“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.” -The Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride (1987)
Recently I received an email from my mom that said,
Praying about your wife and keep asking the question in my spirit, “Why do you want to get married?” Sex? Companionship? Why?
My mom being someone who is a prophetic voice in my life, I definitely want to take this question seriously. It’s no secret that I want to be married and have a family, but why? What is my motivation? My friend Brian Williams once said
The two main questions young Christians always ask are ‘Who’s my wife/husband?’ and ‘What’s my calling or ministry?’
That’s so true of my generation! Process with me for second as I explore the reasons most Christians my age want to be married…
It’s no secret men are very sexually driven (yes, even Jesus-Loving men). I don’t know how many Christian men I’ve met that just want to get married and have sex so they’re no longer tempted with things like porn/masturbation, parties, thirsty girls, etc. It’s probably no surprise that I would say this, but that’s dumbest reason for marriage I’ve ever heard and it’s a complete lie from the Enemy. A marriage built on the rocky bed of lust will crumble!
In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said ,
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
How many people have you or I had sex with in our hearts? Men, if you’re dealing with a porn addiction or even just constant lust, take the time to address it in your heart. You can’t pull that into your relationship because it’s not fair to the other person, you and especially not fair to Jesus who paid for you to be free.
One thing God had to address with me this past summer was heart ties. In case any of you are wondering, no, I’m not a virgin. Because I’m not I needed to deal with the tie I had made to another person spiritually and physically. God not only took me to that relationship but others also that weren’t pure and/or emotional ties had been established in the past. I CAN’T STRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!! Deal with all past hurts, betrayals, commitments, and relationships (casual or serious) before God prior to ever looking at being in a relationship aimed at marriage!
Finally, when you’ve had a sexual relationship and you are trying to keep your purity before the Lord it is easy to subliminally have sex as your motivation for marriage because your body craves that physical intimacy again. Check your motivation to be married with God and make sure that’s not the reason you desire it so much.
Sex will be wonderful in marriage and will be beautiful. Hopefully this doesn’t offend anyone, but think about this for a second… Man and woman come together in marriage and “make Love” they will soon produce a child. The product of making Love is a child, the beautiful essence of the two people that joined together. That child then holds and is raised into the best qualities of each person. How amazing is that?! Starting a family one day will be incredible!
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.”
For those of us that want a spouse and children, family can be a huge motivator for getting marriage. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I don’t think so. As a man that wants to be a father I am looking forward to the chance of getting to experience more of God’s heart. If you think about it, being a father is one of the greatest ways to be like God. Husbands get to Love their wives as Christ Loves the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) and fathers get to Love and discipline their children as Father God Loves and disciplines us (Proverbs 3:11-12). What an honor!
We have to ask ourselves, what’s the rush? We tend to want to rush the blessings of God not realizing some blesses have to come in a certain order. What if God’s about to send you on a 2 year missions trip working in sex trade rehab in India, but you want kids? How would that work? You can’t raise children in that environment. We have to put His plan before our own. Hold to what it says in Jeremiah 29:11,
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
I’ve heard it said that we should stay single until the point we can only better advance the Kingdom married. I would agree, but I’d add that sometimes marriage wouldn’t hinder Kingdom work but merely change the work you’re doing. I think the importance is knowing what season you’re in.
In my case, God’s got me in full-time ministry and full-time school. It would be great to have someone by my side partnering with me to accomplish the task the Lord’s given me. Think about this with me, the woman was taken from the side of man, the rib (Genesis 2:22). The rib protects the heart. I love the symbolism God setup. Man is complete when his woman is standing by his side guarding his heart (not behind him like many controlling men have made it seem). A man is typically more of a visionary and the woman more detail oriented. When the man fails the wife is there to help protect his heart and encourage him to keep going (not say “I told you so!”). So many times in ministry I’ve experienced attack from people, accusing spirits and even my own mind. I’ve failed time and time again. Often I wonder how it would be to have an encouraging wife by my side in those times.
Another thing is it would help to have a wife for her to talk to all the women in my ministry. There’s only so much a young, single male can do to help women.
So if this is a piece I need in ministry, it puts a healthy demand on God that He will supply in the right timing.
Companionship can be a crutch. When we have been hurt we tend to look for comfort and where we find that comfort is wrong if it isn’t Jesus Christ (I’ll explain more in the next section). At the beginning of the last summer I was avoiding dealing with my hurt and instead daydreaming about how marriage could magically fix everything. Obviously God wasn’t going to let that slide so He asked me a question that really shook me back to reality:
How can you take care of someone else’s heart yet you haven’t taken care of your own?
That question hit me hard and made me realize the importance of taking care of my heart. How could I take care of my bride while being broken myself? There’s no way a relationship could be healthy like that.
Many of us (Christian women more so than men) tend to want companionship because we’re lonely. We want to have someone there with us and we’re so impatient in the meantime. And are we wrong??? When God created Adam He recognized it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:15-24). Even Paul said it was better to marry if that was a desire you have so you don’t fall into sin (1 Corinthians 7:1-7). What we have to realize is God isn’t just withholding something great for us and laughing, He’s preparing us. He’s letting us fall in Love with Him before we fall in Love with someone else. God wants us to be to be content in Him.
