In 1 Corinthians 7: 26, Paul says about marriage and singleness, “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.” No doubt there were many people in the first century — as I’m sure there are now — who cringe when they read that.
This “distress” could be a few things. It may be the fact that the Corinthian church is messed up, where church goers are drunk at communion (ch. 11), a man is sleeping with his step mom (ch. 5), Christians are suing each other (ch. 6), and in general, the Corinthians are using their spiritual gifts to show off (chs. 12-14). This “distress” could also be a famine or other disaster in the area. Furthermore, it may refer to the general perspective that we are living in the last days (cf. vv. 29-31).
Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. Paul’s point is that there are situations that would require one to think more intently on whether or not marriage is the best idea. It’s not a sin to marry; but it may be unwise. The application? If you are single, are you giving God relationship ultimatums? Do you think you must be married? Are you a slave to the idea of marriage? If you are married, is your spouse your idol? I confess that the latter is often the case for myself — and it is a daily temptation.
The remedy is to remember that “the present form of this world is passing away” (v. 31). We need an eternal perspective in every area of our life, especially in our marriage or in our singleness.