Paul's Suggestions on Marriage

I am just checking to verify that this is in line with the scripture in 1 Corinthians. If a man does not struggle with lust, there is no need for him to marry (In fact, Paul said it was better if a man didn’t marry.) He said for single women or widows that if they didn’t struggle with “burning of passions” that it wasn’t necessary to get married.
First of all, I want to ensure my understanding is correct. Is it true that some people (who don’t become nuns and priests) were not intended to be married?
In my case, I am a woman who went through severe abuse. I believe i wouldn’t be able to get married and be intimate with a spouse like Paul suggested. So I want to know, is it wrong for me to decide marriage is just not for me? A lot of people encourage me to find “the right man” and settle down. People try to fix me up with men all of the time. But it bothers me, because it feels like people say I only have a purpose in God if I get married.

I do not think it is wrong to not want to be married…that is your choice…and the vocation you choose. Paul also extolled on celibacy in 1cor 7…

4 Types of Vocations:

Single life
Married life
Consecrated life (monks, nuns, etc.)
Holy Orders (Priesthood, etc.)

So YES some people are called to remain single forever.

#2: Some context for that passage:
Keep in mind St. Paul suggested some to remain single because he thought Jesus was going to return in his lifetime. So no need to get married but to focus on Jesus only.

Hope this helps,


A lot of people say and do this sort of thing because it’s all they know to say or do. Even many Christians have a diminished view of lifelong celibacy. Here in the Bible Belt, it’s not a matter of whether you will get married, it’s a matter of when–and if you don’t, something must have gone pretty wrong. One of my cousins is an evangelical pastor who totally discounts Paul’s advice in Corinthians because of what another poster mentioned, that Paul expected the end of time within his lifetime. Having grown up as a Protestant, I remember constantly being told to pray for whomever would be my spouse one day, but never a sermon or lesson about God calling someone to celibacy.

Short answer: these people probably mean well, but don’t understand the full range of the word “vocation.” Jesus calls some people to be eunuchs for the kingdom (Matthew 19:12), and Paul’s common-sense advice is still instructive for us today.

P.S.–Take a look at how many canonized saints were celibate. :slight_smile:

As others have stated there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to stay single.

Always Curious is right in what he or she said. My cousin brought up a good point to me after my divorce and I realized she’s right. The world has a wrapped view of those who never marry. It’s as if something is wrong with you. If she says she’s single to someone they look at her funny and say “your single” like there’s something wrong with that. Once she says that she’s divorced she’s a normal person again. I got married 2 months before my 49th birthday and my divorce was final a couple of months after I turned 51. Before my marriage when I said I was single all I’d hear was what a wonderful, intelligent person I was and that they couldn’t understand why I’d never married. Now I say I’m divorced and either nothing is said or I hear that it’s his loss. I just don’t understand it.

Paul was writing this fully expecting Christ to return in his lifetime…one of the reasons we have the gospels and the compilation of scripture is that those first believers came to understand that Christ was not necessarily going to return in their life time. Part of the reasoning of Paul’s position was "Why marry, when Christ will soon be here and having a wife and family takes up our energies and commitments better preparing for “the Day of the Lord”…

His “suggestions” on marriage were not to be understood as 'normative" and “binding”…in fact he sometimes states that he is giving his “opinion”…not “of the Lord”.

The wonderful thing about God is that He calls us each to different types of service. For some, it is thru marriage that they will be best able to do the Lord’s work. For others, it is a single life.

Within those two marital states, there are many ways to serve. Some will have children thru the marital act that they are asked to raise and love. Others will be given children thru adoption. Others will become ‘parents’ thru tragic circumstances and be blessed to raise the children of relatives.

There are others who will never have children (even if married). They are being called to serve God in other ways. In the Catholic, we have some defined ways. These include nuns, sisters, priests, brothers. Some of these people live lives in the community, others are cloistered and live lives mainly dedicated to prayers.

Still others serve, not by going into a religious order or by being married. Yet their lives are dedicated to God in whatever profession they have.

There are also those who can not marry for physical reasons. Yet God still accepts their service.

I suspect there is nothing you can say these people who think you should married beyond telling them that you are quite happy with leaving it in the Lord’s hand. IF the Lord wants you married, He will bring the ‘right’ man into your life at the ‘right’ time. Maybe that will cause them to back off for a week or two :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey…I am not married and have no children. Some people are called to be single and serve God. And trust me…some people have no business being married, let alone raising children.

