You become what and who you love. The one you love will help set the direction of your life. Thus, picking the right person is important to every woman thinking about dating.
You’re probably familiar with 2 Corinthians 6:14, where Paul exhorts us to not become “unequally yoked with unbelievers”. What is Paul’s meaning in this Scripture?
A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two animals to each other and to the burden they pull. Imagine you see a farmer getting ready to plow their field. They hook up a powerful ox to one side and on the other side, they hook up a tiny little Shih Tzu. Which side is going to work the hardest? Can they plow together and carry the load on an equal basis? Of course not! One will likely be dragged along and hinder the progress of the other. The ox will strain because the Shih Tzu will want to run away or go the other direction. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.
While dating was not practised during of Paul’s time, the principle is applicable for us today. The person you marry is the second most important decision of your life, after your choice to follow God. What are four challenges of “unequally yoked” dating?
WHO FOLDS FIRST?
Playing the game of life, either your non-believing boyfriend or God will be forced to fold in each round to win your heart. Why? Because when you date a non-Christian, it leads to one of the following options: If you put God at the center, he will feel marginalized. If he can’t understand the point of Bible study and prayer, missions trips, or fasting then he won’t participate alongside you in these activities. The deep unity of dating cannot flourish when one partner cannot fully participate in the other’s most important commitments. The second option is that in order to be more in sync with him, you will have to push God to the margins of your life. This may not involve actually rejecting your faith, but your devotional life, tithing, and fellowship with other believers may be compromised in order to preserve peace with him.
Even if he can provide you with every luxury in the world, it is no match to the one thing you hold most valuable — your relationship with God. If your heart is truly, genuinely, passionately in pursuit of Christ on a daily basis, then a non-believer — no matter how kind, caring, and wonderful he is — can never truly know you. If your identity is in Christ alone, then your life will automatically come into conflict with your non-believing boyfriend. As it should.
If Jesus is not your solid ground, you can get stuck in the sinking sand located in the desert of mismatched expectations. For example, he may think it is “good enough” that he attends church with you, but you may hope for him to one day lead a small group. It is often said in jest that a man marries a woman hoping she will stay the same, and a woman marries a man hoping to change him. However, the reality is that often this doesn’t come true for either!
The risk of misaligned expectations and heartbreak is high when you date his “potential.” The wise path is to date him for who he is today, not for who he may be in the future. If he never changes, would you be satisfied?
GOD IS NOT HIS FORTRESS
Hard times are inevitable. At the low points, what kind of man do you want there for you? Someone who can turn your head and heart to God? Someone who amidst your darkness and tears will soothe your soul with Scripture? Will a non-believer drop to his knees, cloak you in prayer, or fast for a breakthrough?
I am not saying that he will not hold an umbrella of love over you or support you during the rainy season. But when the thunderstorms hit, you don’t need a human umbrella — you need the spiritual shelter that only God can provide. You deserve a man who leads you to your fortress of faith in the storms of life.
CHESS VS. CHECKERS
Don’t under-estimate what a guy will do to win your heart. If church is important, he may come with you. Each week. But he could act out our spiritual practices without developing a relationship with God. You can guide a man toward Christ through your actions and prayer. But at the end of the day, his faith journey is between him and Jesus.
While there are success stories of “missionary dating” or people who “flirt to convert”, his right to “free will” gives him the option to say no to Jesus. You can offer a man the most incredible present, but he can still refuse to unwrap it. Remember God knows the desires of your heart. What God has in store for you is worth waiting and fighting for. His best is worth the loneliness, frustration, and pain you may feel right now.
God is the best love expert and master story-maker. So, will you trust Him with your story, whether love is fully formed in singleness and/or marriage?