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A letter of encouragement—and realism—to Christian men considering marriage.

Our home is a magnet for single men. It probably has something to do with the near certainty of a meal or a hug and the absolute certainty of our love for them. When they come over, we almost always end up talking about single women.

My husband and I value marriage and singleness, so sometimes we end up encouraging our brothers toward a life of undistracted devotion for as long as they’re able and for the good of the kingdom. But we also at times nudge one of our friends toward asking a girl out, help them process a break-up, or encourage one of them to more seriously consider the possibility of marriage with a “mere friend.” From the guys considering a relationship, we often hear refrains of hesitance: “Will we be good ministry partners?” or “Will she make a good pastor’s wife?” or “Will we be stronger as a couple than we are apart?”

For them and many other Christian young men, delayed marriage is common. The reasons are complicated and include unrealistic expectations, lack of confidence, a desire for financial security, aversion to commitment, general immaturity, or more simply, the inability to find or keep a compatible partner. Recent studies indicate that fewer and fewer men are sitting in evangelical churches on Sunday and the men who stay are often marrying later. Anecdotally, at least, I’ve seen this trend in play, and so have my single female friends.

To the single men who are considering marriage and feeling hesitant, I issue this invitation from Elisabeth Elliot’s Let Me Be a Woman: You do not marry a ministry partner; you marry a person. You do not marry someone like another man’s wife; you marry your wife. You do not marry someone like …

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