What do you think about putting off marriage for entrepreneurial purposes?
I’ve refrained from dating (entirely, no “buddies”, nothing) because of my student financial position. I have never been in debt, but up till now my student status has impaired my income considerably. I am now ready to strike out on my own, and I have started a fledgling currency trading business which has been doing very well. At the rate it’s growing, it will probably make a good living in a couple years and a very good living in three years’ time. God has blessed me in it, and I’m dead certain it is His will.
But between trading, working on the side, and church/ministry activities, it takes up all my time. My thought has been that if I stay single and focused, in a couple years I will have built the business to a self-sustaining point that will free me to pursue other things like marriage, more traveling, ministry opportunities, etc. But if I tried to fit in pursuing marriage, I’m worried about jeopardizing my entrepreneurial efforts because of all the expense, time, and mental energy involved in romantic relationships. It could really eat into my capital and would take many more years to make up.
Most of what you’ve written about marriage seems to apply to the single male Christian employee who won’t man up and find a wife. What do you think about intentionally putting it off for entrepreneurial purposes?
I can’t think of any scriptural basis for putting off marriage in order to build a “successful” business, however that is defined. Yes, you need to make a livable wage, but that’s different. There might be some principle we could wrest from a verse somewhere that might lend itself to such an idea, but I can’t think of one that would be very straightforward.
Paul allows for some instances for not marrying, but only for the glory of God and the building of the kingdom of Christ, not financial (in)stability. Of course, building a business might very well be a piece of His marriage plan for you, so you need not assume that you face an either/or scenario. That’s the quick answer.
Your question gives me an opportunity to talk a bit about God’s will, which was one of the first topics I wrote about when Boundless Answers got rolling.
One of the things we must understand about God’s will for our lives is that it is perfect. No, it is not lived out by us perfectly. But in His sovereignty, He somehow brings His perfect will to bear upon our imperfect practice of it and works everything for our good and His glory.
I don’t know how He does it. I don’t have to know how He does it. I only know He is God and quite capable of working that out.
Part of what “perfect” means is that God’s will for my life can’t contradict itself. It’s unified in all its parts. One part of it won’t conflict with another. On the contrary, all parts compliment the others. So if His will is for us to have job X and pursue spouse Y simultaneously, not only can it happen, if we don’t follow that guidance, we will not have inner peace. If His will is to have job X and not pursue spouse Y, the same applies: peace if we follow His will; no peace if we don’t.
If you believe you are daily following the leadership of the Spirit of Christ in your life, and you are open to whatever God instructs at any given moment, then you don’t need to worry about how or when it will happen. You only need to concern yourself with obedience to the will of God. If you find yourself in a month falling head over heels in love, and you know it’s God’s will, He’ll make sure entrepreneurial pursuit X doesn’t contradict pursuit of spouse Y.
If both are His will, the pursuit of both will, in fact, complement it.
When you look at the math, it might not make sense to you to pursue marriage at the moment, but God might have different plans that you don’t understand (welcome to the Christian life). Stay open to the possibility. You, like most Christians, are likely called to marriage and family, and sooner rather than later. Part of God’s preparation for that might be for you to establish yourself a bit financially, or it might be starting from where you are right now with your spouse by your side. Either way, God can handle it.
It’s good and biblical to look to the future and plan as best as you can as long as you are ready and willing at any moment for God to go in another direction. As many couples will testify, love often comes without warning and catches us quite by surprise, despite our plans.
God wants us to hold our lives with a wide open hand as we pursue Him above everything, both business and relational. Most of us hold on so tightly we’d need a crowbar to pry us loose from our own grip. That’s not a life of faith and trust in a God who will never forsake us.
Planning and praying go hand-in-hand. The only one you can do too much of is the former. You keep your conversation with God running the whole time you’re pursuing your entrepreneurial plans and obey His voice. And don’t be surprised if He speaks marriage sooner than you think.
Copyright 2008 John Thomas. All rights reserved.
About the Author
John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.