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What Does the Bible Say About Singleness and Marriage?

What Does the Bible Say About Singleness and Marriage?

In some cultures, people believe that a person cannot be happy unless he or she gets married. Yet, not all married people are happy and not all single people are unhappy. The truth is that the Bible refers to both singleness and marriage as gifts.

1. What are some benefits of being single?

The Bible says: “Whoever marries does well, but whoever does not marry will do better.” (Read 1 Corinthians 7:32, 33, 38.) In what ways can a single person “do better”? Single Christians do not have to look after the needs of a mate. Thus, they generally have more freedom. For example, some are able to expand their ministry in interesting ways, such as by traveling to another land to preach the good news. Above all, they can spend more time drawing close to Jehovah.

2. What are some benefits of being legally married?

Marriage, like singleness, brings unique benefits. The Bible says that “two are better than one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9) This is especially true of Christians who apply Bible principles in their marriage. Couples who legally marry make a commitment to love, respect, and cherish each other. As a result, they often feel more secure than do couples who simply live together. And marriage provides a secure foundation for raising a family.

3. How does Jehovah view marriage?

When Jehovah performed the first marriage, he said: “A man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife.” (Genesis 2:24) Jehovah wants a husband and wife to love and stick to each other for as long as they are alive. He allows divorce only when a mate is guilty of adultery. In such a case, Jehovah gives the innocent mate the right to decide whether he or she will get a divorce. a (Matthew 19:9) Jehovah does not approve of polygamy among Christians.​—1 Timothy 3:2.


Learn how you can be happy​—and make Jehovah happy—​whether you are single or married.

4. Make good use of the gift of singleness

Jesus viewed singleness as a gift. (Matthew 19:11, 12) Read Matthew 4:23, and then discuss this question:

  • How did Jesus use the gift of singleness to serve his Father and to help others?

Christians can enjoy using their singleness as Jesus did. Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the question that follows.

  • In what rewarding ways can Christians use their singleness?

Did you know?

The Bible does not give a minimum age for marriage. However, it encourages a person to wait until he is “past the bloom of youth,” a time when strong sexual feelings can distort a young person’s judgment.​—1 Corinthians 7:36.

5. Choose your mate wisely

Choosing your mate is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Read Matthew 19:4-6, 9, and then discuss this question:

  • Why should a Christian not rush into marriage?

The Bible can help you know what to look for in a marriage mate. Above all, look for a marriage mate who loves Jehovah. b Read 1 Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:14. Then discuss these questions:

  • Why should we marry only a fellow Christian?

  • How do you think Jehovah would feel about our marrying someone who does not love Him?

If two animals that are very different are yoked together, they will suffer. Likewise, a Christian who marries an unbeliever will have many problems

6. View marriage as Jehovah does

In ancient Israel, some men divorced their wives for selfish reasons. Read Malachi 2:13, 14, 16, and then discuss this question:

  • Why does Jehovah hate an unjust divorce?

Adultery and divorce hurt the innocent mate and the children

Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the question that follows.

  • If you are married to an unbeliever, what can you do to make your marriage successful?

7. Apply Jehovah’s standards for marriage

A person may need to make great efforts to apply Jehovah’s standards for marriage. c But Jehovah blesses those who do. Play the VIDEO.

Read Hebrews 13:4, and then discuss these questions:

  • Do you think that Jehovah’s standards for marriage are reasonable? Why, or why not?

Jehovah expects Christians to register their marriages and divorces, as in most countries these are governed by civil authorities. Read Titus 3:1, and then discuss this question:

  • If you are married, are you sure that your marriage is legally recognized by the government?

SOMEONE MAY ASK: “Why get married? Can’t a couple just live together?”

  • How would you answer?


Singleness and marriage are gifts from Jehovah. Either can bring joy and satisfaction if enjoyed in harmony with Jehovah’s will.


  • How can a person make good use of his or her singleness?

  • Why does the Bible say to marry only a fellow Christian?

  • What is the only Scriptural basis for divorce?



What does marrying “only in the Lord” mean?

“Questions From Readers” (The Watchtower, July 1, 2004)

Watch two dramatizations that can help you make good decisions about dating and marriage.

Preparing for Marriage (11:53)

Learn why one brother feels that what Jehovah has given him is much more valuable than anything he gave up.

I Was Hoping That She Would Learn the Truth (1:56)

What are some things that a person should consider before contemplating divorce or separation?

“Honor ‘What God Has Yoked Together’” (The Watchtower, December 2018)

a See Endnote 4 about separation when adultery is not involved.

b In some cultures, parents choose a marriage mate for their son or daughter. When that is the case, loving parents first consider, not the money or social standing of the potential spouse, but whether he or she loves Jehovah.

c If you are living with someone out of wedlock, whether you leave the person or marry is a personal decision.