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Why I’m No Longer Waiting Till Marriage

Recently, however, I decided that I'm done waiting until marriage...


I remember being in 6th grade and watching some cheesy family movie where the princess fell in love with some peasant shlub and they lived happily ever after. I remember the film stirring up longings within me for that same kind of whimsical romance. I wanted a beautiful and innocent mademoiselle to fall helplessly into my arms after I had heroically come to her rescue, whatever form that took.

Over the years, Hollywood continued to program my desires. I remember movies (tacky as they were) like Fever Pitch, Serendipity, and literally hundreds more which taught me that all my problems would be solved once I met the right girl, fell head over heels in love, hit a rough patch where we didn’t talk for a minute, then came rushing back together to live indefinitely in a state of heavenly bliss.

Yes, once that happened I would be good.

So I eagerly waited. I knew in the depths of my being that one glorious day, God would orchestrate a meet cute, and I only wondered when and where. Would she walk in the door of a coffee shop with an adorable lost expression on her face, or would she happen to sit next to me on the airplane? The options were endless.

But the troubles this presented me were manifold.

For starters, the romance film industry programmed me to believe there is one perfect woman out there for me, and all I have to do is meet her. According to the criterion plot line, we have everything in common and enjoy the same hobbies. (Of course, there are the cute discrepancies which cause cute little arguments, but those can be overlooked.)

But there are no perfect women. And I am as far from a perfect man as you can get before you start getting into the “Murderous Dictator & Collegiate Rapist” categories.

I also failed to account for insecurities arising, both in myself and in others. I overlooked more base factors such as farts, B.O., and faint moustache hairs. I didn’t think about how the timing is usually bad, and she’s going home for the summer. I didn’t think about arguments and disagreements, and how my anger can boil over.

All that is to say, my ideas of marriage, and life in general, were programmed into me by the media. The media did not simply influence my thinking about these things; it literally reprogrammed me.

I’m going to repeat that once more just to be clear: The things we allow into our minds rearrange our desires, and even create new ones that were not there before.

I’ve been reading a book lately called You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith, and it is reshaping the way I think. It is mind-boggling. Buy it. Smith explores our desires, and what shapes them, and I have been able to identify certain desires in my life that have been programmed into me, with an idyllic image of marriage being at the top of the list.

Marriage became something I looked forward to, to the degree that I couldn’t be happy until there was a woman in my life.

And apparently, I was not the only one to buy into this. Look at the number of people on Tinder, eHarmony and the like. The dating industry rakes in over $1.4 billion a year. A lot of us seem to feel lonely and think a relationship (even a one-night relationship) will fill in the gaps.

There is no place in the Bible that points to marriage as the source of our satisfaction and fulfillment, yet we Christians are terribly guilty of elevating marriage to a source of satisfaction.

A friend once told me, “If you’re not happy as a single person, you won’t be happy as a married person.” Marriage was not invented as a means of solving all your personal issues. If anything, it will likely bring to light more issues that lie dormant beneath the surface.

Marriage is a reflection of the gospel; of God’s relationship to His people. It is a covenant. It is living in a perpetual state of forgiveness. It is not a happily-ever-after utopia where all your problems are vanquished.

Recently, however, I decided that I don’t want to wait until marriage. . .(long pause). . .to be happy.

I can enjoy the friends I have right now rather than wish I had someone more than a friend. I can buy a house by myself. I can pursue hobbies like painting, dancing or snake charming on my own. (Insert cheesy inspirational line about how doing the things you love will lead you to ‘The One’ you’re supposed to be with. Then stop and think about how even that sentiment reflects how deeply you have been programmed to see marriage as the ultimate destination.)

I’m attempting to undo years of programming and enjoy the present moment, single as I am. I go on runs and stop to talk to people. I bike really fast and simply enjoy the adrenaline rush, rather than trying to impress anyone. I got off social media so as to not stalk countless women to determine if they are The One (My friend runs it all for me now, for those of you who were wondering).

More so, I am working on enjoying God, and my times of quietness with Him. My prayers are no longer a begging-session of me complaining about my celibacy (I’ve reduced that to about 50% of my prayers now), But I can zoom out and focus on others. What does the world need? Who does God’s heart hurt for?

