Working with young people, one of the most common questions I hear stems from the apparent Biblical principle that we should not date/marry a person who does not have the same faith in Christ as we do.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? — 2 Corinthians 6:14
The overarching idea seems to be that being in a relationship, with the assumption of eventually being committed to each other in marriage, to someone without the same faith standards as yourself would cause problems in the marriage, and out of a need to see eye-to-eye, could cause those strong in their faith to compromise on their beliefs.
What do you think? Is it really that important for a Christian to marry another Christian? Or is there really a case to be made for “evangelistic dating,” where the Christian tries to convert the non-believing partner?
What has your experience been? Add your comments.
My wife recently asked me to speak to our youth members about some of the subjects I’ve been contemplating on this blog. I thought I would post pieces of that sermon on the blog to add to the conversation. This is Part 2–checkout Part 1 and Part 3 as well.
What guardrails did we setup in our relationship to help prevent this scenario from EVER even coming close from occurring? What did Julie and I do to keep our purity in check? Let me give you a list of our personal guardrails:
- We chose a mate who had similar beliefs and values as ourselves. The Bible says, Do not be unequally yoked. Youre like an ox carrying the burden together. I promise you, if you dont follow this, youre setting yourself up for heartache for your ENTIRE life! Marriage is all about compromise. Dont tell me youre going to change him after youre married. I cant emphasize this enough.
- We never hung out at each others homes unless there was someone else there. (Movies, food, etc.) If nobody was home, one of us had to leave, or we had to go somewhere public to chill together.
- Another guardrail à No sleepovers! 8 year-olds have sleepovers! This meant, even if someone was home, I never slept over at her house, she never slept over at my house. It just wasnt allowed. (Now we did sleep over at our parents place. Due to the circumstances, this was unavoidable. But even this should be avoided if possible.) A guardrail is there to keep you from danger before you engage it.
- No kissing! Another guardrail. Now this one is probably for most of you an act of an insane person. Julie and I didnt actually kiss until our wedding day. And a mighty fine kiss it was, I must add. Now even if you dont wait until your wedding day, I encourage you to at least wait until your engaged. I can feel another sound of disgust out of many. But heres why à You need guardrails to guard your heart. Girls, you especially. Dont give any of yourself away, until you know hes worth giving it to! Can I get an amen?? The world tells you that you need to compromise, or you will be left alone for the rest of your life. Dont believe it! Its a lie!
- Along the same lines, DONT SAY THOSE THREE WORDS! I LOVE YOU! Most of us throw them around like we do our boxer shorts, not caring where they fall. Let me tell you, these are some of the most POWERFUL words you will ever speak to your future wife or husband. Keep them sacred by waiting. Setup another guardrail here to guard your heart. (Ask Julie to share on her experience.) You dont HAVE TO say it to the person, even though our culture says you must.
- Dont rush things! NO MATTER WHAT! Youre going to have to live with this person for the rest of your life. You had better make sure its someone youre going to be able to stand in a year. (Compare the lasagne to Chef Boyardee)
- Last guardrail I want to share, this is a BIG one: You NEED the BLESSING FROM YOUR PARENTS. You just do! Girls and boys come and go. But your family is with you forever. It should be VERY important for you to have your family approve of the person you are considering marrying for life.
Those are just a few Guardrails weve had in our lives, and found they had a major impact on us individually and now together as a married couple.
get this! You need to share these guardrails with the person youre in a relationship with. If youre afraid to, get out of the relationship because youre not mature enough to be in one. If she rejects your request for boundaries, get out of the relationship because she clearly doesnt care about your own spirituality.
You need to guard yourselves! Dont believe the lies our culture tells you every day. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says: Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. You can go murder someone. You have that ability. But doing that may not be beneficial. We ALL have free will. Its a gift from God. But having that free will does not mean it is ok for us to do what we please. Just because you CAN do something, doesnt mean you should. Even if its not labelled as a SIN in the Bible. This is why you need guardrails, so when you bump into a guardrail, the danger is still a good distance away.
If you need to ask, How far is too far? youre already in danger. Youre trying to toe the line of sin without crossing it. Thats the wrong approach. Youre asking the wrong question. You should be asking, HOW CAN I show respect to THIS GIRL OR BOY/MAN OR WOMAN WITH ABSOLUTE PURITY?? as Paul wrote to Timothy. What can I do to keep my body and my heart pure?
Check back later this week to see what the next step is that you need to take after marking your guardrails!
QUESTION: Have you talked to your boyfriend/girlfriend about your boundaries? What was their response?
(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com and everythingispermissible.com)