When you begin a new relationship, it is both exciting and complex. You are learning about her character traits, what she likes and dislikes, and what her priorities are in life. The relationship is blossoming and everything is fantastic, until you sit down and have a heart-to-heart discussion about your religious beliefs. Suddenly, you realize that your potential future wife is not a Christian. You hear the breaks screech in your mind, and find yourself with a huge dilemma placed in front of you.
The Bible warns us of the dangers of being unequally yoked with a non-believer.
Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? —2 Corinthians 6:14
So, now you are struggling with the internal conflict of falling in love with this woman, yet wanting to honor your Christian values at the same time. What should you do next? Here are some things to consider before making a decision.
Do You Want to Get Married?
This is the first question that you really need to answer. Is marriage, through the eyes of God, something that you won’t compromise on? If the answer is yes, then you know this is not the right woman for you to build a future with. If your mate doesn’t follow Christian beliefs, then how does she view marriage, divorce, and family? The common foundation in a marriage is God’s presence, and it will also be a primary source of strength when life’s challenges arise. If these building blocks are not solid, then the union will be standing on shaky ground.
What are Her Spiritual Beliefs?
What exactly does she believe? Is she unsure and hasn’t given her heart to Jesus? Is she an Atheist? How extreme is the difference between your Christian values and what she holds to be true? If you are thinking that you can change her mind and convert her to Christianity, don’t bet on it. While as Christians, we are responsible to spread God’s Word, we cannot confuse that with the naïve confidence that we can change another person’s mind. Part of being in a healthy relationship is to accept each other unconditionally. Can you honestly and completely accept her views?
How Important Is It That Your Spouse Is Christian?
At this point, you may be saying, “Well, she’s a good and caring person and that should be enough to have a long loving marriage”. However, even if a person has a kind heart, there are still many things that occur in our daily lives reminding us of God’s presence and His grace. We’ve already pondered the topics of marriage and divorce, but what about the day-to-day things that arise? Do you pray before meals? When bad things occur, do you just get angry or do you also accept the situation as God’s will and move forward? What about your quiet time that you share with God? Will she be respectful and supportive while you spend time strengthening your relationship with God? Life will continue to happen, and if both of you are not on the same page, at the end of the day you will find your relationship becoming more distant and unfulfilled.
What Faith Will Your Children Be Raised under?
When you begin to consider starting a family, it is imperative to incorporate religion into the discussion. What happens if you want the children to go to Sunday school, but your spouse does not? What if your potential wife doesn’t celebrate certain holidays such as Christmas or Easter? Is this something that will be okay for you and your future children? This is a conversation that must occur before the relationship becomes too serious.
Will Your Family Accept The Relationship?
Were you brought up in a home that had strong Christian values? Do you have close ties with your family? If so, what will their reaction be when they find out that your girlfriend doesn’t share the same beliefs? Perhaps they won’t bless the relationship, or maybe she won’t even be welcome in their home. You don’t want to ever find yourself feeling as though you have to choose between your relationship and your family.
Knowing yourself is your biggest asset. Take time to reflect on how you want your life to be. Sometimes people settle for the wrong person simply because they do not want to be alone. Remind yourself that God has a plan for each of us. The right person will enter your life when she is meant to arrive.