Q&A: Is Marriage for Everyone?

2 Timothy 2:15 King James Version (KJV)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Question

If a pastor says it is not God’s will for everyone to be married and the context in which he said was some people feel they are not accomplished if they are not married, what would you say to that? Also the pastor used Corinthians Chapter 7 to justify it.

God's Will Concerning Marriage

To say Paul’s view on marriage is both balanced and sensible, is immensely understated. Paul is clear, coherent, and concise in his approach of guiding believers to a proper conclusion regarding the subject of marriage. We’ll be defining Paul’s expectations in the first letter to the church of Corinth, determining whether it is God’s will for us all to be married, we’ll also point out a noteworthy idea expressed by Paul that is often overlooked and additionally, why viewing marriage as an “accomplishment” is fallacious.

Paul shares a “win-win” view on marriage that falls in line with how he views just about every subject matter. He ultimately believes that nothing can possibly go wrong if your life is completely surrendered to Christ and he shares that same idea throughout his epistles. There are two passages outside of the book of Corinthians that explicitly communicates this. The first being Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Submitting to the fact that God fully controls all things, neither life or death is favored more than the other. In that same letter, Philippians 4:12-13 Paul states: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Therefore, we can conclude that Paul is able to find solace and contentment in any situation.

The topic of marriage is no different with Paul. Paul states this in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “For I would that all men were even as myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” He’s eluding to the fact that marriage is a “proper” gift just as being single is also a “proper” gift. Therefore, it is not God’s will for everyone to marry in the physical sense. However, God should be hallowed and glorified in both conditions. If one should have the desire to marry, then it should be done in an orderly way to avoid fornication. If one does not desire marriage, you don’t go and live “your best life” and serve yourself. Rather, you serve the Lord in your singleness.

Let’s now point out and highlight Paul’s attitude of fulfillment. You’ll notice how Paul takes a moment to glorify his position in saying “For I would that men were even as myself.” He mentions this due to his contentment and satisfaction in serving God in his appointed role. If Paul were to talk about how he loved ministry but longed for that “special someone,” it would show Paul’s displeasure in serving in his capacity while coveting another role. It’s no different than the usher collecting money, but secretly looking for an opportunity to sing lead in the choir. To be like Paul, the usher would love collecting money and directing people to their seats and desire no other role beyond what he’s been assigned. In fact, he would think he held the best position in the church. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, the sixth chapter, and the sixth verse, he states “(1 Timothy 6:6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.” We could believe that godliness goes hand in hand with contentment or venture to believe that you can have godliness without contentment.

In response to feeling unaccomplished if you are unwed, that is a personal problem, more or less. Our ambitiousness to feel accomplish often misdirects and clouds our judgment. Our yearning to look the part instead of actually being the part can produce a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. As beautiful as marriage is, it is not a pride of life. It may not stop others from viewing it as such, but it should not be considered a pride of life. We can place our jobs in that category, our salaries, our homes, or cars, but what belongs to the Lord is the Lord’s.

God spoke on the matter of desiring and not receiving, so let’s examine what He thinks. James 4:3 says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” This means He’s heard you asking for something, but won’t yield to your request because your motivation is totally inappropriate. Beyond that, God may be preventing you from getting what you asked out of concern and protection. Your purpose for desiring to be married is absent of God and we are most fortunate that he would not allow it. We would easily self-destruct. We’ve witnessed how He’s allowed many people to self-destruct. As an example, we’ve seen people spend hundreds, thousands, and even millions to get married out of vanity and end up getting divorced after a short while.

Marriage is beautiful in the Lord. Meanwhile, your singleness is also beautiful in the Lord. One isn’t favored above the other and each state you may be in requires glorifying God. We’ve taken a closer look into the book of Corinthians to determine what to make out of Paul’s letter specifically concerning marriage. We’ve also covered how marriage and singleness is both permissible and how marriage should not be viewed as an “accomplishment.” I pray that this is a blessing to our readers and that we’ve brought some clarity to the matter.