Don’t Live to Get Married. Live to Live.

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Marriage by Debra Fileta12 Comments

“All I want in life is to get married.” Her eyes welled up with tears as she told me about her one and only desire in life.

I’ve been having A LOT of conversations about marriage.

Marriage. Marriage. And more marriage.

That’s been my life lately. And not just because I’m married, but because I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the subject as I’m in writing mode for my new book coming out in 2018. It’s a book for both singles and couples, so it’s been a necessary part of the process to “pick the brains” of both crowds as I tackle this important topic.

But something that has caused me take a step back is the realization that we live in a culture that idolizes marriage. We don’t necessarily respect it, but we sure do idolize it. We put it on this pedestal expecting it to things for us that it just. can’t. do. And then we end up disappointed. Devastated. Disillusioned. And even divorced. 

It’s not that I didn’t recognize this before. Growing up in Christian culture and then topping it off by going to Christian college, dreaming about marriage was commonplace. It was the “ultimate goal” of a Christian single. It’s what you lived for. One day….you would get married, and then life would finally begin.

And from my latest research, I’ve found that people are still holding on to that way of thinking. Fast forward a decade or so later, reaching the “ultimate goal of marriage” is a concept infused in our entertainment, our church messages, our christian colleges. To live is to pursue marriage.

There’s nothing wrong with desiring marriage. In fact, it’s a desire placed in us by God himself. I, for one, have been known to encourage men and women to be honest about their desire for marriage and then follow that desire to the best of their ability.

No, what scares me the most is not our desire for marriage, it’s our expectations of marriage.

We have a generation of people who are entering marriage with high expectations coupled with low understanding. And when the rubber meets the road and reality hits, that very thing that we put on such a high pedestal comes crashing down.

Think about it. We spend so much time glorifying marriage, yet such little time preparing for it. Such little time getting to know ourselves. Such little time healing from our past. Such little time understanding what we need in a relationship. Such little time determining the kind of people who are a good match, and the kind that aren’t. Such little time setting goals, accomplishing dreams. Such little time living life abundantly.

But here’s the thing: Jesus doesn’t say that “life abundantly” starts when we get married….he says it starts when we enter relationship with Him. For the believer in Christ, life abundantly is happening right here, right now, in this very moment – no matter what your relationship status.

It’s so important to get this right: marriage might be a beautiful part of your journey, but it’s not your final destination. Not even close. For those of you who are living to find purpose in a relationship, I’m here to tell you that that’s not going to happen. Because that’s not what relationships are intended to do.

Marriage can’t give you purpose.

Marriage can’t bring you healing.

Marriage can’t offer you security.

If you can’t find those things standing alone, you certainly won’t find them in marriage either. But for those of you who can grasp these things BEFORE marriage, you’ll enter marriage more fulfilled than you could imagine. And two fulfilled people in a marriage makes for the best kind of marriage.

Don’t live just to get married. Live to live. Live to heal. Live to grow. Live to learn. Live to serve Jesus. Right here, right now, where God has placed you. Because life abundantly doesn’t start once you get married. Life abundantly is happening now.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine,, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

Healthy people make healthy relationships. Start getting healthy by clicking here!


  1. This thought have helped me alot it’s groom me for marriage aspirations demands preparation am not dating yet want to start soon though. Very prevatal thank you Debra

  2. Beautiful post 🙂 Thankyou. Whatever our story has turned out to be, we are on this earth to love people, to show Jesus’s grace and peace, that is our main goal and not marriage. We live to glorify him alone and if marriage is part of your story great, if not you don’t have a lesser life.

  3. As a public nurse seeing 40 plus patients very sick and as a single you have to take care of your parents on your own. So glad no kids. You are right. So many kids have add depression anxiety and ausism. I am not sure what kid is normal. I also never went to vacation because the church says to do missions. So burnout and have some health problems but I have effort and will work no matter what. You have to work- to support you. No excuse.


  4. Wow, wow that’s so true! I needed to hear that word.
    Very challenging but I have learnt that the hard way! God bless you for such encouragement.

  5. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but apparently most people don’t realize that most of us are not meant to endure 10-20+ years of temptation. There is a reason our sex drive is at its highest in our twenties and thirties. Instead of watering down the truth, why not teach what the bible says? It says the cure to sexual temptation is marriage.

    And yet, we’re told we singles are on our own. Well, if you’re going to teach us to save ourselves for marriage, why not help set us up? You say we can live without marriage. That may be true for an individual, but not for society at large. Society needs marriage. And when we have healthy marriages, we have healthier people. We’re already spending billions of dollars on the consequences of so-called “free love” (crime, stds, divorce, etc.)

  6. Besides, I already having enough trouble trying to believe I can love God and want to be married at the same time. I think very black and white. All or nothing. One or the other.

  7. Such a good post and well written. I particularly love the end paragraph – thank you so much

  8. All of This – “We have a generation of people who are entering marriage with high expectations coupled with low understanding. And when the rubber meets the road and reality hits, that very thing that we put on such a high pedestal comes crashing down.” “We spend so much time glorifying marriage, yet such little time preparing for it.”
    OMG, there is so much truth in these statements. Fortunately, I was taught by elders in my family how to prepare for marriage, and what to expect from marriage. I was taught, and got to see firsthand through real life examples what married life was really about; and you know what………………It made me Not want to get married for a very long time. In fact, in my 20’s I turned down proposals. My grandmother told me many times, “there is no room for selfishness in marriage.” She and my great aunts also told me about myself and how selfish I was. They told me all of the bad habits and mannerisms and ideologies that I needed to rid myself of before I was anywhere near close to being ready for marriage. It’s taken me until I was in my early 30s to be ready. I had to really allow God to prepare me for it. My great aunt and pastors wives used to tell us, “if you can’t fully submit to God, how on earth will you be able to submit to you’re future husbands?” They told us, “you must first submit to God, and marry a man that submits to God, and that’s that man that you submit to. ” Debra thank you so much for sharing this wealth of wisdom. I can’t wait until your latest book comes out. The world truly needs to hear and see it. I pray that you can get movie deals and that your messages, and teachings spread throughout the world like wild fire. This is exactly what people need to know, because this is exactly what society does too often. Lament about not being married, and beg, and plead and wish upon stars for a husband/wife, then put months of time, energy and effort into the wedding day, and going through a nasty divorce less than five years after the marriage. My prayer is that more marriages will last a lifetime, and people will be better prepared before entering into a marriage covenant to actually sustain and maintain a marriage that will actually last until death parts them.
    Great post Debra, and thanks again.

Leave a Comment