I Promised Myself I Would Never Get Married

When I was little, I vowed never to get married. Love was all mushy-gushy, and unmanly. I couldn’t get married and look like a softy! After all, girls made no sense, weren’t good at sports, and of all the colors in the rainbow, they had to like pink. Pink! No, I would never get married.
I was told by adults “That’s what they all say” and that, “You’ll want to when you’re older.” I scoffed at these remarks. These people had no idea how dead-set I was against getting married. Yet at the same time, a sliver of fear would creep into my mind. What kind of trauma could possibly make me want to get married as I increased in age? I would not let this happen. I promised my 5 or 6-year-old-self that I would not get married, no matter how much I may want to in the future. Image was everything, and I was too tough to ever desire the mushy-gushy.

Never get married

I grew up. While my thoughts and feelings toward marriage and females slowly evolved and changed over time, the end result was the same. I didn’t want to get married. The idea of being tied down to a family was very unappealing. I liked the idea of being alone and on my own my whole life, and it was much more appealing than having to deal with the responsibilities of marriage. It was a very selfish mindset.
I had also become quite accustomed to being different. Love was so cliché. I didn’t want to fall in love and be married like everyone else. That was too mainstream (I was a hipster before it was cool to be a hipster.)
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While I knew marriage was kind of an important thing, I didn’t see the beauty in it. It still seemed like way too big of a commitment for me to make. However, I was not alone in my belief. I hadn’t met a single other guy who liked the idea of commitment or marriage, yet by high school, they all had girlfriends. They were dating without even so much as a hint of desire to commit. They were dating for themselves, never considering how to will the good of the girls they had claimed. It was all about taking as much as they could out of the relationships, having fun, and creating new perverted conquests to brag about during lunch or in the football locker room. I got a first-hand idea of what the world’s idea of love was, and it disgusted me.

As I went through high school, I gradually and inadvertently learned more that shaped my views toward marriage. I learned that fewer and fewer people were getting married, and at later stages in life. I learned about how many marriages ended in divorce, and I learned just how morally depraved our culture was when it came to what is called “love”.
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There had to be something better. Seeing and learning all of this almost made me want to do the complete opposite of what they were doing. I wanted to show them I wasn’t crazy for being against dating or for not having a girlfriend at my age. I wanted to show them there was something better, and in my head, I knew God-honoring courtship and marriage had to be far better than what the world was doing, but it still wasn’t something I was sure I really wanted to do.
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Then, a few years ago, I was watching some talks by Eric and Leslie Ludy, and I believe it was they who first helped me to see the true magnitude of marriage, and the potential a God-honoring marriage had for good. I learned from the Ludys that the family unit is the foundation of a society, and that the health of a family depends on the health of the marriage between the husband and wife. In other words, it can be said that everything we see in our culture is the result of individual men and women bound together in a union called marriage. The institution of marriage today is in unbelievable disrepair. Marriage has dilapidated so much that we’re now even changing the definition of marriage. Marriage has crumbled in America, and what do we see in our society? We see a sick and perverted culture where morality is relative, and satisfying your selfish desires is the new gospel, wrapped in the pretty phrase “follow your heart”.
Yeah, who cares how much harm you cause, so long as you feel good.

I was in a mild state of shock after Mr. Ludy pointed out this reality, and the implications settled over me. Then he said the sentence that has always stuck with me since I saw that talk: “If you want to change the culture, have a godly marriage.” I had badly wanted to change the culture for quite some time, and here I was being informed of the most powerful way to do it…I had to get married.

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But no, I didn’t want to make that concession just yet. Other people can get married. Other people can have godly marriages. I could still do other things to change the culture, like write! After all, Paul didn’t marry, and he wished that all could be as he was. He even seemed to make the case that you can do more for God by being single than by being married.

At that point in time, I think I was still running on inertia. I couldn’t admit I wanted to get married…I would get laughed at. I would be a softy! The other reason I was reluctant to accept this desire was self-preservation. I hadn’t met a girl I had wanted to marry, and I kind of doubted one existed, considering how extreme my beliefs were, but now both of those fears have gone away.

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If God wants me to get married, it will happen. Also, wanting to get married does not make you a softy, not if you know what you’re in for and understand the difficulties and responsibilities that go along with marriage. Marriage is tough, marriage takes guts. I don’t know why this had never occurred to me before, but my dad is the manliest man I know, and he’s married. Wow…
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It could still be I am not meant to be married, but God has given me the desire and the vision, which leads me to believe it’s going to happen. I’m going to break the promise I made to myself all those years ago (and I know I say that like I’m so old, and I’m not, but it feels like a life-time ago. Stop laughing at me you old people!)
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But I can reconcile my broken promise with the knowledge that I know now what I didn’t know back then, and that’s the power and the beauty of a godly marriage. Indeed, I believe the only hope for our country is a new generation of godly marriages—my generation. I don’t know if America can last through another generation building on the sins of the past. We need to turn back, and I think marriage is the only way. Two are stronger than one, and through godly marriages come godly children–more weapons for God to use in this ever-present war against the forces of evil.
Sure, God could just zap us and make everyone perfect…but God has never done that, and I don’t think He’s about to start. What God has done is given us the institution of marriage, and He has commanded us to pass on His truth to the next generation. With more people dwelling in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God grows; increasing the territory where God’s will is accomplished. This is the simplest way to reclaim the culture for Christ.
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This is why I now write so many articles about marriage and courtship, and it’s why I’m not going to stop—despite the protests of some. I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I do want to spark enthusiasm and thought. If others have a better strategy, I want to hear it. So far, those older and wiser than me have encouraged me to keep writing what I’ve been writing, while my peers urge me to stop because of my youth and “inexperience.” Well I urge my peers to be more like Ronald Reagan, and not let that be an issue. Or rather, take the advice Paul gave Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe,” (1 Timothy 4:12).
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In order to have a godly marriage, you first have to get married. I very much believe that what you do before marriage will determine whether or not you hit the ground running once you are, or whether you have to dig yourself out of a hole. Since I am unmarried , I am currently trying my best to live my life in a way which will set me up to hit the ground running, which consequently is the same as trying to become like Christ (preparing for singleness). I believe the courtship process is also important in starting a marriage off on the right foot. How can you have a godly marriage when you do ungodly things to get there?
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Dating is very selfish, and therefore not God honoring, which is why I advocate the methods of courtship or betrothal (whatever you want to call them). But even if you have good intentions, it’s still possible to do something you might regret, as courting is a tricky process. Because this process is so tricky, and I desire to have no regrets, I have been giving it a lot of thought, and sharing my thoughts because—like I said—I think it’s important and I want other people to be thinking about what method is the best to follow.
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Sure, we could just settle for the fact that not much about courtship is specifically mentioned in scripture and just cross our fingers and hope good intentions will make everything turn out right…but I don’t want to take that risk with something as important as marriage, and the heart and purity of a young Christian woman (not to mention my own).

