To Marry or not to Marry?

Singalphile
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To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by Singalphile » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:15 pm

Hello!

So I'm a 38.5 year old guy, and dating and marriage has never seriously entered my mind ... until the last couple of months (a mid-life crisis?).

Long story short, I am checking out the online dating thing. I don't much care for it and nothing's come of it (been just a couple weeks), except that I see that there are enough women out there (I'm only looking in my local area/city) that I'm sure that if I really just want to be married by age 40, I could do that. But should I?

God did teach us that's it not good for the man to be alone and to be fruitful and multiply and all that. Otoh, Paul says it's good not to be married if possible (at least in some scenarios), and that a spouse (and possible family) distracts one from serving and pleasing God.

So I think that a godly woman/partner would be a lot of help to me (and vice versa, I hope), and that seems like it would be beneficial to both of us, and I'll admit that I'm thinking that maybe I'm missing out on the whole love and romance thing (how could 1,000,000,000 songs be wrong?). But those benefits of marriage decrease a lot at my age, I think. It's one thing to marry your sweetheart when you're 25-30 and beget a family and grow old together. It's another thing to start out middle-aged with the likely complications of a previous marriage and/or children and the inability to have children and, frankly, the lack of much physical attraction.

What do you think? To marry or not to marry? I'd be especially interested in any of you who married late, say, near age 40. Do you have any advice for me?

Thank you very much!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

TruthInLove
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by TruthInLove » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi Singalphile,

What has made you recently begin considering marriage? Are there any particular thoughts and feelings you have been having lately? Has anything about your circumstances changed recently?

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Paidion
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by Paidion » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:53 pm

Does this mean you won't be singal (single) phile any longer?

Well, I was married at 61 and am very happy. (However, this is my second wife, as my first wife died of a rare disease. I married her at age 24).

However, I had a brother-in-law who married for the first and only time at age 45, and he and his wife were very happy.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

Singalphile
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by Singalphile » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:58 pm

Paidion wrote:Hi Singalphile,

What has made you recently begin considering marriage? Are there any particular thoughts and feelings you have been having lately? Has anything about your circumstances changed recently?
Oh, a number of things:

Attending my 20-year high school reunion back in early Oct.

One of my good, male friends getting engaged shortly before that.

Getting to know my nearly 4 year old nephew. (The only persons younger than me in my entire family are him, my 35-year-old sister, and my very rarely and briefly seen 18-year-old 2nd cousin.)

Getting to know a couple young ladies (mid-20s) at work in the last 6 months - a kind, like-minded (and married) Christian, and a non-American, non-believer who is in the process of an arranged marriage and who is basically aghast that I'm not married at my age. (Before them, I had no interaction with any women - none eligible - within 10 years of my age for the previous 10+ years.)

My parents would like to see me married. None of their three 35-to-42-year-old children (two believers, one agnostic) have married. It seems a shame to see my family name die, and I hate to be the one to end the 1,000s of years of the 100% perfect procreation rate that led to me.

And just getting close to 40 and feeling like I could use some help in life and wondering where and how I'll end up in 20 or 30 years with almost no family.

... blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, I'm not dwelling on it, and I am happy and life is good. I'm very much unsure that I even want to get married. I always imagined that I could semi-retire early and do some kind of full-time service/work for the kingdom. Marriage was never part of that equation, and I don't know how it would affect things. (I'm rather hoping this is just a phase, because it is annoying!)
Paidion wrote:Does this mean you won't be singal (single) phile any longer?
Heh ... :) No, it does not! The name never had anything to do with being single, anyway (nor a "gal", obviously). I really didn't think that user name through!
Paidion wrote:Well, I was married at 61 and am very happy. (However, this is my second wife, as my first wife died of a rare disease. I married her at age 24).
However, I had a brother-in-law who married for the first and only time at age 45, and he and his wife were very happy.
That must have been so difficult (regarding your first wife). :( I am glad to hear about your subsequent happy marriage and your brother-in-law's. I don't suppose they ever had children of their own.

