Should a Christian Marry a Non-Christian?

Signs-of-an-unhappy-marriage

A 23-year-old Christian woman wrote to ask what I thought about her dating a non-Christian:

It’s a problem plaguing my life [she wrote]. This man treats me like a queen. I just want to talk to him all the time and blah blah gush gush so forth. The problem is that he is not a Christian, and my family … well, they are, and they don’t like this relationship of mine one little bit. As far as they’re concerned, any non-Christian man is a rapist or murderer waiting to happen. I love my family; I love my boyfriend. My question is: Is it right for me to date a non-Christian? And if I do, how do I deal with others who make clear that they think my doing so is wrong?

Dear young woman:

Let me address your second question first. There are only two kinds of people in the world who can ever condemn you or anything you do: those you care about, and those you don’t. You only care about what people in the former group think. When you’re doing something to which someone to whom you’re close takes exception, talk to that person about it. Work out your thoughts and feelings about it together. If that person loves you, of course they’ll want what’s best for you. If they don’t love you—or, as is more usual, if they love you more the more you fit their idea of who you should be–then … well, then sooner or later you’re probably going to want to rethink your whole relationship with that person.

As to whether or not it’s okay for you to date a non-Christian: of course it is. It’s just dating, which is all about what amounts to noncommittal exploration. But it doesn’t sound like you’re “just” dating this guy. It sounds like you’re in love with him. And when a 23-year-old woman is in love with a man, it usually means that at least at some level she’s considering that man as a potential husband.

Generally speaking, now—and there are always exceptions to a rule (see the atheist’s letter linked to below for an excellent exception to this rule)—it’s not the best idea to marry someone who doesn’t share your faith—which is to say, who doesn’t share your understanding of Man, God and the relationship between them.

That’ a lot not to have in common.

Marrying a person who doesn’t share your religious convictions means that the most important part of you—the part that most wholly makes you you, the spiritual core of your existence—necessarily remains outside of what amounts to your spouse’s comprehension.

It means that your spouse’s most definitional values are categorically different from yours. Which means that, in some really important ways, your spouse doesn’t really get you. It means that they don’t entirely grasp what makes you tick—what motivates you, inspires you, moves you in the deepest way anyone can be moved.

To a degree that it’s advisable to at least stop to fully appreciate, it means that you and your spouse live in different realities.

Marrying a person who doesn’t share your religious beliefs means going to bed every night with a person whom you know doesn’t, at the deepest level of yourself, know you. And you may have your own reasons for why, in fact, that works for you. But in the end it’s not terribly likely to end up working for either of you. We all need spouses who really and truly get us—who know and love the very essence of who we are. Sooner or later, anything less than that will leave us restless, angry, and looking for a way out.

The key to a truly happy marriage lies in gradually, over the years, revealing to your spouse deeper and deeper truths about who you are. Marriage creates the psychological and spiritual context for the miraculous, deeply interactive process by which, over time, you discover and reveal to your spouse everything you know and learn about yourself. Your spouse then lovingly integrates what you teach and share about yourself  into their own worldview, into their own identity. And you do the same for them. That is how marriage, in a very real sense, creates one life out of two.

A Christian marrying a non-Christian is entering a relationship in which that process is not likely to unfold as … comfortably as it might. A Christian can share a good deal of themselves with someone who doesn’t share their faith—but they’re necessarily blocked from fully sharing all of themselves. And the part they can’t share is the best part of themselves. If they try to share it—if a Christian begins to try to share the real stuff about themselves with their non-believing spouse—all the spouse can do, ultimately, is shrug, and say that they just don’t really get it.

And that’s just not a winning formula for long-term happiness.

Again, there are exceptions to every rule. It’s not that two people of different faiths can’t have a happy marriage; of course they can. (And, again, for proof, see the letter below.) It’s simply that the odds, going in, are against it.

* * * * * * * *

In response to this post, an atheist friend of mine wrote the excellent Letter From an Atheist Married to a Christian.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    I don't agree that to be able to get/understand/appreciate another person you have to have the exact same beliefs.

    Now, if your belief involves certain specifics that you fervently hold too (example: you think nonbelievers will go to hell), then you have a point.

    Now, I'm a single 24 year old, so I can't speak on marriage in any authoritative way. But the last thing I would want to do is marry someone who thinks exactly the way I think. The only thing she would have to believe is that, at the least, there is more than one path to finding truth in the world.

    Some Christians think that way, and some don't.

    • Nathan W.

      “The only thing she would have to believe is that, at the least, there is more than one path to finding truth in the world.

      Some Christians think that way, and some don’t.”

      They wouldn’t be Christians if they thought that way.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    No one thinks "exactly" like anyone else does. But surely you'd want to marry someone who shares your most precious core values.

  • FreetoBe

    I just had an "aha" moment: marriage isn't about being exactly the same, with the same personality, likes, dislikes, etc. It's about being able to share yourself with your partner in a way that he or she can understand/empathize/realize who and what you are.

    Wonderful, John. Very well explained. I am so going to send this to my 20-something kids.

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    Well, the difference is that my core values aren't determined by my beliefs. My core values are determined by the evidence that both I and the people around me live healthier and happier lives while I operate under them than if I didn't.

    I can share core values with someone who doesn't share my beliefs on the nature of the universe.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    For your sake, I hope your core values ARE determined by your beliefs. Otherwise, you have no internal center.

    And yes, you can share some core values with someone who doesn't share your beliefs on the nature of the universe. But not your most intimate values. And marriage is all about sharing your most intimate, most precious, most personal values. If you're with someone who holds different ideas than you do about the universe and man's place in it, then you and that person can ever only be so intimate.

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    "For your sake, I hope your core values ARE determined by your beliefs."

    They are. Determined by the beliefs about my values. Not about my beliefs in the nature of the universe.

    My internal center is not determined by my religion or my perception of the wishes of someone else, be they a deity or no.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Your post rings of experience. I think it is hard for someone who hasn't had the experience of a personal, intimate relationship to understand exactly what you are saying. That being said I don't think all such marriages are destined to fail…just most of them.

    "…the evidence that both I and the people around me live healthier and happier lives."

    Needing evidence…isn't that a belief? I mean don't you believe that nothing exists without evidence?

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    "Belief" is an incredibly vague and loaded term. It can run the gamut from "I believe in God, the Father, the Almighty" to "I believe I'll have a piece of cake."

    If you want to call what I have beliefs, that's fine. I just think it's too general to serve much purpose in conversations like these.

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    "Morse does, of course (like everyone) show up on the scene harboring a whole host of beliefs which as “proof” of their validity have nothing more tangible or empirically verifiable than any other sane person has for whatever they believe."

    Might you give some examples?

    If you're referring to emotions ("I believe she loves me") and things like that, I agree. And if you want to compare emotions with religious beliefs, you have my support.

  • Christine

    I think that a lot of religious beliefs are, in many people's minds, linked completely with their emotions. I did a bible study once on how people viewed God and how this was related in some way to something they had been through or felt emotionally. It was incredible how this talked touched the group and the conversations and healing it sparked in their lives. Though true faith should be believed no matter how you are feeling, we are all human and therefore the two combine. However, sometimes this is taken to the extreme and it is the emotion, rather than the truth that becomes the fundemental belief in a persons life. I have seen it in my family. They know that they are told to love everyone and be Christ like. But their fear of strangers, of those outside the comfort of the walls of the church, makes them shun those who are not 'believers' like themselves and this has become thier faith. They are fearful, I pray for them everyday. 2 Tim 1:7 – God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and soundness of mind

    Sermon over :)

  • Christine

    I think that a lot of religious beliefs are, in many people's minds, linked completely with their emotions. I did a bible study once on how people viewed God and how this was related in some way to something they had been through or felt emotionally. It was incredible how this talked touched the group and the conversations and healing it sparked in their lives. Though true faith should be believed no matter how you are feeling, we are all human and therefore the two combine. However, sometimes this is taken to the extreme and it is the emotion, rather than the truth that becomes the fundemental belief in a persons life. I have seen it in my family. They know that they are told to love everyone and be Christ like. But their fear of strangers, of those outside the comfort of the walls of the church, makes them shun those who are not 'believers' like themselves and this has become thier faith. They are fearful, I pray for them everyday. 2 Tim 1:7 – God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and soundness of mind

    Sermon over :)

  • Christine

    But aren't the deepest core values like loving others, being generous and considerate, telling the truth, putting others first etc, shared by many non-christians as well?? I think the issue I would have is not the fact that they wouldn't understand or I couldn't share but that in the end we wouldn't be together for eternity. And just to note, this woman said nothing about marriage or her views on marriage, isn't this jumping the gun just a tad??

  • Christine

    But aren't the deepest core values like loving others, being generous and considerate, telling the truth, putting others first etc, shared by many non-christians as well?? I think the issue I would have is not the fact that they wouldn't understand or I couldn't share but that in the end we wouldn't be together for eternity. And just to note, this woman said nothing about marriage or her views on marriage, isn't this jumping the gun just a tad??

  • Jessica

    I wasn’t a Christian when I got married. After my daughter was born and I went through a series of difficult situations a woman I know invited me to Church. I went a few months later and it changed my life. God changed my life. I became more involved in Church and the more I fell in love with God the more jealous my husband got. He resents the time I spend at Church. He resents anything associated with God. I love him but we don’t have the same relationship we had and I’m not sure we ever will. I keep praying for God to force His way into my husband heart even though I know he won’t. I keep praying anyway. My greatest wish is for my husband to feel the love I feel.

  • Jessica

    I wasn’t a Christian when I got married. After my daughter was born and I went through a series of difficult situations a woman I know invited me to Church. I went a few months later and it changed my life. God changed my life. I became more involved in Church and the more I fell in love with God the more jealous my husband got. He resents the time I spend at Church. He resents anything associated with God. I love him but we don’t have the same relationship we had and I’m not sure we ever will. I keep praying for God to force His way into my husband heart even though I know he won’t. I keep praying anyway. My greatest wish is for my husband to feel the love I feel.

  • Christine

    I think that it is possible to have a non christian who also has a belief in God and the fundamental ideas of christianity. They can be supportive and loving and genuinely interested. You can share your deepest beliefs and opinions and they understand. I have been married (and divorced), to a christian, and there I found more disharmony, more hurt and misunderstanding than I have ever found with and of non-christian friends. Now, granted it was probably the man not the religion but I don’t know if religion maketh the man if you get what I am saying.

  • http://www.gepr.blogspot.com Adnan

    i agree with the writer in one situation : if the lady is “Really” Christian.

    she will find it so hard to be with non-Christian.

    When i became christian (i was muslim), i started to date my current wife who were muslim. we were almost to break up before she knew the Christ in her life. it was going so hard to continue.

    Great blog by the way.

    Adnan

  • http://www.gepr.blogspot.com Adnan

    i agree with the writer in one situation : if the lady is “Really” Christian.

    she will find it so hard to be with non-Christian.

    When i became christian (i was muslim), i started to date my current wife who were muslim. we were almost to break up before she knew the Christ in her life. it was going so hard to continue.

    Great blog by the way.

    Adnan

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Winey: good comment. Morse does, of course (like everyone) show up on the scene harboring a whole host of beliefs which as “proof” of their validity have nothing more tangible or empirically verifiable than any other sane person has for whatever they believe.

    Jessica: I’ve only once, in the year and a half I’ve been writing this blog, asked someone to read a post I’ve written. But if you would, please consider reading these two posts of mine: the one called “When You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Love Christ,” which is lined to at the bottom of the piece above, and this one:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2007/06/27/when-your-husband-derides-your-faith/

    Christine: It’s absolutely true that religion doesn’t make the man. We’ve all known to many cretin Christians to know a person’s moral character is hardly predictable based solely upon what religion they claim as their moral inspiration.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Winey: good comment. Morse does, of course (like everyone) show up on the scene harboring a whole host of beliefs which as “proof” of their validity have nothing more tangible or empirically verifiable than any other sane person has for whatever they believe.

    Jessica: I’ve only once, in the year and a half I’ve been writing this blog, asked someone to read a post I’ve written. But if you would, please consider reading these two posts of mine: the one called “When You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Love Christ,” which is lined to at the bottom of the piece above, and this one:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2007/06/27/when-your-husband-derides-your-faith/

    Christine: It’s absolutely true that religion doesn’t make the man. We’ve all known to many cretin Christians to know a person’s moral character is hardly predictable based solely upon what religion they claim as their moral inspiration.

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    John,

    This is another one of your excellent blog entries I hope I can internalize and pass along. The dynamics of relationships you describe apply across all types of relationships though you are especially on target for a Christian/non-Christian relationship.

