Yesterday I wrote about six different reasons I think marriage should be a priority for me and for most of young believers today. I promised I would write about each of the reasons separately because I think each of them is important to think through.
My post yesterday was filled with many disclaimers. I have another one. I just want to say that I came to this conclusion because I saw in my own heart the lens of sin and laziness that I view marriage through. I finally became convinced that I view marriage with a great deal of fear and a love of comfort which is not very different than my unbelieving counterparts. I realized how wrong this is and that as a believer in the True God — who created marriage to be a picture of His Son and the Church, and who ordained that life should be brought about through the institution of marriage, and who saw that it was not good for man to be alone — such thoughts are incredibly wrong.
Hebrews 13:4 commands us to hold the marriage bed in high honor. There are certainly more direct applications of this passage (as in, do not commit adultery), but an application of this is certainly to think highly of marriage. I think that’s a message my peers and I need to hear.
Okay, so on to reason number one: To be set apart from our adulescent counterparts.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the concept of adulescents or kidults, or Gen Xers, or whatever you want to call it. Both Christians and non-Christians alike are taking longer to grow up. There is about a 10 year gap between when adolescents graduate from high school and begin living on their own to when the average young adult gets married and even longer before they begin having a family. I’ve heard all kinds of explanations for this. I’m not particularly concerned with the explanations.
The truth is this: we are becoming who we will be. If we waste our lives and live for self now, we will most certainly waste our lives and continue living for ourselves in the future.
I would say that just as many American’s have bought into the idea that retirement is for relaxation, most young people have bought into the idea that getting married, having children, and holding down a real job is a true sign of adulthood which signifies the end of life. It’s B-O-R-I-N-G and we often associate it with dull suits and Toyota Camrys, dumpy mom jeans and minivans. We want the glamorous, dreamy, and exciting lifestyle of the people we see on TV. We are drawn and attracted by the lure of excitement and exchange marriage and family life for freedom, autonomy, and independence. The problem is that “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). That verse pretty much sums up everything I have to say.
I can’t speak for everyone and I am not trying to oversimplify this. I know that many young people have fears- because they come from divorced homes, because they suffered all kinds of abuse as children, because they’ve seen and heard story after story of marital failure. But fear is not from the Lord. Others want to be sure they are in a “good position” to be married. They want to have their sins dealt with, their debt paid off, their nest eggs saved up, and their career well established. Again, this can either be motivated by fear or love of money, but it’s not from the Lord. We are never going to be perfect. The Lord just may allow you to be married so he can deal with your sin, your debt, your savings, and your career. Some young adults may desire the freedom and independence that extended years of singleness provide. Or the hassle free and comfortable life it affords. We are fools to think that freedom, independence, and comfort will give us happiness. God calls us– single or married– to submission and obligation to the family of God through the church, and to messy, dirty, hurtful relationships with one another. I see nowhere in Scripture that life is supposed to be easy. Instead I see the command repeated over and over again in different ways, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).
We have grown so worldly! What is it that we desire about being able to stay out late, and not having to be responsible for anyone else, and having trendy clothes and cool cars and sexy jobs? Why do we think that is going to bring more joy than a family whose goal is to honor and glorify Christ? The issue is that we probably don’t think we are going to have a loving marriage and stable home, and so we settle for cheap satisfaction. Trendy clothes, cool cars, and sexy jobs aren’t hard. And once again we find that our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are far too easily pleased.
My goal is not to make this an issue of singleness being sin and marriage being righteousness. Please don’t hear that. I am a single woman talking about this. The issue is changing the way we think about the things we desire so that we pursue what is good. As I said yesterday, there are certainly believers who will spend their lives putting God on display through singleness. And there are believers who desire marriage and for some reason or another haven’t married yet. Those are different situations. I am explicitly talking about young believers who are avoiding marriage because they are avoiding the cost. The more I think about this the more I become convicted of my own heart and how much I’ve allowed worldly thinking to overtake my mind in this area.
So that’s reason number one. Tune in tomorrow and we’ll tackle reason number two: To show that God is able to work in relationships and restore sinful people in such a powerful way that a lifelong commitment between two sinful people is not only possible, but can be enjoyable, full of love, and can make the hard work of relationships incredibly worthwhile.