In both Songs of Solomon 3:5 and 8:4, we see the Shulamite Woman’s admonishment to trust God’s timing regarding romantic relationships and resist the urge to “stir up [or] awaken love until it pleases”. Whist I understand that exercising such patience can be a challenge, I have seen the negative effects of not doing so first hand through some of the abusive/dysfunctional relationships that I witnessed growing up. I must admit that this is therefore a subject that is really close to my heart as I have learned, both through observation and experience, that relationships (and marriage, especially) are not to be taken or embarked upon lightly.
One of the greatest reasons not to hurry love, according to Ephesians 5:25-27, is because God made marriage to be an earthly representation of Christ’s relationship with the church. This in itself is a huge clue that marriage is not about us- it’s about God, His will and what He wants to produce between the two people that He has brought together. This means that we should not get married:
#1 For people’s approval
For example, to please our parents, other elders in our family or within our church. We are called to do things “in sincerity of heart, fearing God” and not men (Colossians 3:22)- that includes marriage!
#2 Due to a perceived timeline or biological clock
Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel- that will stand”. I quote this to let you know that, although you may have a particular timeline in mind for how you want your life to go, God’s will, will prevail! This includes matters such as when exactly you’ll get married.
Marriage is not one more milestone to cross off your list or a pre-requisite to success. Like I said, this is not about you! If this is how you’ve been thinking you need to reframe your thoughts for “unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). You may have your ideas, blueprint and timeline about how and when things are supposed to happen in your life but, as a child of God, you must know that your life is not your own. We can’t keep trying to run ahead of God and then ask Him to bless the work of our hands, for all that is good and perfect comes from Him (not us!). Wait on Him, for He makes all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
#3 For status or happiness
Marriage is a multifaceted symbol for many women. For example, as previously explored, some simply see it as the next big milestone. Having achieved all other goals or by default of becoming a certain age, they enter into marriage because it is what is expected of them.
Others have subconscious status associations with marriage. For example, a husband says that they are desirable (especially when most societies teach women that male approval is the ultimate approval) whereas children tend to be seen as the ultimate stamp of womanhood. (Don’t believe me? Just look out for how many media outlets aimed at women focus on the subjects of relationships (how to satisfy a man and keep his attention) and parenthood even though this is not so prevalent in material aimed at men). I believe that this is one of the reasons it is so common to see successful women stay in unequally yoked; dysfunctional relationships rather than walking away, a fact that both distressed and confused me when I saw this play out amongst my loved ones during my formative years. It is only with maturity that I grew to understand some of the psychology behind such behaviour, as these pressures were increasingly being forced upon me.
What needs to be understood, to summarise the late; great Dr. Myles Munroe, is that singleness is not the same as incompleteness. That is to say that when God made you, He made you whole. You are not half a person looking for your other half. “You are single but not alone”. The truth is, if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself you will never be able to have a good relationship with another person. If you are not happy or fulfilled within yourself, nobody else will be able to draw these things out of you or place them in you. That all comes from a strong relationship with God as well as a positive intrapersonal relationship (relationship with yourself).
The fact is, marriage is a ministry. Although it has its foundation in love, it is actually about stewardship and God’s purpose. Love is simply the vehicle that God uses to pull two people together, just as my initial disdain for the subjugation of women was the vehicle that He used to get me blogging and writing. If we go back to the beginning, Adam and Eve’s union shows us that marriage is about two people with similar mandates or passions putting their resources together to work for a common purpose in God.
#4 Because it is a social norm
The fact that marriage is a ministry, means that it is vocational. There are many scriptures that support the adage “no man is an island,” for example Matthew 18:19-20 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which shows that the manifestation of vision usually necessitates teamwork and the increased unction of the Holy Spirit that comes with it. This is essentially a Master Mind alliance.
For some people, as with Adam and Eve, this means marriage. However this is not the case with everybody. For example God did not require Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul and many others to be married to fulfil their purposes but they still had Master Mind groups (Luke 10:1-4; Luke 7:18; 2nd Timothy 1:2-5; Titus 1:4-5). Therefore just as the phrase “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) is not just about producing children, “it is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) is not just about marriage. With this knowledge it is important to question:
Why you want to get married
Where your desire for marriage comes from
Is it social pressure? Do you feel you should be married just because that’s what is expected of you or is the social norm? Or do you feel a genuine call from God to be married?
I must confess that these were questions that I have had to ask myself repeatedly. I was never the stereotypical little girl that dreamed of her wedding day and that really didn’t change as I got older. In fact, I am still very on the fence about marriage and whether or not it’s something I actually want, let alone am called to. I say that to tell you that if you feel the same as me, it’s ok and you’re not alone! I also want you to know that such feelings are not sinful (as some may try to convince you) and the Bible actually praises the state of singleness in 1st Corinthians 7:8.
Whatever your thoughts and feelings about marriage, I think the most important thing is to make sure that you are hearing from God and truly following the path that He has called you to. It’s also important to remember that-
#5 Relationships are a vehicle into purpose
Cindy Trimm once said “Everything in your life rises and falls on a relationship. If you have the wrong relationships, you are going to end up in the wrong place” and vice versa. This means that God uses our relationships to advance us and move us forward (i.e. closer to the fulfilment of our purpose), whereas Satan uses relationships to stagnate us and cause us to regress. So, in essence, relationships are important because the people that we are with can determine whether we get to our destiny or not. Therefore, we shouldn’t be getting married unless someone has proven that they truly have our best interests at heart- and are not a distraction.
#6 Evil company corrupts good habits
To explain point #5 in more detail- 1st Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’”. This is because we are usually the most influenced by those that we have the closest relationships with. It is therefore typically our loved ones that Satan uses to try to “lead us into temptation”. For example, if a person’s “beloved” does not share their beliefs, there will be conflict for “can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
The fear of such conflict, and the possibility of it leading to a break up, can be enough to cause some people to walk in the way of their “beloved” rather than God- causing them to drift further away from God and therefore their purpose in Him. When you think about it, this has been happening since the beginning of time (think Adam and Eve). This is why it is important to have a strong sense of self and purpose before embarking upon a relationship, and be authentic during it. This will help you to know who you should be yoked with, as explained below.
#7: We are commanded not to be unequally yoked
In Genesis 1:23 Adam exclaimed that Eve was “bone of [his] bone and flesh of [his] flesh”. Although this is a literal assertion, given that she was made from his rib, an alternative interpretation of this statement is that they were “equally yoked” or kindred spirits.
Most of the time people tend to view being “unequally yoked” (2nd Corinthians 6:14) solely in terms of believers being in relationships with unbelievers. Although this is true of the original context in which this term was written this can be extended to other things, as a shared faith in God does not equate to a similar level of belief, intellect; sense of humour, priorities or core values. It also doesn’t equate to a similar life path, vision or financial literacy. Yet these are all things that must also be in sync or else the yoke of love tying two people together can easily turn into a noose, stifling one or both. I pray that, with God’s guidance, this is never you!
About the Author
Nina Dafe is the founder and editor of the Faraboverubiescollection.com, and author of “The Ultimate Guide to Eve” (set for release July 31st). Her mission is to help women understand God’s blueprint to womanhood and become the woman He ordained them to be. Start her free email course “Understand God’s Blueprint for Womanhood in 5 Days” now!
Have You Read Our Latest Magazine?
If features articles and interviews surrounding contentment. Get yours in print or digital HERE.