Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

22 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Married (Or At Least Delay Doing So), Part 5

21. You or your beloved have a problem staying in relationships. Perhaps one of you has been engaged or married multiple times and you keep wondering “what went wrong”. A pastor once told me that he would never perform a marriage ceremony for a divorced person if they didn’t know and understand the reason for the break-up. It was sort of a personal relationships version of the saying, “Those who do not learn the lessons of the past, are condemned to repeat them.” I didn’t fully understand what the minister meant until I had friend that exhibited this problem. When I met this lady, she had been married to one guy and engaged, to different men, a few times before that. For both of her engagements, she had called the weddings off because she had gotten “cold feet”. When the third guy proposed, she thought it would be better to get married regardless of the fact he was allegedly violent. Soon after I met her she became engaged and then married to yet another guy. Although she claimed the both divorces were the husbands’ fault, the characteristics that she later deemed unacceptable were there before they married. Another friend was married several times to women who always were the ones to leave him despite the fact that he didn’t abuse or cheat on any of them –they were more often the ones who did. What was it about these two divorced persons that caused them to marry and divorce over and over again? I think it was that they had issues in their own lives that caused them to choose the “wrong” mate –for the lady, it was problems on her part of commitment and understanding what a marriage entails; while for my male friend, he was so obsessed in being in a relationship, that he would pick losers who wanted to be married. Had either taken the time in counseling earlier to find out their “issues”, they would’ve been spared the heartache of a few of these broken marriages. Another truth I learned from the pastor friend, was that there is no such thing as the “truly innocent party”. Even where one spouse was a lying, cheating louse, the other may have contributed a tiny percent of the blame by ignoring the warning signs prior to or during marriage. Perhaps even inattention to the guilty partner, gave them a sense of justification, however wrongly, for their bad deeds. You must learn what part you played in the break-up even if it was relatively minor, otherwise that scenario could be replayed.

22. You can serve or live for Christ better as a single person. This is my own number one reason for not being married.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7,
“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” (New Living Translation)
Now I do believe that for some folks in ministry, being married has an advantage –I don’t believe that I, as a single woman, would be taken credibly if I were to teach a class on marital life to group of young married couples, for example. I do have flexibility in my schedule that has allowed me to takes weeks off to spend at camp with youth and children; I don’t have a husband to ask if it’s okay if I spend every night out this week at church either. I am also not tempted to trust in a spouse to supply needs that only God should be supplying (on the other hand, my temptation is to rely on me instead). My guess is that I probably wouldn’t be a very faithful and devoted Christian since I tend to be somewhat single-minded in my attention; unless my husband would really hold my feet to the fire spiritually, I would find it easier to rationalize away Christian commitment as taking away from “family time”.

OK, so I’m done for now with my list of reasons not to get married. A friend who reads my blog said this in an email, “That was way too easy … there are as many reasons not to get married as there are dysfunctional people. Can you name as many reasons "to" get married?” I told her that since people seem to be constantly running headlong into marriage, the ones considering it already have theirs –they could probably list dozens of “why to’s.” I have nothing against people getting married if they are healthy, mature, prudent men and women who love God and each other, and have decided to make a lifetime commitment, as best friends, to build and strengthen one another. They are couples who really know what it means to be a family and the Christian community is enriched by their relationship. However with divorce rates in the Church approaching (even sometimes exceeding) those in the secular world, someone needs to ask why are we so quick to get married and see marriage alone as the source of human fulfillment. Hopefully, these postings might cause someone getting married for all the wrong reasons to reconsider and postpone until those “reasons” reflect the deliberations of wise adults. It might also give encouragement to the single who feels the tug of war between the single life and living up to societal expectations to get married.

Now, I’m ready for the comments!


  • At Tue Aug 14, 09:57:00 PM PDT , Blogger j a n said...

    As far as reasons to get married - a wise friend of mine had a great answer. She is middle-aged, has never been married, but owns her own home and has a great job and an active life. When we asked her about marriage prospects for a man she was dating, she thoughtfully replied, "I don't know... it depends on if our lives would be better together."

    I thought that was a smart criteria, and one women intent on marriage rarely stop to consider.

  • At Tue Aug 14, 10:38:00 PM PDT , Blogger Ann said...

    I so agree! I think it would cut down on the unhappy marriages if people would truly consider that criteria.

    Unfortunately, I think so many women think that marriage itself automatically makes life better without considering the how it would be so.

  • At Thu Aug 16, 02:01:00 PM PDT , Blogger newsong said...

    Found you via Jadon at mindismapping@blogspot.

    Very interesting list. I feel like the last two years have totally changed my attitude to marriage in a very positive way, and this sums up some of the things I've learned nicely. Mind if I quote the entire series in blog post with a link to you? I'd like to comment on it there and include some stuff I've been thinking about.

    I am newsong at LiveJournal.

  • At Thu Aug 16, 02:09:00 PM PDT , Blogger Ann said...

    Yes, go ahead and quote away!
    I hope it promotes good discussion on your blog.

  • At Sat Feb 28, 12:30:00 PM PST , Anonymous Diana said...

    Well done! Definitely worth considering for any couple thinking about heading to the altar - or any single thinking about marriage. I felt very encouraged by reading this series.


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