Singles are Marginalized in the Church Because Marriage is Seen as a Cure for Sexual Temptation

Part 10 of a series. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

Several years ago, the pastor of the church I attended courted, got engaged to, and married a girl in the church in about three months. Shortly before they married, I seized a chance to ask the bride’s mother why they were getting married so fast.

One of her reasons was the fear of them yielding to sexual temptation.

I was shocked and disgusted.

At the time I was 26 and had managed to live a celibate life with zero support from the church and am not a pastor nor closely related to one. The pastor was five months, ten days younger than me and the son of a pastor. His bride, who was the daughter of a pastor and granddaughter of another, turned 18 several days after their marriage. Despite the lack of church support, I’d been able to resist sexual temptation, so why couldn’t they, especially with their pastoral backgrounds and large amount of church support?

The bride’s mother had married at 18 or 19 to an extremely patriarchal man and her mannerisms indicated that she was not the happiest in her marriage. She knew nothing about the realities of singleness but was clearly aware of I Cor 7:9, which says that it is “better to marry than to burn.”

When one looks at the whole of scripture, it’s clear that marriage is not the cure for sexual temptation, despite what Paul says. David had several wives, yet still raped Bathsheba. Solomon, Jacob, Elkanah, and David all had more than one wife, and all those men except Elkanah had mistresses in addition to their wives. Many rapists and child molesters are married men; both married men and women cheat on each other.

It is highly degrading to marry someone simply to have all the sex one wants. Each person consists of body, soul, and spirit. Souls and spirits exist even when the body fails. Nor is lots of sex always possible in a marriage. Spouses spend time away from each other for various reasons, such as work and ministry related trips. Spouses get sick or exhausted, making sexual intimacy difficult. A loving spouse does not demand sexual intimacy when the other is sick or tired. To get married just for sex is a recipe for potential marital trouble.

So what was Paul saying in I Cor 7:9?

To my understanding it is that marriage is the only place for sexual relations with another person.

Using I Cor 7:9, churches often push their youth into marriage or to pressure a young woman into marrying a sexual offender. They use it to defend marriage and speak out against sexual immorality.

Singles rain on that parade.

Not every single with a strong sex drive can find a spouse with an equally strong sex drive that they can also be soul mates with.

To live a Godly life, they must learn to resist sexual temptation.

By resisting sexual temptation, they prove that marriage is not crucial to resisting sexual temptation.

Thus it is possible for youth with raging hormones to delay marrying until they have found someone who is both soul and body mate.

Delayed marriage is a huge problem for many churches.

Delaying marriage helps individuals, especially women, become more independent and confident. Independence and confidence means that someone will be more likely to question church leadership and stand up to them if they have concerns.

Delaying marriage also means fewer children.

A woman with a strong work history and marketable skills is better equipped to leave and divorce an abusive husband.

Married people are also more likely to attend church than single people.

Marginalizing singleness by promoting marriage as the cure for sexual temptation enables churches to keep both men and women under the authority of church leadership and enables them to yield to the lusts of the flesh.

10 Replies to “Singles are Marginalized in the Church Because Marriage is Seen as a Cure for Sexual Temptation”

  1. Indeed! Many married folks – even ‘good believers’ – have become involved in scandals and affairs.. their married status did not automatically guard them. Flesh is always flesh, and sexual temptations are available, if one begins to look for them..
    Plenty of singles I know (and I cound myself included!) seek to live a pure, godly life. Having a fling would not be my number one temptation, as I know it would do nothing to take the loneliness away.. it would only make me feel used and degrared.

    On the other hand, sexuality in the context of a God-centered marriage, is a gift that too many churches overlook these days – I have been told so many times that wanting to marry is not holy enough, pious enough, ‘content’ enough.. the same people who are married, tell us singles that we should just ‘seek God’, ‘live for the Lord’ ‘do other things’ etc.. (all of which I have been doing since my youth, thank you very much)
    Although I would not marry *primarily* for sex, it is high on my list – not to be separated from God’s purposes of becoming one flesh and thus reflecting His glory via creation.
    Sure, I would not marry someone just to be his sex-toy (or vice versa..), but I would not deny himself, either. Attraction is God-given, and should not be overlooked either.
    Some good people I know married unashamedly for sex (it was their top priority), and they had a very happy, godly and succesful marriage, till he passed away. If both partners still honor one other through sickness and other challenges… it is not less in my eyes than having a platonic friendship-marriage (I know examples of those, too, and they are NOT more holy, or more loving!)


  2. Yes! I remember attending a church where people kept getting married. Many of these people did it all for the wrong reasons then ended up divorced a few years later. In one instance I remember overhearing a 20 year old say how much he wanted to “do his fiancee” since they were getting married in 2 weeks. I think she had just turned 18. I felt bad for this girl. Clearly the guy had no clue, or respect.


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