Are you unequally yoked, dating a non-Christian? Hear 3 women’s stories of why they are glad they dated an unbeliever, and find out when it’s okay and when it’s not.
Several months ago, we shared a popular article entitled, “Is Dating a Non-Christian a Bad Idea?” The premise of it was, in order for us to have the best chance for spiritual success, we must date and marry a Christian. This view is based on 2 Corinthians 6:14:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
While this passage is definitely true, there is some disagreement on what “unequally yoked” really means. Is it possible to date someone who is interested in God’s word, while they may not yet be a Christian?
We all know of individuals have converted their significant other. In these couples, God demonstrates His providence and timing!
Today, we’re sharing the stories of 3 women whose relationships did not begin on the same page in regards to faith. But it turned out that God had a supreme plan in mind for them!
Hopefully you’ll be encouraged that every person’s heart and story is different, and that God can use any situation or relationship for His glory and to fulfill His purpose!
“I knew his heart and prayed that he would make the decision to be baptized.”
Jason and I met at Alabama Christian Academy when I was in the 7th grade and he was in the 8th grade. Jason came from a military family that believed in God but was never part of any particular denomination, and they didn’t attend church, except for maybe Christmas and Easter.
Interestingly enough, his parents enrolled him in a Christian school to keep him from attending a failing public school. What an amazing choice that was!
Jason and I started dating after he graduated and I was a senior. Jason immediately started attending church with me every chance he got. Jason was always excited about going with me, and seemed happy about attending so often.
Attending Alabama Christian, he had a good biblical background and was already familiar with the Church of Christ. One of his best friends in high school talked to him a lot about church and baptism prior to us dating. As our relationship grew more serious, we would discuss baptism some, but never did I push the issue.
We were then engaged and had started planning our wedding. I never once worried that baptism was going to be an issue. I knew his heart and prayed that he would make the decision to be baptized. I didn’t want him to do it for me, so again I didn’t push the issue.
To my surprise, on his 21st birthday, my father baptized him! Jason is now a faithful member and serves as deacon over the youth at University Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama.
When I hear or read that Christians should only date Christians, this makes my heart sink. Where would I be, or where would Jason be, if I followed that thinking? If we only date Christians, are we missing our personal mission field? I believe so!
This is not a black and white issue—this is a heart decision. I knew Jason and his heart, and I am so thankful that I didn’t follow such rules!
Jason and Lara Graham have been married for 22 years and have two sons, Jackson and Judson. They are active members at the University congregation in Montgomery, Ala.
TAKEAWAY: Pay close attention to the heart of the person you are interested in dating. Ascertain whether their heart is soft toward God and if they are actively seeking Him.
“Just because someone was raised in the church doesn’t make them good marriage material.”
I was the Christian, raised all my life in the church although I wasn’t super strong in my faith in my early 20s when Michael and I met. I was, at best, lukewarm.
We started dating, and he would go to church with me some. (I would go to church some). As we continued to date, and we got to know each other’s values more and got through the hard questions, we got engaged.
Then we became a bit more present at church, showed up more and became more active. I knew he was doing a bible correspondence course with my home town preacher, but didn’t know that at the end he called our local preacher and got baptized.
We both went through some weaker/stronger times. It seems like when I was weaker, he was stronger and vice versa. It’s definitely helped having one another there during those times.
So with my experience, here’s my take on this issue:
Up until maybe the 17th century, marriages were still arranged by parents. Even today, there are cultures who still do this and have quite happy marriages.
I’m not saying we need arranged marriages, but more wisdom in who we pick. Even if you date a non-Christian, if you have the hard discussions while dating, you can know if this is a person who you should continue to date.
Hard discussions include things like: where will we attend worship, how many kids will we have, is abortion an option if we know a child is coming with problems, money issues, etc.
I can think of several Christians who married other Christians and are now divorced. Just because someone was raised in the church doesn’t make them good marriage material. I think parents need to step in more and start the discussion with their kids in what they desire in a mate. Of course we want them to be Christians, but we need to make sure that’s not the only criteria that we base everything off of. I can go on and on I’m sure…
Heather Hughes Dykes is a deacon’s wife and active member at the Deerfoot church of Christ. She and her husband Michael have two sons, Joshua and Aaron.
TAKEAWAY: There are other factors which are important in determining whether someone will be a good spouse. We should be willing to ask the hard questions to assess if it’s a good match.
And just because someone is technically a Christian, it’s possible they aren’t walking the walk. Again, the person’s heart is what’s important here. Ask yourself if this person is making “every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…” (2 Peter 1:5)
“There was only one problem: I was not a member of the Lord’s church when we started dating.”
As a Christian mother, it’s normal to want your children to date a Christian. My husband‘s mother wanted the same for him.
There was only one problem, I was not a member of the Lord’s church when we started dating. I was brought up in a denominational church where my family was active and involved, and I didn’t feel there was any need for me to change.
Needless to say, it took me a while before I knew the truth. Once I did, I certainly wanted the same for my children. I wanted them to experience the blessing of being married to a Christian. Because it is a real blessing to have the bond of like beliefs.
After my husband and I said our vows, there would be no turning back. There would be no infidelities, we were truly committed to each other, no matter what. What an assurance that was!
I’m not naïve enough to say that this works in every Christian marriage. But for us, it did. The problem with dating a Christian, though, is finding a Christian to date. Teaching our children to love God and to stand up for their beliefs will prepare them for converting others.
Catherine Rogers is an active member of the Deerfoot church of Christ in Pinson, AL. She and her late husband Brown spent many years laboring together in the church. She’s the proud parent of two children and four grandchildren.
TAKEAWAY: While dating a Christian is truly a blessing, it can at times be difficult to find a Christian to date. In these cases, we need to be prepared to study with that person in the hopes of them obeying God.
What we learn from these women is that there is really no one-size-fits-all approach to godly relationships. His ways are truly higher than our ways!
One caveat here is this: While dating a non-Christian is sometimes a good idea (provided their heart is open to seeking God), one should give very careful consideration before actually marrying a non-Christian. In many cases, a significant other is converted before the actual marriage takes place. While there are times when a spouse is converted after marriage, it’s much better to begin a marriage on the same page. Then you’ll have the security of knowing your partner will point you toward heaven for life!
What do you think? Is dating a non-Christian a good idea or a bad one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!