It should have been one of the best moments of my life. A man was bent on one knee in the middle of a posh restaurant, a dazzling engagement ring offered up in his hands. But some moments spin out of control before we even open our mouths to respond.

Now, I didn’t say “no” or run out of the room in a panic. I did something far worse; I paused, and it was a very long pause. And in that pause, a million unspoken words were said, all staged in front of a hundred probing eyes eating their fancy dinners.

The handsome face twisted into rage and the man shouted, “It’s the Jesus thing, isn’t it. I don’t and will never believe in your God.”

The noisy restaurant stilled as he tossed the ring on the ground and stormed out, leaving me in a puddle of tears. “How did I let it go this far?” I wracked my brain. “When did I let my faith in God become a negotiable?”

And suddenly it became very clear; this was my rescue from entering an unhealthy marriage. God’s love never failed me, even when I was tempted to bind my life to someone who rejected the most important part of me – my faith.

How It Starts

The whole debacle started online. I let a little charm and financial wowza persuade me into meeting someone who clearly had not marked “Christian” on the religion box. From the get-go, I compromised my own standards. Did I really think I could take a guy with spiritual potential and convert him over to my beliefs? Yes, I did, and it clearly didn’t work.

Looking back, I believe my rush to take matters into my own hands was really a lack of trust in God’s timing. I was impatient that God hadn’t delivered a Christ-following man into my arms in the timeframe I desired. I was grabbing back the steering wheel from God and doubting that he wanted the best for me. In my frustration, I stopped dating intentionally. What followed was a romantic comedy doomed to become a horror movie.

Playing The Movie

If I had played the movie backwards, I would have recognized the many obstacles in a relationship built on two different foundations. When you don’t share the same goals of purpose and mission, conflict inevitably arises. As a follower of Christ, I am called to follow Jesus and trust him with my life. This will butt up against the values of a spouse with differing internal motivations.

Learning From Mistakes

The next time around, I didn’t compromise in the spiritual realm. My husband is a follower of Jesus and a pastor who I minister with side by side. On any given weekend, Tim is officiating a wedding. But before he will marry a couple, he lets them know that he will marry two unbelievers, two lukewarm believers or two committed followers of Christ, but will not marry a man and woman who don’t share the same beliefs. As long as they are unified, he will pull the trigger, but he doesn’t feel comfortable uniting a couple knowing they are in spiritual conflict. Eventually, someone will compromise just to get along, and it shouldn’t be your faith sacrificed to gain peace in the relationship.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Corinthians 6:14

With Choice Comes Responsibility

You have been given the freedom as a follower of Christ to date whomever you choose, but with that freedom comes responsibility and consequences. There are no scriptures specifically forbidding marriage outside the faith, but wisdom will advise against it. In our ministry to young mothers, we meet so many women desperate to share their hearts with their unbelieving husbands. They experience great pain and sorrow because they can’t share the most important thing in their life with their spouse.

Spend time in prayer and seek God’s counsel. If God is calling you into a relationship with this person, then by all means, follow God’s prompt. Introduce them to Jesus and take them along to church with you. You never know what God has in store for them; hopefully it’s an eternal future by your side. Just don’t mistake your own desire for God’s calling.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jer. 29:12

  1. What do you mean by this statement ma’am? There are no scriptures specifically forbidding marriage outside the faith, but wisdom will advise against it. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? II Cor 6:14

  2. So my old Pastor Married an unbeliever and now she is on fire for God and the 1st Lady of the church. I was in a relationship for a couple years and I broke up with him because I was going in a deeper relationship with God and he wasn’t. Well 15 years later the love for him is just as strong and he still loves me and wants to work it out. He is willing to learn more about God and go to church. Should I throw away my love for him and him for me? I have been single and celebrate for 10 years. Men have tried to date me in the church (who profess Christ & filled with the Holy Ghost and they all wanted sex (yes even Pastors), but with him he is willing to wait for marriage and respects my decision to wait. Sometimes I get torn and feel guilty but then we pray together and I feel like this is right in my heart. I’m over 50 and so is he and I have a very close relationship with Jesus and it truly feels right….

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