What holds a man back from committing to marriage

I woke up this morning to a Facebook post from my cousin. She asked: What holds a man back from committing to marriage? The question is general so let me clarify. The context of the question was notwithstanding all struggles such as lack of money, a strained relationship or lack of a woman to marry. The assumption was a man who ought to commit to a relationship and has all the resources but wouldn’t commit- a man who refuses to commit as opposed to one who cannot commit. I asked her whether she meant before or after walking the aisle. She stated before. I asked if she meant born again men or unbelieving men. She mentioned the former, however someone else commented on the Facebook post that the latter was also included, for the behaviour was similar across the board. I found it worrying that proclaimed followers of Christ would make the cut for this one. Needless to say, the church has such men. What holds a man back from committing to marriage? I pondered over the question and I had my answer. My answer: The problem is the first Adam and the solution is the second Adam. Some would get my drift immediately however, some would not and it would need explanation as opposed to a lazy response.  I figured I may as well blog to explain.

Many men have not been taught by their fathers how to be men. I highly believe that many fathers have thought that as long as the kid has a male organ, loves cars, explosions and the legs underneath a feminine skirt then he will be a man. So the result is many males who are still boys and know nothing of manhood. When we employ interns, we spend months and tons of money to teach them how our companies work so that they cannot fail us and create losses. However, when it comes to our homes, who is spending months and tons of money to teach men to become responsible so that the family unit cannot fail? And even if fathers do, they spend less than 6 hours with their kids in a day, who spend more than 12 hours with their “friends” and entertainment. Who has more impact therefore? Who will teach the boys? Primarily, this is the role of fathers, Beloved. A father ought to call out the king in a boy and suppress the foolishness of childhood.  When that does not happen, you have grown men in their twenties and thirties who are bragging at how they “banged” the hot girl that was hard to get. That is a boy with a size nine shoe, Beloved- a big boy. This is how boys act:

  • They whine when they don’t get their way.
  • They are sore losers when confronted with a defeat.
  • They like to give reasons why they were playing when they ought to have been working.
  • They find joy is mischief despite it hurting the feelings of others.
  • They always complain why we always pick on the boy when the girls also have issues.

Beloved, these behavioural characteristics can be found in adult men too. Haven’t you seen 55-year-old men throw insults and cusses like sailors to those subordinate to them  when things don’t go their way? It may look mature because there is a car key in their fingers and neat shoes on their feet but the boy within was never taught to be refined when offended. Have you not seen 30-year-old men who get a girl pregnant and claim that the girl was unfaithful despite a positive DNA test linking the baby to them? Men who have never been taught that when you mess up you own up. Have you not seen 21-year-old university men explain why their assignments were never complete after a night out of irresponsible living? And haven’t you seen 18-year-old men who engage in mischief such as pornography that hurts their future families yet they find joy in the selfish indulgence. And haven’t you seen the myriads of men who when called to step up in their responsibility always quote the stats as to how the boy-child has been neglected? Beloved, listen, even if the boy child was given all the attention in the world, the quality of the men in our world would not change because the problem is not a mind issue that we are dealing with; it is a heart issue.

Some may think that for boys to change, they need to be constantly pounded with words in their mind such as “Respect women!”, “Finish your homework!”, ”Don’t do drugs!”, “Porn is bad for your health!”, “Marriage is a good thing if you work at it.” Etc. Well, that is a lie, because how many men acting like boys know what the right thing is but fail to do it? They all do. The problem is not a mind issue that we are dealing with; it is a heart issue. They know they should respect women. They know they should be responsible and take care of their health. They know that pornography is killing their relationships. But all this knowing has not brought a drop of change. Beloved, I’ve said it severally before, that you cannot change the heart of a man through mental facts and emotional manipulations. You can influence them for a while to act in a certain way but their heart will drift to its original inclination. The problem is not a mind issue that we are dealing with; it is a heart issue. Unless that heart is genuinely moved through conviction, it will never influence an ounce of change in behaviour for the better.

