With all the commotion around Christian circles today about singleness, dating and marriage, I thought I'd check out this booklet. Personally, I think a lot of the singleness/dating/marriage talk and books flowing through Evangelical circles are somewhat ridiculous. There is a certain point where you can talk about certain subjects too much (of course not including the gospel, which can never be spoken too much, yet I've been accused of that). Nevertheless, it still is an important subject and shouldn't be ignored.
I have been unmarried my entire adult life, which is going on seven years (if you consider age 18 to be adulthood). That means that I have had some time to wrestle with thoughts on this issue, (just as those close to my age can very aptly understand). People often ask me, "Why don't you have a girlfriend?" or "Are you looking for anyone?" and other similar questions. My most recent answers have been like this: "When Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac, the one thing he made his servant swear to do was not to get a wife for his son from the Canaanite daughters." (Genesis 24:3). There is one crucial thing for a Christian when considering marriage, and that is marrying "only in the Lord" (marrying only a like-minded believer - 1 Corinthians 7:39). The Canaanite women proved to be a disaster to every saint who ever messed with them (just remember Solomon who was the wisest guy, yet even he stumbled in this area).
The starting point of the booklet is a much needed reminder that we are not our own, but were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We belong to God, and as His temple, we are to be holy and honor God with our bodies. This should be at the center of our thinking when choosing what to do about marrage. I especially like what 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us about being bought with the precious blood of Christ. That kind of love deserves our whole-hearted devotion to Him who first loved us.
Well, the booklet does a great job at explaining this familiar concept in a positive way as well as in the negative. It talks about why Christians must not marry unbelievers and gives a lot of good reasons for it, which I don't have time to list. One of them being that unbelievers are the enemies of Christ.
It keeps at the center of the message the truth that God is a benevolent Father who knows what our greatest needs are and how to provide for His children best (Matthew 7:11). It also offers some helpful advice, such as this: "In seeking a marriage partner, the first rule to observe is: 'Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness' (Matthew 6:33)." I would recommend this resource to any single Christian friend thinking about what kind of person is acceptable to consider marrying. I really don't think there is anything too legalistic in it, (such as I've found in some of the other books I've read on Christian single male/female relationships). I wish I could say more, but my lunch break time is running out. :¬∫
While I'm at it, I also want to list one of my favorite resources I ever found on this topic, which is a message by Mark Dever at a Desiring God conference called, "Christian Hedonists or Religious Prudes? The Puritans on Sex." I really think the Puritans understood more than we do all the trials and temptations surrounding this subject. If you have an hour to listen, or download it and listen in the car, etc. This one is really worth your time.