Our society tells us that in order to have a happy life we should go to college, get a good job, find a nice person to marry, buy a house and have a couple of kids. This lifestyle is what is commonly known as the “American Dream” and we’ve been taught to chase it down relentlessly, especially the part about getting married. It is possible to become so obsessed with the whole “get married” part of the American Dream that we don’t first consider if it is even in the Will of God for us to marry. How many singles can say that they’ve ever asked God if marriage was His plan for their lives? How many of us can say that we’d actually listen and be obedient if He told us marriage was not in the plan for our lives? How many of us even considered God at all when we made the decision to marry? How many of us can say that when we got married we understood God’s plan for marriage? How many of us Christian married folk can say we are totally committed to marriages which demonstrate an attitude of service…because let me tell you, for a mere human, it isn’t easy?
Contrary to what popular opinion suggests, God has given some of us the ability to remain “happily unmarried.” Some of us are seeking out a married lifestyle so hard that we ignore or refuse to see God’s plan for our lives. We bring unhappiness to our own doorstep chasing or waiting for something that God may not even have in store for your life. This is dangerous because without consulting the Father, we don’t have clear direction about our purpose. 1 Corinthians 7:35 reminds us that when it comes to marrying, it is vitally important to make sure that your decision “will help you serve the Lord best.” So in this instance, we can see that marriage is not all about being happy, living some fairy tale, being desperately in love or having children…its first about your service to God. And, if you can’t effectively serve God within your marriage, then marriage may not be the best route for you to take. Your marriage should reflect your service to God. One of the major ways in which you serve God in your marriage is by the way you serve your spouse. This is a foreign concept for many, especially those that are seeking out a marriage relationship for personal fulfillment.
Marriage can be a huge distraction in your quest to serve the Lord. A married person’s interests are divided. Married men and women have to be concerned not only with their service to God, but also with meeting the needs of their spouse and children. Unmarried persons have the benefit placing their focus on doing the Lord’s work and thinking about ways to please Him. I think it’s for this reason God gives some of us the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness (1 Corinthians 7:7). Being “happily unmarried” is a gift. Its a free and clear opportunity to serve the Lord without distraction. Husbands and wives are given a world of responsibilities in marriage as well as in everyday life. These responsibilities should not, but sometimes do, cloud our responsibility to serve God. While God created marriage, and called it good, you need to know what you could be signing yourself up for! READ 1 Corinthians 7:1-40. READ Ephesians 5:21-33. READ 1 Peter 3:1-7. READ Mark 10:1-12.
I want to share some practical and biblical premarital counseling advice from a book I’m reading called “Finding God: Living Water for Those Who Thirst. For those of you contemplating marriage, there are 4 very important things to consider:
1. Take time to know one another. Don’t rush into marriage. If you are really in love with someone, you will want to build your friendship with that person. That is the foundation of your marriage. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards” — not the other way around!
2. Test the depth of your love. Love is more than an emotion. It is a commitment. In the Greek language, love was described in three ways: eros (physical attraction), philos (love between friends) and agape (unconditional love). Marriages that are simply based on eros or phileo love are destined for trouble, but marriages built around agape love that Christ displayed will last. Emotions will come and go, but true love is far more than that. The Bible says, “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers drown it” (Song of Songs 8:7).
3. Make sure of your commitment. Ask yourself the following questions: Are you ready to spend the rest of your life with this person? Can you see yourself going through parenthood together? Are you willing to make sacrifices in relationships, hobbies, and even your career for the sake of your marriage?
4. Consider your witness for Christ. If this other person is not a believer, don’t even consider marriage. Scripture give us stern warnings against being teamed with those who are unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). You also need to consider the spiritual implications of this relationship. Will the two of you together be a more powerful and effective witness for Christ than the two of you apart?
Whether you marry or remain single, you have to learn to be content in whatever your situation. Only then, can you possess one of the true keys to being happy.