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If you're over 25 and single, chances are you've felt the pressure. Maybe it has come from well-meaning parents who are overly eager for grandchildren. Maybe it has come from friends who think that because they're married, you should be too.

Maybe you've felt pressured by your own insecurities as you have wondered, "What's wrong with me? Is it the way I wear my hair? Am I too fat? Too skinny? Why am I not married yet?"

If you're unmarried and starting to get frantic about it, stop. Take the next few minutes, climb out of the pressure cooker, and take an honest look at what a mate can and can't do for you. By doing so, you might well avoid one of the greatest catastrophes life can bring - a bad marriage.

As a pastor, I can tell you that Christians are being trapped in such marriages all the time. They're marrying the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. They're being deceived by marriage myths that have left them disappointed, disillusioned and, all too often, divorced.

Myth #1: The Loneliness Cure
The first of these myths is the belief that marriage will put an end to loneliness. One single woman sadly deceived by this myth wrote: "I can't think of anything I hate more than being alone. Everywhere I turn, I see couples. Couples on TV, couples in cars, couples on planes, couples in restaurants, couples in parks, couples...couples...couples. Everywhere there are reminders that I am alone. I wonder if I will ever find a person to fill that hole in my heart."

Child of God, if you ever find yourself thinking like that, warning signals should start flashing in your mind because you're expecting something from marriage that it never can give you. Marriage is not the "cure-all" for human loneliness. There are many desperately lonely married people who can vouch for that.

You see, God created human beings to yearn for two levels of relational intimacy. Granted, one of them is the yearning for an honest and trusting relationship with a friend or marriage partner. But the second one is far greater. It's the yearning to enter an authentic, growing relationship with God.

We've been putting too much emphasis on meeting a mate, believing that mate will fill the hole in our heart. But they can't do it. A mate might fill the space in your house, but they can't fill the hole in your heart. Only Jesus can fill your heart. It's fine to date someone, but that person is not the loneliness cure. Jesus is your cure.

So the dating relationship should direct both of you, as individuals, to an increasing intimacy in your relationship with God. As He becomes stronger in your lives individually, then you'll have a completeness that you have never before experienced.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Remember this: only Jesus can give you abundant life. Only He can give you a life so full that it puts loneliness behind you forever.

That curly-headed cutie who catches your eye can't do that for you. So before you plunge into a human relationship with expectations that never can be met, plunge into the depths of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Build a solid foundation in Him.

Myth #2: The Life Preserver
The second myth many people believe about marriage is that it will heal their broken heart. They're hurting and they think, "If I can just find a mate, I'll feel better." If that's what you think, then think again. A man or woman who is drowning in emotional pain and latches on to marriage as a life preserver is opening the door for disaster.

I've seen it time and again. One day the life-preserving spouse will stand up and say, "Please, can you just back off and give me some space?" Then the pain-filled spouse will interpret that request as another round of rejection, neglect, or abuse. When they react to that threat, chaos will break out in the marriage.

Healthy marriages cannot be built on foundations of brokenness. Spouses cannot heal broken, messed-up hearts. Only Jesus can do that kind of heart surgery.

Therefore, if you're hurting, if you're plagued with feelings of inferiority, and fears of being abandoned, don't cling to a boyfriend or girlfriend. Cling to Jesus. Develop a personal relationship with Him, and you'll find He can be the best companion and lover you could ever have.

He'll never leave you nor forsake you. He's a friend that sticks closer than a brother. You don't need that unemployed, cocaine-using boyfriend who's been using and abusing you. You don't need that girlfriend who criticizes and belittles you. Kick those heartbreakers out of your life and get hooked up to Jesus. He'll take care of you!

Myth #3: Happily Ever After
The third and perhaps most common myth to beware of is this: "marriage will make me happy." Countless singles fall for that lie. They think, I'm not content now as a single, but if I can get married, I'll be content. After all, I'll have my wife, a fireplace, and a wonderful life. We'll get cozy on the couch, listen to Lou Rawls records, and live happily ever after.

