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Biblical Womanhood and Christian Living

Marriage: Blessing or Bondage Follow-Up
By Mrs. Crystal Paine
Oct 16, 2004 - 5:33:00 PM

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Dear LAF,

I wanted to comment on Crystal Paine's article "Marriage: Blessing or Bondage?" I got the impression that the only marriages she felt were blessed were hers and her parents. Also, I felt that she was putting down people like me (not homeschooled; non-Christian parents; divorced, etc) by the way she only talked in detail about her wedding (and courtship) and her parents 30 year marriage. ~Rosalind”

Dear Rosalind,

Thank you for your comments regarding my article. I am truly sorry if I came across in a manner which made you feel as though any marriage besides my own or my parents was not a blessed marriage. That is not at all my belief.

I have been so privileged to meet a number of godly couples through the years—couples like Matt and Jennie Chancey whose love for each other and the Lord radiates through their life. I am so excited to meet parents who are raising their young people to eagerly anticipate and prepare for marriage.
The article was primarily written to address the overwhelming number of parents and young people who have a much different perspective. Their mindset is that marriage is something to be postponed in the name of “freedom to serve the Lord.”

I am also sorry you felt I was putting down those who are from a different background than me. God has different plans for each of our lives. We do not choose what family we will be born into, nor who our parents are. My husband’s upbringing was much different than my own—his parents were divorced and he went to public school for a number of years. I am grateful for being raised in a godly, Christian home, but that does not make me a better person, nor does it afford me a better marriage.

None of us are perfect. Yes, I am blessed with a wonderful husband and am striving to be a godly wife, but I fall so short. I am thankful that God is a merciful Heavenly Father and He continues to patiently teach me even when I falter.

In Christ,
Mrs. Crystal Paine

“Dear LAF,

I truly appreciated the testimony that marriage is a beautiful, uplifting thing that allows both partners to be more together than either is alone. I understand the concern shown for well meaning people saying they plan to postpone marriage to give them more years to 'freely' serve the Lord. However, this belief is directly based on Scripture-- I Cor. 7:32-34. If Mrs. Paine has concerns with the way modern young Christians are using this passage, it would be a real help if she directly addressed it and stated why she believes these verses should not be used to postpone marriage for freedom to serve God. ~Cheri”

Dear Cheri,

Thank you for bringing up these verses. Since the article was published, a number of people have written asking me what my thoughts were on the 1 Corinthians 7 passage. I did consider and study it before writing the article, but the many comments and questions have caused me to take an even closer look at it.

1 Corinthians 7:32-34 says, “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

Paul clearly states in the above verses a difference between the married and the unmarried. But is he saying we should postpone marriage and encourage others to do so?

In the verses preceding verses 32-34, Paul makes mention that the counsel he is giving is “for the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26). If you study the Church history at the time of the writing of this chapter, Christians were enduring great persecution. Because of this, Paul thought it wise to instruct the Christians at Corinth to not seek to alter the state they were currently in (whether married or unmarried).

As John Gill writes on this passage in his Exposition of the Bible:

“…Because this was the present case of the Christians, [Paul] thought it most prudent for such as were single to remain so; since they were often obliged to move from place to place, to fly from one city to another, this would be very incommodious for married persons, who might have young children to take care of, and provide for…”

If you knew that at any moment you could be forced to flee from your homes, be without food, and live with the constant threat of being burned alive or fed to wild animals by those seeking your life, it would probably be best to not consider marriage. But, in our current times, in most countries, Christians can live in relative freedom and peace. In reading the entire passage in this context, I do not believe one can make the case that in this day and age, we should be postponing marriage.

Regarding verses 32-34, yes, there is a difference between married women and unmarried women. A married woman does have many responsibilities she did not have when she was single, but I do not believe she is any less free to serve the Lord. In whatever state God has placed us in, we are to be faithful to serve Him. In marriage, a wife has the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving her husband and her family, and serving in ministry opportunities with her husband and family.

My goal in writing the article was not to exalt marriage over singleness or to say one state is better than another. Singleness is a gift, just as marriage is a gift. God has not called everyone to marriage. Nor has God called everyone to marry by their 21st birthday. Some will marry later in life, and some will never marry. Regardless, Christian young people need to be raised with an understanding that marriage is a wonderful, beautiful thing.

Marriage was God’s idea in the first place. He created it! He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). In Proverbs we read, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). My desire is to encourage young people by my life and by my words, to eagerly anticipate their own blessed marriage.

In Christ,
Mrs. Crystal Paine

Crystal Paine is a 23-year-old homeschool graduate. She married her beloved husband Jesse in January 2003. They are eagerly expecting their first child in a few months. Crystal and Jesse operate Covenant Wedding Source out of their home--an online business dedicated to promoting God-honoring weddings and assisting parents to wisely prepare their children for marriage. Mrs. Paine is the author of The Merchant Maiden: Earning an Income Without Compromising Convictions.

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