    Thanks,

    Sam

  • http://emphaticasterisk.com Lindsey

    I think part of it depends on what someone’s expectation of and desire out of marriage is. If what you want is a companion, a friend, then yes- marry someone whom you merely get along with! But if you want a truly intimate relationship in which you can be laid bare and utterly vulnerable, you want someone who can see you completely, understand you totally, interpret your actions through Christ’s eyes… and for that you need someone who believes in Christ. You don’t need to hold all of the same doctrine- you can absolutely disagree on things without this harming your relationship. But as for the deepest core values, the things that make you who you are, the things that define the way in which you want to live your life and the way in which you grow- those must be shared. (Just as core values concerning parenting, finances, work ethic, etc, must be shared, or you’re setting yourself up for tears.)

  • http://paulwilkinson.wordpress.com Paul Wilkinson

    This is a hard topic to wade into, and a hard message for some people to hear. But after listening to many women — and also a few men — who find themselves in a marriage where their spouse is not a Christ-follower; and hearing the sadness in their voices as they share their story, I have to say that you’ve answered this extremely well.

    Some of the answers have focused on “What if this person has all these wonderful qualities?” I find that increasingly though, people don’t always end up with the person they thought they were marrying. You could equally ask, “What if, over time, this person turns out not to possess all the qualities in the measure I am seeing now?” Apart from a marriage where you also united in Christ, there’s probably very little left at that point. But if there is an underlying faith, the marriage can begin to flourish in different, deeper, less superficial ways.

    Sometimes we look at our options in life and see our choices as being either potentially good or potentially bad. Perhaps we should instead look more closely at the positive side of the equation, and consider choices that could be classified as “good,” “better,” and “best.” Clearly God’s best is both partners loving and serving Him. Or as someone has suggested, if two people are “moving towards the cross,” they can’t help but be drawn closer to each other.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    John, where were you 13 years ago?

    In 1995, I was sort of a lukewarm church-attender who thought I might become more someday, and my fiancee was a church-sometimes-attender who put up with it to humor me, and figured that I’d get over my “religious phase” at some point. (Of course, it might have helped if she’d mentioned that hope some time before we’d been married for three years, but that’s another story.)

    In 2004, she finally filed for divorce. Over the years, I had moved closer to God, and she ran the other way. We didn’t speak the same language.

    Yes, there are all kinds of variations on the theme, but I’d have to agree with your basic premise, and the title sums it up nicely.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    John, where were you 13 years ago?

    In 1995, I was sort of a lukewarm church-attender who thought I might become more someday, and my fiancee was a church-sometimes-attender who put up with it to humor me, and figured that I’d get over my “religious phase” at some point. (Of course, it might have helped if she’d mentioned that hope some time before we’d been married for three years, but that’s another story.)

    In 2004, she finally filed for divorce. Over the years, I had moved closer to God, and she ran the other way. We didn’t speak the same language.

    Yes, there are all kinds of variations on the theme, but I’d have to agree with your basic premise, and the title sums it up nicely.

  • http://www.positiveeconomicnews.com Barry Lauterwasser

    God's word was LOVE, as was Jesus'. Religion ironically is the one thing that constantly seems to separate and segregate…

  • arlywn

    I think you can love some one and not share the same faith- and you can work around that too. I think love comes not from your faith but by the person you are.

    For example- I think John is a great person. He just happens to be christian too. I think Morse has valid points, and…. he happens not to be christian.

    I see this more of a discussion on yourself. Can you live with the fact that your loved one doesnt go to church? Doesnt believe in god, or….. (insert something here please) If you cant, then already- yes the relationship is failing. Not because your loved one has done anything wrong, but because you have hardened your heart to them, and changed your perception because of one thing. Its how important it is to you.

    For example again, I think john is very insightful, a good guy and actually tolerable for a christian- but if I knew that he killed kittens in his youth- then my perception would change and I would not be nearly so understanding to him. I would expect the same behavior again.

    does this make any sense?

  • http://www.sittingpugs.wordpress.com sittingpugs

    You can marry someone who doesn’t share your religious convictions.

    But as you mentioned, it can be problematic. Are different political views equally problematic? Views on half-empty vs. half-full?

    I think in any relationship, platonic or not, interests (hobbies, leisure activities) and tastes (in culture and entertainment) aren't nearly as consequential as philosophical beliefs and outlook on life. Two people who do not share as much common ground in movie picks or reading material but have similar coping methods for stress are bound to be more "compatible" (intellectually) than two people who have near identical movie picks and reading material but employ divergent techniques to relieve or deal with stress.

    Whether or not a person believes in any unseen force (that isn't gravity, the wind, centripetal force or standard atmospheric pressure) weighs heavily on how well and how hard that person would have to work to minimize friction when pursuing meaningful interactions with others. Yes?

  • http://www.sittingpugs.wordpress.com sittingpugs

    You can marry someone who doesn’t share your religious convictions.

    But as you mentioned, it can be problematic. Are different political views equally problematic? Views on half-empty vs. half-full?

    I think in any relationship, platonic or not, interests (hobbies, leisure activities) and tastes (in culture and entertainment) aren't nearly as consequential as philosophical beliefs and outlook on life. Two people who do not share as much common ground in movie picks or reading material but have similar coping methods for stress are bound to be more "compatible" (intellectually) than two people who have near identical movie picks and reading material but employ divergent techniques to relieve or deal with stress.

    Whether or not a person believes in any unseen force (that isn't gravity, the wind, centripetal force or standard atmospheric pressure) weighs heavily on how well and how hard that person would have to work to minimize friction when pursuing meaningful interactions with others. Yes?

  • Paul

    John,

    As I read through your post, I found myself nodding and grinning – this is a great truth that many are unwilling to accept – either because of what it says about them or their partner. I'm not usually a "wholehearted agree-er", but you have definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.

  • Paul

    John,

    As I read through your post, I found myself nodding and grinning – this is a great truth that many are unwilling to accept – either because of what it says about them or their partner. I'm not usually a "wholehearted agree-er", but you have definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.

  • sahar009

    I think that no one except God can condemn us about anything. I also think that calling oneself Christian, Buddhist, Baha'i or anything else for that matter has nothing to do with the person that you are. I know many people who aren't actively involved in their religious communities but they are absolutely amazing people, always at the service of others. The contrary is also true. What I would tell that woman is that first of all, is he a good man and do you help each other become better people? And second of all, unity of the family is all important. If your family cannot ever accept this man, you shouldn't cause disunity by dating him.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Hi, all. I've read over all these comments–two or three times–and want to thank you for them. Interesting stuff, and obviously covering a wide range of experiences. I wish I could comment on them all. For now, though, I just want to say how much I appreciate them. Thanks to each of you for taking time out of your lives to share with me (and everyone else) your own thoughts on this matter.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Hi, all. I've read over all these comments–two or three times–and want to thank you for them. Interesting stuff, and obviously covering a wide range of experiences. I wish I could comment on them all. For now, though, I just want to say how much I appreciate them. Thanks to each of you for taking time out of your lives to share with me (and everyone else) your own thoughts on this matter.

  • Paul

    My comment came from the benefit of past experience, my first marriage was a total failure – even though we were both believers – so just having faith in common is not necessarily a panacea – core values also weigh heavily.

    I've since remarried and my wife's spirituality was one of the things that drew me to her – you are absolutely correct about making one life out of two. You brought some sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day – thanks

  • smedley420

    dude, there are a significant number of horrible marriages among christians. jesus doesn't make you a better partner just because you believe. if you practice true acceptance of your mate as they are and genuinely show your appreciation for them on that basis, christian or not, the relationship can work.

  • smedley420

    dude, there are a significant number of horrible marriages among christians. jesus doesn't make you a better partner just because you believe. if you practice true acceptance of your mate as they are and genuinely show your appreciation for them on that basis, christian or not, the relationship can work.

  • Candace

    Great post, John. Glad you wrote it, and I agree with all of it.

    Funny, even before I was born again, I always wondered how people who weren’t Christians made a marriage work. I couldn’t have explained exactly why I had that perspective. I just knew that the few really good marriages I knew of were all Christian couples.

    Now that God has opened my eyes, the whole biblical view of how to “do” marriage makes perfect sense to me.

    I think the biggest difference I see is that most unbelieving couples seem to spend a lot of time wrangling over a 50-50 balance in everything. Whereas in a Christian marriage (ideally), as my friend Jon explains it, both husband and wife are committed to outserving each other. Rather than looking at what each person’s 50% ought to be, they’re both consistently giving 90-100%.

    That, and (again, ideally) Christians seem to me to deal with conflict better, and have a deeper, more self-sacrificial interest in the other person’s wellbeing, as opposed to just getting their own needs met.

    Others’ mileage may vary. This is just what I see.

    I am not currently married. I was, briefly, a long time ago. If I ever do marry again, he will have to be born again as well. I would not even consider dating a non-believer, actually. To me, dating is about assessing/getting to know a prospective mate (otherwise, it’s called friendship, not dating). I wouldn’t therefore date anyone I knew right off the bat I would not marry.

  • Candace

    Great post, John. Glad you wrote it, and I agree with all of it.

    Funny, even before I was born again, I always wondered how people who weren’t Christians made a marriage work. I couldn’t have explained exactly why I had that perspective. I just knew that the few really good marriages I knew of were all Christian couples.

    Now that God has opened my eyes, the whole biblical view of how to “do” marriage makes perfect sense to me.

    I think the biggest difference I see is that most unbelieving couples seem to spend a lot of time wrangling over a 50-50 balance in everything. Whereas in a Christian marriage (ideally), as my friend Jon explains it, both husband and wife are committed to outserving each other. Rather than looking at what each person’s 50% ought to be, they’re both consistently giving 90-100%.

    That, and (again, ideally) Christians seem to me to deal with conflict better, and have a deeper, more self-sacrificial interest in the other person’s wellbeing, as opposed to just getting their own needs met.

    Others’ mileage may vary. This is just what I see.

    I am not currently married. I was, briefly, a long time ago. If I ever do marry again, he will have to be born again as well. I would not even consider dating a non-believer, actually. To me, dating is about assessing/getting to know a prospective mate (otherwise, it’s called friendship, not dating). I wouldn’t therefore date anyone I knew right off the bat I would not marry.

  • grassrootsmovement

    I think the biggest issue is NOT whether or not two people can be happily/deeply/passionately/etc married and in love, even with different beliefs. I think the biggest issue is this.

    If I am a staunch Democrat, and marry a hard-core Republican, we can have very different believe systems, core values etc, and still be fine.

    But if you as a Christian believe that Jesus died for you, paid for your sins, and accepting Him is the only way to Heaven, and your spouse does not believe that, the problem is you KNOW your spouse is going to hell.

    The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?

    It must necessarily be one or the other.

  • grassrootsmovement

    I think the biggest issue is NOT whether or not two people can be happily/deeply/passionately/etc married and in love, even with different beliefs. I think the biggest issue is this.

    If I am a staunch Democrat, and marry a hard-core Republican, we can have very different believe systems, core values etc, and still be fine.

    But if you as a Christian believe that Jesus died for you, paid for your sins, and accepting Him is the only way to Heaven, and your spouse does not believe that, the problem is you KNOW your spouse is going to hell.

    The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?

    It must necessarily be one or the other.

  • http://brokentelegraph.wordpress.com The Broken Telegraph

    Great article, john. Logical, sound, and a message worth sharing.

    ian

  • http://brokentelegraph.wordpress.com The Broken Telegraph

    Meanwhile- I wrote a Fail blog that I think you might enjoy. Have a look, John?

  • http://brokentelegraph.wordpress.com The Broken Telegraph

    Meanwhile- I wrote a Fail blog that I think you might enjoy. Have a look, John?

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    But doing so means going to bed every night with someone whom you know doesn’t really know you.

    John, This is hard but very good stuff. Thanks for writing it down and passing it along.

  • ransom33

    Great post and very insightful comments. I have friends who are Christians and married to non-Christians and their marriages aren’t as strong as one where they are both Christians. I think when both people are Christians in a marriage we persevere a lot more to keep the marriage going before throwing the towel in, and yes there is a special bond that runs deeper and stronger than any friendship.

    But let’s not forget that God created the heavens and the earth. Surely, He can change someone’s beliefs if that is what God deems best for that person’s future and purpose in life. Who are we to decide the outcome of a marriage between people with different beliefs? If as Christians we have no hope that a person would convert to Christianity within a marriage, then we might as well not bother believing that we can have any impact on criminals, liers, adulterers, or any other sinner out there, or bring anyone who does not know Christ to know and follow Him. God is able to do immesuarably more than we could ever hope or imagine. Man cannot put any limits to the impact that someone with faith can have on another person. I believe God works in mysterious ways and uses the most unorthodox ways to bring people into relationship with Him. Could perhaps a marriage between a Christian and non-Christian be one of them?