A farmer may know that he needs to dig his garden to have a harvest of crops. But if he turns up to dig with a spoon instead of a hoe, he will not only grow weary and burn out but he will also fail that garden (even in the season of rain and with the presence of fertiliser). The right tools must be used. Fathers and the world have used all kinds of tools to teach their boys how to be men but they have constantly burnt out and failed their sons just as the farmers failed their gardens. Beloved, many TV shows talking about the problem with men and many movements that fight for men to behave well will not succeed because they operate outside the wisdom of the Spirit of God. They may succeed for a month or two but eventually they will fail to teach authentic and lasting manhood to boys. The wrong tools cannot farm the best garden. The world and fathers have used common virtue, fear, culture and rewards for being good as motivators for boys to be men. Those things only motivate a boy until he is 18. Once he is out of the house, the suppressed boy that was never really taught how to be a true man will pop up. He did not backslide. He did not leave the church. He did not become irresponsible all over sudden. He did not become rude. He did not change. The truth is, he was a boy all along with a sinful nature in him that needs repentance through conviction of God’s spirit.

Opponents may argue that this matter cannot be objectively viewed from only one “religious” angle i.e. A Holy God and a sinful man. I mean, Ernest, come on! Where is the Psychology? Where is the Sociology? However to say that would be so assume a superior stance in the issue and the unmentioned question would revert to the one who asks- what makes your angle accurate?  Beloved, to paraphrase quote famous atheist Frederick Nietzsche,  “Every claim to know something is a power trip to impose your own claim.” That sounds true. Well, Beloved, what Nietzsche didn’t realize is that the greatest power trip in all humanity is to claim that every other claim is a power trip (except mine i.e. except the claim that every claim is a power trip). Haha! A bit wordy there. Read it again slowly. If you lack the patience, I’m saying this in summary: a sinful world will treat any truth claim as an opinion- even if it’s the truth.  Needless to say, if we truly believe in an all-powerful, all-glorious and all-knowing Creator, then his view suffices and encompasses all of his creation. He is the author of the Psychology and the Sociology we crave to quote. Will surely the clay call the potter incompetent in dealing with his own work? Beloved, God’s word explicitly states that all problems we have do not have different answers. On the surface they may look like, socio-economic worries, psychological burdens, physiological struggles but at the baseline and root they have one answer: SIN.

The question about why men are the way they are has the same response as why women are the way they are? The answer is this: mankind is plagued and dead in their sin. All our crime, terrors, insecurities and fears find their root in sin. We all qualify for that sinful state. Ephesians 2:1b says that we are DEAD in our sins and transgressions. Genesis 6:5 says “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”  So my cousins asks, “What holds a man back from committing to marriage?” notwithstanding all other variable factors such as economic stability, knowledge of the girl etc. The answer will also respond accurately to “Why do leaders steal the people’s money?” “Why does racism exist?” etc. I digress. I will stick to the original question.

Fear, Selfishness Laziness and Worldliness

Beloved, sin produces fearful men. Fear tells men that nobody in their family succeeded in relationships so they will never succeed in marriage. Fear tells men that they can never be sure they marry the right person. Sin tells men that they will never be happy with just one woman.

Dear Beloved, Sin produces men who are selfish. I tell you even the highest education cannot erase a man’s selfishness. It’s not a mind issue; it’s a heart issue. Why are many mothers in our generation single? Because a man somewhere impregnated her and when the consequences arose, they loved their “freedom” more than they loved their babies and responsibilities. It’s selfish. It’s sinful, Beloved, and men in our generation will be answerable to God for irresponsible sexuality and abandoned mothers.

Beloved, sin produces lazy men. A marriage requires work and lots of attention.  Hard work will never live in the same neighbourhood as mediocrity. Mediocrity will always looks for the short cut with clever sounding reasons such as “Times have changed.” A brave man who honours his creator sticks to the right thing despite its difficulty. His persistence will only reap a happy working relationship with the woman he relates to until death do them part.

Beloved, sin loves worldliness.  A man who borrows his ideals from a sinful world will not see the beauty of holy matrimony. The world is telling men many lies concerning marriage using whatever medium that can influence. In our generation it is mainly through movies, music, and entertainment in general. The lies include but are not limited to: a) False generalization that all marriages fail  b) That it is okay in God’s eyes for men to live against the will of Christ as long as they don’t necessarily “hate” God. So, a man like this may think, sure I know the Scriptures say that I should honour the marriage bed sexually, but my girlfriend and I love each other. I go to church and I’m a good person after all. What they don’t realize  is that even the Pope’s and mother Teresa’s goodness combined is not enough to take away one person’s sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). Worldiness asks, why should I then commit to this girl in a marriage when I can have all I need from her and still have my freedom? The man indulging in this will then witch-hunt for any fault in marriage to justify that it will “tie him down.” The truth is, it will compel him to leave childish ways and become a man; and a boy who loves his toys will never trade worldliness for responsibility. In mainstream entertainment men who are portrayed to be the heroes are shown shacking up with several women and living a life without consequences. The worldly man thinks that in having the liberty to misuse his sexuality, he is free, while in truth he is a slave- a slave to his sin and desires.

