Many singles look at marriage as a goal or a need. They do not feel complete, they live their life waiting for when they will meet their sweetheart. However, according to the Apostle Paul, marriage is far from being a priority!
Paul’s desire for singles was very simple. “And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” (1 Corinthians 7.35 NKJV) The apostle wanted above all for singles to attach themselves to the Lord without distraction. Since he spoke about marriage in this chapter, he clearly indicates that the desire to marry can be an unnecessary distraction for a Christian.
Of course, we must consider the historical context in which this letter to the Corinthians was written. Verse 26 gives us an overview of this. “I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” (NKJV) The first Christians were frequently persecuted for their faith. They could be arrested at any time and put in prison or worse. Since he knew they were in difficult times (present distress), the apostle encouraged the disciples not to marry. Being the wife of a condemned man was never a pleasant situation, and in many situations, the wife and children of a Christian were all massacred. In this historical context, it was indeed wiser to remain single.
On the other hand, he knew that not everyone should remain unmarried. “For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” (1 Corinthians 7.7 NKJV) Even Jesus regarded the desire to remain celibate as a special gift. (For more on this subject, read this other article.)
Desiring to get married is not a bad thing. But the apostle Paul’s warning should still be, to some extent, considered. Is your desire to marry a distraction for you? That is to say, do you think more about your future life as a couple than the calling that God has put on your life today?
Some singles have a very good balance in this area. Since it’s legitimate to have the desire to marry, it is normal to think about it from time to time. If you think about it a few times a week and you even have one night a week to make yourself available or to look for a partner, that’s fine. This time you invest in looking for a partner will later turn into your date-night as a couple, which will be very healthy for your love life.
But for some singles, the desire to marry becomes a distraction that needs to be corrected. If you spend more time thinking about marriage than praying, there is a problem. If all of your friends are singles and are just talking about their quests, it may be time to make other friends who will encourage you to grow in your faith. If you are always sad and discouraged about meeting someone, again there, you are letting marriage become a distraction detrimental to your faith. If you refrain from serving the Lord, or to enter into your calling, because you are waiting to be married, again, you must correct this attitude.
Serving God, working for our own edification and the edification of the Body of Christ, must remain a priority. We will always be distracted by all sorts of desires or worries. “And the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19 NKJV) Jesus compares distractions to thorns that stifle the seed, the Word of God. If you let the desire to marry becoming a distraction, you will no longer grow spiritually, you will even put your faith at risk. And admit it, a person who is obsessed with the idea of getting married is not very attractive, either!
Identify what lies behind this distraction. Maybe you are lacking trust in God about your relationship. Maybe you have lost sight of things from above and you focus too much on what is here (Colossians 3.2). Remove this thorn from your life and make the seed of God grow in you. Doing so will not only be good for you and your faith, it will also make you more attractive to the other Christian singles that are on fire for God!