    If there is genuine love, anything is possible.

    ransom33 at http://www.ransom33.wordpress.com

  • ransom33

    Great post and very insightful comments. I have friends who are Christians and married to non-Christians and their marriages aren’t as strong as one where they are both Christians. I think when both people are Christians in a marriage we persevere a lot more to keep the marriage going before throwing the towel in, and yes there is a special bond that runs deeper and stronger than any friendship.

    But let’s not forget that God created the heavens and the earth. Surely, He can change someone’s beliefs if that is what God deems best for that person’s future and purpose in life. Who are we to decide the outcome of a marriage between people with different beliefs? If as Christians we have no hope that a person would convert to Christianity within a marriage, then we might as well not bother believing that we can have any impact on criminals, liers, adulterers, or any other sinner out there, or bring anyone who does not know Christ to know and follow Him. God is able to do immesuarably more than we could ever hope or imagine. Man cannot put any limits to the impact that someone with faith can have on another person. I believe God works in mysterious ways and uses the most unorthodox ways to bring people into relationship with Him. Could perhaps a marriage between a Christian and non-Christian be one of them?

    If there is genuine love, anything is possible.

    ransom33 at http://www.ransom33.wordpress.com

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, Ric. And, again, thanks to you all. I'm following these comments with genuine interest. Thanks again to all who've written.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, Ric. And, again, thanks to you all. I'm following these comments with genuine interest. Thanks again to all who've written.

  • http://www.kellykirbyfisher.blogspot.com Kelly

    This comment is from personal experience, lessons learned and 21 years of marriage. I think one of the biggest problems is that marriage ends up becoming our identity – and/or we end up loving our spouse more than God. As a Christian, our idenity needs to be who we are in Christ – not who we are married, too.

    While I believe we are not invited to be part of our spouse’s relationship with God (that’s personal) – it is important to have the same core beliefs. I am not called to be the holy spirit for my husband – and I find that the times I get most critical and/or concerned that he is not spending enough time with God – those are the times that I am farthest from God.

    On another note, just because you marry someone with the same core beliefs does not mean that you will not encounter hard times. I am amazed at the number of people I meet who think that if they marry someone who “is a Christian like me” – they will not encounter problems.

  • http://www.kellykirbyfisher.blogspot.com Kelly

    This comment is from personal experience, lessons learned and 21 years of marriage. I think one of the biggest problems is that marriage ends up becoming our identity – and/or we end up loving our spouse more than God. As a Christian, our idenity needs to be who we are in Christ – not who we are married, too.

    While I believe we are not invited to be part of our spouse’s relationship with God (that’s personal) – it is important to have the same core beliefs. I am not called to be the holy spirit for my husband – and I find that the times I get most critical and/or concerned that he is not spending enough time with God – those are the times that I am farthest from God.

    On another note, just because you marry someone with the same core beliefs does not mean that you will not encounter hard times. I am amazed at the number of people I meet who think that if they marry someone who “is a Christian like me” – they will not encounter problems.

  • Christine

    "The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?"

    I think this is an extremely valid point. But my concern is that someone may walk away from the love of their life because they could not stand never having them. Wouldn't the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you? It's the whole "would you rather love and loose or never love at all" scenario.

    All these comments have been so from the heart, it is incredible that this has sparked these thoughts in so many people. It is obviously something that hits home with many people and there are so many stories that lie behind them. I suppose we are all shaped by what we go through and at the end of the day, because there is no definitive answer on this, maybe we all have to pray and figure out what our own answers are from God.

  • Christine

    "The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?"

    I think this is an extremely valid point. But my concern is that someone may walk away from the love of their life because they could not stand never having them. Wouldn't the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you? It's the whole "would you rather love and loose or never love at all" scenario.

    All these comments have been so from the heart, it is incredible that this has sparked these thoughts in so many people. It is obviously something that hits home with many people and there are so many stories that lie behind them. I suppose we are all shaped by what we go through and at the end of the day, because there is no definitive answer on this, maybe we all have to pray and figure out what our own answers are from God.

  • Candace

    Hmmmm. Thought-provoking comment, Christine (#38).

    I'm really trying to imagine myself in that position — by some strange theoretical turn of events, a person really was the love of my life, except we were not on the same page God-wise. It would be quite a quandry for me, because the Bible seems pretty clear about not being unequally yoked. And I have found (over and over) that when I just listen, and trust that His plan for me is better, and give up my own preference in favor of living His way, it definitely tends to turn out waaaaay better in the long run. So it's easy for me to say I'd toe the Biblical line. But I am glad I'm not facing that scenario for real.

    If I was an unbeliever married to an unbeliever and then I experienced a converted but he did not, I would choose to (as you wrote) "stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you". Which would also, as you know, be the Biblical thing to do.

    Truly, your last line sums it up, and is broadly applicable: "…maybe we all have to pray and figure out what our own answers are from God."

    The great thing is that if we mess up, even though we will have consequences to live with, we are still and always His beloved and forgiven children :-) YAY! How awesome is that?!?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I was actually in this situation a bit; my wife was not a Christian when, suddenly, I became one.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I was actually in this situation a bit; my wife was not a Christian when, suddenly, I became one.

  • Candace

    Yeah, I read those posts! Such an awesome story. Cat sounds like such an amazing woman, and it's clear that even before becoming Christians, you guys had a really great marriage going.

  • Candace

    Yeah, I read those posts! Such an awesome story. Cat sounds like such an amazing woman, and it's clear that even before becoming Christians, you guys had a really great marriage going.

  • Candace

    How'd you manage that, actually? I mean, the odds were against it, wouldn't you say? I've also read some of your posts where you reveal quite a bit about your family background. You've gotten past a lot in your life, John.

  • tavdy

    “This comment is from personal experience, lessons learned and 21 years of marriage. I think one of the biggest problems is that marriage ends up becoming our identity – and/or we end up loving our spouse more than God. As a Christian, our idenity needs to be who we are in Christ – not who we are married, too.” – Kelly

    For me, marriage isn’t just a relationship between two people, it’s between three. God must be a full participant in the relationship and if He isn’t – if one of the spouses isn’t in personal relationship with Him – then the marriage is unlikely to succeed.

  • tavdy

    “This comment is from personal experience, lessons learned and 21 years of marriage. I think one of the biggest problems is that marriage ends up becoming our identity – and/or we end up loving our spouse more than God. As a Christian, our idenity needs to be who we are in Christ – not who we are married, too.” – Kelly

    For me, marriage isn’t just a relationship between two people, it’s between three. God must be a full participant in the relationship and if He isn’t – if one of the spouses isn’t in personal relationship with Him – then the marriage is unlikely to succeed.

  • Pingback: Should a Christian Marry an Unbeliever? « Thinking Out Loud

  • Pingback: Should a Christian Marry an Unbeliever? « Thinking Out Loud

  • FreetoBe

    John (#40), I too was always curious about that, how Cat reacted when you came home saved that day, and how she became saved. Amazing! (Although I think every Christian has an amazing story of their salvation.)

  • FreetoBe

    John (#40), I too was always curious about that, how Cat reacted when you came home saved that day, and how she became saved. Amazing! (Although I think every Christian has an amazing story of their salvation.)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Free: Awhile back I wrote a piece called "How My Unbelieving Wife Took The News of My Suddenly Becoming A Christian." It's … here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2007/04/16/how-my-unbeli

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Free: Awhile back I wrote a piece called "How My Unbelieving Wife Took The News of My Suddenly Becoming A Christian." It's … here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2007/04/16/how-my-unbeli

  • Sabina

    I married a non-christian. we are divorced. there were other issues involved in the dissolution of our marriage, but the core of it was about that fact. I think the piece was beautifully written. Thank you John.

  • FreetoBe

    OK, I had forgotten that piece. Thanks, John. From everything you write about Cat, I'm thinking she must be an amazing woman. You are one blessed individual, John.

  • FreetoBe

    OK, I had forgotten that piece. Thanks, John. From everything you write about Cat, I'm thinking she must be an amazing woman. You are one blessed individual, John.

  • Christine

    She sounds like a woman to thank God for daily John. So many people search for that one person who they would die for and who would do the same in return and you are truely, extremely, amazingly blessed. When, or if, you ever go through hard times with her, come back to this post and re-read it and the comments and focus on what you have been given :) My prayers are with you and your marriage, let those God has put together let no man tear apart.

  • Christine

    She sounds like a woman to thank God for daily John. So many people search for that one person who they would die for and who would do the same in return and you are truely, extremely, amazingly blessed. When, or if, you ever go through hard times with her, come back to this post and re-read it and the comments and focus on what you have been given :) My prayers are with you and your marriage, let those God has put together let no man tear apart.

  • http://www.shoutlife.com/davekrug Dave Krug

    I actually don't completely agree with you. I am a Christian all the way and have entrusted my life to Christ.

    Many of the people who are not in support of Christians marrying non-christians who have given scriptural references to several (very sparse) scriptures have been fragmenting them out of context and have been playing the semantics game with those fragmented pieces. For example in Deutoronomy, God commanded them not to marry with other non-christians because at that time (which was before Christ), they had to follow a VERY strict law (outlined in Leviticus), and if they intermingled with people who didn't follow the law, then they'd be tempted to take up unholy habits/beliefs. In our current day of time, we are NOT commanded to strictly follow the law. Christ has already fulfilled the law and proved to us that we cannot follow the law, he set a new direction for us. And for the verses in Corinthians that I've seen people use… I'd instruct people to read the whole chapters AND the whole books, not just individually fragmented scriptures. It's not too worth me getting into those verses, cause I'd probably have to write an hermeneutics-oriented essay- here is not the place for that.

    This world we live in is not black and white, but is in full color… and for some people they maybe should not marry someone that doesn't share the same beliefs (depending on the situation at hand). BUt for most people, it could pose a great opportunity for someone to be saved. Who's to say that if I marry a non-christian, then I'm doomed to a bad relationship as it is. I don't know what Christian circle you're in, but now-a-days, more and more (supposed) Christians are getting divorced.

    These many illusionments associated with Christianity (like the "assumption" that marrying another Christian will result in a "good" relationship) cannot be used as security blankets to protect you from tough times and stressful things happening to you, but your faith in Christ/God helps get you through those tough times and leaves you stronger than before.

    My parents are both Christians and they are absolutely miserable. Same with my friends parents (who ended up getting divorced) as well as my other friends parents who are actually pastoral counselors and Christians… and one is a pastor of a Churcc–yes they got divorced and there was no infidelity, abuse, or "cheating"… there was more to it than the just their spiritual beliefs as their reasons for divorcing. They were never emotionally/mentally compatible to begin with despite the fact that they were spiritually/value-wise compatible.

    I also think that you made some VERY hefty and hasty assumptions and generalizations in your article that are EXTREMELY illogical. Compatability indeed involves values. Values in relation to religion, faith, and God cannot be logically called "the absolute definitive core values of any relationship"… there is way more to a relationship than just religious values. There is your psychological health, physical factors, needs, impulses, emotional health, personality and extroversion, temperament, habits, sexual attraction, love language, life goals, and waaayyy more.

    It sounds like you don't support people having faith that God will provide for them and can and/or will reach out to their significant other who is a non-believer- sounds like you believe in a small and powerless god. It sounds like you took something you believe in and placed lots of (subjective) things around it in attempt to support your belief.

    With my cousin Maria …she married a non-christian guy named aldo (knowing that he was a non-christian) and now he is a Christian, and just like before they are living a generally peaceful relationship. The only difference is that they both go to Church together and generally agree more in terms of their shared faith. If my cousin decided to listen to the advice you just gave, her spouse would potentially not be a Christian at this point.

    I appreciate your ernestness and caringness towards this issue as it's a controversial issue. Thanks for putting your beliefs out there boldly/confidently… as people can and will scrutinize them harshly. That's very important. Thanks.

  • http://www.shoutlife.com/davekrug Dave Krug

    I actually don't completely agree with you. I am a Christian all the way and have entrusted my life to Christ.

    Many of the people who are not in support of Christians marrying non-christians who have given scriptural references to several (very sparse) scriptures have been fragmenting them out of context and have been playing the semantics game with those fragmented pieces. For example in Deutoronomy, God commanded them not to marry with other non-christians because at that time (which was before Christ), they had to follow a VERY strict law (outlined in Leviticus), and if they intermingled with people who didn't follow the law, then they'd be tempted to take up unholy habits/beliefs. In our current day of time, we are NOT commanded to strictly follow the law. Christ has already fulfilled the law and proved to us that we cannot follow the law, he set a new direction for us. And for the verses in Corinthians that I've seen people use… I'd instruct people to read the whole chapters AND the whole books, not just individually fragmented scriptures. It's not too worth me getting into those verses, cause I'd probably have to write an hermeneutics-oriented essay- here is not the place for that.

