“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.)
Needless to say, 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 says 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.
It would make very much sense to me, instead of being Alone and having no one at all. Doesn’t It?
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.
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!
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.
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!
Hmmmmmm why are you even here or even reading up on this subject🤔
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.
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.
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.)
Thanks for the expanding Micah. And thanks for that last line in parenthesis. 🙂
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.
Thanks for you comment, Rose. And you’re certainly right, you shouldn’t be treated differently.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
If being single is a calling in as much as being married, do i sin if i’m called to be single and yet i want to be married most specially that i found the one who loves me and i love him too?
Julie, God doesn’t send us texts or emails to let us know what our calling is. We just have to work through our lives and figure things out as we go. So, there is no reason to conclude that you are called to be single, especially if you have a desire to be married and fall in love with someone. Also, regardless of whatever happens, getting married wouldn’t be classified as a “sin.”
The real problem is though, that God didn’t create women like the old days when most women back then were very old fashioned and Real Ladies compared to the women today that Aren’t like that at all these days. Makes it very difficult for many of us single men looking for love today since these women today have really changed unfortunately, and Not for the good at all. Back then it definitely would’ve been much easier finding love with no problem at all for many of us men that just happened to be born at such a very bad time today. Really explains why our family members had it so very easy in those days when they found love, since women were quite different back then. Today most women are very high maintenance, and want everything.
I’m 36 and I’ve had my share of relationships, both good and bad, but none have led to marriage. I’ve been a Christian all my life. I do want to get married and have children, but for some reason, I try and date and avoid being promiscuous as much as I can, but still I cannot find a suitable partner for myself. I don’t wish to be negative about it but sometimes I’m really on the verge of losing hope. As a person Ofcourse I do desire companionship and being old and alone is scary! I have a completely loving and supportive family but I know they won’t be around forever. The thought of being alone in old age scares me. Friends are there but a family is different. And from the way things are going I’m still trying my best to find a person with a good heart, but sometimes it feels like all my efforts are futile. I’m not sure what God’s plan is for me. And I am getting older. My chances of having children are becoming smaller and it adds to the pressure. Sometimes I just wish that God would answer me directly if I’m really destined to be a eunuch. That would settle the matter once and for all, it would make me sad but at least I would not be wasting time and effort trying to find a man for myself. It’s really a struggle and definitely a test of faith for me.
Sakura, thank you for sharing your heart regarding this post. As my attempt to encourage you, let me just offer that if God hasn’t answered you directly that He wants you to remain single all your life, it seems likely that He still has marriage in mind for you. And if that’s the case, more patience on your part is necessary. I know it’s hard to wait, but I wouldn’t give up on marriage yet. I honestly wouldn’t.
Thank you for your reply! I really appreciate it. This topic is timely and a lot of people can definitely relate.
thanks for some very interesting comments – as a person who was married (maybe not in a biblical sense or as a state or country defines the term but definitely married for 14 years and then a long term relationship after that however I never found myself blessed in a relationship by God – about 12 years ago I went back to school because I needed to find a career that made more money and of course life goes on and now I work 55-60 hours a week just to keep going. Time has marched on and now I am 60 years old. I have an OK life and though I am blessed with a good job and lots of friends and great extracurricular activities and I am still very youthful in mind, body and spirit I still go home to an empty house every night. I settled so many times in my life and I failed each and every time I did that. I used to look around for potential mates everywhere – friends to introduce me to someone, dating apps and of course prayer and absolutely nothing worked. I am now growing tired of the chase and am just looking for God to send someone. Yet after decades of prayer, nothing happens. I would love to have a relationship that I could meet someone who was just wanting to serve the Lord – I am so busy trying to do everything else that is required of me (mostly due to responsibility) there’s no longer time left in a day because after I do everything everyone wants me to do, I am now tired. This was not the life I had hoped for 30-40 years ago and now I am wondering if God never desired for me to find anyone. I do not look forward to growing old alone and would cherish even a year of real honest love and then to die than just existing in another dead end relationship that was never supposed to be simply because I again settled acting out on my own out of loneliness. All I wanted was God to bless a relationship in my life and it never has happened. When do you reach a point where you just give up.
Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your experience. I greatly admire your blunt honesty. The world needs more of it. I wouldn’t even begin to presume to know what ever was or still is God’s plan for your life. All I’ll say is that Jesus died on the cross for your sins so that you can place saving belief in Him and spend all eternity with Him in perfect joy, bliss, and happiness. That alone proves that God loves you immensely. That fact doesn’t change.
As for your question, “When do you reach a point where you just give up?”, that’s not for me to say either. I would suggest that you use the same type of blunt honesty in prayer that you’ve shown in this comment. Express your disappointment, frustration, anger, and outright confusion to God in plain, simple language. It’s most likely that you’ve already done this many times, but even if you have I wouldn’t stop until I got some definite answers from God about whether He is ever going to send me someone or whether He just wants me to spend my remaining years in devoted Christian service as a single person. Remember, James 1:5 PROMISES that God will grant us wisdom if we ask in faith, not doubting that He not only has the wisdom we need but will share it with us. I’ve always found that promise to be very helpful when I honestly didn’t understand what God was or wasn’t doing in my life. Hopefully you will too.