Many young women still dream of finding a man who is willing to devote himself to her in love, publicly declaring that he will ‘forsake all others’ for the rest of her life. Much rarer, it seems, is the man in our society, who is willing to make such a commitment. He is happier to “live with” a girl who is prepared to give herself away to him emotionally and sexually, without requiring him to commit himself to her in the public promises of marriage.
Why is this?
1. Having their cake and eating it.
Some young people think that trying out sex before marriage will help them choose a suitable partner by finding out if they are compatible, emotionally and sexually.
The outcome statistics on ‘living together’  suggest that very often this is a mistaken expectation and that marriage preceded by cohabitation is more likely to end in separation.
Which couples stay together?
Trying out relationships often leads to a series of short term uncommitted relationships and many men lose out in this scenario, either because serial uncommitted relationships do not fulfil, or because they end up missing out on the privileges of fatherhood.
Because commitment is a Godly characteristic, when we practice commitment we will experience God’s blessing.
Some blessings will never be experienced without commitment. The joys, as well as the difficulties, of parenthood are designed to be shared by totally committed parents, and children flourish within such a secure environment. Of course, it is important that commitment to marriage is made carefully (see ‘Finding the right partner’ for more on this). But, when done carefully, you are not committing yourself to a simply human plan but to a God-given design, which is full of His goodness and wisdom. At the very heart of God is a faithful, costly commitment to His people. In showing commitment in marriage, we are only reflecting a characteristic of God that He has shown in saving us by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because commitment is a godly characteristic, when we practice commitment we will experience God’s blessing.
2. Experienced family breakdown.
Some men have suffered from the breakdown of their own family. This makes them scared of committing themselves to something that may turn into a similar tragedy or disappointment.
For those with bad experiences of family breakdown, be encouraged to consider that, with God’s help, you are not trapped to re-enact the mistakes of a previous generation. God’s designs, when carefully followed, are thoroughly to be trusted. If you are in this situation, it might be helpful to discuss and pray with an older married couple who you respect.
3. Thinking it is old fashioned.
Many in our society are claiming that the commitment of marriage is old-fashioned and unnecessary.
Those who claim this have not looked seriously at studies that compare marriage with other relationships and looked at the outcomes  for children as well as their own health and happiness.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
The constancy of God is one of His characteristics. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us the Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. There is nothing old-fashioned about God or His designs. If the modern world ignores or criticises them, that is their loss and tragedy. Do not be taken in by their blindness to the good things of God, of which marriage is an important example.
See also the Marriage Foundation article “Easy cohabitation: Cheap sex”, June 2018.
- Table 4.3, Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain, ONS, 2000: https://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psychiatric-morbidity/the-mental-health-of-children-and-adolescents-in-great-britain/1999-survey/mental-health-of-children-and-adolescents-in-great-britain.pdf
Marriage Foundation report: http://marriagefoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/MF-paper-Family-breakdown-and-teenage-mental-health-FINAL.pdf