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[updated: 3/16/21]

dna-ii exclusivity marriageI wrote my first song when I was in third grade.

It was a love song, of course, called My Darling’s Moving from Missouri.

You can probably tell from the title that it was a country song too. And yeah. It sounded as bad as the title would lead you to believe.*

Not to mention that I didn’t even have a “darling” in 3rd grade, nor 4th grade, nor 5th or 6th.

Nor in middle school or high school.

Nor throughout the majority of my college existence.

You weren’t Created to be Alone!

Perhaps you can relate to the wait. Perhaps you’re already out of college or even grad school. Perhaps your college career is a distant memory and you’re still waiting for your first exclusive dating relationship.

Or worse. Regardless of your age, you may have so much relational wreckage in your past, you you can’t even handle another First Date FAIL, much less another failed relationship.

Whatever your story, I’d like to encourage you with these words: You weren’t created to be alone.

And those word come straight from God.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Gen 2:18

Whether that means God has marriage in your future, I don’t honestly know, but I believe the odds are forever in your favor. It would take many posts to defend why I feel that way, but let me just summarize by saying, celibacy is a truly unique calling, to which I suspect few are called.

Do You Really Want Marriage or Something Else?

However, what I sense from my studies at home and time on the road is that most students and young adults aren’t so much interested in getting married as they are in enjoying an epic romance followed by a lifetime of Hollywood sex. Every. Single. Night. And if marriage is required to make that sex guilt-free, then so be it.

I can relate. When I first entered college, marriage was not on my to-do list. I was simply looking for that first girlfriend. (Remember?) But…

What God had in mind for Adam wasn’t a girlfriend. It was a wife.

It wasn’t a friend-with-benefits. It was a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

It wasn’t a one-night stand. It was one man and one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime.

It wasn’t a “roommate” to help pay the bills and warm his bed. It was a life mate to help him grow in wholeness and holiness.

Is that what you want? Or just the romance and the sex?

True Confessions

When I look back at my “lonely” years I see now, I didn’t exactly want to be married. I wanted to be “in love.”

Actually, what I wanted was a girl to be in love with me. More accurately, a series of them. Maybe more than one at a time.

And when I consider my longing for all those ladies to fall in love with me, I realize that more than I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be desired.

No. I wanted to be needed. Desperately.

The truth: more than I wanted to be welcomed into a woman’s arms, I wanted to be worshiped. I didn’t want to be some girl’s guy. I wanted to be some girl’s god.

I wanted the exclusive connection promised by a magic romantic relationship, without the exclusive commitment demanded by the sacrificial marriage covenant.

Can you relate?

What kind of exclusivity are you looking for?

Are you looking for an exclusive connection that makes you feel as special as you always hoped you were? Or are you looking for an exclusive COMMITMENT that calls you up to become all you were meant to be?

In a world desperate for exclusive connections, from the inner-city gang to the church deacon board, God established marriage as the one exclusive relationship with His divine blessing.

That would make you think marriage is pretty important.

And it is! Check it out!

The Significance of Marriage

Not only does marriage bond two people together, but it opens up the astounding possibility for bringing other people into the world! In fact, God commanded Adam and Eve to do just that.

And far beyond merely producing offspring (if God allows), the two, united in the exclusive marriage covenant, are to nurture and train their children to grow up and fulfill their own individual callings!

And finally, the couple who holds onto their marriage vows hold onto each other as they age, caring for one another until death finally separates them.

So much depends on the power of the exclusive bond of marriage.

Without it, adults have far fewer children. And low birth rates always precede the decline of a culture. It’s a mathematical reality.

Without marriage, children miss the love and guidance of both a mother and a father committed to them and each other for life. This in turn, makes it far more difficult for those children to become confident, competent adults who can commit to marriage and parenting. And the cycle continues. (If you come from a broken home, I pray your faithful HEAVENLY Father is speaking to you through this post. Work through your past hurt now in the community of good friendship!)

And lastly, without it, the elderly have no security as they age. Of course, if you’re called to celibacy, your loving Lord will care for you through your own labor and the love of your church family. But for the vast majority of us, the children we care for when they are young, are to care for us when we are old. And the cycle is completed.

With so much riding on marriage, can’t you see how our romantic and sexually-driven notions of relationships sabotage not only our personal happiness, but the very health of our culture?

Marriage isn’t just another exclusive relationship designed to bring about your self-fulfillment. It’s an awesome calling, designed to lead you to self-sacrifice. Those just looking for romance or sex need not apply.

Are You For Marriage?

So what do you say? Are you IN?

If so, Future Marriage University (FMU) is here to empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well. So quit pining for marriage and dreaming about sex and start preparing.

Marriage: It’s far bigger than you dreamed. Or feared. But that’s why you want to prepare for it, like a successful career: intentionally, sensibly, and IN ADVANCE!

Consider discussing these questions with a couple of like-minded wise individuals:

  • How do you see marriage treated among your friends and family? How has that impacted your perception of marriage?
  • Have you thought of marriage in this kind of “big picture” way? If not, how might this perspective change the way you think about and approach dating/courtship?
  • Do you really want to be married or just “in love?” What’s the evidence?
  • Do you think the failure of marriage in our culture has created an environment where other exclusive social arrangements (from the high school cliques to college fraternities to cohabitation) have become more popular? Why or why not?

For the next intimacy impostor, click here.

[This is post is part of a series called Relation^ology (it begins with this post) where we identify the greatest relational need of our heart and then ID the counterfeits we seek out or settle for instead. Relation^ology started out as a discussion series and can be booked for your college, youth or young adults group (or singles group, life group, cell group, community group or whatever they’re calling Bible study these days).]

* I’ve gotten better at song writing. Here’s the lyrics to a song I just wrote in honor of Julie and my 21st anniversary.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s Date Night Advice (DNA)? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

Want to grow beyond our DNA blog?

Our LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well.

This discipleship series is NOT for couples, but for the wise individual who wants to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!

This discipleship series is NOT about dos and don’ts. It’s about learning the life lessons, mastering the life disciplines, and making the life decisions necessary for relational success.

Check out all three study guides. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!