Is marriage too big a risk for men?

With the modern possibility that a woman can take a man’s children, half his assets and saddle him with years of potential debt in the form of child support and alimony is marriage now too great a risk for men? Many men think so.  A lot of young Christian men who are engaged get cold feet about marriage because of these very real possibilities.

“She is so sweet and submissive now, but what will she change into after we are married.” This is the thought of many young men today.

Two reasons men don’t want to marry

There are really two reasons today that men don’t want to marry.  One is for selfish reasons.  “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is the philosophy of a lot of men today.  The practice of women “giving the milk for free” (having sex before marriage) has served only to help increase this irresponsible behavior in men.

In fact there are many in the so-called “manosphere” that actually recommend men forgo marriage all together and instead simply pursue a life of casual sex with various women.

Some in the manosphere argue that marriage is far more advantageous to women in our current culture than it is for men and if we were looking at this simply from the perspective of men getting the kind of respect and sex they want from women they would be right.  

But while respect and sex are things that are critically important to most men – these are not the only things that are important to  many men.  This leads us to our second reason some men do not want to marry.

The second reason that men do not want to marry is not for selfish reasons.  This second group of men truly want to share their lives with a woman in marriage and have a family. But they fear the very real possibility that a woman will deceive them and rip their heart out through divorce. Even if the woman does not divorce them she may turn out to be a contentious and angry woman that is cold to them both inside and outside the bedroom.

Some Christian men even find what they think is Biblical support for their belief that marriage is just too risky a proposition.

The Bible tells us it is hard to find an excellent wife

“An excellent wife, who can find? for her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10 (NASB)

Some men read passages like this and think to themselves “if it was hard to find a good wife back in Biblical times – how much harder is it today?” And they are right. It is very difficult for a man to find a good wife today.

The Bible tells us it is better to be alone than with a contentious woman

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Again these are not encouraging words for young Christian men to read about the prospects of marriage.  If women were contentious in Biblical times, how much more contentious are they today in age of feminism?

The Apostles say “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry

Christ had this discussion about marriage and divorce:

“9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:9-12 (KJV)

I have written exhaustively in previously posts about what Christ said here on divorce when we understand it light of the entire witness of the Scriptures.  But really this conversation boiled down to the fact that men thought they could put their wives away (divorce them) for any reason and Christ was putting a stop to easy divorce.

This meant you could potentially marry a very contentious woman and nasty woman but if she did not sin against you sexually (by either committing adultery or through sexual defraudment against you) you had to stay married to her.  This is what Christ was saying.

So the Apostles were basically saying – “if a man has to stay with a contentious and nasty wife it is better not even to get married.”  Christ responds to their conclusion that it is only for those “to whom it is given” – in other words those who have the gift of celibacy.

Paul talks even more about celibacy. Some think the Apostle Paul would agree with them that is better not to get married.  The Apostle Paul wrote these statements about celibacy:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” – I Corinthians 7:1 KJV

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” – I Corinthians 7:38 KJV

If we stopped at these passages many young men would go away feeling validated from the Scriptures that their feelings that marriage is too risky a proposition is right.

But when coming to God’s Word we must examine all of the Scriptures and not just the ones that seem to validate our feelings and desires.

The two reasons Paul thought Celibacy was better than marriage

The Apostle Paul did not say it is better for a man not to get married under ALL circumstances.  Rather it was only under certain circumstances that it was in fact better that men do not get married.

The first reason Paul gives for celibacy is “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” (I Corinthians 7:26 NASB)  This was because of great persecution that Christians were under.  Christians being rounded up and put in prison or even worse being put to death.  It is understandable why Paul would recommend celibacy if possible under such grave conditions.

“but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:33 -35 (NASB)

Paul then gives a second reason to consider celibacy. According to Paul marriage creates a new temptation.  The temptation to put your spouse before God.  The temptation to turn your spouse into idol.

Celibacy is NOT always good

While it is true that Paul wrote “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1 -KJV) he also wrote:

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

“for it is better to marry than to burn.” – I Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)

Christian men do not have the option to do as unbelieving men and just go around having casual sex with women.

Also for the Christian man celibacy is not an option unless God grants him that “gift” (I Corinthians 7:7). If a Christian man has a strong sex drive the answer to that strong sex drive and also to avoiding temptation to fornicate is marriage.

So if God has given you a strong sex drive and not the gift of celibacy – you have a Biblical obligation to seek out a wife.

Previously we saw that the Bible warns us as Christian men about the potential pitfalls of marriage.  There are a lot of sinful women out there.  There are a lot of Christian women out there that are contentious and do not have the submissive spirit God calls on women to have toward their men. But regardless of these facts the Bible tells us marriage is a good thing.

