Foolish Reasons for Getting Married
There are a number of good reasons, in harmony with God’s design for the home, for desiring to be a part of a marriage relationship. One may meet a winsome Christian person who has attractive spiritual and personal qualities that appear to be ideal for a life-long marital union. Certainly children of God, who opt for marriage, ought to seek companions who are compatible with them, and with the Lord —someone who will be able to enhance their journey toward heaven.
It should be recognized, however, that marriage is an option, not an obligation. There are some who choose not to marry, and they seem perfectly happy and well-adjusted as single people. Others, who desire to marry, simply have not discovered a suitable prospective mate, and, with patience, they choose to wait. Perhaps they are familiar with the old adage, “Marry in haste; repent in leisure.”
It is entirely possible, however, for men and women — young or older — to feel pressured to marry. Hence they may enter this sacred union rather impulsively, without due consideration for their eternal interest, and thus for a variety of wrong motives. Such a rash judgment can prove disastrous.
Marriage is an “until-death-do-us-part” commitment. It ought to be approached from a joyous, yet cautiously-solemn, vantage point. Marriage should be embraced for wise reasons, not foolish ones. Let us reflect momentarily upon some of the impetuous motives that lend themselves to the abandon of some, who rush headlong into marriage.
Some marry for financial security. All of us have heard those exotic stories of the young American girl who is romanced by, and becomes wedded to, the Middle Eastern oil baron in order to live in splendid luxury. Such cases are rare, of course, but the happiness sought in such arrangements is rarer still.
Closer to home are the situations, for example, where a daughter is reared by a shiftless, unproviding father. Determined to have the “better life,” she marries the first young man who is able to offer her economic stability. Such a barter is a sorry basis for marriage, and she may learn well the heartbreaking lesson that a happy home is more than dollars and cents.
There are those who enter marriage to escape a miserable or boring domestic situation. Late adolescence is a difficult and confusing time of life. Youngsters are in a “twilight zone” of sorts. They are not ready to survive on their own, yet they have developed a sense of independence. They are restless for new adventures. If their home-life is an unhappy one (with perhaps harsh and insensitive parents), they may be tempted to quickly find a mate — simply to “escape” the misery of their present circumstance. This is a serious mistake. It may be going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. “Escape” is not a noble motive for forming the most intimate of human relationships.
Some marry out of revenge. It is difficult to fathom the fact that there are those who would enter into such a sacred union merely out of the desire to punish another person. But the “I’ll-show-you” attitude is more prominent that most would care to admit. A young lady may enter marriage to “show” her parents that they cannot control her life — particularly in the case of a young gentleman of whom they disapprove. A jilted youth may marry on the rebound — just to demonstrate that “two can play this game.” But it’s not a game! Marriage relationships can have eternal consequences.
Not a few have entered marriage because it’s the voguish thing to do. All their friends have marital mates, why should they be left in the lurch? Peer pressure is so great at certain times in life. Far too many have impulsively “run off” to “get married” on a dare, or because others were doing it. Snap decisions can generate a life-time of bitter experiences. Marriage is not an arrangement with which to trifle.
Marriage should not be entered just to cover a mistake. In this age of lust and promiscuity, what should a couple do when they discover that a child has been conceived out of wedlock? Sometimes, a “we-must-get-married” is the quick-fix formula. In the event of such a mistake, a Christian couple, first of all, should repent — with genuine sorrow — and seek God’s pardon.
Second, the couple should then devoutly consider their options. Do they really love one another, and are they committed to serving God? If so, they well may wish to marry, and put their mistake behind them.
On the other hand, if exalted qualities are not a part of the relationship, merely “getting married” is not a resolution to their problem, and it certainly will not enhance the happiness of their child. In some cases it would be far better for a young woman to wait, perhaps eventually finding a devout father for her child, than to wed her partner in fornication “for the sake of the baby.”
Marriage on the basis of mere physical attraction is a foolish mistake. The grass withers and the flowers fade — and so does physical beauty. Thousands of American couples have watched the degeneration of their marriages because the relationships were grounded principally on external features.
Spiritual qualities and personality traits are the real “glue” that bonds couples in committed unions. Beauty is only skin deep, and if some were “skinned” how hideous they would appear. Our youngsters should be taught the true values that undergird lasting marriages.
Finally, it hardly needs saying, but it is the epitome of folly to marry out of desperation. It is better to be single for life, than to live one year in a house with a hateful mate. But some are so afraid that at their “advanced” stage of life, if they don’t marry soon, the bliss may never occur! The thought of that is too horrible for them to contemplate. And so, marry they must.
I have known of several cases where folks married out of “panic,” only to have the relationship crumble within weeks. I cannot but be reminded of a whimsical poem I once read (author unknown). I share it with you for its humor and wisdom.
At sweet sixteen, I first began
To ask the good Lord for a man.
At seventeen, as I recall
I wanted someone strong and tall.
The Christmas that I reached eighteen,
I fancied someone blond and lean.
And then at nineteen, I was sure
I’d fall for someone more mature.
Then at twenty, I thought I’d find
Romance with someone with a mind.
I retrogressed at twenty-one
And found the college boys most fun.
My viewpoint changed at twenty-two,
When “one man only” was my cue.
I broke my heart at twenty-three
And asked for someone kind to me.
Then begged at blase twenty-four
For anyone who would not bore.
Now, Lord, that I’m twenty-five,
Just send me someone who’s alive!
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.