You know what I would say to that? Wake up! An unhappy single equals an unhappy marriage. An angry single equals an angry marriage. A dissatisfied single equals a dissatisfied marriage. Whatever you are when you are single, that's what you'll be when you're married, because marriage does not produce life or character transformation.

Jesus transforms. The Word of God transforms. But marriage does not. It will not transform you and it will not transform the one you marry. If your boyfriend is a frog before you marry him, he'll be a frog after you marry him. Saying "I do" won't turn him into a prince.

Character changes are produced by the inner work of the Holy Spirit independent of one's marital status. Whether you're married or single, if changes need to be made within your heart, they will have to be made by meditating on God's Word, acting on that Word, and being yielded to the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to get the job done.

Myth #4: Marriage Is for Everyone
Despite the fact that most people in our society eventually get married, it's important to keep in mind that marriage is not God's plan for everyone. There are those who, like the Apostle Paul, have the gift of abstinence. That simply means they have no compelling need for a sexual relationship.

Such gifted people can serve God in ministry in a much greater way than married people, because they don't have to attend to the responsibilities of a family (see 1 Corinthians 7).

You need to realize in advance, some troubles will arise in your life as a result of marriage. You're living in a fool's paradise if you think just because you have a romantic experience - or even a spiritual experience - with your mate that you won't have problems. Marriage is made of problems! It is a continuing opportunity to cope with and overcome one attack of the devil right after another. If you go into marriage thinking otherwise, you're already starting out on the wrong foot.

For that reason, Paul advises those who want to give themselves completely to the ministry of the Lord to remain single. Paul says, however, if they cannot abstain from sexual passion, "let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn" (1 Cor. 7:9).

But that doesn't mean you should get married because you're burning with sexual lust. No, fix the burn before you get married, because if you marry with the burn, you'll burn up after you get married! The lust that drove you to marriage will eventually drive you out of your own household into adulterous relationships. So deal with it now.

Take Your Time
"OK, Pastor Dollar," you say. "I'm ready. I have built a solid relationship with Jesus. He's healed my broken heart. I'm happy, healthy and I want to get married. Do you have any other words of wisdom for me?"

Yes. When you choose a mate, be absolutely sure to obey the instructions God gives in 2 Corinthians 6:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
(vv. 14-15)
In other words, only marry a Believer.

Unpopular though it sometimes may be among singles, that is a requirement of God. Keep it without compromise. If you're dating a man who is "kind of saved," who drinks a little, and smokes a little, and cusses a little, then get rid of him until he gets delivered from that little bit of stuff he's been doing. You don't need to marry into that mess. You just wait until he gets "real saved" before you marry him.

Even then, don't rush into anything. Take the time to observe that potential mate very carefully. People are not always what they appear to be. Just because they say they're a Christian, don't automatically believe it. The Bible says you'll know who's a Christian by the fruit they bear.

So let that boyfriend, or girlfriend, bear some fruit first. Then give it some time to see if that fruit lasts. Don't say, "Well, he bore fruit last week, so we'll get married next week!" No, I advise you give it at least one year. If that boy is still opening doors for you and sending you flowers, if he's still concerned about you and hasn't pressured you into sexual activity after a year, reel him in because he's a good catch!

If that girl is still talking sweetly to you and treating you with respect after she's been seeing you a year, set the wedding date, because she's the one you've been praying for God to send.

Finally, as Colossians 3:15 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts" (AMP). Next to making Jesus your Lord, choosing a mate is the most monumental decision you'll ever make. So don't do anything unless God's peace in your heart tells you it's safe.

Let Him direct you. Never jump ahead of Him. Relax and let God bring your marriage to pass in His own way. Don't get in a hurry and make a mistake. After all, "till death do you part " is a long, long time.

Source: One Word From God Can Change Your Relationships
By Creflo Dollar with Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Creflo A. Dollar
Web site: World Changers Ministries
 
Creflo Dollar is the founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI) in College Park, Georgia; World Changers Church-New York; and a host of fellowship churches throughout the United States and internationally. WCCI also has offices in Australia (serving the Asia-Pacific region), South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, and the Ukraine.
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