The Bible calls marriage an honorable endeavor

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)

The Bible calls children a blessing from God

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” – Psalm 127:3-4 (KJV)

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” – Proverbs 17:6 (KJV)

God commands us to marry and have children

One of the oldest commands in Scripture is found in the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (to get married and have children) has not expired. It was not a temporary command.

God designed men and women to bring him glory through living out their design.  A big part of our design is that we were designed for marriage.   How can we fully live out the roles that he has given to us if we do not marry? How can we model the relationship of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) if we do not marry? The answer is we cannot.

Yes God makes exceptions for his command to marry in the form of Biblical celibacy.  But this is only if we have the gift of celibacy.


Marriage has always been a risk for men and a good woman has always been hard to find as we can see from Scriptures.  I will fully admit that marriage today is probably the greatest risk it has ever been for men in the history of world.

Our society has completely rejected the roles that God designed for men and women in society, in the church and most importantly in marriage. In fact our society has actually encouraged and enabled rebellion in women and this makes the probabilities of marriage difficulties and divorce very high.

But as young Christian men come to realize these risks they would do well to heed the words of Joab to the men of Israel:

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” – II Samuel 10:12 (KJV)

Having courage in the face of overwhelming odds is what it means to be a man.

Yes marriage for a man is huge risk today.  But anything in life that is worthwhile is a risk. Did you know that 90 percent of small business startups fail? But would we recommend that people stop trying to start businesses? Of course not.   In the same way just because we know 50 percent of marriages end in divorce does not mean we should can give up on God’s institution of marriage.

Instead of giving up on marriage, we need to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of failure in marriage by following Biblical principles in dating and seeking out a wife. If you start out with a woman who has a good foundation your chances of success are far better.

See my post on Biblical dating for good principles to follow in finding the wife that God would have for you.

15 thoughts on “Is marriage too big a risk for men?

  1. I believe that the Ten Commandments of a Christian Marriage that Larry wrote (which I have translated into Spanish) should be discussed and agreed upon with a prospective spouse before there should be any attempt to start a serious relationship with the person.

    For example, instead of a man asking a prospective wife if she agrees with these ten commandments, he should ask her what she thinks about each one of them. Unless she is a very good liar, her thoughts that she expresses about them should give the man a pretty good indication of what kind of a wife she would be. If she says to him that the marriage should be 50/50 as far as who is the main person in authority in the family, he should stay away from her! If she thinks that she only has to have conjugal relations with her husband when she feels like it, he should also stay away from her!

  2. Good work on this, but you missed something regarding celibacy; Even those who don’t have that gift, but who choose to be celibate can do so unsinfully, albeit those who don’t should still marry if they can’t overpower their sexual urges to avoid sexual immorality(1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Other than that, very good article, I enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. I see the main problem of Christians today it is that men are afraid of their wives. I with the help of his word, I realized that there is no reason to fear. if she wants to go and take the children to do so. but my position as a man and authority must be set in stone. women know where it hurts and that place is where they hit us. But against that, we have the example of great men of the Bible. they never allowed their wives trouble him. and we Christians must be strong and although the state law favors them, Let’s stay in our place as God intended. No matter that she runs home and take the kids. God will provide

  4. Oscar, u are absolutely right as to one of the main issues and that is men fear their wives instead of women referencing or having a respectful fear of their husbands.

    I think the other problem besides fear is just plain ignorance on the part of many Christians as to what the Bible actually says about the roles God gave to men and women.

    But you are right that men need to have courage and do what is right in the face of threats by their wives to leave.

  5. Hi Oscar,

    I used to be one of those men afraid of his wife! However, this web site has helped to give me the courage to take a stand against my wife’s rebellion against God’s plan for our marriage.

    Even though my wife knew that God called me to Mexico as a missionary before we got married, she has wanted to move back to Colombia for a while now because she says that she really missed her family there. She has tried to convince me in a number of ways to move to Colombia with her, saying that she was bored and lonely here in Mexico and that she has no family here. I believe that the person that she has missed the most is her 34-year old youngest son, who has been on drugs off and on for years and has missed his mommy a lot! He was living with her shortly before we got married. The emotional umbilical cord between the two of them has never been cut. Her constantly refusing to have conjugal relations with me (since April of 2014) gave me the courage to tell her that I wanted her to go back to Colombia. She left on December the 6th with plans to come back here on March the 10th. However, this month I sent her a letter (as an e-mail attachment) telling her that before she could come back here she had to be willing to follow God’s plan for our marriage, with specifics about what she needed to do. After reading that letter, she has decided to separate from me indefinitely. I told her that I still love her, but that I am much happier living by myself than in an unhappy marriage with a wife who does not love me.

