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Questions to Answer Before Saying “I Do”

2/25/07 CC/AM

1 Corinthians 7:25-40

Introduction: For those that are married, how many of you received some kind of pre –marital counseling?  It is helpful to get some insights from a third party when considering such an undertaking.  Here are some thoughts from some children who you might find wise beyond their years.

Alan, age 10 "You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming."

Kirsten, age 10 "No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with."

Freddie, age 6 "No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married."

Derrick, age 8 "You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids."

"Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough." Lynnette, age 8

"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." Martin, age 10

Pam, age 7 "When they’re rich."

Ricky, age 10 "Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck."

I told you that they were wise beyond their years!

In 1 Corinthians 7 the Apostle Paul has been answering some questions that had come to him about marriage, divorce and singleness.  From his comments in verses 25-40, we can derive at least five questions that would be good to ask when considering the option of marriage.


1.   Is it the correct time to be married? (25-31)

a.    I remember asking my father in law a question about the timing of my marrying his daughter and he kind of expressed that he felt the same way as Paul.  It would be better to remain as we were!

b.   Paul’s opinion as was previously disclosed in verses 7,8 that he believed that it was best for people who were not presently married to remain that way if it were possible, if they had been gifted to do so.

c.    He also states that in view of the present distress that it would be better to remain single, but if they married that was O.K. too.

d.   Paul sounds like a guy who had been married before, and he probably had been, because of what he says in the last half of verse 28.  “Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you” is a statement that I have never heard during a wedding ceremony!

e.    Evidently times were either very difficult for Christian families or they were about to get that way and Paul is saying that they should take into consideration whether or not it was the best time to get married. Archeological evidence suggests that there was a famine in the land at this point in history.  Also, all of the New Testament writers believed in the immanent return of Christ and felt that the time was short to serve the Lord before He would come again.

f.     There was a sense of urgency as depicted in verse 31 where it is stated that the world as they knew it was passing away. Paul chose to remain single and felt that it was best because he could fully devote himself to pleasing and serving the Lord.

2.   Am I conscious of the responsibilities? (32-35)

a.    In pre-marriage counseling, I like to ask the couple about their expectations in marriage.  It is important for each person to understand how the other person sees the marriage working. What will be the various roles that are played be each individual?

b.   Paul realized that there are different responsibilities for single and married people.

c.    The one who is single can demonstrate a level of devotion to the Lord and to ministry that the married person is simply not capable of.

d.   It is not like the married cannot be effective in service, but their interests are divided.  Paul made it clear earlier in the passage that husbands and wives had duties to fulfill to each other and that they both did not own their own bodies, their spouse did. Also, when children come into the picture the amount of attention that is available is once again divided, as it should be.

e.    Paul states that the single person has an advantage in ministry over the married simply because they can be more focused on the task of advancing the kingdom without having to concern themselves with how their family is doing.

f.     It is interesting that many churches would not probably consider hiring a pastor who is single, Paul says they are capable of undistracted devotion to the Lord.

g.    Is being married going to increase your effectiveness or be a distraction from it?  It depends on how you are gifted.  Most of us need the helpmeet that God has provided to compliment our weaknesses.

3.   Am I convinced it is right for me? (36-38)

a.    Marriages used to be arranged by the parents.  We don’t do it that way today, at least not with our children knowing anything about it!  The success rate was higher in those days, so maybe we should consider returning to that method.  Any takers?

b.   Marriage should not be entered into just because that is what most people do.  It needs to be the right thing for each person individually.

c.    I believe that Paul is saying that each person needs to be convinced that this is what God wants for them.  It is an issue that needs to be prayed about intensely.  A question I like to ask couples is “why do you want to get married, why do you believe that God desires that you form a new family unit”?

4.   Am I committed for life? (39a)

a.    Before you get married it would be a good thing to know how long your potential spouse sees the marriage lasting.  We live in a day of pre nuptial contracts which basically infer that this marriage is not going to last so we have made some provisions for its failure.

b.   Paul says that the marriage is to last until the death of one of the partners.  It is not to be a “lets try it out and see if we can make a go of it” mentality.

c.    The vows of till death do us part should be a sobering thought for the couple at the altar.  If you feel that it is too much of a commitment, then marriage is not for you.

5.   Are we both Christians?  (39b)

a.    Paul states the people are free to remarry after the death of their spouse but it is required that they only marry others who are in the Lord.

b.   I have been amazed over the years when I have asked couples who have come to be married when they don’t know if the other person is a Christian.  I remember one such occasion after the young lady shared her testimony that her fiancé said to both of us that he had never heard that before and that he didn’t have anything like that in his life.  Not a great time to find that out, but better late than never.

c.    I have also known of couples who have “prepped” each other with the right answers about salvation even though they were not saved but knew that they could not be married by the pastor if it was discovered.

d.   Paul says that this life long relationship is to only be undertaken by a Christian when the person that they are marrying is a Christian too.  For a believer to marry a non believer it is sin.  You can’t expect God to bless a relationship that breaks His rules.  Sometimes by God’s grace the unbeliever gets saved, but there is no excuse for disobedience on the part of the believer.

Conclusion: If you are single that is great you have the opportunity to serve the Lord with your undivided attention. Married? That’s great too.  Either way the time to give our lives to service is now.  This world is passing away so we must do all we can to make our lives count!

1 Corinthians 7:25-40 (NASB95)
25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.
26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.
29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;
30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;
31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.
32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.
37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.
38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

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