An Excessive Desire for Marriage is Idolatrous
In one of my blogs last week, I have stated my deep desire to get married (as well as my fear of remaining single). Because of this desire, I often find myself imagining how glorious it would be to be marries to the woman of my dreams. Singles, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? We’re all guilty of this!
We read books and attend seminars on dating, courtship, and marriage. We talk to our friends about the men or women we know, and how nice it would be to spend the rest of our lives with them. We daydream of the day we say “I do,” of doing life and ministry together with our spouse, of starting a family, and of living happily ever after. In short, our minds are saturated with thoughts of marriage.
But isn’t this too much? Isn’t this an excessive desire for marriage? Aren’t we idolizing marriage?
If we will take a closer look at ourselves and be honest, we will discover that we are already idolizing a future spouse or the married life. We make these good things into glorious ones. We make them gods, and put them in the place of God. Thus, the excessive desire for marriage is idolatrous.
The Bible is filled with warning against idolatry. We can find one in the Ten Commandments:
4“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. (Exodus 20:4)
Why shouldn’t we bow down and serve idols? It’s because God is a jealous God, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me” (v.5). We don’t want God to be jealous over us, right?
A Balanced View
So what should we do?
Since an excess of the desire for marriage is idolatrous, we should strike a balance. And we can do this by having a proper view of singleness. Singleness? Yes, that’s right.
For some of us, we view the single years with abomination. We look at our singleness like a prison, with marriage as the only bail. We liken the time of waiting to an extended stay in a torture chamber. We think or ourselves as incomplete persons until we marry.
But let’s take a look at how the apostle Paul describes a single person and married one:
32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32-25)
It seems that for the apostle, an unmarried person is better off than a married person. (Of course, there are many blessings a married person do experience that an unmarried one doesn’t). Why is that? It’s because time is running out! And an unmarried person has more time to be “anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.” He is unlike the married person who is “anxious about worldly things” and how to please his spouse. His interests are divided, while the unmarried one had undivided devotion. (To clear things: If a person is a single, it doesn’t automatically mean that he has undivided devotion for the Lord. And if a person is married, it also doesn’t automatically mean that he can’t give a high level of devotion. But compared to a married person, the single has more potential to have an undivided devotion).
Redeeming the Single Years
The single has more time to be “anxious about the things of the Lord,” pleasing Him. He has undivided devotion. Isn’t this wonderful?
Since the single has more time of undivided devotion, he also has more time to “delight [himself] in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) as a single, finding satisfaction and wholeness in Christ. He has more time to strive for holiness as a single, for “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). He has more time to “serve one another” (Galatians 5:13) as a single. And he has more time to “Trust in the LORD with all [his] heart” (Proverbs 3:5) as a single, as he waits for God’s will on his future.
Are you idolizing a future spouse or the married life? If you are, you can find forgiveness in the Lord Jesus. And He will help you remove the idol from your heart and give you the strength to redeem the single years.