    I believe that her putting her youngest son first over her husband will cause her to have a very rude awaking one day! Especially a son who is on drugs off and on. He is now living with his girl friend and they have a little girl together. I believe that the emotional umbilical cord between him and his mother is one of the reasons that he is very reluctant to marry his girl friend. If my wife gets her own apartment there, the next time that he has a serious fight with his girl friend he will probably tell my wife that he wants to live with his mommy again. One day my wife might well realize that she was much better off with me here in Mexico than living close to him in Colombia! What she does not understand is that when we rebel against God’s plan for our lives, we are in big trouble!

  6. I have heard pastors and even nouthetic counselors use:
    1 Cor 7:1-5 not just depriving of sex, but to not deprive each other of…. You name it. I confronted ours and he only krinkled his nose and grunted. Not depriving your wife of… Is actually what he meant. I asked him to support this inlght of what Paul was specifcally speaking about and he couldn’t.

    1Cor 7:33-35 to say that God ordains intentionally trying to please our spouse. I confronted again. He couldn’t support his claim. This passage is stating that we do this automatically to our own downfall, when we should be seeking to please God. I do not mean we shouldn’t, and we glorify God when we biblically please our wives through washing with the word etc., but it is a passage that says we will tend to please our spouse over doing what is Godly. He and the biblical counsel coalition mean it to say to TRY and please your spouse.

    It’s absolutely crazy out there. I will not mention our past pastor because he is known internationally and heard on the radio multiple times daily. Needless to say he has gone down that path.

  7. “The practice of women ‘giving the milk for free’ (having sex before marriage) has served only to help increase this irresponsible behavior in men.”

    GREAT article. But, I do want to say something about the statement I quoted above.

    Fornication is a sin for both men and women. I believe people look at promiscuity on behalf of women incorrectly when they see it as enabling men to get away with sin; that is not the case anymore so than the corollary. By describing promiscuity from the point of view of only one gender, more blame is inadvertently placed upon the other.

    If a man and a woman fornicate, they are both at fault. They are not enabling someone else to sin anymore than they are committing their own sin.

  8. Well with the kind of women that are now out there these days which it is very smart for many of us good men to stay single now. Most women that are still single now with never ever be marriage material at all since they’re so very greedy, selfish, spoiled, and very money hungry as well which really speaks for itself as well. And why should many of us good men have our lives destroyed again? Been there and done that.

  9. Churches need to teach Biblical gender roles like Larry is doing. Churches only tend to teach the man’s responsibility while putting little or no emphasis on the woman’s Biblical responsibility in the marriage. That’s because most churches today are run like businesses and they don’t want to offend their main customers, which are women.

  10. So, basically risk losing everything you worked for. Put it all on red, it is worth it! You acknowledge all the pitfalls of modern marriage yet encourage young men to take the risk. what is you response to all this poor young men that have been ruined through divorce? Why can’t marriage just be a sacrement of the church , why does the government and the states have to get involved?

  11. Jim,

    My response to men who have suffered through divorce(as I did in my first marriage) is the same. Pursuing God’s institution of marriage and his command to be fruitful and multiply and attempt to be husbands and fathers as he is a husband and father is always worth the risk. Can we as men attempt to mitigate that risk by vetting potential wives better? Yes. But in the end it is always a risk and a risk that is worth taking. Not only does our obedience to God depend on this(unless he has called us to a life a celibacy) but also the human race depends on this.

    No individual will die from not having sex, but the human race will die if people in mass stop having sex. The family unit will die if people stop getting married.

    Also in the area of risk – are you aware that more than 50% of new business startups fail within 5 to 7 years the same as 50 percent of marriages fail? So if we applied this fear of risk and fear of loss to the business world we would not have an economy either.

    Thankfully – God has built into man the desire to take risks. Most men are risk takers and that is a good thing for the economy and for God’s institution of marriage.

  12. I just donate my money to worthy causes, my child that I have chosen to take care of through child fund, and now at least I know my money is going to help people. I don’t know if I could deal with giving my money to a contentious woman who broke her marriage vow……

  13. Very good and honest post. I have given up on marriage. But I am very happy to see others get in a happy marriage. However, marriage like student loans are not as easily forgiven as going bankrupt on a small business. The repercussions are just too much for me. And I am struggling too much in life financially as is. Child support and losing my 401k would destroy me. And if they took a chunk of my social security in 25 years I would be destitute. My 401k won’t be enough to retire comfortably anyway. I fear not being able to work in my early 70s which is still 25+ years away. Some of us have to look at the math and walk away. A divorce and child support is far more dangerous than bankruptcy.

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