On Marriage, Sex and Things of the Sort…

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Christians and The Church, Most Popular Posts

“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…

Sex

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!

Job 31:1,

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.”

Family

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.

Trust Him.

Ministry

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

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…

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.

  • SPIRITUALLY
    • 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.)
  • SOCIALLY
    • 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.
  • PHYSICALLY
    • Prepare your body for your future spouse (Ex. work out, eat healthy, etc.)
  • FINANCIALLY
    • 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.
  • EMOTIONALLY
    • Prepare yourself emotionally to be able to tend to another person even when you don’t feel the best.
  • MENTALLY
    • 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!

 

If you connected with these words and are interested in sowing into my ministry as I travel and preach the Gospel, please click HERE.
If you’re interested in me speaking at your church, email me at ryanrhodesbooking@gmail.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Be blessed!

To God Be All The Glory!

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Comments
  1. I love this post because I’m glad I’m not alone. One day in conversation with God, I too realized that marriage was an idol for me. I went through that same emotional roller coaster/ thought process the moment I realized it. I’m currently in the phase where I’m giving it all to God as far as my past hurts. Its painful to travel back down that road but I know that its all for my good in the end. It truly is a process of preparation. There were many times during this that I was saying “Aaaa-men!” the part I thought was really great was this:

    ” 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.”

    Good word brotha.

  2. K_Phillips says:

    Well, I am not one of your single friends out there, but I would love to comment 🙂 You stated some pretty awesome stuff in here and I guess I mainly wanted to write encouragement. I can tell you from experience, I know the waiting is the hardest thing, but I also know it is SO worth the wait. God is trustworthy and we need to learn to trust Him, especially in this area. He has our best interest in mind. I challenge the single ones out there to make a list of your desires. Our Father prompted me to do this years ago, and friends would tell me my standards were too high and some even too silly(Near the top of the list, I asked the Lord for a guy that looked good in a hat ;p). But I held onto the scripture in Proverbs that He would give me the desires of my heart! I have been happily married for 16 months and I know the best is yet to come! Stay focused on Him and everything will come into proper order in His proper timing. As you pray, just ask Him to prepare you for your significant other and shape and mold you into the man or woman you need to be for them and vice versa. He is faithful and it is the greatest joy when you wait on Him. PS Listen to this song and be encouraged!(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN_iAT9DT3k&feature=related) 🙂 Love you all and feel free to message me if you have any questions.

  3. Orion says:

    Wow. Ryan, this is legit. This is something I’m been thinking and praying about for a while, and recently I was reminded by Mark Driscoll that instead of making a list of what our perfect spouse would be and comparing people to that, to work on making ourselves into a good spouse in this time of singleness (and obviously I mean that in the sense of pursuing God and being changed by Him).

  4. Awesome!! Such a timely message. Thanks for this.

    And the first image is hilarious, lolololol!!

  5. David Wade says:

    thats a word! preach! can i dl the sermon? I want to go to his church!

  6. Mariel says:

    On Valentine’s Day, my friend and I worshiped Jesus for hours, soaking in His presence until about 4 AM. At one point during this, I started to think about the desire I have to be with someone, to have a husband. As this thought entered my mind, I asked the Lord, “Father, is it okay for me to desire someone this much? This is REALLY strong. But I want You more than anything. and yet…I still have this desire. Is that okay? Dad, of course I’d pick You if I had to choose… even if that’s hard.” As soon as these thoughts enter my mind, my friend starts to describe a vision she is getting, and I begin to see it simultaneously. She sees a big bonfire consisting of two flames. She says the big flame envelopes the smaller flame. The small flame is the Hebrew “ahavah” love, in this case, representing romantic love for a companion, and the big flame is the Greek “agape” flame, representing God’s love. The flames are burning together.

    Through this vision, Holy Spirit spoke through her and answered my question. God was not asking me to pick, like I had been thinking; the flame of love we have for Him and the love we have for our spouse are supposed to burn together–while God’s love is all encompassing, all consuming. It is the greatest love… but our love for others, our spouses, while incomparable to God’s love, is second. When it’s a kingdom marriage, the flames burn so brightly together!!

    Matthew 22:36-40:
    “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

    Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
    Song of Solomon 8:6

    The Hebrew word for love here is ‘ahavah’. It is deep affection, that sense of desiring to be with someone so much that your heart aches. It is a commitment that leads to joining your life to somebody else’s. It’s what makes things last.

    I guess my point in saying all this is that I have had a fear of making marriage an idol. A couple of years ago, when the Lord’s will wasn’t the desire of my heart, perhaps it was. However, the Lord has been telling me now that it’s not wrong to desire this– but to delight myself in Him above all else… and then He will give me the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4), and one of my desires is to be married. God wants us to ASK Him for this, and believe that we will receive (Mark 11:24), and that He will reward those who seek Him through faith. (Hebrews 11:6) He’s been telling me to build up my faith for this, and maybe He’s speaking that to people who will read this (if anyone will? haha.)

    This is such a long comment… sorry for trollin’. 🙂

    Thank you so much for posting this!!!!!!

    May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
    We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Psalm 20:4-5

  7. Melanie says:

    This was such an awesome article to read right now. I am at a place of wanting to vein a relationship and this article has asked some hard questions that I need to answer truthfully before God. I needed this reality check that I am not spiritually ready. Thanks

  8. Young man…WISDOM has been given unto you.

    I can truthfully say that I am AMAZED – but God is pretty good (understatement) at amazing me in this manner.

    As a 35 year old woman, I am now ever grateful for my times with Abba and his fiery furnace of purification. Now, that may sound overly pious…but I am a single woman who experienced SOME the worst side of sex and sexuality at an EXTREMELY young age and lived to still seek God (a set up, my grandfather was a pastor and a righteous man – see you in heaven Dad), maintain salvation (Jesus did all the work, I just held on as tight as I could), demolish the potential stronghold of lesbianism (it never took for me – hallelujah!), and come out the other side of fornication and long-term pornography & masturbation addiction (yes, I’m a woman with this confession – BUT GOD!) able to praise God in public worship with no shame.

    All I can say in response to this post is A-MEN (SO BE IT)! And of course, THANK YOU, for your hard work and persistence in the Presence of God to bring a timely Word to those who need it.

    We ALL need it – and the married folks can say a-men because they KNOW whether they were joined out of a prepared heart or a heart lead by false pretenses.

    NOT an easy Word…but a NEEDED one.

    Much Love to you, brother! Abba has in store for you “exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or think, according to the POWER that is at work in you.” And that is some mighty power, indeed! 🙂

  9. Emily says:

    Ryan,

    You touch on all the possible reasons why people seek marriage. I actually found myself smiling when I read your article not because I’ve wanted companionship or wanted sex, but mostly because people have told me those exact desires for marriage. I might be that silly lady that seeks her prince, but I have faith that God will provide my partner. Companionship is something that we all seek as humans and I think your article reiterated my stance on letting God fulfill his plan for me. Great post!

    Emily

  10. Besh N. says:

    Loved this. Thank you so much!

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