Beloved, God has offered a solution for all these issues rooted in the sinfulness of man. For a moment just imagine with me if Eve had sinned but Adam refused the fruit (for he was not deceived but rather sinned willfully). The conversation would have sounded something like this.

  • God: Beloved, your bride has sinned
  • Adam: I know.
  • God: Beloved…she has to die.
  • Adam: …but…but she’s my bride.
  • God: Well…I could make you another one.
  • Adam: But…I love her…
  • God: Well, Beloved, the wages of sin is death.
  • Adam: (With heaviness of heart) Take me (sighs) Take me, Lord. I will die in her place.

And Beloved, believe me when I say that had Adam died, he would have resurrected to eternal life and Eve’s sin would have been atoned for. However, this isn’t just a wishful happy ever after ending. For you see, God did have that conversation with Adam concerning sin- the second Adam.

  • God: Beloved, your bride has sinned
  • Jesus: I know.
  • God: Beloved…she has to die.
  • Jesus: …but…but she’s my bride.
  • God: Well…I could make you another one.
  • Jesus: But…I love her…
  • God: Well, Beloved, the wages of sin is death.
  • Jesus: (With heaviness of heart) Take me (sighs) Take me, Lord. I will die in her place.
  • And he did die for our sins.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  (John 3:16-21)

So, what holds a man back from committing to marriage? The short answer: Fear, Selfishness Laziness and Worldliness. The shorter answer: The first Adam. The solution: The Second Adam- The Saviour Jesus Christ. And fathers ought to teach their sons not to respond like the first Adam who blamed everyone but himself for the problems in the world. But rather, to submit to the second Adam and trust him with all their sin and all their fears, including commitment to a marriage.



Ernest is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He has been married to Waturi since September 2012. They have three children- Thandiwe, Ivanna, and Theo. He is also the author of four books. The Wamboyes are passionate to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly taught and understood in our post-modern world. They are champions of biblical discipleship and furthering the Kingdom of God by transforming one person at a time. They are the founders of The Relationship Centre Ltd (TRC), an organisation that aims to promote biblical family values in contemporary urban communities.

Discussion25 Comments

  1. Good read, but I believe you have completely ignored the chances that a woman (the lady) could make it hard for the man to commit. If a man has all the resources, doesn't that equally indicate hardwork and focus? Don't we also have women who make it hard for a man to commit?

    • This is a most excellent point! I would place it as one of the notwithstanding factors. Though I must say, this point calls for another blog. When a woman spoils her own chances of marriage commitment."Thank you for reading

  2. " The problem is not a mind issue that we are dealing with; it is a heart issue. Unless that heart is genuinely moved through conviction, it will never influence an ounce of change in behaviour for the better"

  3. "Those men should man up." Therefore the ladies are virtuous and marriage-worthy?
    On the contrary, feminism in the world AND in the church is the leading cause for the collapse in marriage. There's your Psychology and Sociology. For further details, two excellent blogs (dalrock.wordpress.com) (societyofphineas.wordpress.com) detail the grim carnage in vivid 3D. Take the time to examine their arguments. You won't regret it. I didn't.
    Still, yes, the men ought to man up.

    • I don't know what "man up" means in this context. If it means anything else but turning from sin, those men, don't need to man up- they need to repent and turn to Christ. I didn't want to talk about women because the blog would be too long and out of the intended context. Therefore,. lest anyone think I was one sided, I said the problem regards all other factors notwithstanding- including feminism as one of those factors. And if feminism does collapse marriages, then the root is not Psychological or Sociological; the root is sinfulness. Anything that goes against God's will is sin- it may look Psychological at the surface but the truth is that it is sin. Thanks for the links still; I will look at them 🙂

    • You speak of feminism as if it were a bad thing. Feminism, if you look it up, means equality. Men can be feminists too. In the Bible both women and men were part of Christ's ministry. The opposite of feminism, my friend, is chauvinis. And it is chauvinism that allows men to blame their lack of commitment on women and feminism.

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