The idea of marriage still very much scares me. I fear the responsibly is too great, and my faults too numerous, but then I remember all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). God uses the weak to perform His great deeds so that the glory will be brought to Him. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
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I want the very best. I want the ideal if I can have it, and I want other Christians to have the best as well! One good marriage isn’t going to cut it. We need lots of great Christian marriages, and the more there are, the stronger individual marriages will be; iron sharpens iron. Each courtship/betrothal will look different, but the principles—based on love—should remain the same.
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Are there other legitimate ways to get married? Sure, but are they the best? I don’t know, they don’t sound that way to me. Are these less than ideal methods an obstacle to God? Of course not! As Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly,” and I agree. However, Eric Ludy offered a challenge, and that challenge was to have a better marriage than he and his wife, to have a better marriage than anyone else, to have the best marriage ever!
To that I say…
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Challenge accepted!

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18 Comments

  1. I can vividly remember saying when I was 16 that I never wanted to get married. (Of course I would happen to be the person who got married by the time I was 19). I truly believe that marriage provides an excellent opportunity to grow in maturity in faith and in grace–marriage is a challenge, and one that doesn’t really allow much room for selfishness or unwillingness to grow.

  2. This is really insightful. Thank you, Reagan. 🙂

  3. Great post, Reagan! I am a quadruplet, believe it or not, living with three girls my exact same age–and I still don’t understand them completely. When I was a little guy, I thought exactly what you did about marrying one of these “crazy” members of the opposite gender. After all, my sisters would much rather drag me into playing Barbies than baseball! Ugh.

    Now, of course, my opinion of girls has changed quite a bit (Cue the “I told you so’s!” from my older friends) ;0). I deeply desire to have a godly marriage with a Christian young lady in the future, and I am working towards self-sufficiency with that goal in mind. I totally agree that marriage is vitally important, both spiritually and practically!

    So, stand strong! I am sure God is preparing just the right help meet for you.

  4. It is very encouraging to this “old person” to read these thoughts from the heart of a young man. Okay, I will stop laughing at you now. 😀

  5. You’re very brave.

  6. I love this post. It is so refreshing to see and guy who want a Christ centered marriage and not a long term girlfriend.

  7. What a fabulous post, with such honesty, vulnerability, and truly a heart for Christ. I love your reflective nature and would encourage you to continue to seek God’s purpose in all areas of your life.

    Thank you for sharing (and for linking up to the SHINE Blog Hop).

    Wishing you a blessed day.

  8. Keep writing, Reagan!! I enjoyed this post. You sound like my son when he was young. He wrote on a piece of 3-ring-paper (which I wisely saved 😉 ) that he would never get married and would never kiss a girl and would rather go hunting. He married just about 1 1/2 years ago to the sweetest girl.

  9. Well, I’ve at least managed to stay single into my 20s. So I’ve managed to hold out a bit longer. Haha! But really, I think if you’re meant to get married, probably the sooner the better (provided the maturity is there, of course, although like you said, marriage often increases maturity) so good for you!

  10. Thank you! And thanks for reading!

  11. Yeah, I don’t think we are very unique. I think most boys find the idea of marriage deplorable at first.

    It’s very admirable to see another guy taking a serious and mature approach to one day becoming married. Very inspiring!

    God bless, stand fast, and thanks for commenting!

  12. Haha! Thank you…I think? 😀

  13. Ew. Long term girlfriend? No thank you.

    Glad you liked the post, and thanks for commenting!

  14. Thank you for the encouragement and support!

    God bless!

  15. Haha! So I’m not alone. Good for him on the marriage!

    Thank you very much for the encouragement and support!

  16. Keep it going,man.

  17. I feel bad because when I was little I promised myself and God I would never get married. I thought it would have been better to serve the Lord by staying single but now that I am older my mind has changed. I am afraid that if I get married I will feel guilty all the time for braking a promise to God. I even doubt if God can forgive me and if he will be happy if I marry

  18. Faby:

    I think God is an understanding person. You were young and didn’t really understand what you were doing, I don’t think God will hold that against you. What is more, it is God who gives us the desire to marry, and if you have that desire, then I think it is God’s will that you marry.

    Also, there is no sin that God cannot forgive. You don’t need to feel bad or be afraid. 🙂

    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

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