(originally published on October 10, 2016)

I hope all of our young people who have never been married will pay close attention to the following list. Never ever get married for the following reasons alone, or there will most likely be major negative ramifications at some point in your life:

(1) Because all of your friends are getting married.

Sometimes people feel pressured to get married because all the people they know and are close to are getting married. That alone is not a good reason to get married, because there are some aspects to God’s will for people’s lives which are unique to them personally.

Just because it is God’s will
for someone you know to get married,
it is not automatically
God’s will for you to get married.

It might not be God’s will for you to be married when you want to be or ever. Discerning and obeying God’s will is the issue for you.

(2) Because you think the person you’re considering marrying is cute or sexy. Looks alone are never the correct reason to pick someone to marry. Looks fade and change over time. People do get fat, gain stretch marks, lose their teeth, experience disabilities, lose their hair, become wrinkled, unintentionally get involved in accidents, and change physically over the course of life. This does not mean you have to pick the most ugly person you’ve ever met to marry. It does mean that looks are not the most important thing–not by a long shot. A person could be the most handsome man or gorgeous woman in the world, and yet be a complete loser in terms of their personality, attitude, character, integrity, spirituality, honesty, loyalty, priorities, or how they treat you, etc.. So don’t base marriage on looks.

(3) Because you think it will advance your social status or career standing. Believe it or not, there are some foolish people who get married because of the popularity or notoriety of the person they are marrying or the family they will be marrying into. The match might somehow help them get or achieve a certain job or career placement in life. In history this was most often seen in political circles, where someone would marry a prince or princess, king or queen, for certain political advantages between nations.

(4) Because you think it will be good for you financially or materially. In short, never marry anyone for money. Never marry someone because one day they will inherit a fortune, etc. Many miserable marriages have been formed this way based on a selfish motive for material gain.

(5) Because you want to legitimize sex. It’s true that one of the reasons God created marriage was to help maintain moral purity in society (1 Cor. 7:1-2) and to give people a godly outlet for sexual expression. But there is a big difference between that concept and someone idolizing sex where it becomes their top priority. You don’t marry to have sex. Instead, you have sex because you are married.

(6) Because your body clock is telling you you’re running out of time. Just because you’re 30 years old is not a reason to panic or marry just anyone. Believe me, if it is God’s will for you to be married (and if you are a true Christian, you should be concerned about that), then God will bring it to pass in His timing. The Bible never teaches that a woman is to go out looking to “find” a husband, as that is a good way to get in trouble. The Bible teaches that women in general are susceptible to spiritual deception. Instead, Scripture teaches by way of pattern that God causes a man to seek a wife. Men, your job is to be a godly man and know what to look for in a godly wife. Women, your job is to be a godly woman, know what a godly man is like, pray for God to give you a godly husband if and when it is His will, and then wait for God to do whatever He wants in your life and in His timing.

Before marriage, single men and single women are instructed by God to use their extra time in serving the Lord in ways that married people cannot. In the meantime, while you are praying and waiting, you can do three things: (a) Gripe, which is sin; (b) Grab, where you take the first person that comes along, and end up settling for God’s second best in your life; or (c) Grow, where you learn to pray, wait, be patient, and trust God. I was single until I was 34 years old, so I have lived the advice and counsel I’m giving you. For a marriage without regrets, wait on God–no matter what.

(7) Because others expect you to. You don’t get married because others want you to, but because God wants you to. If you’re truly doing what the Bible says in all areas, God will have such control of your life through His Spirit, that He will put certain desires in your heart for marriage when the time comes. He will also provide the biblically correct person to marry. You will not have to violate Scripture in any way to marry that person. God will convict you that you need to be married. He will give you perfect peace about the matter, so that you can do it with a clear conscience. But, if there is any doubt at all, do not do it (Romans 14:23) until you have clear direction from God first, regardless of what other people think.

(8) Because you feel lonely. Here’s an interesting thing I’ve observed in life. A person can be all alone, and yet not feel lonely. Likewise, a person can have tons of people around then, and yet, feel incredibly lonely. This means that feeling lonely is not necessarily determined by who is in your life. Instead, loneliness–like boredom–is caused by a lack of purpose and meaning at that moment. It is true that in marriage God gives us companionship, but that companionship is for a purpose, which is to help us serve God and others.

Marriage does not guarantee that you will not be lonely.

Many married people, both men and women, feel lonely. The way to resolve loneliness (and boredom), whether you are single or married, is to realize by faith your God-given purpose in life. That purpose is to glorify God in whatever situation or circumstance you are in.

(9) Because you want to feel loved or wanted or valuable or worth something because you are desired by another person. That approach to marriage is inherently unloving by its very nature, because it is selfishly focused upon you, and how you can use another person to get what you want. The reason you get married is not so you can be loved, though certainly your spouse is commanded by God to do so in the Bible. But rather, so that you can love and be committed to your spouse the rest of your life in service. Life is NOT about you, and neither is marriage.

(10) Because you’re pregnant. If someone has sinned and engaged in fornication before marriage, and they have conceived a child, that does not automatically mean it is God’s will for them to get married. Two wrongs never make a right. It’s never right to do wrong, and it’s never wrong to do right. In that situation, consult with godly, biblically sound, spiritually mature, true Christian leadership to discern the will of God for your life in that circumstance. Abortion is also not an option for a Christian.

(11) Because you have sinned sexually in some way prior to marriage. Sometimes people wrongly think that because they have compromised morally and biblically in some way, they are now somehow obligated to the person and must go through with the relationship. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, statistics show that 90% of the time, if they go ahead and marry that same person, that couple will end up in a divorce before their seventh anniversary. And, 85% of the time that same couple will have at least one party who will commit adultery. My experience has been that 95% of the time, when a couple comes in for biblical counseling and they are having major issues, you find they were also too intimate prior to marriage. When they were not too intimate, their marriage problems tend to be more minor in nature. The lesson is this: when God says He chastens sinful behavior, He means that, so don’t go to bed until you wed (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

(12) Because you have dated or courted someone for a long time. There are people who think they must go ahead and get married because they have been romantically involved with someone for an extended period of time. They feel like they have wasted all that time and effort and money if they don’t go ahead and marry. The truth is, however, it is far better to waste that time and learn from it, than to waste your life being miserably married and not being able to biblically get out of it. I dated a godly Christian woman for four years, but God did not give me permission to marry her, and I had to end it. Now, being married to Adriane since 1999, I am very glad I did end the other relationship. God gave me His very best for me after that. If I had not ended it, I would have gotten second best. Obey what God is convicting you to do and God will bless you. Do not live by how you “feel,” but by faith based on biblical principles.