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Better to burn with passion or get married?

It says in the Bible that ‘… if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion’ (1 Corinthians 7:9).
My partner and I have been thinking about this verse a lot, but we haven’t found an answer that satisfies us. Should we really interpret it to mean that if two people want to have sex, they should just get married? Isn’t it wrong (and pretty stupid) to get married to a person for the rest of your life just on the basis of lust and sexual attraction? What does this really mean? I’m looking forward to your answer!


It’s very clear that you should not get married because of lust and physical attraction. We can all be attracted to people who would be a bad match. There are totally different criteria needed when you choose a spouse. Paul says that you should not choose a wife on the basis of lust, but win her in holiness and honour (1 Thessalonians 4:4–5). So what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:9 should not be understood as if he recommends marriage just because people burn with passion.

The Bible is very clear that sex only belongs within the framework of marriage between a man and a woman. From the Bible’s point of view it isn’t an option to have sex without being married. Simply wanting to have sex isn’t a good enough reason to get married. It is totally possible to avoid having sex before you get married, it helps if you have agreed to this and if you avoid situations where the temptation would be too big.

However, it’s not natural to date and perhaps even be engaged for many years before you get married. It can be more and more difficult to avoid having sex when you’ve been together a long time.

The verse you refer to is actually written by Paul in order to address a certain situation (verse 1), where he writes that it is better for them to remain single, but if they burn with passion, they can get married. This is first and foremost a reminder to us that sexuality belongs within the framework of marriage, and is not an encouragement to get married for the wrong reasons.


Best wishes

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