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.