    This world we live in is not black and white, but is in full color… and for some people they maybe should not marry someone that doesn't share the same beliefs (depending on the situation at hand). BUt for most people, it could pose a great opportunity for someone to be saved. Who's to say that if I marry a non-christian, then I'm doomed to a bad relationship as it is. I don't know what Christian circle you're in, but now-a-days, more and more (supposed) Christians are getting divorced.

    These many illusionments associated with Christianity (like the "assumption" that marrying another Christian will result in a "good" relationship) cannot be used as security blankets to protect you from tough times and stressful things happening to you, but your faith in Christ/God helps get you through those tough times and leaves you stronger than before.

    My parents are both Christians and they are absolutely miserable. Same with my friends parents (who ended up getting divorced) as well as my other friends parents who are actually pastoral counselors and Christians… and one is a pastor of a Churcc–yes they got divorced and there was no infidelity, abuse, or "cheating"… there was more to it than the just their spiritual beliefs as their reasons for divorcing. They were never emotionally/mentally compatible to begin with despite the fact that they were spiritually/value-wise compatible.

    I also think that you made some VERY hefty and hasty assumptions and generalizations in your article that are EXTREMELY illogical. Compatability indeed involves values. Values in relation to religion, faith, and God cannot be logically called "the absolute definitive core values of any relationship"… there is way more to a relationship than just religious values. There is your psychological health, physical factors, needs, impulses, emotional health, personality and extroversion, temperament, habits, sexual attraction, love language, life goals, and waaayyy more.

    It sounds like you don't support people having faith that God will provide for them and can and/or will reach out to their significant other who is a non-believer- sounds like you believe in a small and powerless god. It sounds like you took something you believe in and placed lots of (subjective) things around it in attempt to support your belief.

    With my cousin Maria …she married a non-christian guy named aldo (knowing that he was a non-christian) and now he is a Christian, and just like before they are living a generally peaceful relationship. The only difference is that they both go to Church together and generally agree more in terms of their shared faith. If my cousin decided to listen to the advice you just gave, her spouse would potentially not be a Christian at this point.

    I appreciate your ernestness and caringness towards this issue as it's a controversial issue. Thanks for putting your beliefs out there boldly/confidently… as people can and will scrutinize them harshly. That's very important. Thanks.

  • http://savemenot.wordpress.com samanthamj

    Hmmmm… My paretns were as different as different could be… (religious nut vs. atheist) and they DID have a TERRIBLE marriage. So – you would think I'd agree with you, John, on this. And, up until not too long ago, I probably would have…

    However, I know plenty of people who shared the same faith and had equally miserable marriages.

    Oddly enough, I've "met" a few couples online who claim to not be of the same faith and still have a great relationship. ??

    Soooo… I think it has to depend on the individuals… and how accepting and/or judgemental they are – or become. (and that wasn't to imply the religious ones are the judgemental ones… because I know that can go both ways too.)

    ~smj

  • http://rightplaceandtime.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    Has anyone seen the faith based movie Fireproof? My husband and I just got back and would encourage anyone to see it for strengthening your present or future marriage. It also touches on folks who may have been raised in a home with a troubled marriage and how you have to come to terms with it or it can creep in to your home due to unforgiveness. It does not hold the intense dramas some of us experienced in violent and alcoholic homes. Most people would find that too disturbing, so that topic is best dealt with through a comedic Tyler Perry style. Such as in Diaries of a Mad Black Woman. (a must see!!!) You’d better keep you that piece of steel close by. :)

  • http://rightplaceandtime.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    Has anyone seen the faith based movie Fireproof? My husband and I just got back and would encourage anyone to see it for strengthening your present or future marriage. It also touches on folks who may have been raised in a home with a troubled marriage and how you have to come to terms with it or it can creep in to your home due to unforgiveness. It does not hold the intense dramas some of us experienced in violent and alcoholic homes. Most people would find that too disturbing, so that topic is best dealt with through a comedic Tyler Perry style. Such as in Diaries of a Mad Black Woman. (a must see!!!) You’d better keep you that piece of steel close by. :)

  • http://phillysoul11.wordpress.com phillysoul11

    really fine work! I think you nailed it…

    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?

  • Pingback: Should you marry outside your faith? « Science Notes

  • Pingback: Should you marry outside your faith? « Science Notes

  • pastoralmusings

    John,

    A very good post.

  • pastoralmusings

    John,

    A very good post.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Kelly: WOW! What a powerful, riveting testimony. If this very trenchant statement of yours doesn't get enough views here, I'd like to pull it out and make a new blog post out of it. It's such a thoughtful, deep read. I wanna make sure it gets read. Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Kelly: WOW! What a powerful, riveting testimony. If this very trenchant statement of yours doesn't get enough views here, I'd like to pull it out and make a new blog post out of it. It's such a thoughtful, deep read. I wanna make sure it gets read. Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • Adam

    Though it would be difficult to manage a marriage with opposing religions, I believe with hard work, you'd be able to work it out. Its definitely not going to be a walk in the park, but if both are willing to put in the effort, I believe you can work out a marriage. You might have some opposing viewpoints on some issues, but is it really something you can't work out? In the Bible, does it say it's a sin to marry someone that's not a believer? Doesn't it say to pray for them, because through you and your prayers, they are made holy? I believe you can find that in 1 Corinthians 7: 12-16.

  • LaDiva

    I am so glad I googled this topic while I was at work. It stopped me from bawling my eyes out at my desk. I just ended a two-year relationship with my fiance. I began to realize that he no longer believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ. It broke my heart to confront him about it because I knew that if he confirmed it, my conscience would have to end this relationship for the sake of our sons (my first son is from a previous marriage and we share another son). The relationship started out not the way God intended and the way I truly want to begin a relationship. After the scandal of having a child outside of marriage subsided, I thought the best way was to get married in order to redeem myself. I have no learned that it does not have to be that way. I've become a lot more closer to God and I yearn and hunger for Him. My ex was not feeling what I was feeling. I was working overtime trying to keep it together. To make a long story short, I had to end it. I can't make my ex rededicate his life to Christ. I love so much him and I can't imagine myself with anyone else. I just hope one day, he will accept Christ fully and that God will restore our relationship. I would like nothing more than for us to be a true Christ-centered family. For now, I just have to follow the Lord's path and pray for my ex and try to move on.

  • LaDiva

    I am so glad I googled this topic while I was at work. It stopped me from bawling my eyes out at my desk. I just ended a two-year relationship with my fiance. I began to realize that he no longer believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ. It broke my heart to confront him about it because I knew that if he confirmed it, my conscience would have to end this relationship for the sake of our sons (my first son is from a previous marriage and we share another son). The relationship started out not the way God intended and the way I truly want to begin a relationship. After the scandal of having a child outside of marriage subsided, I thought the best way was to get married in order to redeem myself. I have no learned that it does not have to be that way. I've become a lot more closer to God and I yearn and hunger for Him. My ex was not feeling what I was feeling. I was working overtime trying to keep it together. To make a long story short, I had to end it. I can't make my ex rededicate his life to Christ. I love so much him and I can't imagine myself with anyone else. I just hope one day, he will accept Christ fully and that God will restore our relationship. I would like nothing more than for us to be a true Christ-centered family. For now, I just have to follow the Lord's path and pray for my ex and try to move on.

  • LaDiva

    I just reread what I wrote and man, my grammar is atrocious. Hahaha. Get ready for a long comment here.

    I would like to add to what grassroots commented: "But if you as a Christian believe that Jesus died for you, paid for your sins, and accepting Him is the only way to Heaven, and your spouse does not believe that, the problem is you KNOW your spouse is going to hell.

    The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?"

    Grassroots is correct on this. I couldn't stand (and still can't) the thought of knowing that my ex would be going to hell. The Lord pressed upon my heart to set him free. By being with him, my Christian walk was suffering. I was miserable knowing that he hated going to church and what he calls as the institution of the church. He feels there is no need to go to church and would get really angry if the topic came up. The peacemaker that I am, never pushed the idea even though it is important to me. I was suffering. Furthermore, if I truly believe that God makes the impossible possible, I need to let Him do it. I was standing in God's way to work through my ex. My remaining in the relationship gave the msg to my ex that the way he was living was ok…and it's not. What desire would he have to change if the woman he loves is accepting it?

    Now, I'm tortured because my decision seems to make him hate God even more and he has called me selfish for ending the relationship. I am also tortured because the idea of him going to hell just troubles me and I don't know how to let that go. Christians love to throw out sayings, scriptures and quotes and I hear it all the time from my well-meaning family and friends. Let go and let God. It's still very hard but I'm trying.

    My ex said while I was breaking up with him that there are thousands of marriages between couples of different faiths and it works out. Maybe so but at what cost? I believe that if you deliberately make that decision to marry someone of a different faith, your faith is not first, not a priority in your life but other things, and these other things could be noble and honourable, but selfish. So, why start off that way? I have a responsibility to my children to lead them in the ways of the Lord. When I think about reuniting with my ex (it has crossed my mind but I'm not tempted by it), all I imagine is our son coming up to me and asking me about life and what happens after death. I tell him about Jesus. He then goes to his father and asks the same question and he gives a different answer such as, I don't know, it really doesn't matter, I don't believe in this Jesus story. What has my son learned from this? What root has been planted in his soul? When I think about this, I remember I've made the right decision. I just wish the pain would hurry up and leave.

    One final note. Statistics have proven that now, more than ever, Christians are divorcing at just a high rate as non-Christians. I am unfortunately a part of those statistics. I married at a young age to another Christian. Even though we were believers, my faith was not my priority. I got married for other reasons. Sure enough, it didn't last. I believe that my parents, who were Christians, got married for the wrong reasons as well, though they never told me, I pretty much figured it out. They never divorced but my goodness, the marriage (from the eyes of their children) was awful. No love just dictatorship on the part of my mother. So, I have issues :).

    I'm realizing that if I want to have a strong, healthy marriage with more children (about 5 or 6 in total), I have to admit that I'm not good at choosing the right person right now. I have to let God take it over and in the meantime, get my act together and work on myself because I have a load of doo-doo to get out of my system. I need a spiritual enema. I hate being a single mother, emphasis on single and not on mother, I actually loooooove being a mother. I'm scared about my sons not having a constant proper male influence in their lives. However, this is where God has me right now. Christians love to brag to unbelievers about God being able to do great miracles in our lives (guilty as charged) but we never let Him, we still need to control and be sure of what we think we want in our own lives.

    I'm reading your other articles John and it's been very helpful. I am one messed up chick who has extraordinary potential and gifts but keeps making wrong decisions. However, God is going to do a great work in me (uh-uh the bragging, hahaha)….but this time, I'm going to let Him. Can I get an Amen-ah! Woo! Hahaha.

    My parents

  • LaDiva

    I just reread what I wrote and man, my grammar is atrocious. Hahaha. Get ready for a long comment here.

    I would like to add to what grassroots commented: "But if you as a Christian believe that Jesus died for you, paid for your sins, and accepting Him is the only way to Heaven, and your spouse does not believe that, the problem is you KNOW your spouse is going to hell.

    The issue is not the strength of the marriage – which can be terrible or great with two christians or two non-christians. The issue is; can you stand to know the person you love most in the world is walking away from salvation, and will spend eternity seperated from you? Or will you give up your beliefs as false?"

    Grassroots is correct on this. I couldn't stand (and still can't) the thought of knowing that my ex would be going to hell. The Lord pressed upon my heart to set him free. By being with him, my Christian walk was suffering. I was miserable knowing that he hated going to church and what he calls as the institution of the church. He feels there is no need to go to church and would get really angry if the topic came up. The peacemaker that I am, never pushed the idea even though it is important to me. I was suffering. Furthermore, if I truly believe that God makes the impossible possible, I need to let Him do it. I was standing in God's way to work through my ex. My remaining in the relationship gave the msg to my ex that the way he was living was ok…and it's not. What desire would he have to change if the woman he loves is accepting it?

    Now, I'm tortured because my decision seems to make him hate God even more and he has called me selfish for ending the relationship. I am also tortured because the idea of him going to hell just troubles me and I don't know how to let that go. Christians love to throw out sayings, scriptures and quotes and I hear it all the time from my well-meaning family and friends. Let go and let God. It's still very hard but I'm trying.

