Theologian John Piper has shared six ways single people who want to be married can keep their desire for marriage in proper perspective and refrain from “unrealistic notions” that such unions are the “key to happiness.”
In an “Ask Pastor John” podcast posted on desiringGod.org on Wednesday, the Reformed theologian answered the question: “How do I keep my desire for marriage, as a single person who would like to be married, in proper perspective?”
First and foremost, the desire for marriage is in proper perspective when it's a desire for marriage for Christ’s sake, the pastor said, citing 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
“Desire pizza in the name of the Lord Jesus. Desire a glass of water in the name of the Lord Jesus. Desire sex in the name of the Lord Jesus. Desire marriage in the name of the Lord Jesus,” he explained.
Second, Piper said the desire for marriage must be carried, shaped, and sustained by faith. This, he explained, means “letting the desire be embedded in the confidence that God did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for you.”
Third, the desire for marriage is in proper perspective when “the sorrow of not having it does not sour into cynicism and bitterness,” Piper said.
“It’s not wrong to have sorrow,” he clarified. “But it is wrong not to rejoice and to live for others, and to become absorbed in cynicism and bitterness and self-pity.”
As his next two points, Piper said the desire for marriage must not “diminish zeal to glorify God with the freedom of singleness” and or hold “unrealistic notions that marriage is the key to happiness.”
“It’s not wrong to dream about the kinds of happiness a person may have in marriage,” he said. “But don’t let your desire intensify because you idealize marriage as Heaven on Earth. Not only is marriage not Heaven on Earth — it’s not Heaven in Heaven. It won’t be there: ‘In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage’ (Matthew 22:30).”
Finally, Piper advised single people to become a part of a loving, Bible-preaching church: “That,” he said, “is a family that will last forever.”
Piper, who has been married to his wife, Noël, for over 50 years, frequently addresses the subject of marriage and has written several books on the topic.
Previously, he explained that God did not make marriage to last for eternity because its disappearance makes clear what has always been true — "that non-married people are the full beneficiaries of the greatest eternal joys."
"Marriage ends because all its pleasures are preludes and pointers to something so much better than the human heart cannot imagine," Piper concluded.
Advising those who never marry, Piper said: "The more you feel like you would miss it, the more you should rejoice that it will be replaced. With every taste or every dream, remember: this is only foretaste — only prelude."