“Should I get married?” To borrow and paraphrase from a famed literary work, to marry or not to marry, that is the question. Like anything else, the consideration if we should get married, not simply when, is a heart matter to surrender to the Lord. However, that is not always the way that we operate when getting involved with a partner.
We experience life’s rites of passage and organically connect with others in the process. Relationships form, but we don’t always ask the question of whether or not marriage is part of God’s plan for our lives.
Society normalizes being in a relationship and can regard the unattached single as a novelty. Often, our families and culture socialize us into becoming part of a couple. Though well-intentioned, our loved ones may persist with questions and matchmaking attempts, as if something is deficient when we approach an age or reach an achievement milestone if we are not paired with a permanent partner.
These influences filter through our subconscious, informing our emotions, and actions around the consideration of whether to marry or not. Although wise advisors shield us from misguided motives, the counsel of God’s voice speaking through His Word is the most critical response to the question, “Should I get married?”
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14, ESV
Should I Get Married? Where to Start
One of the first and best steps to take is to reject the pressure to decide on marriage or singleness. God has already planned out each of the days that are written about you, which should be a fact that brings comfort and relief (Psalms 139:16; Philippians 1:6). There are wise principles in His Word to embrace as you consider the central question of whether or not you should get married.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalms 139:16, NIV
Consider your covenant.
Following Christ is the most essential decision we’ll make. Under that, the choice of a marriage partner may be one of the most impactful. God saved us to live with Him eternally. Until then, He commands us to prioritize our relationship with Him over even lifelong relationships with others. Our primary covenant is with God, and we serve Him to advance His kingdom.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33, ESV
Consider your call.
God’s plan orchestrates the people and places that will play a pivotal role in our lives. That may include expanding our family, friend, and faith circles to include a mate. Since the choice bears upon whether we fulfill or frustrate our eternal purpose, we not only need to seek the Lord in our daily life but ask how marriage fits the purpose God has assigned to us. We must seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom through prayer and study of the Bible.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. – James 3:17
God is your Father and oversees all things. He knows the present and future you, and His wisdom will reveal whether marriage is integral to the life He has planned for you, both now and later.
Furthermore, His Holy Spirit is the divine matchmaker who will bring suitable candidates into your life whose gifts and skills will not only complement yours but also maximize the impact your potential union will exert in God’s Kingdom.
Consider your heart about getting married.
When we ask God whether we should get married, we put His glory first. There’s nothing that delights our Father more than when we submit our hearts and desires to Him. God gives us longing for connection, but He wants to be our central desire above anything He could give, including a spouse.
Whatever our marital status, we are to present ourselves to the Lord in wholehearted surrender, serving Him in our current state. We should always strive to be honest with ourselves about our motivations, and consider how marriage would affect our devotion (1 Corinthians 7).
For singles, service can be without the distraction of a mate. However, couples are not to try to rewind the clock and behave as single, attempting to be released from the responsibility to their mates, but rather serve their spouses as an extension of serving the Lord. We tend to glamorize the benefits of what we want and underestimate the time and effort required now to prepare for a marriage that will later reflect Christ and His Church.
Consider the cost of getting married.
Marriage is much more than two single people coming together. Like any other blessing, there is a backside that demands different kinds of responsibility and sacrifice than when single. While there are multiple benefits to establishing a covenant with a husband or wife, we must recognize that our concerns and commitments will shift from what they were during singleness.
In a practical sense, it may be helpful to observe and engage with couples in our families and faith communities. Their experiences and insight may be a place of accountability and support, to assess if marriage makes sense, given our temperament, our call, and our lives.
The variety of life choices at our disposal doesn’t have to overwhelm us; but rather provoke us to ask the King of Kings to grant us peace and clarity. While marriage is not a prerequisite for a fruitful and fulfilling life, God is the One who plants the longing within.
We can trust Him to provide us with opportunities to mature and evolve through friendships, dating, and non-romantic encounters. He can give us opportunities to practice relational skills while cultivating the kind of character that prepares us for the marriage covenant and the specific person with whom we may join our lives.
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28, NASB2020
The decision to get married is one of the most important choices you will make. It will shape your future in ways that will either restrict your ability to carry out your God-given purpose or cause you to flourish in your call.
You don’t have to decide that today, but a potentially valuable next step is to connect with an empathetic counselor for support as you navigate this process. Schedule an appointment to begin the journey by seeking God’s wisdom and searching your heart.
“Woman on Bike”, Courtesy of Toa Heftiba, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Cuddling by the Lake”, Courtesy of Mindy Sabiston, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Man on Bike”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Face to Face”, Courtesy of Giorgio Trovato, Unsplash.com, CC0 License