Advice about Marriage
1Now, concerning the things that you wrote about: It’s good for men not to get married. 2But in order to avoid sexual sins, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
3Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s ⌞sexual⌟ needs. 4A wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but his wife does.
5Don’t withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn’t use your lack of self-control to tempt you. 6What I have just said is not meant as a command but as a suggestion. 7I would like everyone to be like me. However, each person has a special gift from God, and these gifts vary from person to person.
8I say to those who are not married, especially to widows: It is good for you to stay single like me. 9However, if you cannot control your desires, you should get married. It is better for you to marry than to burn ⌞with sexual desire⌟.
10I pass this command along (not really I, but the Lord): A wife shouldn’t leave her husband. 11If she does, she should stay single or make up with her husband. Likewise, a husband should not divorce his wife.
12I (not the Lord) say to the rest of you: If any Christian man is married to a woman who is an unbeliever, and she is willing to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any Christian woman is married to a man who is an unbeliever, and he is willing to live with her, she should not divorce her husband. 14Actually, the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and an unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise, their children would be unacceptable ⌞to God⌟, but now they are acceptable to him. 15But if the unbelieving partners leave, let them go. Under these circumstances a Christian man or Christian woman is not bound ⌞by a marriage vow⌟. God has called you to live in peace. 16How do you as a wife know whether you will save your husband? How do you as a husband know whether you will save your wife?
17Everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him when God called him. This is the guideline I use in every church.
18Any man who was already circumcised when he was called to be a Christian shouldn’t undo his circumcision. Any man who was uncircumcised when he was called to be a Christian shouldn’t get circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing, and the lack of it is nothing. But keeping what God commands is everything. 20All people should stay as they were when they were called. 21Were you a slave when you were called? That shouldn’t bother you. However, if you have a chance to become free, take it. 22If the Lord called you when you were a slave, you are the Lord’s free person. In the same way, if you were free when you were called, you are Christ’s slave. 23You were bought for a price. Don’t become anyone’s slaves. 24Brothers and sisters, you should remain in whatever circumstances you were in when God called you. God is with you in those circumstances.
25Concerning virgins: Even though I don’t have any command from the Lord, I’ll give you my opinion. I’m a person to whom the Lord has shown mercy, so I can be trusted. 26Because of the present crisis I believe it is good for people to remain as they are. 27Do you have a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you divorced from your wife? Don’t look for another one. 28But if you do get married, you have not sinned. If a virgin gets married, she has not sinned. However, these people will have trouble, and I would like to spare them from that.
29This is what I mean, brothers and sisters: The time has been shortened. While it lasts, those who are married should live as though they were not. 30Those who have eyes filled with tears should live as though they have no sorrow. Those who are happy should live as though there was nothing to be happy about. Those who buy something should live as though they didn’t own it. 31Those who use the things in this world should do so but not depend on them. It is clear that this world in its present form is passing away.
32So I don’t want you to have any concerns. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, ⌞that is,⌟ about how he can please the Lord. 33But the married man is concerned about earthly things, ⌞that is,⌟ about how he can please his wife. 34His attention is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the Lord’s things so that she may be holy in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about earthly things, ⌞that is,⌟ about how she can please her husband. 35I’m saying this for your benefit, not to restrict you. I’m showing you how to live a noble life of devotion to the Lord without being distracted by other things.
36No father would want to do the wrong thing when his virgin daughter is old enough to get married. If she wants to get married, he isn’t sinning by letting her get married. 37However, a father may have come to a decision about his daughter. If his decision is to keep her ⌞at home⌟ because she doesn’t want to get married, that’s fine. 38So it’s fine for a father to give his daughter in marriage, but the father who doesn’t give his daughter in marriage does even better.
39A married woman must remain with her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if the man is a Christian.#7:39 Or “only as the Lord guides her.” 40However, she will be more blessed if she stays as she is. That is my opinion, and I think that I, too, have God’s Spirit.