other far more deserving couples can’t. For that matter, I don’t understand a large number of life’s seeming injustices. I just try to teach the Bible. I don’t claim to have all the answers concerning this messed up, fallen world.

      Question: “What about the people who have kids and abuse them?” Answer: Child abuse is never God’s will, and no parent is meant to abuse a child. Don’t blame God for what people do outside His will. God isn’t the author of child abuse.

  9. Charlotte says:

    Yoh, this is so helpful. I have been contemplating celibacy for a long time, sometimes I think I am scared to marry because I don’t think I will be able to handle the pain of losing a loved one. I also know for sure that I want to serve Christ without “care”.

    One moment I want to get married
    The next I just want to remain celibate and serve the Lord, HELP!!!

    • russellmckinney says:

      Thanks for your comment, Charlotte. It sounds like you’re kind of torn when it comes to the subject of marriage. I really don’t know what God’s plan for your life entails, but if you will stick with Him I’m sure He’ll make His will known as you keep moving through life with Him.

  10. Francisco Garcia says:

    I am a single man and. I have no interest in getting married because I am too self absorbed and self centered to share my life with a woman who most likely would nagging me all the time about where I am or whom Im thinking about. I dont need that kind of garbage in my life I despise the idea of being tied down to one woman who expects me to participate in a lifetime of loving and sharing with her. Such heterosexual nonsense is foul repugnant and nauseating to me. If God doesnt like my attitude against marriage I dont care I will never change my position on this issue. As far as serving Jesus with my free time I might consider it however I am free not to serve. So dont hold your breath hoping that God’s love will change my mind especially on the issue of marriage. I will never ever get married and my attitude is one of defiance and selfishness and I fine with it.

  11. Delilah says:

    At one point, in my life I did not want to be married but, I’ve been single for, along time. I am 37, years old and I am celibate. I’m a christian women who Loves the Lord. At times I still feel like marriage is not for me but, another part of me wants to be married. it’s safe to say, I”m scared. Although I love, the idea of growing old with, someone if, it never happens; I’m always going to worship the Lord to my dying day. One thing for, certain I am in love with, Jesus & this feeling will never change & he will never stop loving me.

    • russellmckinney says:

      Thank you for your comment, Delilah. I have no idea what God’s will (marriage or no marriage) might be for your life, but it sounds like you’ll do fine either way. I appreciate you adding to all the comments under this post. May God bless you.

  12. mariebredy says:

    Hi I am single mother and right now i really feel that taking care of my son is pretty enough and i feel God didnt put the desire to be in relationship because i get easily overwhelmed. Be in a relationship for me bring me anxiety.. Do you think it could be God’s will for me to remain single because been a single mother is pretty enough for me. All the time i was involve in a relationship even before my son , i was stress and worry it was just too much. Too much for me to handle.
    thank you for you answer in advance.

    • russellmckinney says:

      Hello, Marie. Thanks for visiting the blog. To answer your question, the first thing I would say is that God NEVER wants you stressed out, worried, and filled with anxiety. As Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (New Living Translation). So whether we are single or married, a parent or childless, rich or poor, black or white, etc., God doesn’t want us filled with anxiety, worry, and stress. We should heed the words of 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” (New Living Translation)

      Trust me, I can relate to the fact that taking care of a son can be stressful. I’ve got two boys myself. One is 20 years old and the other is 16, and I still don’t consider myself to be out of the woods in terms of raising them. I don’t guess I ever will be. Again, though, child-rearing is something that God is an expert at, and if you will learn to talk to Him, listen to His answers, and follow His guidance, you’ll be a far better parent than you ever could be without His help. What I’m saying is, just as you would do well to take your worries and anxieties to God in prayer, you would also do well to take your child-rearing problems, concerns, and questions to Him too.

      Of course, everything about such praying revolves around your relationship with Jesus Christ. He was God in the flesh, come down from heaven on a rescue mission to the human race. He was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life for 33 years, proved His divinity by performing scores of miracles, taught great teachings, and ultimately died on a Roman cross as the payment for mankind’s sins against holy God. Then He arose from the dead on the third day after His death and eventually ascended back to heaven, where He now offers salvation (the forgiveness of all sin) to anyone and everyone who will place their belief in Him as their personal Savior. You see, everything concerning your relationship to God hinges upon your relationship to Jesus. So if you’ve never placed your belief in Him as your Savior, or if you have some doubts as to where you stand on that, the first thing you need to do is get that settled once and for all.

      But then what? Well, the fact is that I don’t know what God’s plan is for your life in regards to marriage. Maybe He has someone in mind for you sometime down the road, but then again maybe He doesn’t. What I can tell you for sure right now is that there will never be a time in your life when God will want you to stop being a good mother to your son. Regardless of whether or not you ever get married, your son is your son and God wants you to be a godly mother to him. That is a standing job. First and foremost, God wants you to do your best to lead that son to saving belief in Jesus Christ.

      With that said, though, once your son is fully grown and out on his own, it’s possible that you’ll find that your attitude toward marriage has changed. You say that even before you had a son the relationship you were in kept you stressed out and worried. Obviously that’s not the way God wants any relationship to work. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all relationships end up like that. Again, I have no idea whether or not God’s future plan for you includes marriage sometime later on in your life, all I’m saying is, don’t give up on the idea completely for all time’s sake just because your previous relationship didn’t go well for you. If it’s God’s will for you to ever marry, He has His ways of letting you know it, and the man He’ll have in mind for you will bring peace, contentment, and joy into your life rather than stress, anxiety, and worry. But until He brings that man into your life (if He ever does), I would advise you to just keep on doing what you’re doing, being a good mother to your son. Like I said, whatever else happens, that job is and always will be definitely God’s will for you.

  13. joseph says:

    Should i take it as a sign that God doesn`t want me to get married, it`s not like i go around looking for people but i notice every single time I have the opportunity to get into a relationship something always happens. The person is either trying to use me, they move away after the first couple of weeks, they just ghost me after a couple of months, the person cheats, or they say they want to get to know me, but whenever i ask them to a date they avoid me. just to reiterate I don`t go around basing my entire life looking for women to get married but i just noticed this trend happens with anyone i get involved with..

    • russellmckinney says:

      Joseph, I’ll admit that it sounds like you’ve been dealing with some closed doors on God’s end. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that He will never leave one open for you. It could be that all the closed doors have just been His way of protecting you from getting involved with women He didn’t want you to get involved with. Many married people can look back over the days when they were single and relate to your experience. So I wouldn’t totally write off marriage just yet if I were you. As the old saying goes, God’s delays are not the same as His denials. Sometimes you just have to wait on His perfect timing. And, by the way, that timing might have more to do with your future spouse and what is going on in her life more than what’s going on with you. Just food for thought. Of course, if this trend you speak of continues for several more years, well, then the idea of it all being a sign from God gains more credibility and becomes more likely.

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