    My ex said while I was breaking up with him that there are thousands of marriages between couples of different faiths and it works out. Maybe so but at what cost? I believe that if you deliberately make that decision to marry someone of a different faith, your faith is not first, not a priority in your life but other things, and these other things could be noble and honourable, but selfish. So, why start off that way? I have a responsibility to my children to lead them in the ways of the Lord. When I think about reuniting with my ex (it has crossed my mind but I'm not tempted by it), all I imagine is our son coming up to me and asking me about life and what happens after death. I tell him about Jesus. He then goes to his father and asks the same question and he gives a different answer such as, I don't know, it really doesn't matter, I don't believe in this Jesus story. What has my son learned from this? What root has been planted in his soul? When I think about this, I remember I've made the right decision. I just wish the pain would hurry up and leave.

    One final note. Statistics have proven that now, more than ever, Christians are divorcing at just a high rate as non-Christians. I am unfortunately a part of those statistics. I married at a young age to another Christian. Even though we were believers, my faith was not my priority. I got married for other reasons. Sure enough, it didn't last. I believe that my parents, who were Christians, got married for the wrong reasons as well, though they never told me, I pretty much figured it out. They never divorced but my goodness, the marriage (from the eyes of their children) was awful. No love just dictatorship on the part of my mother. So, I have issues :).

    I'm realizing that if I want to have a strong, healthy marriage with more children (about 5 or 6 in total), I have to admit that I'm not good at choosing the right person right now. I have to let God take it over and in the meantime, get my act together and work on myself because I have a load of doo-doo to get out of my system. I need a spiritual enema. I hate being a single mother, emphasis on single and not on mother, I actually loooooove being a mother. I'm scared about my sons not having a constant proper male influence in their lives. However, this is where God has me right now. Christians love to brag to unbelievers about God being able to do great miracles in our lives (guilty as charged) but we never let Him, we still need to control and be sure of what we think we want in our own lives.

    I'm reading your other articles John and it's been very helpful. I am one messed up chick who has extraordinary potential and gifts but keeps making wrong decisions. However, God is going to do a great work in me (uh-uh the bragging, hahaha)….but this time, I'm going to let Him. Can I get an Amen-ah! Woo! Hahaha.

    My parents

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    LaDiva: Wow. That’s … an amazing testimony. Strong stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    LaDiva: Wow. That’s … an amazing testimony. Strong stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • LaDiva

    Crap, I need to edit before I post. Please disregard the last two words in this post, My parents….

  • Rosie

    Your article made me very, very sad, because it is so true. :-( I've been married to a non believer for 5 years, and while I think he is an incredible man, I have never felt more alone. I'm committed to my marriage, but find it hard to feel love or passion for someone who turns his back on my God.

    What can I do… :(

  • Rosie

    Your article made me very, very sad, because it is so true. :-( I've been married to a non believer for 5 years, and while I think he is an incredible man, I have never felt more alone. I'm committed to my marriage, but find it hard to feel love or passion for someone who turns his back on my God.

    What can I do… :(

  • Pankaj

    "…A Christian marrying a non-Christian is entering a relationship destined to fall short of its

    potential. A Christian can share a good deal of themselves with someone who doesn’t share their faith—but they sure can’t share all of themselves. They can’t even share the best part of themselves. If they try—if a Christian begins to try to share the real stuff about themselves with their non-believing spouse—all the spouse can do, finally, is shrug, and say that they just don’t get it.Which leaves the Christian spouse with exactly two choices: File for divorce, or continue on, married and alone……….."

    well i dont agree……if a person is not a christian it doesnt mean he/she will not undrstnd his/her feeling or d thing he/she is trying to share….

    if d person is having fundamental ideas of christianity..i dont think der will b ne prob…wht say???

    God’s word was LOVE, as was Jesus’. Religion

    ironically is the one thing that constantly seems to

    separate and segregate…

  • Pankaj

    "…A Christian marrying a non-Christian is entering a relationship destined to fall short of its

    potential. A Christian can share a good deal of themselves with someone who doesn’t share their faith—but they sure can’t share all of themselves. They can’t even share the best part of themselves. If they try—if a Christian begins to try to share the real stuff about themselves with their non-believing spouse—all the spouse can do, finally, is shrug, and say that they just don’t get it.Which leaves the Christian spouse with exactly two choices: File for divorce, or continue on, married and alone……….."

    well i dont agree……if a person is not a christian it doesnt mean he/she will not undrstnd his/her feeling or d thing he/she is trying to share….

    if d person is having fundamental ideas of christianity..i dont think der will b ne prob…wht say???

    God’s word was LOVE, as was Jesus’. Religion

    ironically is the one thing that constantly seems to

    separate and segregate…

  • Maria

    I don't see any verses that say you CAN"t marry a nonbeliever, but there is a verse that tells me that while I can do something it's not necessarily beneficial for me. I have been married to a nonbeliever for 11 years. He is a wonderful father and husband. However, there are issues that arise that I never even considered before we married. I don't think being a believer or not is really the issue. Personally, the issues increase as I get closer in my relationship to Christ. The closer I get, the more I change and try to imitate Him. Then all of these little things arise. Some examples, as I've grown I've been led to clean up my language, the content of movies and shows that I watch, etc. It's hard to do that when you're constantly around someone who does not understand this and does not feel led to do the same thing. Suddenly your taste in entertainment has changed but the other person's hasn't and you can't agree on how to spend your time.

    Whenever you have a close relationship with someone it's only natural that you'd want your loved ones to know that person as well. So of course I want my children to grow and have a relationship with Christ, but that is a non priority on my husband's list of things for our children. There is no going to church as a family, reading the Bible together, praying together, etc. All of that falls on me alone. If I'm trying to live for Christ and my husband is just living to make himself happy (good man though he be), we're not going to be living our lives in the same direction and our priorities will be different. We love each other and our children, we're all healthy and our kids are taken care of, but our marriage is not everything that God intended it to be.

    Lastly, it's always so disappointing that I can't have conversations with him about the things that intrigue me. When I read the Bible and find things that I've never seen before or that have me confused I can't discuss these things with him because they're not his interest. My passion, my relationship with Christ, is totally beyond him.

    These issues could happen even between two believers. I really think the difference is the degree of the intensity in a person's walk with Christ. But, as I've said, this is just my personal experience.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Maria: What a great comment. Totally … well, interesting. Thank you so much for writing this, for sharing it with all of us.

    • Kristen I.

      Yes, thank you for sharing. I’m going to send this to my significant other to discuss together. We are in an interfaith relationship, I’m Christian and he is Jewish (Reform) and we are trying to discern what potential problems we may have if we decide to get married. I know this is a post from years ago so maybe no one will even know I’m writing this. Either way, thanks!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Let us know how your talk goes, Kristen. Best to you.

  • Lee

    "I think this is an extremely valid point. But my concern is that someone may walk away from the love of their life because they could not stand never having them. Wouldn’t the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you? It’s the whole “would you rather love and loose or never love at all” scenario."

    " I suppose we are all shaped by what we go through and at the end of the day, because there is no definitive answer on this, maybe we all have to pray and figure out what our own answers are from God."

    After having waited 32 years and having asked God in prayer, so many, many times to send me my husband… and no, I did not date anyone in ten years, I just waited, knowing that if God wanted me to be married, he'd send this man along… by sheer accident (divine providence) I met the man who was to become the love of my life. Yes, he's not a Christian.

    We have plans to marry.

    I asked around and studied the all to familiar verse in Corinthians "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…" In Context, Paul is talking about Corinth's association to teachers of false doctrine. Any theologian will tell you this. The grammar is a present imperative, which is not "Don't do something you are thinking about doing," but "Stop doing something you have been doing for a while," So it isn't advice about whom to marry..the context is that the Corinthians are getting THEIR FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY FROM WHOM THEY ARE HANGING OUT WITH (idolaters). The uncleaness he mentions all over the book are terms tied to having sex with temple prostitues and worshipping false gods… And when Paul states that "all things are allowed but not all are beneficial" this is Paul repeating a statement the Corinthians had wrote him, which he then later refutes (read the passage). Nowhere does it say in scripture that you cannot marry an unbeliever. Nowhere.

    As with the topic of masturbation, this topic is also a "gray area". As there is no commandment in scripture to not wed a non-believer, all we can do is pray for God's guidance… because frankly, perhaps in his designs, the conversion of your loved one is at hand. You cannot know this. Which is why I quoted the above comment: "Wouldn’t the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you?"

    Marrying a non-Christian is NOT THE IDEAL situation. Obviously. But you never know how God will operate. And you cannot put Him in a box, especially when there is no scriptural evidence to the contrary.

    In my mind, marrying a non-Christian is a calling. You must be certain, you need to trust God. Of course it would be so much better to wed a Christian. I have often thought of this, of how easier things would be if I were engaged to a Christian (chastity, life views, etc). There are many things to consider. But after having waited for 10 years (not dating anyone) and having done nothing but pray for God to bring this unknown man into my life, I can attest to the fact that God chose to bring me a non-Christian. What for? I imagine it is for his conversion and my delight (because this man is amazing, just a wonderful man). In the end, if one of God's designs for your life is to go ahead and wed a non-believer, then you will end up doing so.

    I know many stories of Christians marrying non-Christians who have later converted. I have met personally known two of these couples.

    There are also stories the other way around, the Christian becomes distant from God. This is why I believe much prayer is necessary. Much love, tolerance and acceptance. Not whining to your partner about the topic, forcing them to go to Church. If the man (or woman) you are engaged to is understanding, tolerant, respectful of your beliefs, then you can enjoy a loving marriage, staying with your spouse, praying for him… As the above comment says, that is better than just walking away from the engagement.

    But God has the final word on our lives. While it is best to wed a believer, there are exceptions to the rule. God's exceptions. God audibly told Hosea to marry a prostitute. Someone said the equivalent would be Billy Graham or Tony Campolo marrying Madonna.

    If God said so.

    Let's just not put God in a box and misquote scripture.

    • Tin

      Thank you for this Lee. Same boat, same conviction. Indeed, a calling… And it’s something that is only between you and GOD.

    • M

      To Lee: Thank you. I too have waited 32 years for God to send me a husband. After deciding to quit despairing and believing God could actually send me a husband, a guy who meets everything but “must be a Christian” on my list shows up! I know God is up to something with our relationship. Your words are encouraging.

    • Matt

      I feel the same way, Lee. I met my girlfriend while I was a non-Christian. I was morally bankrupt. She modeled good moral behavior, which I adopted. And God worked on my through her by changing my ways and going to church. I continued on to attend church and became a Christian. She, however, is not into church and is skeptical about the existence of God. I feel that God drew me to Him by placing me with her. And I feel it is now my turn to draw her to God by showing love, compassion, and all of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit.

  • Lee

    "I think this is an extremely valid point. But my concern is that someone may walk away from the love of their life because they could not stand never having them. Wouldn’t the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you? It’s the whole “would you rather love and loose or never love at all” scenario."

    " I suppose we are all shaped by what we go through and at the end of the day, because there is no definitive answer on this, maybe we all have to pray and figure out what our own answers are from God."

    After having waited 32 years and having asked God in prayer, so many, many times to send me my husband… and no, I did not date anyone in ten years, I just waited, knowing that if God wanted me to be married, he'd send this man along… by sheer accident (divine providence) I met the man who was to become the love of my life. Yes, he's not a Christian.

    We have plans to marry.

    I asked around and studied the all to familiar verse in Corinthians "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…" In Context, Paul is talking about Corinth's association to teachers of false doctrine. Any theologian will tell you this. The grammar is a present imperative, which is not "Don't do something you are thinking about doing," but "Stop doing something you have been doing for a while," So it isn't advice about whom to marry..the context is that the Corinthians are getting THEIR FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY FROM WHOM THEY ARE HANGING OUT WITH (idolaters). The uncleaness he mentions all over the book are terms tied to having sex with temple prostitues and worshipping false gods… And when Paul states that "all things are allowed but not all are beneficial" this is Paul repeating a statement the Corinthians had wrote him, which he then later refutes (read the passage). Nowhere does it say in scripture that you cannot marry an unbeliever. Nowhere.

    As with the topic of masturbation, this topic is also a "gray area". As there is no commandment in scripture to not wed a non-believer, all we can do is pray for God's guidance… because frankly, perhaps in his designs, the conversion of your loved one is at hand. You cannot know this. Which is why I quoted the above comment: "Wouldn’t the best thing to do is to stay with them and pray for them and spend the short time you have in the hope that they will too come to know Christ and then spend eternity with you?"

    Marrying a non-Christian is NOT THE IDEAL situation. Obviously. But you never know how God will operate. And you cannot put Him in a box, especially when there is no scriptural evidence to the contrary.

