Paul is not arguing whether being single or married is best. He is establishing the fact that either way is fine. Whether one chooses a life of celibacy, or another marriage, they both are blessed of God. Paul refers to gifts in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” This ‘gift’ is not to be confused with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is referring to our relational situation-whether married or single. Either way it is a gift from God. So when Paul says, ‘all men should be like him’, he is referring to contentment in relational situations (he was single at this time in his life). He is not promulgating celibacy as a ministry requirement! In essence, if married be content, and if single, be content likewise.
Years ago, my wife and I knew a young woman who was going to be a missionary. Our church took her on for support. We admired the fact that she put everything in life off for God and the mission field. At that young age, most young women are focused on getting married and so. It was all for Jesus and she went to the mission field a single woman. She is a perfect example of 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, “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. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”
It’s like this. If God told me to go to the darkest jungle, as a missionary, would I be obedient? Or would I balk having to consider the welfare of others. There were a few times when I heard from God and honestly one of my first thoughts was my travel mate-my wife. I would have to ask her to uproot from home (again). I was concerned for her feelings. It’s my God-given duty to watch over her. Can you see Paul’s point now. If I were single, I would not have balked. But I thank God I have a wife who has learned how to break camp quickly, when God calls. The world behind us the Cross before us!