The Idolatry of Marriage

The proposal, the ring, the dress, and date nights on tap. The suit, the honeymoon and the God-approved sex. The lifetime prayer & pillow talk partner, all of which are great and acceptable things to desire. But what happens when you place those things or the idea of a spouse above the God who created all of those things? Idolatry. 

And today’s post, which is the first of a three-part series, is about the idolatry of marriage, the dangers of it, what role the church plays and the marriage you REALLY want to have!

Love is in the Digital Air

Chances are if you go onto Instagram, you’ll come across several #ISAIDYES hashtags, cinematic reels of proposals shot by the best videographers the cost of living can buy, or highlights from the best bits of Mr & Mrs Forever’s wedding reception. It can be hard to avoid a love-filled timeline, and some may feel bombarded with all the images of ‘love’ staring at them. Now, while love & marriage are beautiful things and ought to be celebrated, I find myself stopping to think about what the Bible says concerning the last days, that people will be more concerned with joining in holy matrimony as they do not know the exact time Jesus will be returning.

Concerning that day and exact hour, no one knows when it will arrive, not even the angels of heaven —only the Father knows. For it will be like it was in the days of Noah when the Son of Man appears. Before the flood, people lived their lives eating, drinking, marrying, and having children.”Matthew 24:36-38 TPT

Reading these verses and knowing God truly knows all – can we be shocked that many will lay a greater emphasis on bagging someone’s son (or daughter), than being ready for the second coming of the Son of Man? To the point, it may border on obsession.


Church and Their Spotlight on Marriage 

Even when we try to hide from the online world, the church is another space where marriage is constantly celebrated and highlighted so much that it often overshadows other areas. Congregations respond with deep interest and shouts of ‘amen!’ when a Pastor talks about marriage, but not as much with sibling or friendship love, loving your colleagues, loving your family or most importantly, loving God. It reinforces the view that we humans don’t like being alone, we are always looking for someone or something to fill the void inside of us and we are looking for the opposite sex to complete us. If some churches continue to point to marriage and place it above all other kinds of relationships there is a danger we will pursue after it using any means necessary, without considering if it is God’s will for our lives.

The church is meant to be counter-cultural and we are meant to reflect the Word of God, not the voice of the world. We cannot have idols the same way society does, we have to highlight marriage as one aspect of a Christian’s journey but one that not everybody will get to experience. The New Testament does not idolise marriage. Jesus never said, “Get married.” Paul suggests to believers that they consider remaining single. (1 Corinthians 7:832-3440) Marriage is a wonderful thing, and many Christians will get to experience God-glorifying marriages. But if that’s not your present reality (or you never become married), it’s important to live your single best life, pursuing God wholeheartedly and still giving Him glory.

The Golden Calf of Marriage

Do you remember the golden calf the Children of Israel started worshipping, believing it rescued them from Egypt? Exodus 32:4 NIV: ‘He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then, they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”’ We see them placing complete trust in this golden carved animal forgetting the true God who helped and redeemed them. Inside the church, similar things are taking place. The sacred union of marriage has been made into our own image and placed on a pedestal. We have created an idol for ourselves, believing it is our saviour, believing it is the relationship God cares about the most. We have so idolised marriage that singleness is presented as a status to be frowned upon instead of a gift.


All the Single Ladies Put your Hands Up!

If you are a single lady, put your hands up! (God sees you). I know some may feel ashamed at answering this question due to the fact of it not being the norm to feel proud about having no relationship status. The reason why it is not the norm is that while some churches genuinely try their best to present the positives of singleness, in comparison to marriage, singleness still looks like the ugly step-sister. Have you ever wondered why ‘relationship conferences’ are one of the most popular events these days? ‘Finding the one’ has turned into a treasure hunt many women are taking part in. 

Singleness is not a curse and it is more than a waiting room. It is an open door we can walk through with confidence because it is here we find our Father waiting for us to come and feast with Him. Singleness is a beautiful season, we get to behold the One with undivided attention. So instead of trying to skip this season, we should try to enjoy it and be present without endlessly thinking of the day we get to walk down the aisle and say ‘I do.’ 


The Bridegroom is Coming

While some of us are waiting for our ‘groom’ to come and whisk us away to a ‘happily ever after’ we must also realise the Bridegroom coming back. John 3:29 NIV says: ‘The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. The joy is mine and is now complete.’ The body of Christ is the bride and Jesus is the bridegroom; Do you know there is a banquet waiting for us? Because this is the marriage that really matters after all is said and done. The Parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 describes this in detail. We should feel joy within our hearts knowing that Jesus is coming and He is coming back to marry us. So, when we think about how much attention we give to our earthly marriage, my question to us is: do we give the same attention to our eternal marriage? 

What and who are we fixing our gaze on? 

Now hear me well I am not saying marriage is not worthy of our attention, but let us not be like the Children of Israel and forsake our creator who commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).


The Dangers of Idolising Marriage

Idolising marriage is dangerous whether you’re married or single. For a single person, that mindset can lead you to believe that marriage will solve your problems and make you whole. You may feel when the goal of having a spouse is achieved, all of your needs will now be met, you won’t have to struggle with loneliness or your sexual drives, and you’ll have reached the most desirable state in life. So the focus of energy goes towards becoming married, and some are willing to compromise standards or step outside of God’s will to get hitched. 

Marriage is not the be, end and all and not the height of Christian living. Living a life surrendered to Christ and His will is. So the danger of building an altar to marriage and making a god of it is a sin – if we get straight to the crux of it. Only God is worthy of our worship.

You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3 NIV


We must see singleness as a gift and believe that Jesus is enough, but we will talk about this more later on as we continue the series….

For now, if you feel convicted that you have fallen into idolising marriage – with all sincerity of heart, pray this prayer.



Father, forgive me for where I have placed marriage before You. I pull down every altar I have built in my heart and ask for You to take Your rightful place. Help me to keep my relationship with You as the number one priority and be satisfied and fulfilled in You alone, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Words by Esther Okusaga