He Said-She Said: Should I Get Married While in Seminary?
- Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
(I would guess more singles would choose this as their “life verse” than the previous one by Paul.)
I discern four important points in this short verse:
- God understands our need for a partner
- God will take care of it
- The person will be suitable (or right) for us
- God doesn’t say when
According to the Multnomah Biblical Seminary Web site, one-third of Multnomah’s students are married. If this holds remotely true throughout seminaries across the country, there are a lot of people who are pursuing a seminary education while married.
Your decision is not a matter of right and wrong; it is a matter of better and best (as many decisions are). As Paul tells us earlier in 1 Corinthians, “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial” (10:23). Our dilemma is figuring out what is most beneficial and the best in God’s plan for us at each moment in our lives.
Here are some questions for you and your girlfriend to discuss:
- What is best for you and your girlfriend at this time in your relationship?
- Which situation can best bring you both closer to the Lord?
- How could marriage best serve you in seminary? How would it distract?
When I am asked by students about my thoughts on marriage (having never been married), I share with them what I have never heard a married couple say to me, “We should have gotten married earlier.” And I still haven’t to this day.
Don’t allow yourself to become fixated on all of the possible problems or paralyzed by the thought of what may or may not happen with either decision. Weigh your options, pray to the Lord for direction, and listen for his voice.
Each person and couple must spend time with the Lord on their own and with their potential spouse praying about the situation and listening for God’s response. It may not (and probably won’t be) answered overnight. You may not hear for a week or a month, but God will have an answer for you.
There is an enlightening article on the Dallas Theological Seminary Web site called, “Seven Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong During Seminary.” It was written by a female who has been a student and is the spouse of a former student at DTS, and it may be able to shed more light on the situation for you from a different perspective. Click here to read.
SHE SAID: Well, I sure don’t envy you right now. You’ve got some pretty big decisions to make in your life’s journey, and I know how hard that is to do when there seems to be more fog than clear, blue skies on the road ahead of you. Believe me, I’ve been there.
At a young age, you’ve got two, very significant investments going on right now in your life: seminary and a long-term relationship. Both are important to you and you are grappling over which one should have more importance in your life. Or … can you keep investing in both and strike a healthy balance without detrimental consequence?
This is a toughie. And Paul (and your dad, too) knew what he was talking about in 1 Corinthians 7. Everything changes when you get married:
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs. Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35).
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