“Is this really a big deal Pastor? After all, I don’t want to force my beliefs onto my spouse because I think faith is a personal thing between God and me. I know God is more interested in us being happy and in love than whether or not we believe the same things about Him. I’m sure after we get married they will come around in their own time.”
I find these questions and inner monologues eating at the heart of many relationships.
I suspect they are asked more often than not by bright-eyed, Christian, young women who have been dating some dude for awhile and see the possibility of a fairy tale wedding on the horizon or have been dating him so long that at this point they feel they have to.
In my experience, a great case is usually presented for the person about how nice, loving, caring, hard working, and special they are just to establish they didn’t meet the person as a prison pen pal. But, shortly after the resume is presented, the uneasiness of their soul begs the reassurance that it’s ok to marry them if they aren’t a Christian.
Now, if I were to cut away some of the fat of the question I think what’s really being asked is “Should I marry someone that doesn’t believe in God?” but if I cut even deeper to the marrow the ultimate question is “Should I marry someone that doesn’t believe in Jesus?”
So what is the answer? What does God really say about whom we should marry?
The answer is very clear. God DOES want Christians to marry Christians.
As I’ve said before, God is always more interested in our holiness than our happiness. Happiness is fleeting and changing with every person you meet. Therefore it is impossible for God to meet all of our happiness expectations without compromising his moral perfection. Holiness is consistent, unwavering, and designed let us live in communion with God. By following God’s plan we place our self in the hands of the creator and we discover far more than happiness. We experience joy.
Additionally, marriage is one of the most sacred and powerful institutions God ever created. The binding of one man and one woman together for a lifetime and sealing by God Himself in Holy matrimony is a marvelous gift. The holiness of marriage was also designed to set us apart from the normalcy of the world we live in.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Placed in the context of marriage, Paul’s words are meant as a sober reminder of what is at stake when we say “I do.” The joining of two lives together in marriage is the placement of a yolk on them. Not so it can be used as a dated punch line to a marriage joke, but in the true sense of being united together for the work set out for them in this life.
When a yolk is fastened into place, the person next to you is the person you will be working with in the good and bad. But unlike a cow or horse that has no say in who the farmer yokes them to, you do have a choice. You have the choice of whom you will be united with forever and choosing poorly can have grave consequences.
Having a partner that desires the things of God, wants to raise a family that goes to church, wants to spend their money wisely, and wants to seek a personal relationship with God is very difficult if the person they are yoked to wants none of those same things. You can say all you want that God is a personal thing and you don’t want to force your beliefs on them, but when you yolk up you better believe you will be dragging that person’s dead weight along with you during your journey.
However, if you choose to marry someone that isn’t perfect, but is honestly seeking and pursuing Christ as there Lord and Savior, your work becomes much different. In fact, you may even find it to be easier because as you both pull in the same direction—even the rainy season may not seem that bad.
Christian woman — God designed you to find a man like that.
Christian man — God designed you to find a woman like that.
The tweet I read from @amlykax3 and @KaylalaBailey said it best,
“A Man Who’s Not After God’s heart, should not be after mine”
Please be picky, be patient, and be prayerful about who you yolk yourself too.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in so much emotion that you lose sight of God’s holiness.
Now, can a non-Christian find Christ while married to a Christian? Absolutely by God’s grace!
But, is this the original design by God? No.
We can fight God’s design in our life all we want, but I truly believe this decision is a matter of life and death…the life and death of your marriage.
Be patient Christian and trust God.