Since deciding not to wait until marriage, life is more enjoyable. It’s almost like experiencing freedom from a big weight that always loomed overhead. The pressure is off. And if it happens, it will happen in God’s time, so I can relax.

I hope the rest of you single people experience this same degree of freedom.

Don’t look to romance to fill the voids within you.

Don’t wait till marriage.


I bet you thought this was about sex, didn’t you? Sickos.


91 comments on “Why I’m No Longer Waiting Till Marriage

  1. bethiefaith

    Haha I did think it was about that and thought “nooooo Ethan waaaaaait” I’m a dork!! What a wonderful truth!!!! If you can’t find joy and peace and contentment with God another person sadly will not fill that void, emptiness or give us the happiness we seek…❤️

  2. Thoughtful, well written and relevant.
    Thanks for affirming that being single is not the end of the world but rather a free pass to self exploration.

    ~girl from coffee shop

  3. Excellent thoughts!

  4. Was just having a conversation with a friend earlier about this very thought. Beautifully written, Ethan!

  5. Happy to hear that you are starting to reprograme yourself, but you have still a long way to go if you still think that farts or facial hair are things ti forgive. Woman are humans, food also ferments some times in our stomacs and we need to realise the gas somehow.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this! As a single person, I’ve also found myself contemplating and battling this recently too.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that you really don’t have to get married. Marriage is not the ultimate life goal. That is a hard idea for your brain to rewire.
    I appreciate your thoughts and I wish you the best of luck in your single and happy pursuits 🙂

    -fellow single person finding a happy life in Christ

  7. Yep! I had met my wife years before I actually *met* her, and I had met my father-in-law and aunt-to-be years earlier. It took me going to Boston to find out about a Christian Singles Outreach ministry in California just to meet a woman 15 minutes away. Over 22 years later, she is by my side.

    More importantly, I also had to learn how to be happy in Christ without feeling “incomplete” in my singleness. Marriage doesn’t accomplish that, either, by the way.

  8. After I read this, I saw the one you wrote about the New Lonely. And I agree with you. I bemoan to my friends and parents a lot about being lonely -but you are right, it’s maybe just unmet desires, not loneliness. And then I have to remember that the desire to get married is not a bad desire, although sometimes I feel guilty about it. The point you made in this post is exactly what singles need to be reminded of, myself included!

    p.s. So does your friend scour your facebook page for “the one” for you now? Because if so, I wouldn’t mind if he/she stalked me a bit 😉

  9. Awesome piece, Ethan! If you cannot find happiness in God without a marriage/dating, etc. Then, how should we think marriage will bring happiness. Happiness is only found in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Definitely in God’s own timing and purpose for both your lives. He knows what He’s placed into your spirit and what He’s equipping you to do. Then, she will complement your purpose. He will, ma’am complement and support you in your purpose. Great article!😃

  10. Marsha Metzger

    This is such an awesome read. My heart’s desire is to help young people recognize that God has a plan for their lives to journey with Him now and to rest assured that He has the timing and the relationships that we need. Enjoy your life – John 10:10 abundant and to the full!

  11. Reblogged this on Live A Life Of Love.

  12. My friend, things changed in your life when you changed your way of thinking. If you had not been seeking answers through hollywood you would not have had the disappointments. Getting your mind on the Word of GOD and what He teaches about marriage is the key. Lastly…I happen to love “Serendipity!” John Cusack is a cutie. If you can look at movies like this one and take it for what it is: “entertainment to give you brief moments of the fuzzies,” rather than making a doctrine out of it for marriage and romance…then you can enjoy a warm smile deep in your goosies from time-to-time. Wonderful post! 🙂

  13. Yes, yes, and YES to all of these things! Here’s to living full and joyful lives, whether we have/get spouses or not!

  14. Wow! When God delivered me from homosexuality,I realized the love I needed I found in Jesus Christ. Then I realized how Christians (church folks) have idolized marriage. I have been single and my life is going great with Jesus Christ. I personally prefer to stay single but if God wants me to get married, then so be it. I’m not waiting for marriage. I’m waiting for the return of our Messiah.

