“You have to look at yourself in the way that Paul described marriage in Ephesians 5. He basically says that a husband is like a savior to his wife. That’s essentially what it says,” MacArthur said.
Then seeming to imply that women do not experience love and fulfillment apart from marriage, MacArthur said, “And I think the burden really lies with men to see themselves as those who rescue women from loneliness, who rescue women from being in an unfulfilled life, from being in a place where they aren’t protected, they aren’t provided for, they aren’t cared for, they aren’t loved, they aren’t given the opportunity to have children.”
“So from what I would experience in our society, it’s the men that have to step up,” MacArthur continued. “And I honestly do not know what in the world they are waiting for. I have threatened many times to line up all the single women on one side, all the single men on the other side and assign you a wife.”
The crowd laughed and then broke into applause. Though MacArthur’s remark was made in jest, its phrasing seems to betray an apparent assumption that women are prizes to be given away without regard for their own agency.
Nevertheless, MacArthur emphasized that wives are not trophies, but rather people who need to be redeemed by their husbands, saying, “But instead of looking for someone who’s some kind of trophy, you need to look to someone who loves Christ, that you can be a savior to that person, and a protector, and a provider, and a lover — and be what Christ is to his Church, because that’s the picture.”
“And I strongly exhort young men to find a wife, because in that finding is God’s greatest gift in this world. And it allows you to raise up children who know and love the Lord,” MacArthur said. “That’s the purpose of marriage — to procreate. And to do so in Christ is the highest calling in life.”
Addressing possible concerns young men may have about marriage, MacArthur seemed to imply that while women “have problems,” it is the duty of their husbands to redeem them.
“I want to do all I can to encourage the men to step up. And I know there have been enough bad marriages in our society that there’s a certain amount of fear and trepidation,” MacArthur said. “But you have to look at marriage the way the Lord looks at His Church. He knows the bride has problems. But He is her Redeemer. He is her Rescuer.”
MacArthur concluded by saying, “And I think if you can find a godly woman, that reward is the greatest reward that life can offer. Just don’t let the world define what that woman should be, okay?”
You can listen to MacArthur’s full question and answer session here.