With chances of divorce so high and Paul’s 1 Corinthians 7:28 promise that “those who marry will have worldly troubles,” it’s no wonder that some are on the fence about getting married. Why risk it? Why would you open up to inevitable heartbreak?
Yeah, singleness may feel lonely at times, but there is so much freedom in it. Freedom to go wherever, whenever, and stay however long. Freedom in a one-person budget meeting. Freedom in “only” having to deal with the complexities of your own soul.
Even Paul also said, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.” So it’s settled then. Singleness forever. But some internal nagging for a companion won’t go away and we find ourselves again weighing the pros and cons. Why marry?
#1 — Our first calling
Before our purpose became the fulfillment of the great commission, mankind was meant to be an extension of God by using all that we are to bless all that He’s made. We have been placed bodily within this material creation called earth, made of it and for it.
We are perfectly suited to the world. We are to rule over, govern, and be good stewards of what God has created. We are to cultivate what we have been given temporary responsibility for so it multiples and gives back more than it was initially.
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”-Genesis 1:28
One of the ways this is done is by bringing children into the world, raising soldiers to fight in the furtherance of God’s kingdom. A parent’s role is crucial in the effort to make sure there are Godly men and women out in this evil-filled world pointing back to Christ.
#2 — It is not good to be alone
As beings made in the image of a social God (Gen 1:26a), socialization is an intrinsic part of our nature. Even self-proclaimed introverts need others to round off their rough edges and get them out of seemingly endless thought cycles.
Left to our own devices, humanity is on a pretty good path to insanity. We need the community of others to bounce ideas off of and keep us grounded. While this can be done with friends, a spouse is able to fulfill this role in a very particular way non-relatives can’t.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”-Genesis 2:18
Woman was made from the rib of man. Not from his head to top him or his foot to be stepped on by him, but from his side to be a partner (and vice versa). A spouse is a God-given instrument of righteousness to help grow us in all areas of life and godliness.
#3 — Character development
As nice as it would be to live happily ever after with a spouse who is more like a best friend, that is not what marriage was intended to be. Marriage is not our ultimate calling. Christ-likeness is, and God uses every good and hard thing to push us in that direction.
Marriage is meant to be more like a rock tumbler or a washing machine: to twist, spin, and knock us around so (in the end) we come out cleaner, brighter, and better than before. It won’t be easy or altogether pleasant, but (if stuck to) it is worth it.
“Our world is dying, and we have an incredible opportunity to show them something that cannot be obtained but by Christ alone.”-Rick Thomas, Get Ready
The main purpose of marriage is to combat pride. It’s a lifetime of saying “you first.” It’s an ongoing, vivid illustration of what it costs to love an imperfect person unconditionally, the same way Christ has loved us.
#4 — So you don’t burn up
Not everyone is meant to get married (take Jesus, for example), but that is a very small camp. Very few people are called to singleness. The ones who are (1) don’t have a desire to get married and (2) have a special gift of self-control over their sexual passions.
For the ones who cannot exercise self-control, marriage is the God-given frame within which it is appropriate for one man and one woman to release (1 Cor 10:13) their pent-up energy, and therefore prevent sexual immorality.
“…if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”-1 Corinthians 7:9
Paul continues in 7:36, “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.”
#5 — It’s our lot
While it would be “easier” to push through life as a party of one and avoid the complexities of becoming intrinsically close to another person, there is a lot of good that gets written off with the downsides we could find.
Tears, yet a shoulder to cry on. Stress, yet a hand to hold. Fear, yet a warm embrace. Quarrels, but the sweetness of forgiveness. It won’t be easy, but the couples who stick to their vows and work it out will become closer and stronger than they were before.
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”-Ecclesiastes 9:9
There will be plenty of challenging seasons for sure, but also many beautifully peaceful days. As the author of Ecclesiastes is getting at, the only thing we can really call our own are the beautiful, everyday simplicities of life, and marriage provides many you can’t get anywhere else.
Maybe you’re still not convinced. Sure, these points may be valid, but not persuasive enough to shake your objections. To that I would say you just haven’t met the right partner yet, someone who not only wants to take on life with you but compliments you in a way that you can do it better (and vice versa).
They won’t complete you (nor should they), they won’t be easy, and you’re not going to love everything about them, but they will bring sparks to areas you forgot you loved. Life will still be full of darkness and the future just as unpredictable, but suddenly there will be a hopeful tint, a silver lining, and you will find yourself willing to give it a try.
“I don’t believe in magic,” the young boy said.
The old man smiled. “You will, when you see her.”