We can’t allow an unbiblical culture of the church to exist unchecked, rather we should actively seek to redirect our church members back to a truly biblical perspective. Therefore, we need to address the idolization of marriage within our church.
Every individual church has its own culture. Biblical mandates, denominational beliefs, and traditions make up our church cultures. Of course, as followers of Christ, we should desire to have a strictly biblical culture, but yet in many churches, including the one in which I grew up, unbiblical concepts are accepted as truth. Some issues may be emphasized and followed with great intentionality, yet they are not always biblical.
And something that was always a mystery to me in years past was the emphasis within my church on being married. This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in marriage. After all, I’ve been married for fifty years. The problem for me was the way my single brothers and sisters thought of themselves. There were those who thought they had missed God’s best for them or that they were not good enough for someone to love. Some even felt their singleness disqualified them from full participation within the church community. It didn’t seem right to me to have different classes of citizens in the church—married and single.
I needed a biblical answer to this dilemma, and while wrestling with this issue, I attended a reformed conference with a friend. As we sat in the women’s conference, the speaker began to teach about the creation of man and woman and how they were both made with a purpose. My mind began to reel from this simple truth, which I hadn’t seen before this event. I was so excited that I caught up with one of the elders of our church, who was also at the conference, during lunch to share with him. It felt especially important to speak with him as he was single, and I desired his input.
Here’s what hit me that morning: God created man and woman, not husband and wife. I know what you’re thinking, “But they were husband and wife!” Yes, that’s true. God called Adam and Eve to fulfill the roles of husband and wife in order to fill the earth. He created marriage. However, the church culture I grew up in taught creation as if it were the creation of husband and wife, not man and woman. This teaching was not unique to that church, and I have since seen how this overemphasis on marriage has had and still has an effect on the singles within churches.
Contrary to what some church cultures have implied, marriage is not the goal of life. If marriage is the goal, then idolization of marriage will follow. Marriage can become more important than God at that point. However, our goal should be to please God (2 Cor. 5:9) and to bring him glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Yes, marriage is a good thing. We are even told by Paul that it is a picture of Christ and the church, which will one day be fully realized when we are united with the Bridegroom (Eph. 5:22–32). What a wonderful day that will be!