5 Reasons Marriage Cynics Are Wrong

There are some good reasons for staying single. These aren't them.

In the Church, it seems we have a hard time finding the balance of talking about marriage.

Often, we elevate marriage to be the utmost goal of a young person’s life, making it almost into an idol. And when this happens, there tends to be a backlash, a group pointing out that marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

And, to top it all off, with divorce rates at an all-time high, the broader culture is skeptical of marriage, and this can influence our thinking in the Church. Is marriage really worth it? Is it better to just stay single?

There are definitely good reasons to be single. I don’t want this article to join the annoying chorus of voices who claim singleness is always a lesser existence, because it’s not (see Christ, Jesus). Likewise, I don’t want to convey that marriage is the end-all of existence, because it’s not (again, see Christ, Jesus).

With divorce rates at an all-time high, the broader culture is skeptical of marriage, and this can influence our thinking in the Church.

With this in mind, there are still definitely some bad reasons to avoid marriage and/or be skeptical of the institution itself. Here are a few.

1. Bad Examples of Marriage

“My parents’ marriage was a disaster. They stayed together but they weren’t happy at all. And I’m afraid I’ll inherit their bad habits. I don’t want to put my future spouse in the same position my parents were in. All I’ve seen is bad examples and I don’t want that to become me. So I’d rather stay single than get hurt or hurt someone else.”

I personally know people who came from horrible home situations and who are now in Godly, committed marriages. And they’re great spouses, too. They weren’t cursed to take on the bad examples of marriage they experienced.

God can always bring healing and wisdom (James 1:5), so don’t put limits on what He can do to make you a good husband or wife. If He can hold the universe together (Colossians 1:17), He can make you a good spouse. Go to Him before you go to your history.

2. Fear of Responsibility

“My friends tell me I need to grow up, that I’ve been living the same lifestyle since 21, but you know, when I’m ready to settle down and start a family, I will. Marriage is a massive commitment. I’m not trying to rush into it.”

“These are your twenties! Being a housewife, changing diapers and doing my husband’s laundry isn’t exactly how I envision spending the prime of my life. Marriage is the end of youth. I’ll get to it when I feel like I’m ready.”

 The Toys-R-Us theme resonates in the hearts of many twentysomething guys and girls: “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a [insert teenage pastime] kid…” So many don’t want to get married simply because they don’t want to let go of their perpetual teenage dreams and accept the responsibilities of marriage. They literally want to extend their adolescence of minimal responsibilities and maximum fun as long as they possibly can. If only they knew how much joy comes with the responsibilities.

3. Instability with Career/Finances

“I’m afraid to get serious about relationships because I’m not in a place with my career and my education where I feel comfortable getting married.”

One of the strangest myths about marriage is that you have to be completely financially stable and/or set in your career and/or education in order to get married. It’s simply not true.

If the requirements for getting married are being debt-free, making at least $45,000 a year, being completely done with your education, having a job with full benefits and a 401(k) and being a homeowner, virtually none of us could get married during the prime of our lives. Let’s be honest: how many of us are fully established in our careers before our late twenties anyway?

The truth is, you don’t have to have your career totally put together to get married. You can humble yourself to live a lower-income lifestyle than you might like (at least to start with) and still be happily married.

Marriage can provide unique structure and support as a husband/wife develops toward a career. Besides, if both of you are working at the beginning of your marriage, your financial situation will usually be better than if you were single. For most people who are gainfully employed and able to at least support themselves, there’s typically no reason they couldn’t get married with good planning.

4. Pride

“He’s a decent guy and his life’s going in a good direction. And I’m pretty sure he’s interested in me, but I really think I can do better. I mean, I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything, but I feel like I deserve something good, you know?”

“Honestly, she would probably be a good wife, but she just isn’t as attractive as I’m looking for. I wouldn’t be proud to show her off to my buddies. I want to make sure I’m not dating down.”

Pride turns high standards centered on glorifying God into unrealistic standards centered on glorifying self.


Ah, pride. The five-letter word that drips with more evil than any four-letter one ever could. It’s a deep self focus that filters every decision in life through the gate of personal taste, convenience, comfort and pleasure, marriage being no exception. It’s what turns high standards centered on glorifying God into unrealistic standards centered on glorifying self. It assumes that marriage’s primary purpose is personal happiness, and it keeps people single and disillusioned when their Holy Hollywood romance never shows up.

5. Sexual Addictions

“Honestly, I’m just so caught up in porn that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get married.”

A lot of guys and girls would rather enjoy the fleeting sexual pleasures of pornography, erotic literature/movies and masturbation than take on the responsibility of sharing a lifetime of sexual intimacy with a spouse. In the back of their minds they really do want to get married, but they decide it's not worth the lifestyle changes and responsibility they'd have to undertake.

The fundamental issue with sexual addictions is selfishness: We want sexual pleasure for ourselves without the responsibility of sharing our lives with another person. Marriage is where God designed the expression and consummation of sexual desire to occur, and so we should associate sexual pleasure only with marital intimacy. But our culture leads us to do the exact opposite. So, we stay single and make our sexual desires all about us instead of rising to the occasion, becoming married and serving our spouses and the Lord with our sexuality.

