I am convinced that the biblical teachings on marriage are for all Christians, not just married couples. Consider this passage:
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
Chapter 13 of Hebrews is not a text for couples. In different versions of the Bible, the chapter has titles such as “How should a Christian live?” Or “Attitudes of the Christian life”. The whole chapter touches the beginning of life for men and women transformed by the gospel: hospitality, money, leadership, and marriage.
That is why it says “all of you, hold” marriage in high regard. It refers to every Christian person. Men, women, single and married.
My current counseling job is mostly with single adult men, and men who are divorced. In this practice, I have seen that disdain for marriage can be a fuel for sexual sin, either to choose to live in free union, or in infidelity. Marriage is a joke, or a prison to be avoided. All these arguments serve to excuse having sex without marrying, or to have sex out of wedlock.
I’m writing from my experience as a single man in recovery from sexual addiction. I fight against the lies I believed about marriage, and the disdain I had for this institution. I write first to exhort myself to study what the Bible says, and then to invite you to identify whether or not you also have a mindset that departs from the Bible on this subject.
We will begin with this passage:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)
God chose to represent the gospel as a marriage. He sent His Son to rescue sinners, and form a church, represented as a wife. He could have chosen a figure from nature, a parable about work to describe His relationship with us. But He chose marriage. If God gives it so much importance, if He considers it the most perfect figure, we should do the same.
Consider the following questions. Ask yourself if any of those lies are rooted in your mind and feed your “reasons” for having sex without being married:
Do you make jokes about, or make fun of your married friends?
There are jokes that have the purpose of humiliating a married friend for not being “free”, or for having to “ask permission of his wife”. These jokes fuel the idea that marriage is a lower state of life. It also evaluates whether the comedies you see in the movies, portraying the married people as desperate or ridiculous, are consistent with the value God gives to marriage.
Do you run away from marriage because of your previous bad experiences?
You may fear or dislike marriage because it reminds you of your parents’ marriage. Maybe it reminds you of your previous marriage and your painful divorce. But marriage is not defined by what you lived, but by what God says it is. When you are attacked by bad memories, repeat “what I knew is not the figure of marriage that God designed. I can do it in God’s way, and not repeat the pattern I know. ” Strive to change this mentality.
Do you see having a relationship with a married person as a problem?
We Christians have also become accustomed to using the term “had an affair” to describe the relationship with a married person. It is not an adventure. It is not a medal to show off, or as someone I knew said, “build a resume”. Let us be accustomed once again to respect the institution of the marriage of others as something exclusive that cannot be touched, and to define sin as God describes it.
Do you refer to marriage as the end of your life?
Question when you say “I want to get married when I have fulfilled my goals, when I have lived life, then I will be ready to settle down”. Marriage is not the end of a good life. It is a good state of life that God will use for our sanctification, for His own glory and benefit to others.
Do you prefer free union because it is less risky than getting married?
In my observation, this is the state that most lends itself to commit or suffer an infidelity, probably because there is always the escape hatch to say “when I get tired of this, I just go out the door and leave”. Free union opens the door to the greatest relational wounds out there.
Have you thought about getting married for the wrong reasons?
Many singles consider marriage because “it’s what you have to do at this age,” or “it’s what you have to do after finishing your master’s degree.” Treating marriage as something else in your achievement checklist is not worth it – and it will surely make you seek a marriage without actually being in love. That is a guarantee for pain, the bad and unnecessary kind of pain.
Have you believed any of these lies? Comment.