Does God Want Everyone To Get Married?

Is it God’s will for each person to get married? The Bible 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 Bible passage on this is 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. In these verses, the apostle Paul presents the advantages of remaining, as he puts it, “without care.” He says of the man:

“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).

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

“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).

We shouldn’t take these verses as an indictment against married people. Certainly God’s ordained way of propagating the human race is through marriage, and certainly one can 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.”

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.”

Those two verses remind me of that little story about the woman standing at the sink, washing the dishes. A sign above the 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 because there wasn’t anybody else in the house. I could pray out loud while I laid in bed. I could plan my 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 more than myself, getting two boys to their ball practices, etc. 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.”

With these words, Jesus describes three different kinds of eunuchs. 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 to go more all out in service to Jesus?

If that last one is your motivation, then you are in the good company of Christians such as Paul, people who used themselves up in service to Christ. Remaining single is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Just make sure that you take the time, energy, and resources that you would spend on a spouse and spend it on Jesus.

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58 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?

  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.

  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!!!

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