Does the Bible say I have to get married?
(This post was inspired by a search term that someone used to find my blog.)
Answer: It depends. There were many individuals listed in the Bible who were not married, but most were. Paul apparently was not married, but Peter was. In the Old Testament as well as the New, it is crystal-clear that sexual relations are only allowed between married individuals. So the short answer is, no, you don’t have to get married, as long as you’re willing not to have sex.
Paul wrote most eloquently to the Corinthians that it is best not to be married, because unmarried people have more time and energy to devote to the work of the Lord. But those who “burn” (with sexual desire) are distracted by it, and are therefore hindered in their work. He further wrote that those who desire to get married are not sinning, although he wished that they were as he was–that is, so filled with the desire of the work of the Lord that their sexual urges were greatly minimized or even completely done away.
I rather suspect that the person who Googled that search question was trying to justify his or her behavior. I’ve heard of some so-called Christian couples who live together before they were married, and although they didn’t have a verse in the Bible to back them up, justified it by saying, “We’ve prayed about it and have peace, and feel like God is making an exception in our case.” What nerve!
But there is the possibility that this person had been told that marriage was necessary. I’ve heard that some of the sects of Mormons preach that girls must be married in order to enter heaven–which is why they have girls as young as 14 get married, many times to older men. This is obviously Biblically inaccurate. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians (above), he specifically mentioned females as well as males when talking about whether or not Christians should get married, saying that it was better to remain unmarried if you could stand it. If you can’t, then yes, you must get married.
Update to this post: I was blessed to read this post from a man’s perspective on why modern men seem to want to avoid marriage and talk young ladies into shacking up instead, and what women can do about it.