Marriage Myth-Busting #1

If only Christians would get their ideas about marriage and relationships from the Bible!

Myths mess with your mind. Some myths about marriage keep people from ever experiencing the blessings that God would give them. They can make people hold back, like a child afraid of entering the water, or like a church-shopper unable to commit to membership in one body. They can create unmeetable-expectations, giving rise to continual disappointment or frustration, and destroying the blessings within a marriage that God would otherwise bestow.

Tragically, so many of the unmet-expectations for Christians turn out to be based on Bible verses that have been abducted from their context and enslaved to serve some clever-sounding idea. They can be utterly unbiblical, to the point of being diabolical, but if they’re as catchy as “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” you can count on them being lapped-up by a generation desperate for something about marriage.

Unfortunately, if an idea sounds good, it’s incredibly hard to get most people to stop and examine it carefully, but that’s what makes this series so important. Until we step back as Christians and look carefully at the scriptures in context, there’s little hope of busting the common myths about marriage that can otherwise wreck our lives.

This series won’t be quick to finish. In our church, we’re working through Genesis 2 at the moment, and I’ll be focusing the myths busted in the passages I’m working through. There are three common myths that are busted just in Genesis 2:18, and more to follow still in the rest of the chapter. I’ll keep the series open ended however, and hope to update it with more posts the opportunities arise.

Myth 1: It’s paradise on your own!

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Genesis 2:18

God said it’s not good to be alone—even in paradise. God’s solution—even in paradise—was marriage.

Single—for sin’s sake?

Lots of young Christians have grown up in the hook-up culture that’s genuinely bought-into the idea that you’re better off flying solo! Some worldly-minded people work hard to believe that having friends-with-benefits to invite over for a Netflix-and-chill, is paradise compared to the complications that come with an old-fashioned relationship, let alone marriage.

This is the mindset of the me-first generation, and is basically unbridled selfishness on display. The kind of weak arguments people use to defend singleness for sin’s sake, shows they really are clutching at straws.

the difficulties in our relationships that come as a result of the fall, are not solved by being alone

The kind of arguments they use, boil down to a desire to avoid the difficulty, inconvenience, and compromise that comes with a relationship, but since when did selfishness become something to be proud of? Tragically Christians are often influenced by this kind of thinking, and fall into defending singleness with the selfish “benefits” of being alone, rather than accepting God’s verdict on singleness. (Do keep reading, single Christian, as I do actually believe in the gift of singleness! We just can’t ignore God’s intended normal which is what we get here in Genesis 2.)

It’s worth saying that the difficulties in our relationships that come as a result of the fall, are not solved by being alone. You can’t solve your problems at work by staying home, unless you want to be unemployed! When we avoid the problems that come with relationships, we’re just postponing the process of overcoming them, unless that is, you want to stay away from everyone, for ever! This side of the fall, there are no perfect relationships, and contrary to the mindset of the hook-up culture, God says it’s not good to be alone.

Single—for who’s sake?

It’s interesting to think that while God says that even in paradise, it’s not good to be single, so many Christians teach their children to think that in university, or the early-years of their career, it’s better to be single for the sake of undivided devotion to your goals in life.

When the disciples said “it’s better not to marry” in their shock at Jesus’ teaching that you can only get divorced for sexual immorality, Jesus responded by saying not everyone can accept the idea of not marrying, only those who were gifted (Matthew 19:10-11). Jesus then spoke about eunuchs who made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:12), people who had voluntarily committed themselves to singleness for the God’s sake.

Paul encouraged the Corinthians that “in view of the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26) it was “good” for a person to remain as he was (single). What’s key to understand, is that throughout the passage in which he’s recommending singleness Paul makes it clear that this is for people who are gifted to be able to live that way (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 28, 38-39), but if they are struggling with the temptation to sexual immorality, the solution is marriage and satisfying the intimate needs of each other within that sacred bond (1 Corinthians 7:2, 5, 9).

Single—for God’s sake?

When he recommends singleness for people who are gifted to be single, Paul makes his main purposes very clear. He says that he’s NOT recommending singleness to lay any restriction on them, but to promote good order, and to secure their undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:35). Paul’s concern, was that because of their distressing circumstances (1 Corinthians 7:26), they would be impacted in their ability to serve the Lord by their need to care for their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:28-34). Given the extreme circumstances they were in, he wanted them to remain single to be able to be single minded in their devotion to God, not distracted by other legitimate concerns.

Are you remaining single for God’s sake, or for some other reason?

With all that said, it’s worth giving the challenge to single Christians who’ve grown up in a world saturated with unbiblical thinking about singleness. Are you remaining single for God’s sake, or for some other reason? To stay single for selfish reasons would be a tragically misguided move—especially for Christians! We mustn’t buy into the mindset of the world which says it can be paradise if only you’re on your own!

Maybe a generation of young Christians need to hear the word of God again, spoken IN PARADISE, when he said, “it is not good that the man should be alone.”

Here’s the sermon preached at GraceLife London on 22nd Sept 2019