Marriage and Family Can Be A Idol (What?!!)
I know what you’re thinking, how can something God created and loves to bless be an idol? Simply put an idol is anything we place before God.
About a year ago I was riding on a bus back from visiting my best friend David Wade in NYC and I was staring out over the passing scenery of snow covered trees as we trekked across the length of Pennsylvania. At this point God had opened up my dream of traveling and getting to encourage different parts of the Body. I was seeing hearts come alive, bodies healed and the Love of Christ touch the lost, but I was hurting and lonely. As I looked out the window I began to tear up and I prayed,
God, I’m thankful You’ve allowed me to step into my dreams but I’m lonely. Please give me someone to travel with, a companion. I want my wife to be by my side.
God answered me with a question I’ll not soon forget…
What if I called you to never get married for My sake?
That question sent me into a whirlwind of emotions from distress to anger to panic and back to anger. I answered honestly saying,
Then I wouldn’t be able to be obedient.
He answered me simply,
Then marriage is an idol.
Wow… It truly blew my mind. Over the summer when I went through heart healing (Click Here to read my post on heart healing and this summer) God really worked through it with me. He revealed the secrets of my heart so secret I didn’t even realize they were there. See, at this point my relationship with my own family wasn’t that great and I felt like I wasn’t Loved. Therefore, I was wanting someone to Love me and to make a family so I would have that piece of my life. In other words, I was taking everything into my own hands and out of God’s.
Luckily He put a stop to that and I laid all my desires (filmmaking, preaching, family, FIRE) at the foot of the Cross this summer and told Him to only give me back what I was supposed to have. He got me to the point where I could wholeheartedly say I was okay never getting married and that’s when He gave it back. He brought contentment in knowing it’s all in His hands so I no longer have that pressure of making it happen.
Ask yourself if marriage is an idol in your life. If you can’t lay it down before God, chances are it is. As 1 John 5:21 says,
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
What Is My Motivation?
So when it comes down to it, why do I want to get married? Sex isn’t my motivation. I can wait to have a family. Ministry work can happen without a wife. Right now I’m pretty content where I am at and as far as God’s revealed to me my heart is in a good place.
I want to be married because my hearts desire is to…
- Be a husband that Loves, leads and embraces his wife and her dreams as Christ Loves, leads and embraces the Church (Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14)
- Be a father that raises up Kingdom kids that change the world by knowing how Loved they are and what it means to have the identity of being sons and daughters of God (Colossians 3:20-21, Ephesians 6:1-4, Psalm 127:3-5)
- Be a man that shows that family comes BEFORE ministry 100% of the time (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, Proverbs 20:6-7)
- Be a leader in the Body of Christ that helps restore what marriage and family is supposed to be Biblically. (Joshua 24:14-15, Matthew 19:1-6, Ephesians 5:22-33)
Our lives should ever be increasing into Christ-likeness and marriage reveals a side of Loving like Jesus that you can’t learn any other way. It’s not wrong to desire marriage as long as our desires are behind God’s desires.
How Can We Prepare For Marriage?
One place we Christians tend to drop the ball is preparing for what we are praying for. My friend Tim Walk preached a sermon about this once and it stuck with me. It’s one thing to PLAN to do something, it’s a whole other thing to PREPARE for it. Elijah had to prepare the alter before God rained FIRE (1 King 18:20-40). Prepare for your prayer to be answered. God isn’t going to give one of His beautiful daughters to a childish man and He’s not going to give one of His precious sons to a contentious woman.
- Prepare your heart so you are whole and are able to care for another heart.
- Deal with anything you know you struggle with before you are married. (Ex: poor relationship with God, lust, being quickly angered or annoyed, gluttony, envy, laziness, idols, etc.)
- Ask yourself what habits need to die (Ex. not keeping a clean room/house, bad hygiene, low work ethic, overspending or careless spending, bad eating habits, etc.)
- Ask yourself what habits need to be established (Ex. cleanliness, good hygiene, good work ethic, disciplined spending, eat healthy, etc.)
- Men, step out and grow as leaders in your church, job, classroom, or anywhere else it is possible. Be a man. Be responsible.
- Prepare your body for your future spouse (Ex. work out, eat healthy, etc.)
- Prepare yourself to support another person (Ex. establish good credit, save money, start paying off any debt, work on getting several sources of income, etc.)
- Men, be ready to treat your future bride like a princess before she’s your queen by saving up money to take her on nice dates and saving up for an engagement ring.
- Prepare yourself emotionally to be able to tend to another person even when you don’t feel the best.
- Prepare yourself for the changes that come when you are married and are around another person consistently, sometimes even when you really don’t want to be.
- Our reactions to different situations are typically pre-thought out. Prepare yourself to show grace even when you are hurt.
I know I am a 21 year old single male but wisdom is being able to observe and learn from the good and bad in every situation. I have observed many marriages and have talked to God about this quite a bit. Hopefully this helps all my single friends out there. If it did please leave me a comment and pass it on via Facebook and Twitter. Be blessed!
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To God Be All The Glory!