  15. Nice write-up

  16. God brought me to this exact realization a few months ago. Growing up, I fell in love with the idea of falling in love. After God brought me out of my six year relationship (who had just recently become my fiancé), he put a desire inside of me for a love that I knew no man could ever fulfill. At that point, I came to understand and accept that God very well could have me be single for the rest of my life…and that’s okay. We get in such a hurry to put an end to our singleness – but why? Why don’t we look at our singleness and see it as a season of beauty and growth instead of rejection and solitude? Why don’t we realize that – if God chooses marriage for our lives – our singleness is our only time to be on-one-on with Christ? Our only time to discover Him so intimately and so deeply without distraction. Instead of being perturbed, why aren’t we thankful? God gave us this season for a reason. Let’s stop living to find love when the only love we ever needed has been here all along.

  17. This sentiment can also be applied towards sex, as I’m sure many who saw the title of your post assumed that that was what is was about. Our sexual nature is a fundamental aspect of our personalities, is an integral part of our fulfillment as humans, and does not need to be postponed until marriage. I know many Christians battle with this issue and feel anguish and guilt towards their very natural sexual desires. Instead of painting this side of ourselves with such a negative paintbrush and calling people (albeit jokingly) “sickos,” we should focus more on being caring, understanding and respectful sexual partners. If done safely and with respect for yourself and others, sex is a truly wonderful part of the human experience.

    • I think you are missing the point Gerri, sexual feelings maybe natural, but Lust isn’t and sex is only beautiful only within the sacrament of marriage. That is why (I think) the word “sickos” was used

    • Hello? Seriously? God created sex and He designed it to be inside of marriage only. When He says “Don’t” He means “Don’t”, and it means don’t hurt yourself! He knows what He’s talking about since He created you; save yourself pain & suffering…

  18. God brought me to this exact realization a few months ago. Growing up, I fell in love with the idea of falling in love. After God put an end to my six year relationship, He put a desire inside of me for a love that I knew no man could ever fulfill. At that point, I came to understand and accept that God very well could have me be single for the rest of my life…and that’s okay. We get in such a hurry to put an end to our singleness – but why? Why don’t we look at our singleness and see it as a season of beauty and growth instead of rejection and solitude? Why don’t we realize that – if God chooses marriage for our lives – our singleness is our only time to be on-one-on with Christ? Our only time to discover Him so intimately and so deeply without distraction. Instead of being perturbed, why aren’t we thankful? God gave us this season for a reason. Let’s stop living to find love when the only love we’ve ever needed has been here all along.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s nice to see that others have the same thoughts and have the ability to compose it so eloquently so that it actually makes sense.

  19. What the media, the church, your parents, and society in general never told you about marriage. Every individual is born into a group. we have no choice in the matter. I know some religions preach otherwise but I won’t bother with such dogma. I prefer a more practical approach. As we grow older we join groups. We have a circle of friends, people to whom we are attracted. Often we share the same values and goals. These values and goals may not always be as close to our own, but they are close enough that we wish to belong. Note that last word, belong. When we seek to play on a softball team we are seeking to belong to that group of individuals whose most common purpose is to play softball. Now we may have other goals such as wining, becoming the local champions and establishing personal best records of play. But never the less, we seek to associate and belong to that group.

    When we join a church we tend to have some general idea what goals and values we want to share with other members of that congregation. Again, we seek to belong, to associate with others who have similar religious values of goals. The same is true when we seek employment. We will seek to join groups and belong and associate until the day we die. Marriage is a group membership. Most individuals never think of it that way. Often individuals will subordinate their goals and values for the temporary comforts of life. We often seek the prettiest girl or the most handsome boy, not realizing that beauty is transient. Or perhaps we are waiting to feel that grand zing of emotions, the fireworks of tinsel town expectations. Of course we are often all about “love”, how it’s suppose to hit you like a freight train. If one is a religious individual then expressing a love of God should cue us in on how we may love a marriage partner. It’s really a variation on a common theme. Normally we have learned to love our parents and siblings, if we have any. we learn how to love our friends. Indeed, we learn a great deal about the act and art of loving if we pay the needed attention. Of course like the Beatles song, do you believe in love at first sight? I’m sure it happens all the time. But that’s the exception to the rule. The purpose of long engagements is to let love build a foundation for a marriage and creating a family.