    In my mind, marrying a non-Christian is a calling. You must be certain, you need to trust God. Of course it would be so much better to wed a Christian. I have often thought of this, of how easier things would be if I were engaged to a Christian (chastity, life views, etc). There are many things to consider. But after having waited for 10 years (not dating anyone) and having done nothing but pray for God to bring this unknown man into my life, I can attest to the fact that God chose to bring me a non-Christian. What for? I imagine it is for his conversion and my delight (because this man is amazing, just a wonderful man). In the end, if one of God's designs for your life is to go ahead and wed a non-believer, then you will end up doing so.

    I know many stories of Christians marrying non-Christians who have later converted. I have met personally known two of these couples.

    There are also stories the other way around, the Christian becomes distant from God. This is why I believe much prayer is necessary. Much love, tolerance and acceptance. Not whining to your partner about the topic, forcing them to go to Church. If the man (or woman) you are engaged to is understanding, tolerant, respectful of your beliefs, then you can enjoy a loving marriage, staying with your spouse, praying for him… As the above comment says, that is better than just walking away from the engagement.

    But God has the final word on our lives. While it is best to wed a believer, there are exceptions to the rule. God's exceptions. God audibly told Hosea to marry a prostitute. Someone said the equivalent would be Billy Graham or Tony Campolo marrying Madonna.

    If God said so.

    Let's just not put God in a box and misquote scripture.

    • Tin

      Thank you for this Lee. Same boat, same conviction. Indeed, a calling… And it’s something that is only between you and GOD.

    • M

      To Lee: Thank you. I too have waited 32 years for God to send me a husband. After deciding to quit despairing and believing God could actually send me a husband, a guy who meets everything but “must be a Christian” on my list shows up! I know God is up to something with our relationship. Your words are encouraging.

  • Lee

    Sorry about any spelling mistakes; I am in a hurry. =)

  • Lee

    Sorry about any spelling mistakes; I am in a hurry. =)

  • Julia

    What is so wrong with being non-Christian?

    I have my own faith and I am quite happy with it. I do not need yours.

    Why is that such a problem with so man Christians?

  • sandya

    Why are you guys being such religious fanatics? God is one. I'm a hindu… where v have so many gods. but personally, i feel there's only one God. You call him Jesus. I'd just like to call him God. Why do you treat us non-christians like we are satanic people? We dont have a choice to choose what religion we want. Not at birth. But every orthodox family wants to keep their children in their own religion.

    I love a christian boy.. and we dont look at our differences. We look at the similarities. I'm more than willing to convert, accept his faith n accept Christ. Would do anything for him cause i want him to be the same throughout his life and not change for me. Not that i believe in religions. But ur god, my god, whosoever god, everyone preached love. but nobody wants to talk about it. Its always about the religion. Why?

    I want to marry this boy and always want to be with him and be there for him. But his family would never agree. They want a girl who has been a christian all through her life. They dont care if the girl they see loves him. They dont care if their son loves her. They just want her to be a christian. Why? Why cant non-christian people be good? It has a lot more to do with understanding than religious differences. I'm really hurt with all this but i have no other way out. I only keep praying that they'll accept me. But i dont know. I feel like a sinner for being from a different religion. But is it my fault? I was born into one.

    Please dont be against any religion. All humans are scared of the supreme being, GOD.

    Doesnt matter what name you give him or how you worship him. i wanna ask you all this. Did Jesus ever come and tell anyone of you to hate non-christians and not to marry them? Would Jesus ever say anything like that? He wouldn't have cause he's full of love and compassion. and trust me, God is within you. God is within all of us.

    • hadid

      may God helps ypu sister..

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ sdgalloway

      Sandya,

      I hope that you are able to resolve the conflict with your love’s family and embark on a life of happiness with the man you love.

      And you are correct, all faiths have this in common, they all recognize and endorse love as part of the life of the believer. It is in how we define divinity, the afterlife and methods of worship where we differ.

    • Matt

      sandya

      I am sorry if you have met Christians who are not acting like Christ. Christians are just people. Christ is the standard, and we all fall short. I pray that your potential in-laws act more Christ-like.

  • sandya

    Why are you guys being such religious fanatics? God is one. I'm a hindu… where v have so many gods. but personally, i feel there's only one God. You call him Jesus. I'd just like to call him God. Why do you treat us non-christians like we are satanic people? We dont have a choice to choose what religion we want. Not at birth. But every orthodox family wants to keep their children in their own religion.

    I love a christian boy.. and we dont look at our differences. We look at the similarities. I'm more than willing to convert, accept his faith n accept Christ. Would do anything for him cause i want him to be the same throughout his life and not change for me. Not that i believe in religions. But ur god, my god, whosoever god, everyone preached love. but nobody wants to talk about it. Its always about the religion. Why?

    I want to marry this boy and always want to be with him and be there for him. But his family would never agree. They want a girl who has been a christian all through her life. They dont care if the girl they see loves him. They dont care if their son loves her. They just want her to be a christian. Why? Why cant non-christian people be good? It has a lot more to do with understanding than religious differences. I'm really hurt with all this but i have no other way out. I only keep praying that they'll accept me. But i dont know. I feel like a sinner for being from a different religion. But is it my fault? I was born into one.

    Please dont be against any religion. All humans are scared of the supreme being, GOD.

    Doesnt matter what name you give him or how you worship him. i wanna ask you all this. Did Jesus ever come and tell anyone of you to hate non-christians and not to marry them? Would Jesus ever say anything like that? He wouldn't have cause he's full of love and compassion. and trust me, God is within you. God is within all of us.

    • hadid

      may God helps ypu sister..

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ sdgalloway

      Sandya,

      I hope that you are able to resolve the conflict with your love’s family and embark on a life of happiness with the man you love.

      And you are correct, all faiths have this in common, they all recognize and endorse love as part of the life of the believer. It is in how we define divinity, the afterlife and methods of worship where we differ.

    • Matt

      sandya

      I am sorry if you have met Christians who are not acting like Christ. Christians are just people. Christ is the standard, and we all fall short. I pray that your potential in-laws act more Christ-like.

  • Lee

    Sandya, I believe you have a valid point. Scripture does not forbid (in any way) for us to wed someone who is not of our same faith (Christian). As I said in my previous comment, the verse in Corinthians which everyone quotes as being "the verse" that forbids marriage between a believer in Christ and a non-believer, actually refers to something completely different.

    While it is true that marrying someone of your same faith is the ideal situation (just think about it) there are also those of us who fall in love with people of other faiths and this too is a blessing from God (God cannot be put into a box!)

    Most likely your boyfriend's family holds the verse in Corinthians to be about marriage and as they want to do what's "right" before God, then they would obviously not want a marriage between the two of you. It is a sad thing when scripture gets misquoted and tears two people that love each other and are suited for one another apart.

    There is so much lack of vision regarding interfaith marriage inside Christian circles.

    Why, there is even a lack of vision regarding real, honest friendship between Christians and those who are not. Many times the church resembles a social club, a let's-stay-indoors-and-just-hang-out-with-one-another club. And people who are not Christian feel segregated and are driven away. Instead of reaching out, many churches tell us to become a closed circle.

    And let's not forget that community usually comes before conversion. It is as so many things, a matter of love, of reaching out and spreading the aroma of the creator. Not preaching to everyone until we're blue in the face and/or until our listeners get annoyed and tired. As always, conversion is the work of God, at just the right time. We're mainly here to love our neighbors as ourselves. All our neighbors, not just the Christian ones.

    This is just one of the faults with the "way" things are done inside Christian (fundamentalist mainly) circles.

    If two people share love, understanding and acceptance, then I am sure their marriage will be blessed. God sees the heart and the hearts intentions. As always, God is in control of the lives of those who trust him.

    I do hope things work out for both of you. Take heart. Ask God for help and guidance. I will hold you in my prayers.

    • Alice

      Hi Lee,

      Thank you so much for openly sharing.

      I am engaged to a wonderful loved by God man that does not believe in God but I can see God in his heart. I grew up in a conservative baptist church and since then have had to shake off and reshape who God is. Shucking all the boxing up and do this and not that and “in” or “out” club mentatility. Even with all of that I’m still finding that I have a lot to filter through in terms of marrying someone that doesn’t believe in God.

      My journey sounds very similar to yours. And I’m so glad to feel unalone and in community with you as there needs to be more people that see ALL humans as LOVED by God. People that don’t just talk about it in their church clubs, about loving others but then in the intrinsic nature of their actions, shun others that don’t believe the same. In the case of interfaith marriage I know that God cannot be boxed, and that he has a plan for us that we cannnot even being to dream up.

      Thank you, for your posting. And your research on the CONTEXT of Paul’s writings. These verses are often chanted at young christians to deter them from life and believing that God can do anything and is in everything. Context is so important so thanks for that. It coincides with my own study of Paul’s letters and his specific and STRONG warnings against people that preach that faith is not a gift and is a conditional path.

      In any case, just a big thank you. For bringing LIGHT to an area that I feel truly needs open communication and SUPPORT vs shunning and judgement.

      If you can, let us know how it’s going with your marriage (assuming you’re married by this point).

      -Alice

  • Lee

    Sandya, I believe you have a valid point. Scripture does not forbid (in any way) for us to wed someone who is not of our same faith (Christian). As I said in my previous comment, the verse in Corinthians which everyone quotes as being "the verse" that forbids marriage between a believer in Christ and a non-believer, actually refers to something completely different.

    While it is true that marrying someone of your same faith is the ideal situation (just think about it) there are also those of us who fall in love with people of other faiths and this too is a blessing from God (God cannot be put into a box!)

    Most likely your boyfriend's family holds the verse in Corinthians to be about marriage and as they want to do what's "right" before God, then they would obviously not want a marriage between the two of you. It is a sad thing when scripture gets misquoted and tears two people that love each other and are suited for one another apart.

    There is so much lack of vision regarding interfaith marriage inside Christian circles.

    Why, there is even a lack of vision regarding real, honest friendship between Christians and those who are not. Many times the church resembles a social club, a let's-stay-indoors-and-just-hang-out-with-one-another club. And people who are not Christian feel segregated and are driven away. Instead of reaching out, many churches tell us to become a closed circle.

    And let's not forget that community usually comes before conversion. It is as so many things, a matter of love, of reaching out and spreading the aroma of the creator. Not preaching to everyone until we're blue in the face and/or until our listeners get annoyed and tired. As always, conversion is the work of God, at just the right time. We're mainly here to love our neighbors as ourselves. All our neighbors, not just the Christian ones.

    This is just one of the faults with the "way" things are done inside Christian (fundamentalist mainly) circles.

    If two people share love, understanding and acceptance, then I am sure their marriage will be blessed. God sees the heart and the hearts intentions. As always, God is in control of the lives of those who trust him.

    I do hope things work out for both of you. Take heart. Ask God for help and guidance. I will hold you in my prayers.

    • Alice

      Hi Lee,

      Thank you so much for openly sharing.

      I am engaged to a wonderful loved by God man that does not believe in God but I can see God in his heart. I grew up in a conservative baptist church and since then have had to shake off and reshape who God is. Shucking all the boxing up and do this and not that and “in” or “out” club mentatility. Even with all of that I’m still finding that I have a lot to filter through in terms of marrying someone that doesn’t believe in God.

      My journey sounds very similar to yours. And I’m so glad to feel unalone and in community with you as there needs to be more people that see ALL humans as LOVED by God. People that don’t just talk about it in their church clubs, about loving others but then in the intrinsic nature of their actions, shun others that don’t believe the same. In the case of interfaith marriage I know that God cannot be boxed, and that he has a plan for us that we cannnot even being to dream up.

      Thank you, for your posting. And your research on the CONTEXT of Paul’s writings. These verses are often chanted at young christians to deter them from life and believing that God can do anything and is in everything. Context is so important so thanks for that. It coincides with my own study of Paul’s letters and his specific and STRONG warnings against people that preach that faith is not a gift and is a conditional path.

      In any case, just a big thank you. For bringing LIGHT to an area that I feel truly needs open communication and SUPPORT vs shunning and judgement.

      If you can, let us know how it’s going with your marriage (assuming you’re married by this point).

      -Alice

  • Sandya

    Thank you very much Lee… i'm still crying aftr reading your reply. especially the last few lines. It really means a lot to me. Thanks a lot. I do hope it'll work out for us. His parents are forcing him to marry…….. just wish we'd able be able to get ourselves out of this and get married….. God is my one and only hope….. and i trust in him completely… This life belongs to him more than it belongs to me…

  • Sandya

    Thank you very much Lee… i'm still crying aftr reading your reply. especially the last few lines. It really means a lot to me. Thanks a lot. I do hope it'll work out for us. His parents are forcing him to marry…….. just wish we'd able be able to get ourselves out of this and get married….. God is my one and only hope….. and i trust in him completely… This life belongs to him more than it belongs to me…

  • Ctaya

    I am amazed in reading this article and some of the comments.