I hear that line quite a bit : “St. Paul expected Christ to return in his lifetime.” (or some variant). Because it is almost always used to downplay his exaltation of the celibate life (which is preferable to all things), I am very suspicious of its accuracy.

Do any of the fathers teach that St. Paul really believed that?

The abuse you suffered has left you wounded. In a wounded state it is difficult to assess whether marriage or celibacy is one’s calling. The abuse may create a fear of marriage and intimacy. Before you decide that marrige is not for you, and it may not be, it might be helpful to try to find some healing from the harm imposed upon you.

What you are saying is that you don’t really believe that God can heal you and restore you to be able to become a spouse, if that is His intention for you.

Yes, it is wrong for you to decide “marriage is just not for me”, especially if you have arrived to that because you have been wounded.

The right approach is to seek God’s plan for your life, and HIs grace to get you there, and keep you there. Celibacy is a gift, and those who are given this gift, as Christ taught, should accept it and live accordingly. If you have not been given the gift of celibacy, then it would not be appropriate for you to use it as a way to avoid intimacy because you have been hurt, or are afraid you will be hurt again.

Grandfather above is right, the thing to do is to seek healing, and trust that God will reveal the vocation to you that He has in mind for you. He already has it figured out, so you don’t have to. All you have to do is be open to HIs leading.

I am trying to heal. I have the mental diagnosis, DDNOS or possibly D.I.D. A lot of people with this illness marry young, and it can cause a ton of problems in a marriage. Some of these people pity me because I did not marry young because a husband would be an extra support. In my case, I don’t have a lot of support, but I think it has caused me to rely on God more.

As someone else suggested, make sure that you’ve healed before you make this kind of big decision. I was raised in a household of abuse myself, and I know that I had some trust issues after leaving home (particularly around men) before I came to peace with everything. Take some time (as long as you need!) to discern your vocation; have quiet time and reflect as often as you can. There’s no rush!

I’m so sorry that you experienced severe abuse in your marriage. If you ever need to talk, please feel free to send me a message!

Grace works through nature…and yes, I agree with Guanaphore…that if you need healing, then seek it, as Christ’s will for us is to live a full life.

Christ also spoke of the kingdom, that there are those who were made to serve the kingdom…

St Paul also spoke of married couples taking time out exclusively for the Lord.

And we have to look at the documented history of early Christianity and faith lived out.
There are those married couples who lived their lives quietly and in fidelity. Ancient liturgies were public gatherings that ended with members vowing to not lie or steal or commit adultery…in contrast to a world such as in ancient Rome where husbands admitted they did not know who their wives were with outside of their presence…

There were many virgins and celibates as well in those ancient times who wanted to live solely for the Lord. There were ancient martyrs who were killed, particularly some beautiful women, who refused to be married…such as St. Perpetua, St. Barbara, St. Victoria…whose actual corpus is 20 miles from my house and is under the altar of this country Catholic church!!!

Wisdom is knowing ourselves…so as was advised…it is better for you to first seek healing in context of God’s will for you, and to follow the Holy Spirit…

My prayers today for you !

Well, the way I see it, dating is not a good choice of me, at least dating for the sake of dating. I want to have guy friends, plutonic relationships. And I’d want to make things clear with any plutonic friends that I was not seeking anything more intimate with them. If God were to open a door, and bring a man into my life who loves Him and truly wants to serve God and loves me, I will not close the door. I don’t think i have the right to do that. I cannot decide marriage will NEVER be for me. But I want to focus on having healthy relationships with men before i consider marrying or dating or courtship (whatever you would call it.) Because as long as I have unhealthy relationships with men, I will be opening myself up to abuse and sexual sin. That’s the way things have gone, and i don’t like it. It’s hard to forgive yourself for those kinds of mistakes. It’s hard for others to forgive and accept me as well, when I am making those poor choices.
In the past, I have actively sought a husband. i think now I need to stop actively seeking and live my life free from the idea that marriage is all I could ever have going for me. Then, if God chooses to bring someone along, I will be grateful. but I can be grateful either way.

This seems like a very healthy attitude :). God bless you.

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