Romance and sex and family (all within godly marriage, of course) are strange things. Those are a huge, huge part of life - among the top 2 most meaningful aspects of life for nearly all people - and yet this short lifetime is apparently the only time when these things are possible and will have any relevance? Yes, quite odd, imo. (I do trust that whatever is in store for us is better, but still ....)

I would appreciate any more advice from anyone, if possible. Having never dated or been romantically involved with anyone :?, I'm just embarrassingly ignorant about it all.

Thank you, Paidion, and all!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

MMathis
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by MMathis » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:01 pm

If you marry someone under 30, she will be wanting kids. You will be approaching senior-dome when they graduate high school. There are many kids out there 6-8 years old that need homes.

I had my last son at 38 and always felt I shortchanged him by being too old to have fun. I don't know if it matters to him, but I still feel it.
MMathis
Las Vegas NV

Singalphile
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by Singalphile » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:47 pm

MMathis wrote:If you marry someone under 30, she will be wanting kids. You will be approaching senior-dome when they graduate high school. There are many kids out there 6-8 years old that need homes.

I had my last son at 38 and always felt I shortchanged him by being too old to have fun. I don't know if it matters to him, but I still feel it.
That is helpful. Although I feel pretty spry (at a mere 123 lbs), my 4 year old nephew does exhaust me pretty quickly even now. I would have no trouble adopting or, better yet, marrying someone with a child or children that age if, for example, the father left/abandoned them (or died). That would definitely be a good argument for marrying someone, imo.

Anybody have thoughts on Paul's arguments against marriage in, I think, 1 Corinthians?
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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jasonmodar
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by jasonmodar » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:22 am

I started a family somewhat later in life so I'll throw in my 2 cents.

To make a long into story short, I was first married at 28 then she left the marriage no longer wanting to be in it. I honestly thought I'd never marry again nor ever want to marry again. Then I met my current wife!

We married 1-1-16 (I'll never forget that anniversary) when I was 31 and we just had our first daughter 5 months ago at my current age, 33. We plan on having at least 3 more kids (God willing) and I can't wait for my family to grow. Yeah it's getting harder to move around and be active in my 30's but it's worth it for my daughter and any future kids I have. My dad had messed up his body (especially his back) years before I came along but I remember my childhood fondly.

MMathis is right about marrying a younger woman - my wife is 9 years younger than me and she was definitely ready to have kids and lots of them, but so was I. Adopting with a future spouse or marrying a woman who has kids already could certainly be options as well. All kids, biological or otherwise, can use a solid, 2 parent household. Singalphile you seem like a good Kingdom-minded man and for that reason I'd bet you'd make a great dad and husband.

I love being a family man so I will admit I have a sharp bias in favor of it - however, there's certainly a place for lifelong singles as Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians. I think of John R.W. Stott for instance - he remained single his whole life so that he could do Kingdom work and what great work he did!

TruthInLove
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by TruthInLove » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:56 pm

Hi Singalphile,

I think Paul says it all. It is good for some to marry, some not so good. If you don't find yourself struggling with preoccupation with the opposite sex, that can be a tremendous asset in serving Christ. Having limited immediate family can be very liberating and enable you to feel more free from obligation so you can serve others.

Regarding your family name, the greater Name which you bear is Christ's. In a very real sense, I think we are called to perpetuate that Name above all others, even that of our earthly anscestors.

And as far as having biological family, what greater merit is there in having biological family over a spiritual family? Who did Christ look to as as his mother, sister, brother? Being a father or mother, husband or wife can have a complete dissassociation from sex and biological offspring.

The key in any relationship we have, through marriage or not, is creating Christ-like, Christ-honoring offspring. What are characteristics of such offspring? People who are Christ-like themselves and who can effectivly train or otherwise influence others to do the same.

All I'm saying is that if your thoughts are drawn toward marriage and children lately, and you historically haven't had such a preoccupation before, biological family is not necessarily what God has in mind for you (although it may be). Perhaps the intent is to draw your attention to the ways in which you aren't developing your spiritual family.