    Is the article written by the same person writing "After I Converted, the Terrible Way Christians treated My Non-Christian Wife"?

    What some of the folks talking here is not much different from those "creepy" talks by Christians to Cat as described in the latter article.

    Some of the comments spread hate under the disguise of love.

    Let love bind those in love. Don't let hate separate people in love.

    Does Jesus loves love or loves hate?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    There's no discrepancy of which I'm aware between what I wrote in "After I Converted…" and what I've written here.

  • S.J.

    Thanks for writing this!

    I’ve become quite close to a non-christian guy, and the question of “what does God want me to do”`has been echoing in my mind.

    When I think about it, it really is as easy as looking at the friendships that mean the most to me, and see if it is possible to get something similar with a non-believer. And I came to understand that one of the things that gives me the best relationships, are the ones where it’s possible to share our faiths. To share values and ideas are great, but sharing the same faith means being able to share the deepest part of me. The part where I’m most voulnerable.

    Thank you again, very clearifying!

    sigs

  • S.J.

    Thanks for writing this!

    I’ve become quite close to a non-christian guy, and the question of “what does God want me to do”`has been echoing in my mind.

    When I think about it, it really is as easy as looking at the friendships that mean the most to me, and see if it is possible to get something similar with a non-believer. And I came to understand that one of the things that gives me the best relationships, are the ones where it’s possible to share our faiths. To share values and ideas are great, but sharing the same faith means being able to share the deepest part of me. The part where I’m most voulnerable.

    Thank you again, very clearifying!

    sigs

  • ctaya

    Dear John,

    You said, “A Christian marrying a non-Christian is entering a relationship destined to fall short of its potential. (Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.) ”

    Wasn’t that the message your “creepy” church friends trying to convey to Cat before her conversion?

    The marriage will fail, unless Cat convert.

    Luckily, Cat acted according to what they had wanted. If Cat did not convert, your marriage would fail as predicted by your church friends.

    You are confirming the judgment of your church friends. They must be relieved at Cat’ conversion, realising that what they had done were correct and worthwhile. They would think that they had been helping you all along and God worked through them successfully.

    If Cat converted, they acted correctly. (Conversion with their help)

    If Cat did not convert, they also acted correctly. (Marriage failure as predicted and your soul was saved from a non-believer, who should go to hell.)

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Ctaya: Couple of things: The advice I gave in Christian Marrying a Non-Christian? Marriage: FAIL was to a young woman not yet married. When I converted, I was 38 years old, and had been extremely happily married for 17 years. That’s … really, really not the same thing.

      But beyond that, I’m not saying my marriage wouldn’t have ultimately failed after I converted if my wife didn’t. It may have. But that’s not at all what After I Converted, the Terrible Way Christians Treated My Non-Christian Wife was about. That was about how rude the Christians in our lives were being to my wife. They can think whatever they like, of course. My point was that it was painfully un-Christian of them to treat my wife with such hostility.

      I would advise a young couple of differing religious convictions not to marry. But if I knew a couple who had been happily married for 17 years, and one of them had suddenly converted, the last thing I’d do is start bitching at the other one to convert.

  • ctaya

    Dear John,

    You said, “A Christian marrying a non-Christian is entering a relationship destined to fall short of its potential. (Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.) ”

    Wasn’t that the message your “creepy” church friends trying to convey to Cat before her conversion?

    The marriage will fail, unless Cat convert.

    Luckily, Cat acted according to what they had wanted. If Cat did not convert, your marriage would fail as predicted by your church friends.

    You are confirming the judgment of your church friends. They must be relieved at Cat’ conversion, realising that what they had done were correct and worthwhile. They would think that they had been helping you all along and God worked through them successfully.

    If Cat converted, they acted correctly. (Conversion with their help)

    If Cat did not convert, they also acted correctly. (Marriage failure as predicted and your soul was saved from a non-believer, who should go to hell.)

  • ctaya

    Dear John,

    The Catholic would not have such a big problem as the Protestants.

    Maybe in your committee and country, the ratio of male and female Protestants is quite well balanced. But in some places, the ratio is very skewed, at best 4:6. 3:7 is quite common and even down to 2:8.

    If Protestants are advised to marry Protestants only (sometimes, under great pressure from their fellow church goers and pastors) , then a very high percentage of the female Protestants (one third and even over half) would not be able to get marry.

    Maybe God intends to test the females more than the males. (Ha ha).

    I really appreciate the views of David in "Letter From an Atheist Married to a Christian".

    Let love bind people in love together; do not split them with hate.

    Jesus said, love thy neighbor. I do not think that he meant to exclude non-believing boy/girl friends.

    With the high divorce rate among believer couples, one would not be much worse off in marrying a non-believer. The magic words are: love, understanding and tolerate.

  • ctaya

    Dear John,

    The Catholic would not have such a big problem as the Protestants.

    Maybe in your committee and country, the ratio of male and female Protestants is quite well balanced. But in some places, the ratio is very skewed, at best 4:6. 3:7 is quite common and even down to 2:8.

    If Protestants are advised to marry Protestants only (sometimes, under great pressure from their fellow church goers and pastors) , then a very high percentage of the female Protestants (one third and even over half) would not be able to get marry.

    Maybe God intends to test the females more than the males. (Ha ha).

    I really appreciate the views of David in "Letter From an Atheist Married to a Christian".

    Let love bind people in love together; do not split them with hate.

    Jesus said, love thy neighbor. I do not think that he meant to exclude non-believing boy/girl friends.

    With the high divorce rate among believer couples, one would not be much worse off in marrying a non-believer. The magic words are: love, understanding and tolerate.

  • ash

    I think this was a really good explanation! I am struggling with something similar and I'm glad I came across this. However, I do want to point out that divorce is not an option in this case. Divorce, to a Christian, is only acceptable if a spouse has cheated or abused another. Here is a verse in the New Testament that explains why divorce is not an option in this case: 1 Corinthians 7:13 'And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.' Anyways, thanks and God bless!

  • holly

    I was a less than luke warm christian when I got married. Barely on the path I should have been on.

    I married a guy who wasn't a christian. I thought nothing of it.

    We spent a couple years married- then everything was just… crap. There wasn't crazy, obvious abuse- but it was just… nothing at all! Not even a friendship. Passion level was ZERO. It was torture.

    We decided to divorce. We had just moved very very far away from everyone I know and love. So this was hard- although we felt it was right.

    We made that choice and it seemed like a good idea, because it was a mutual decision.

    Guess again.

    Started to actually READ the BIBLE and I was like… oh crap! I'm not supposed to be doing this!

    The husband lived with roommates, and was living the free and easy life of an almost-single-man. (Any judgmental comments or gasps of disbelief can be kept to yourself, pleaseandthankyou! :) )

    So I started down the path… I read and studied scripture til I genuinely felt "the nature" of God. I didn't really try to understand God, or search for loopholes that made divorce OK, I just wanted to hear from Him! I talked with people, asked so many questions, had a couple of perceived breakdowns…

    Enter: James1:2-8 and Romans5:3-5 and 1Cor7:13-16 (Pay close attention to 16, there.)

    They did NOT leave my mind- and when they did… all hell broke loose… so to speak….

    I persevered…. practiced loving truth and HUMILITY! DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS??!?! Especially when you KNOW you're right?! (Oh yeah… such humility, huh? Told you it's hard!)

    I would just "lose it" when I'd lose sight of Jesus, and of everything God put so strongly on my heart. If circumstances made me miss church- I'd be attacked left and right and out of the blue by the most heinous temptations and irritations. Running to the bible, I'd go.

    Over the course of a year we went from pending divorce… to just being separated… to agreeing to go to counseling…. We are now reconciling with everything we have, falling in love even harder, and my God…. my God…. my husband is a Christian now. :'-)

    I would like to emphasize the heaviness of the pending divorce… there was no hope… none… only through Jesus did I see that hope. The saving POWER of God. Supernatural power. Beyond any reason or understanding. Way beyond. Ever.

    I would also like to emphasize that this is the abridged version OF the abridged version… There's SO MUCH that happened- that only God could do. So much that was only by faith (almost weary faith… but faith nonetheless.) And also there was so much "enemy influence" in things beyond any control of our own. It's uncanny.

    To imply God can't work like that in someone's life… is to imply that well, He's not God.

    "(Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.) "

    While I FULLY agree that you don't get married with the basis being the hope of a spouse's massive overhaul, you don't divorce with the basis that there is no hope for one, either.

    Coming to know Jesus Christ IS A RADICAL PERSONAL CHANGE!

    If not… check yo'self before you wreck yo'self!

    =)

    Thank you for reading!

  • holly

    I was a less than luke warm christian when I got married. Barely on the path I should have been on.

    I married a guy who wasn't a christian. I thought nothing of it.

    We spent a couple years married- then everything was just… crap. There wasn't crazy, obvious abuse- but it was just… nothing at all! Not even a friendship. Passion level was ZERO. It was torture.

    We decided to divorce. We had just moved very very far away from everyone I know and love. So this was hard- although we felt it was right.

    We made that choice and it seemed like a good idea, because it was a mutual decision.

    Guess again.

    Started to actually READ the BIBLE and I was like… oh crap! I'm not supposed to be doing this!

    The husband lived with roommates, and was living the free and easy life of an almost-single-man. (Any judgmental comments or gasps of disbelief can be kept to yourself, pleaseandthankyou! :) )

    So I started down the path… I read and studied scripture til I genuinely felt "the nature" of God. I didn't really try to understand God, or search for loopholes that made divorce OK, I just wanted to hear from Him! I talked with people, asked so many questions, had a couple of perceived breakdowns…

    Enter: James1:2-8 and Romans5:3-5 and 1Cor7:13-16 (Pay close attention to 16, there.)

    They did NOT leave my mind- and when they did… all hell broke loose… so to speak….

    I persevered…. practiced loving truth and HUMILITY! DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS??!?! Especially when you KNOW you're right?! (Oh yeah… such humility, huh? Told you it's hard!)

    I would just "lose it" when I'd lose sight of Jesus, and of everything God put so strongly on my heart. If circumstances made me miss church- I'd be attacked left and right and out of the blue by the most heinous temptations and irritations. Running to the bible, I'd go.

    Over the course of a year we went from pending divorce… to just being separated… to agreeing to go to counseling…. We are now reconciling with everything we have, falling in love even harder, and my God…. my God…. my husband is a Christian now. :'-)

    I would like to emphasize the heaviness of the pending divorce… there was no hope… none… only through Jesus did I see that hope. The saving POWER of God. Supernatural power. Beyond any reason or understanding. Way beyond. Ever.

    I would also like to emphasize that this is the abridged version OF the abridged version… There's SO MUCH that happened- that only God could do. So much that was only by faith (almost weary faith… but faith nonetheless.) And also there was so much "enemy influence" in things beyond any control of our own. It's uncanny.

    To imply God can't work like that in someone's life… is to imply that well, He's not God.

    "(Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.) "

    While I FULLY agree that you don't get married with the basis being the hope of a spouse's massive overhaul, you don't divorce with the basis that there is no hope for one, either.

    Coming to know Jesus Christ IS A RADICAL PERSONAL CHANGE!

    If not… check yo'self before you wreck yo'self!

    =)

    Thank you for reading!

    • hadid

      hello sis,

      was your husband a muslim or what exactly?

      thankx

      hadid carlo

  • Nathan W.

    “The only thing she would have to believe is that, at the least, there is more than one path to finding truth in the world.

    Some Christians think that way, and some don’t.”

    They wouldn’t be Christians if they thought that way.

  • Rocco

    I got married 5 years ago to a woman who attended a Christian church on occasion. We are going on our sixth year and she is now attending church 3-4 times a week, bible studies at the house and now we are spending less time together. Why go through this sudden change of heart regarding her faith/ church knowing that it will be damaging to our marriage? Why do Christians call others that are not like them "Non-Believers"? I`m a believer in God and I have a relationship with god, just because it`s not done the same way as the Christians we seem to get out casted as non-believers..I do not think that is right nor that Christians have all of the answers and seem entitled to critizes others. I have found Christians to be very hyprocritcal, hateful, angry and individual who only want to push their right wing politic agenda…I will never be a Christian and if my marriage ends due to it, then so be it.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Well not all Christians but some certainly. FWIW I pesonally feel that going to church activities 3 to 4 times a week + Bible studies at the house is a bit much. I can see how the more she is drawn in the more you withdraw. What she is doing is finding companionship there when she whould be finding companionship with you and naturally you are withdrawing from this. It is church first and you second, and I am sure that there are often times when there are special events that add even more time away from you. Yes God first in your life, but God does not = church. She is finding fun and companionship with her church friends and stealing time with you to do it. When you cna't take it any more maybe if you seperate she will see what she is missing and will get a wake up call.

