Yesterday, I described five biblical reasons to get married. There is also a biblical reason to delay marriage or forgo marriage altogether. Again, if you are making a decision about marriage, I’m assuming you are a mature Christian adult in a decent position to get married.
Reasons to Delay Marriage
There’s really only one biblical reason to delay marriage by your own choice (but it’s a good one): to secure undivided devotion to the Lord for a season (1 Cor. 7:32-35). There may be, for a time in your life, no desire to get married. If that is the case, then I assume (as would Paul) your devotion is totally to Jesus Christ and that is a very good thing. But the conditions are clear, you have to have your passions under control and you have to be firmly established in your heart that you do not desire marriage during this time (1 Cor. 7:36-38).
If you do have your sexual desires under control and do not desire to marry someone at this time, then it is better to delay marriage than to get married. Why? Because your undivided devotion to the Lord is effective. You, like Paul, have a one-track mind to proclaim the gospel to all nations, making disciples for the glory of God. Salvation is a pressing matter. It is better to stay single and stay on mission for the advancement of the gospel. But this season doesn’t have to last forever. Once you do start to desire marriage, then you are free to get married and do ministry with a partner. It is no sin.
Reasons to Not Marry
There’s really only one biblical reason to forgo marriage altogether: to secure undivided devotion to the Lord until the end (1 Cor. 7:32-35). As I mentioned above, if you have your sexual desires under control and do not desire to marry someone, it is better to remain single. Why? Because your undivided devotion to the Lord is effective. You, like Paul, have a one-track mind to proclaim the gospel to all nations, making disciples for the glory of God. Salvation is a pressing matter. It is better to stay single and stay on mission for the advancement of the gospel.
But unlike the one who is delaying marriage, it is possible that you never develop a strong desire for marriage for as long as you live. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind marriage but you are fully content with your life in Christ apart from a spouse. If that is you, then that is a good reason to never marry. Paul lived that life. So did Jesus. Your devotion to the Lord will go uninterrupted (at least from a spouse) and that’s a good thing. Imagine if we had an army of Pauls spreading the gospel in every city. God would be glorified!
Aren’t there other reasons?
Surely there must be other reasons to delay marriage or not marry right? There are. Some of them are wise. Maybe you’re going through some kind of transition in life. Maybe you’re in an emotionally vulnerable state. Maybe you don’t know what you want or you figure no one wants you. Maybe you don’t know how to get married. These are all legitimate reasons people postpone marriage. But all of these reasons are pointing inward. All of these reasons can be very temporary barriers and biblically remedied. All of these reasons pale in comparison to the goodness of marriage or the goodness of service to the Lord.
If getting married presents potential problems for a couple, and they work out those problems, make sacrifices for one another, stay together and worship God together… isn’t that what marriage is about? Isn’t that a picture of the gospel? So unless you are fully devoted to the Lord’s work and do not desire to marry anyone, you should consider marriage, doing the Lord’s work with a spouse rather than without.