33 Comments

Carrie

36

Carrie commented…

Marriage isn't this constant tug on on my tail-feathers chasing me down year after year. It's not like a bus I'm refusing to buy a ticket for. I've had way,way, too many unhealthy, co-dependent relationships that were abject failures and in no way to be considered marriage material by by stretch of the imagination. Over the course of three years, (current year included) I've worked on myself- counseling, and dealing with my issues, and of course somethings have changed, but not my financial status. I'm not making the grade, and from what I've noticed, men want more "career stable women" because, God forbid they don't have to "support me" in any way financially as I actively pursue my freelancing business. I'm in my early 40's, never married and no desire to have children, as I don't have any. I don't want to be a step-mother, and I don't want that drama in my life. Is this selfish? I think it's being very honest and upfront. I have a step-father and I don't want that repeated. Am I single because of my beliefs? I don't know. I've never had any relationship or time in my life that was stable enough for marriage. Marriage isn't something you just go out an buy on Amazon. It's not like fast-food where the restaurants are clearly marked with signs. I'm really sick of articles that treat "marriage" as if it is readily available and single people just avoid it.

campwebb12

29

campwebb12 replied to Carrie's comment

Thank you for this. I feel the same way about the articles that make it sound like I am being selfish, and I just need to go do it. I have been in relationships, but have not found one that was going to end in marriage (because none of them did.) Maybe I'm not ready for some reasons above, but I do not think that I will be any less of a wife because I waited longer (or wasn't given the opportunity to marry younger.) I already know myself much better than I did when I was younger and know more what I am looking for, am more realistic, actually. I am tired of being made feel guilty because I am not on my way to marriage because I am getting 'old'.

Carrie

36

Carrie replied to campwebb12's comment

Thank you! I appreciate someone else "riding my tasty wave." Sincerely- most guys, even Christian ones are immature and don't want commitment. Let's be honest. Even at the mega church in my city, the guys in the singles group are either, 1. Creepy! or 2. Judgmental. That's what I've found.

Steve Cornell

186

Steve Cornell commented…

Consider a really good reason to be married: God wants to use marriage to change you (http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/god-wants-to-use-marriage-to-...)

Kendall

2

Kendall commented…

Good things to think about. Just celebrated 18 difficult, wonderful, blessed years with my wife last night. To do it well, you must sacrifice yourself constantly. You're life is over when you get married. It's not your own anymore. You belong to someone else. Selfishness, in 1,000 different forms, is what destroys marriages. That's what you need to know before you get in one. If you dating someone selfish, don't marry them.

I believe the church sometimes pushes marriage too strongly, it's not for everyone. Some marriage are not working out, but I know a lot of marriages where couples are working hard to have good, strong marriages.

People don't divorce because they weren't ready. You're never ready because you can't know what's going to happen to you for the next few decades. Life is unpredictable. Marriages fail from selfishness, lack of commitment & effort, but readiness is a myth.

But this comment really got my attention: "I would love a world where people got married and built their lives together.. that world is long gone." That's a lie from the Devil himself. That's not what scripture teaches about God's plan for marriage. Marriage, like the Gospel, is timeless and applicable in any culture.

Don't get me wrong. Marriage is super difficult. It's because both partners are both broken, sinful and selfish individuals. It's messy. But it's also one of the most rewarding things you can do if you choose it. And if you choose not to marry, that's a wonderful adventure too.

Jared Lafitte

34

Jared Lafitte replied to Kendall's comment

Great stuff, Kendall!

Carrie

36

Carrie replied to Jared Lafitte's comment

Kendall- I appreciate your response. It was a good feeling to read it. I also understand God's plan for marriage, etc. What I see around me is hardly an example. I see broken people who have little business getting married in abusive relationships or having kids, as they spread the disease to more generations. I know this sounds very, very skeptical and non-biblical. I wish all couples were like the elderly couple married 44 years featured in the Swifter commercial.

Brett

109

Brett replied to Carrie's comment

ah Jared, great post, love it when people promote and speak well about marriage [and not to the exclusion of singleness] and for me with your last point it was actually meeting and starting to date my wife that miraculously freed me up from a many years struggle with porn so quite the opposite... yeah, really good points here...

for some more pro marriage thoughts, i have a whole bunch on my blog, mostly shared by other people [http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/married-people-and-how-to-mayb...

keep up the good work
brett fish

Lauren

1

Lauren commented…

Thank you for sharing this article. I definitely struggle with 1, 2, and 4. 4 is a real biggie because I think I've looked at relationships this way for a long while (which I like to blame on #1 - my parents' divorce and their interactions with the opposite sex). Parents' divorce can have an effect, for sure, but I've been searching for truth to not follow the habits/path they chose and to make wise decisions of my own.

Thanks for pointing it back to God - that there's healing in Him. I've been trying to do this on my own, which is weird because I don't really do that with anything else in my life. I'm beginning to see that giving relationships to God is the best thing we can do. If I look to my S.O. and try to love him or squeeze love out of him by my own volition, it fails and crushes us both. If I look to Jesus and pray over our time, interactions, and how to better love him - our relationship flows almost seamlessly.

Relationships are stupid hard, but they are good. They're certainly not the end-all be-all. I think it takes Christ to make them work and to have something to rejoice over. Thanks for shining a little more light on how to view them. That helped me.

Mark Wade

7

Mark Wade commented…

Good article Jared. As you noted, Jesus was not married. Neither was Paul. They were too busy serving everyone else that marriage would have been difficult.
Your noted five reasons to not marry are ultimately selfish responses (stated already).

There is something much more going on than a willingness not to marry. Single, or married, if we do not see the fruit of the spirit in our lives...we have issues (selfishness is not on the list). Gal 5:22

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