    Many of us back into love and marriage, or at least lust and marriage without the least concern. That’s why divorce rates are so high. I would believe it is due to a certain laziness among the general population. A lack or preparation in discovering not only the individual who will make our cherrist partner but also understanding what we want out of a marriage. Few individuals truly express what they want from a marriage. Oh yes, companionship or a loving relationship, something as vague as that. And yet we do not seem willing to think about what we really want. We pay more attention to which college we want to attend or profession we want to pursue, we put more effort into seeking the answers to those questions and not nearly enough about what we want from a marriage and what we are willing to put into it. You do know that marriage is a two way street. It’s like a bucket. You can’t get any water out of that bucket if you didn’t put water in it.

    Now many religions do not believe in evolution and it is not my purpose to push that theory. But there are two major foundations for human civilization that have always existed. The first is self preservation, the will to live. The second is to procreate, We may do the first without regard for thinking about anyone else in this world. But surviving alone is not much of a living. We live in groups and we survive best in groups. Being in a group means we rely on cooperation with other group members. this is the point of marriage, of belonging to a church, to working for a company, to living in the society at large. and when we enjoy our activities within the aegis of group membership we learn to love those members of our groups to the varying degree appropriate. Love is the expression of the pleasure we derive from doing and belonging. We can embroider this love with all manner of sentiment or religious teachings or what other explanations we have learned. But this is the stripped down basics of live. We let our values and our goals provide us the meanings we seek in life.

    I have avoided religious expression because I would rather provide you a framework and then let you fill in the religious values that fit your beliefs. This is the general pattern. Call it God’s pattern, if you like. It is what we humans have done throughout the old testament and the new.

  20. Ethan…meet Grace – She wrote a book called “I Don’t Wait Anymore” that grew out of a similar blog post to yours. Check it out.

  21. I have a friend who is marrying her baby’s father. I think that’s the only reason she’s marrying him…oh and because her view of Disney fairytales has warped her to believe that marriage will fix her life’s problems. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this matter for single mothers as it’s a deep issue for many.

  22. Reblogged this on A Day To Write and commented:
    Such a good read!

  23. Marriage 💑 is not designed to make you happy. Marriage is designed to make you a bigger, better, deeper person.

  24. We sat as a forty-something couple in a huge group of Christian couples and the elder asked us to go around the room and introduce ourselves. If you’re still single, you might not be aware of this kind of Christian adoration of perfect marriage, perfect children, perfect life that is an extension of the when I am married, life will be wonderful myth. One after another, the husbands said something like, Hi I am Jim and this is my lovely wife Carol. We have been married for 15 wonderful years and have 3 beautiful, creative children. Hi I am Bob and this is my lovely wife…. On and on it went around the enormous living room. My husband started whispering…You talk. You talk. I am shaking my head NO. You talk! Noooo… The action was now only two couples away. FINE. I’ll talk. FINE.
    Hi, I said. My name is LeEllen and this is my husband Allan. We have four terrific children and have been married for 9 wonderful years… 9 out 14 that’s not too bad!
    The pastor next to me snorted coffee out of his nose, but many did not laugh. I had broken the code.
    That being said, I am now in my mid-sixties and a widow for over a decade. The myth haunts me still. I am lonely for someone to walk THIS path with me. I remind myself again, Jesus has my back. And maybe the gents out there have heard this story and know I cannot be trusted with the myth.

    • You are great and it sounds like your husband was, too. I’m praying for you and your continued path. I needed this story in these comments, for it was the only one to make me smile. Thanks for being awesome.

