FOR MEN ONLY: Is Marriage for You?
[WARNING: I wrote this post to a college age male. If you’re a female long out of college and never married, this post is probably not the best one for you. Read this one instead: What if You Never Marry?]
It was a love song, of course, called My Darling’s Moving from Missouri.
You can probably tell from the title that it was a country song too. And yeah. It sounded as bad as the title would lead you to believe.*
Not to mention that I didn’t even have a “darling” in 3rd grade, nor 4th grade, nor 5th or 6th, nor in middle school or high school, nor throughout the majority of my college existence.
Perhaps you can relate to the wait. Perhaps you’re already out of college or even grad school. Perhaps your college career is a distant memory and you’re still waiting for your first exclusive dating relationship.
Or worse. Maybe you have so much romantic wreckage in your past, you just don’t think you can afford even another First Date FAIL, much less another failed relationship.
Whatever your story, I’d like to encourage you with these words: You are normal.
And I think those word come straight from God.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Gen 2:18
You weren’t meant to be alone!
Whether that means God has marriage in your future, I don’t honestly know, but I believe the odds are forever in your favor. It would take many posts to defend why I feel that way, but let me just summarize by saying, celibacy is a truly unique calling, to which I suspect few are called.
However, what I sense from my studies at home and time on the road is that most students and young adults aren’t so much interested in getting married as they are in enjoying an epic romance followed by a lifetime of Hollywood sex. Every. Single. Night. And if marriage is required to make that sex guilt-free, then so be it.
I can relate. When I first entered college, marriage was not on my to-do list. I was simply looking for that first girlfriend. (Remember?)
But what God had in mind for Adam wasn’t a girlfriend. It was a wife.
It wasn’t a friend-with-benefits. It was a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
It wasn’t a one-night stand. It was one man and one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime.
It wasn’t a “roommate” to help pay the bills and warm his bed. It was a life mate to help him grow in wholeness and holiness.
Is that what you want? Or just the romance and the sex?
When I look back at my “lonely” years I see now, I didn’t exactly want to be married. I wanted to be “in love.” Actually, what I wanted was a girl to be in love with me. And maybe even a series of them. Maybe more than one at a time.
And when I consider my desire for all those ladies to fall in love with me, I realize that more than I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be desired. No. I wanted to be needed. Desperately.
More than I wanted to be welcomed into someone’s arms, I wanted to be worshiped.
I didn’t want to be someone’s “guy.” I wanted to be someone’s god.
I wanted the exclusive connection promised by a magic romantic relationship, without the exclusive commitment demanded by the sacrificial marriage covenant.
Can you relate?
What kind of exclusivity are you looking for? Are you looking for an exclusive connection that makes you feel as special as you always hoped you were? Or are you looking for an exclusive COMMITMENT that calls you up to become all you were meant to be?
In a world desperate for exclusive connections, from the inner-city gang to the church deacon board, God established marriage as the one exclusive relationship with His divine blessing. That would make you think marriage is pretty important.
And it is! Check it out!
What’s in it for You (and the World)?
Not only does marriage bond two people together, but it opens up the astounding possibility for bringing other people into the world! In fact, God commanded Adam and Eve to do just that.
And far beyond merely producing offspring (if God allows), the two, united in the exclusive marriage covenant, are to nurture and train their children to grow up and fulfill their own individual callings!
And finally, the marriage vows hold the couple together as they age, caring for one another until death finally separates them.
So much depends on the power of the exclusive bond of marriage.
Without it, adults have far fewer children. And low birth rates always precede the decline of a culture. It’s a mathematical reality.
Without marriage, children miss the love and guidance of both a mother and a father committed to them and each other for life. This in turn, makes it far more difficult for those children to become confident, competent adults who can commit to marriage and parenting. And the cycle continues. (If you come from a broken home, I pray your faithful HEAVENLY Father is speaking to you through this post. Work through your past hurt now in the community of good friendship!)
And lastly, without it, the elderly have no security in their old age. Of course, if you’re called to celibacy, your loving Lord has called your church family to care for you. But for the vast majority of us, the children we care for when they are young, are to care for us when we are old. And the cycle is completed.
With so much riding on marriage, can’t you see how our romantic and sexually-driven notions of relationships sabotage not only our personal happiness, but the very health of our culture?
Marriage isn’t just another exclusive relationship designed to bring about your self-fulfillment. It’s an awesome calling, designed to lead you to self-sacrifice. Those just looking for romance or sex need not apply.
So what do you say? Are you IN?
If so, FMU is here to empower you to prepare for relational success NOW, when it counts – BEFORE you fall in love. So quit pining for marriage and dreaming about sex and start preparing.
Marriage: It’s bigger than you dreamed. And feared. But that’s why you want to prepare!
Consider discussing these questions with a couple of like-minded wise individuals:
- How do you see marriage treated among your friends and family? How has that impacted your perception of marriage?
- Have you thought of marriage in this kind of “big picture” way? If not, how might this perspective change the way you think about and approach dating/courtship?
- Do you really want to be married or just “in love?” What’s the evidence?
- Do you think the failure of marriage in our culture has created an environment where other exclusive social arrangements (from the high school cliques to college fraternities to cohabitation) have become more popular? Why or why not?
[This is post is part of a series called Relation^ology (it begins with this post) where we identify the greatest relational need of our heart and then ID the counterfeits we seek out or settle for instead. Relation^ology started out as a discussion series and can be booked for your college, youth or young adults group (or singles group, life group, cell group, community group or whatever they’re calling Bible study these days).]
* I’ve gotten better at song writing. Here’s the lyrics to a song I just wrote in honor of Julie and my 21st anniversary.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!