It sounds like you are doing that in some measure. But are you having the impact for which you think God designed you? Are you using everything you have at your disposal? All of your time, talent and treasure (not just money but also your physical traits and possessions)? Have you been blessed with any skills which you feel you aren't using to their full potential? If not, have you been effectively teaching others (by example or otherwise) to do the same? Do you have any abilities for which you are still looking for a God-glorifying way in which to exercise them? Is there anything you often find youself ill-prepared for? Opportunities to help others that you felt you missed because you felt inadequately trained yourself? Are you reflecting on why you felt so ill-prepared, whether there's anything you could or should do to prepare yourself next time, researching ways to help those people? Even if you do feel like you are helping others, do you see evidence that what you are sharing is actually working for you and for them?

I'd also suggest that aside from being a source of comfort and emotional and physical support, biological family can be a brutal exercise in self-awareness and your ill-preparedness for the high-calling of Christian service. That stress can spur you to very powerful actions. If your spiritual family isn't currently doing that for you, pushing you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to learn and transform and preparing to share ways to bring that transformation about in others, perhaps that's a possible message you could consider.

Bear in mind, you and I are almost exactly the same age and we have similar career backgrounds. I'm a huge advocate of having children. I will have 5 myself in a few months. Yet, even I realize that a wife and biological children themselves do not impart reliable and consistent comfort, hope, love and peace. My most intense and consistent sense purpose and meaning has come through the difficult process of transformation of my "self" into an image more closely resembling Christ (and still far from perfect) and then helping my family do the same. Our biological connection has little to do with that.

Singalphile
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by Singalphile » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:17 pm

Wow, I think you nailed it, TruthInLove! I'm really not serving in the church. Like I said, I always figure I'd do that some day in the future when I have more time (when I'm not working so much). But that's silly. I have the time. I could and should serve now.

Thank you! :)
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

dwight92070
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Re: To Marry or not to Marry?

Post by dwight92070 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:29 am

Singalphile,

I was almost 35 when I married, and I have not been married previously. I love my wife and our 5 children. Only the youngest currently is living at home - he is 23 and going to college, so we are helping him in that way.

Had I the chance to do it over again, I would have married in my early twenties. Personally, I believe it was a mistake to wait that long. I became a Christian at 21 and soon after got involved in a church where singleness was pretty much put up on a pedestal as the ultimate. It was the height of the Jesus People Movement and hundreds of young people were being saved weekly in this little Denver church. The excitement was contagious. I asked the pastor if several of us should quit our jobs and just spend all our time evangelizing. He wisely said to hold off on that idea. But for the next almost 14 years, I submerged myself in activities with the "singles group" at church. My "social" needs were being met, but my inner desire for a wife and children was set aside and stifled, because I thought, if I could just remain single, I would attain to the highest calling. Basically, I set aside almost 15 years of my life, which could have been spent in rich service to God and my wife and children, had I gotten married. Instead, those years were largely spent in recreational activities with other singles with little or no dating, and I'm afraid little or no spiritual fruit to show for it.

Today, the trend of the world is to not marry, and of course, to sleep around. So the message to remain single comes from both in the church and outside the church. But God said that it is not good for man to be alone. So, generally, most people should get married. Remaining single should be the exception, not the rule. I truly believe God's will for you is whatever desire he has put in you. If you desire a wife and children, then you should marry. If not, then He has another work for you to do. As a practical matter, if you do get married, you probably would have fewer issues if you marry a woman who has not been married before, but, obviously that is between you, her, and God. If you haven't already done so, Steve's teaching on divorce and marriage is well worth listening to. I wish I had heard that back when I was a new Christian.

Again, don't get me wrong. I love my wife and children. I do not believe they are God's "second best", just because I waited so long to marry. But I do believe the church sends out wrong messages, unintentionally, that don't always line up with what the Bible says, which greatly changed my life.

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