  25. Confession: I thought this was about sex. I recently read an article about a new Christian book which blesses sex outside of marriage so long as it is “consensual and feels good.” I was afraid you jumped on that train. Glad you not only didn’t jump on that train, but that you are jumping off the “Hollywood perfect love story” train. Enjoy your newfound joy. 😉

  26. Hello Ethan, I started following you since the moment you came out on the news and I thought, that there has to be much more to this man than just good looks. I was right. You by yourself are an inspiration to so many people. I am glad that you are focusing on yourself and God. There is no greater satisfaction than in putting yourself first before others. When you take care of oneself than the universe will reward you in return. I myself am single and I have been for about 10 years. This was my decision. I was always looking in the wrong places for that perfect man. I had an awful ex husband but something positive came out of that, I had two wonderful sons who are now 24 and 22 years old. For me I am not afraid of dying alone. People always tell me that it isn’t good to be alone……I think otherwise, when you have God in your heart, you are never alone. When you are out and about….you are not alone…..Be happy for other people who have someone, be happy for them. The love that you resonate will come back to you someday. I have seen it work. Do not be depressed, when you have to realize some of us have a purpose in this world. We each have our own strange experience with the Lord and the situation that lead us here. Trust in him and relax in knowing that he has your back. Knowing that he knows what you want. I myself am very simple and very tranquil woman who loves the life that God has give me…. You are a sweetheart and you have many followers, just make sure the ones that follow you see you ……and not just your body…..take good care Ethan and many many blessings toward your goal….😊😊😊

  27. Thank you!…for saying “it”. Needs to be said more.

  28. This is very well written! It also reminded me, as a parent to an 8 year old, why we parents need to make sure we talk to our kids about reality vs fantasy. It’s something my parents reinforced thru my growing years. I can remember my mom saying “happily ever after doesn’t happen in real life.” As I got to my teens my parents would remind us our happiness could only be found in Christ, a man was not going to make us happy. The problems you have as a single person are often magnified when you get married. We all hate to say mom was right….but she was. Issues I had before I married were still there, and annoyed my hubby. 🙂

  29. I love everything about this article. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Dani xoxo

  30. Truly resonate with this concept! I have been trying to find the joy in being single myself and at times it is hard. That’s when God drops little pieces of joy and encouragement into my day. Keep going with it and see the joyful blessings that God spontaneously supplies 😊 Thanks for writing.

  31. Rebekah Ratliff

    This read was completely for me. I have been struggling with this thought the past couple months. Literally everything you said applied to my situation. I have been trying to reprogram myself as well and have been struggling. God brought your post to me today… Of that I have NO doubt! Thank you for bringing to light what so many of us singles struggle with and for being REAL about it.

  32. This is the second article I saw on this kind of topic today, this is the first one I happened accross

  33. Great post. And yeah, at first I though it is about sex 😀

  34. I know the Bible tells us it’s easier to walk with Christ when you’re single (1 Corinthians 7:7-8), but it also says some have “the gift of marriage”. The only concern I have about your article is that it sounds like you’d reject marriage if the Lord put you in the right place for it. Am I misreading you?

  35. I really liked it until the last sentence that ruined it for me. Just because someone thought it was about sex, doesn’t make me sickos!!!!! Wtf. But overall really nice article especially on what you said about the media.

  36. This was never too much a struggle for me, nor, I think, most of my siblings. When I was a young disciple in high school I thought for sure I was going to HAVE TO get married because of purity (I certainly didn’t dislike the idea either). But as hormones subsided through the course of college, I was so excited to join the singles ministry! And I credit my parents with that. Theirs is a blessed and happy marriage, a balanced partnership, and God-centric. But they’ve never hidden from us how hard it can be. Coming from families where their parents would take their issues behind closed doors, they made an effort to show us selfless resolution. Seeing the hard work behind it didn’t destroy my idea of a fairy tale romance, it just tempered it with some good sense. Now the take-it-or-leave-it fairy tale is that if God want me to find a husband, I won’t be able to turn around without tripping over him as I go about serving God.

  37. Jonathan Charron

    I bike fast

  38. lucy musyoki

    wow. this an all time concern for young people especially ,when everybody wants to find out ,wait you are waiting for,the pressure of those who are already in marriage etc.Thank God for you and many others in here, one is tempted to think that they alone.Thanks alot

  39. I’m in this place too – indeed a beautiful place to be!

  40. I enjoyed this read. I’m blessed to have met my husband during high school, and we have been married for 2.5 years. I think that it’s important to remember whether or not you’re married that you can never depend on getting your happiness from another person. You need to cultivate an attitude of joy that comes from the Lord, and not from your partner.

