Should you get married?

I started reading “The Godly Home” today by Richard Baxter.  Baxter was a 1700’s puritan pastor in England and he wrote a tome on Christian living which is being republished in 4 parts.  I have read the volume on being a pastor, and when I saw this I had to read it.

Today I learned about the first direction that he gives to families and potential families.
1. Before rushing into marriage, each person must understand God’s will for their life and whether He approves of them marrying or not.  Let me quote him directly,

“First, it is God whom you must serve in your married state, and therefore it is proper that you take his counsel before you rush upon it, for he knows best what belongs to his service.”

In order to determine God’s will and counsel on the issue, Baxter outlines a series of things to consider carefully:

  1. Are your parents commanding you to marry, if so, that is God’s will for you.
  2. Are you unable to control your body and have you tried every means available in order to your sexual urges, including medical treatments (Yes, Baxter says that).  If the answer is yes to both questions, then you are probably called to marriage.
  3. Will marriage allow you to be the most use to God and the public in glorifying him and working to save the souls of others?  If so, marry; if not, abstain.
  4. Are you already married?  Then stay married, God has ordained it for you once you enter into the marriage covenant.
Then there are a few other guidelines he gives for those whose parents forbid them from marriage, those who have eloped, those who have promised themselves to others, etc. It was a very engaging section and one which our world would do well to consider carefully, especially since more marriages end in divorce than manage to last.
I look forward to sharing more of Baxter’s thoughts as time progresses.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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