  41. This is clearly the most commented article ever. This is a good read and keep up the good work.

  42. Wendetta Williams

    You are so right I just found that out recently a man can’t make me happy. i will have to have God’s help to make me happy. I did turn to dating sites in even trying to find friendship and love and that was a big dissappointment. I totally get where you are coming from I love spending time with God.

  43. Reblogged this on Follow That Rabbit! and commented:
    I’ve seen something similar to this from a girl’s perspective. It’s reassuring somehow to know that men have this same struggle.

  44. I was totally there, in that place that you’re in now. I was confident that God would either lead me to who He wanted me to be with, or that He would let me know that I was meant to be like Paul, and not marry at all.

    I waited and waited, I lived my life as if being single was what God wanted for me, until He brought the love of my life into my life.

    Keep living for God, and you’ll NEVER go wrong!!!!

    Thanks for sharing this!!

  45. This thought I share below is dangerous to post without appropriate framing or context (so cautiously unpack it):
    Thoughts and feeling that “look like” concerns about not finding a marriage partner, often are deceptively vailed patterned behaviors of selfishness or self-centeredness (sown by those that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls).

    If we are choosing contentment/happiness in single-hood, even with a seemingly Christ focus, without community we risk losing it all. By all means deprogram the secular media driven counterfeit myths of love and meaning, but be careful to not create and equally bad or worst subtitutes for Truth. We are all called to marriage, some are called to a higher (marriage) vocation. No vocation can be properly entered into without “freedom”, self-mastery, self-possession in order for the gift of self (totally, faithfully, fruitfully) to mean anything.

  46. You now will have 158 dates to cram into your schedule! Ha!

    Seriously, though, I do think some of us married folks perpetuate the idea that you become complete after you are married. I know I do. I truly can’t imagine life without my husband. That being said, it is REALLY hard to imagine a single life because do much changes when you get married and have children that it is nearly impossible to imagine what could have been. It is easy to assume to worst.

    I do truly believe that my marriage was “meant to be” but in the sense that I would have never chosen to date someone my complete opposite like he is without a little nudge from God. As it turns out, he has qualities that I never would have known I needed in a spouse.

    Yes, marriage is hard work. Especially marriage after kids. There are days that we both just want to run away. And I completely agree that happiness should not be dependent on being married. There are things that, were I single, I could do (like becoming a missionary) that my husband is not on board with. Being married takes a time commitment that single individuals do not have to worry about- and kids! Yikes! That’s an insane time commitment!

    There are pros and cons! But always be joyful. Always.

  47. Amy Hartley

    I too came to this conclusion a few years ago. I found that the commentary in my head was always “when I get married I’ll (fill in the blank).” I began to realize how much of life I was missing out on waiting for my other half. It is a conscious effort for me to not focus on the fact that I’m alone and what makes it worse sometimes is that so many others who are concerned for my happiness seem to think that me being married would solve it all. I am learning to appreciate the time that I have to myself to enjoy spending time with my girlfriends (married or single), to focus on my relationship with God and putting him first and serving his people however I can. My favorite role is Auntie to my 12 nieces and nephews, and it is something I would not trade for the world. Thank you again for your words I think sometimes as a single person you feel like you’re just floating around by yourself especially when those around you start to get married and you find yourself the last one. It’s nice to know that there are others out there walking the same path.


  48. Pingback: Rr blogged: waiting till marriage – That Mom Life!

  49. Spitting fire! Man, I’m so thankful to have read this. I’m in such a similar place with my walk with Jesus. It’s hard when your family, friends, and the culture tells us we need to be married in order to get our lives together. It’s so not the truth! It’s the Savior who gives us life! And if we’re trusting God with our lives, then our future spouses should also be entrusted to Him. I’m not putting my life on pause anymore for the sake of trying to get married. I learned the hard way over a year ago and I’m so thankful for the pursuit of the Father over a man. Thanks for sharing, Ethan! Happy to stumble upon your blog.

  50. Captain Everyman

    The reality is marriage ends up making many people less happy, but that’s a taboo subject for many.

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