  • Rocco

    I got married 5 years ago to a woman who attended a Christian church on occasion. We are going on our sixth year and she is now attending church 3-4 times a week, bible studies at the house and now we are spending less time together. Why go through this sudden change of heart regarding her faith/ church knowing that it will be damaging to our marriage? Why do Christians call others that are not like them "Non-Believers"? I`m a believer in God and I have a relationship with god, just because it`s not done the same way as the Christians we seem to get out casted as non-believers..I do not think that is right nor that Christians have all of the answers and seem entitled to critizes others. I have found Christians to be very hyprocritcal, hateful, angry and individual who only want to push their right wing politic agenda…I will never be a Christian and if my marriage ends due to it, then so be it.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Well not all Christians but some certainly. FWIW I pesonally feel that going to church activities 3 to 4 times a week + Bible studies at the house is a bit much. I can see how the more she is drawn in the more you withdraw. What she is doing is finding companionship there when she whould be finding companionship with you and naturally you are withdrawing from this. It is church first and you second, and I am sure that there are often times when there are special events that add even more time away from you. Yes God first in your life, but God does not = church. She is finding fun and companionship with her church friends and stealing time with you to do it. When you cna't take it any more maybe if you seperate she will see what she is missing and will get a wake up call.

  • Bill

    Folks,

    I’m confident Christians divorce their fellow Christians in larger numbers than interfaith couples. In general, people marry in accordance with their comfort levels and familiarity. Therefore, I don’t think there’s any empirical basis for making such a strong claim that marriages are destined for failure based on differing religious backgrounds. America is vastly Christian, around 76%, and has nearly a 50% divorce rate.

  • Bill

    Folks,

    I’m confident Christians divorce their fellow Christians in larger numbers than interfaith couples. In general, people marry in accordance with their comfort levels and familiarity. Therefore, I don’t think there’s any empirical basis for making such a strong claim that marriages are destined for failure based on differing religious backgrounds. America is vastly Christian, around 76%, and has nearly a 50% divorce rate.

  • catherine

    I have been searching lately… for answers to whether or not a christian and non-christian can be in a successful and fulfilling relationship.. one that may very well lead to marriage. I have come across this blog and many others where the author or commenters speak about the non christian lacking an understanding of the other person because the nonbeliever is unwilling to share in their religious or spiritual experiences.

    This however does nothing to answer my questions.. as I am not a non-christian who is not willing to share in my love’s spiritual and religious experiences. I cannot promise conversion to him, but I do want to attend church with him. I do want to openly discuss his faith, my questions about it, our differences and continue indeed to find where our spirituals paths connect. While my faith may be different from his, it does not make me close-minded, unopen or unwilling to take part in that which is most important to him. I felt compelled to share that just because my faith may not be the same, I, and other non-christians are not all unopen to being supportive of those we love’s differing points and practices of faith.

    My questions are still not answered but maybe the purpose of me coming across this blog is to share that because of how important it is to the person I love I have opened my eyes and heart to being supportive of his faith. At this point we are not together because he interprets the Bible to mean since our faiths differ we cannot be together. While I am of the belief that I would not love him so deeply and be unable to to move past that love if it wasn’t the will and desire of god for us to be together. I continue my search of why and how two people can love each other deeply and feel so drawn to each other but be unable to reach a compromise when it comes to let love bind them even in their differences.

    • ctaya

      catherine, I can understand you puzzle and pain. The main stream Christians are followers more of Paul than of Jesus. They put the interpretations by Paul on Jesus above Jesus himself. They forget the teaching of Jesus to love thy neighbor. If you cannot love even your lover/spouse, how can you love your neighbor?

      I have seen good marriages between Christians, between Christians and non-Christians, between non-Christians. I have also seen bad marriages marriages between Christians, between Christians and non-Christians, between non-Christians.

      Choosing a Christian to be your spouse does not mean a good marriage, although blessed by your priests. (Even many priests they themselves divorced.)

      Choosing a non-Christian to be your spouse does not mean a bad marriage.

      It all depends on how you follow Jesus’ teaching on: love thy neighbor.

  • Emma

    “(Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.)”

    What about the hope of the Christian coming around and realizing that its all just a metaphor?

  • Emma

    “(Unless the non-Christian undergoes the most radical personal change possible, and the hope of that happening is no basis for a marriage.)”

    What about the hope of the Christian coming around and realizing that its all just a metaphor?

    • DR

      If you love your boyfriend Emma, you won’t want that to happen if his faith gives his life meaning, hope and purpose.

  • Emma

    Can some of the christians out there clarify something for me?

    I am dating a man who identifies as christian. I, although spiritual, do not buy into the whole Jesus thing. It just doesn’t add up for me. I don’t see the big deal in getting married; I always thought religion was personal, and I understand and respect his beliefs. When the topic of children comes up, I say “we can teach them different ways and they can decide for themselves.” This does not seem to be enough for him. Does this imply that children must be brainwashed in order to buy into christianity? What’s wrong with looking at the evidence and deciding for yourself, as I have done?

    I’m looking for input from christians out there, as to why this is a bigger deal for him than it is for me …

    Thanks, all.

    • DR

      Hi Emma!

      I’ll do my best, I was in this spot as well in your boyfriend’s position so hopefully this will help.

      Probably the most common denominator in any kind of religion is a few specific absolutes about that religion that make it more appealing to one person vs. another. And these specifics are often taught in childhood as being “essential” – that if you don’t believe them fully it feels like a loss of self. Not just the loss of an idea but how you at your core understand life, others, how you navigate through the world and the way you are in relationships. But mostly how you define who you are. I suppose you could call that being brainwashed, I find that to be a pejorative term that probably won’t do anything productive and will hurt your boyfriend and others if you keep using it (but I know what you’re trying to say).

      For atheists, religion (from what I’ve been told this may not be true for you) is more about ideas. About principles. But for the Christian, it’s as visceral and interwoven into us as our intestines are. It’s an experience and the gravity of our lives. So to connect with someone who sees it as a beautiful idea is something that’s easy to do, I loved an atheist for years so I understand. But there will be things like parenting that tug at the “gut” so to speak that will create gaps in your experience with one another. It’s a bigger deal because it’s huge part of his actual make up.

    • http://www.vaughnautoglass.com blake

      Hello,

      The Bible talks about not to be “unequally yoked”. This means paired up in a relationship or marriage with non-believers. If He is a born again Christian and filled with the Holy Spirit, his desire would be to only be together with a Christian woman. I hope this helps…sorry to offend you if I did by being so blunt.

      • DR

        That’s certainly one way of interpreting those scriptures Blake, but it’s not definitive.

      • ctaya

        blake, Christians like to quote “unequally yoked” to support their view on marriage. But that scripture is not referring to marriages. Please read your Bible again. Don’t let your priests mess up your mind.

    • Psalm 116

      @ Emma: Maybe I can shed some light on your boyfriend’s thinking. There’s a Bible verse that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).” If your boyfriend believes this, as many Christians do, then he believes it’s his duty to raise his kids to follow God. And since he’s a Christian, he believes that the only way to God is through Christ.

      Even if we disregard this verse, it’s probably fair to say that most people want to raise their kids the way they believe is “right.” If you believe that there is no God and that the universe was created by a happy accident, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. If you believe that God isn’t a conscious being but an animating spirit in everything and everyone, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. If you believe that there’s a God but that all religions are equally valid, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. And if you believe that we’re all sinners who need to call on the name of Christ for forgiveness, as your boyfriend apparently does, then that’s what he’ll want to teach his kids. We all “brainwash” our kids in one way or another. We teach them whatever we believe is right. Ultimately, it’s always their choice to follow what they’ve been taught or not, which is why some kids choose not to stay in the Christian faith as adults.

      I understand your point. To someone who doesn’t have a strong belief in Christ, it can seem unfair to ask a child to follow Christian teaching. But to ask a Christian parent NOT to teach a child Christian values…Well, think of it this way. Do you believe honesty is important? Can you imagine presenting your child with the notion of honesty and then making it optional? Do you believe generosity is important? Or maybe loyalty? Again, can you imagine just telling your child about them but then leaving it up to him/her to decide if they’re important or not? Chances are you believe it’s important to teach your child to be honest, generous, and loyal, whether they like it at first or not. When they’re grown, they can decide for themselves to follow what you taught them, but while they’re living in your house, I’ll bet you want them to be honest, generous, and loyal. Similarly, there are lots of additional values that are important to a Christian–obedience to God, a Christlike attitude, and love for the brothers and sisters in Christ, to name just a few. It would be impossible for someone who believed in the importance of these things NOT to want to teach them to a child. Do you see what I mean?

      I hope that helps to answer your question. I know it’s not that easy to understand why Christians believe as they do if you don’t share those beliefs. I guess that’s actually why Paul advised Christians and non-Christians not to marry. It makes a marriage much harder when one person’s life revolves around specific values that the other person doesn’t share.

      • ctaya

        “honest, generous, and loyal” is a common set of universal values. What is wrong to teach your children that and let them decide which religion to pick up when they are old enough to do so. I do not mind my children becoming Christians but I would not want them to be indoctrinated with any religious belief system when they are young. I let them choose their way.

        My children had grown up long time ago and their behaviors are not worse than (in fact much better than) many Christians.

        When I look around, on average, my non-Christian friends have better morality than my Christian friends.

  • Emma

    Can some of the christians out there clarify something for me?

    I am dating a man who identifies as christian. I, although spiritual, do not buy into the whole Jesus thing. It just doesn’t add up for me. I don’t see the big deal in getting married; I always thought religion was personal, and I understand and respect his beliefs. When the topic of children comes up, I say “we can teach them different ways and they can decide for themselves.” This does not seem to be enough for him. Does this imply that children must be brainwashed in order to buy into christianity? What’s wrong with looking at the evidence and deciding for yourself, as I have done?

    I’m looking for input from christians out there, as to why this is a bigger deal for him than it is for me …

    Thanks, all.

    • DR

      Hi Emma!

      I’ll do my best, I was in this spot as well in your boyfriend’s position so hopefully this will help.

      Probably the most common denominator in any kind of religion is a few specific absolutes about that religion that make it more appealing to one person vs. another. And these specifics are often taught in childhood as being “essential” – that if you don’t believe them fully it feels like a loss of self. Not just the loss of an idea but how you at your core understand life, others, how you navigate through the world and the way you are in relationships. But mostly how you define who you are. I suppose you could call that being brainwashed, I find that to be a pejorative term that probably won’t do anything productive and will hurt your boyfriend and others if you keep using it (but I know what you’re trying to say).

      For atheists, religion (from what I’ve been told this may not be true for you) is more about ideas. About principles. But for the Christian, it’s as visceral and interwoven into us as our intestines are. It’s an experience and the gravity of our lives. So to connect with someone who sees it as a beautiful idea is something that’s easy to do, I loved an atheist for years so I understand. But there will be things like parenting that tug at the “gut” so to speak that will create gaps in your experience with one another. It’s a bigger deal because it’s huge part of his actual make up.

    • http://www.vaughnautoglass.com blake

      Hello,

      The Bible talks about not to be “unequally yoked”. This means paired up in a relationship or marriage with non-believers. If He is a born again Christian and filled with the Holy Spirit, his desire would be to only be together with a Christian woman. I hope this helps…sorry to offend you if I did by being so blunt.

      • DR

        That’s certainly one way of interpreting those scriptures Blake, but it’s not definitive.

      • ctaya

        blake, Christians like to quote “unequally yoked” to support their view on marriage. But that scripture is not referring to marriages. Please read your Bible again. Don’t let your priests mess up your mind.

    • Psalm 116

      @ Emma: Maybe I can shed some light on your boyfriend’s thinking. There’s a Bible verse that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).” If your boyfriend believes this, as many Christians do, then he believes it’s his duty to raise his kids to follow God. And since he’s a Christian, he believes that the only way to God is through Christ.

      Even if we disregard this verse, it’s probably fair to say that most people want to raise their kids the way they believe is “right.” If you believe that there is no God and that the universe was created by a happy accident, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. If you believe that God isn’t a conscious being but an animating spirit in everything and everyone, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. If you believe that there’s a God but that all religions are equally valid, then that’s what you’ll teach your kids. And if you believe that we’re all sinners who need to call on the name of Christ for forgiveness, as your boyfriend apparently does, then that’s what he’ll want to teach his kids. We all “brainwash” our kids in one way or another. We teach them whatever we believe is right. Ultimately, it’s always their choice to follow what they’ve been taught or not, which is why some kids choose not to stay in the Christian faith as adults.

      I understand your point. To someone who doesn’t have a strong belief in Christ, it can seem unfair to ask a child to follow Christian teaching. But to ask a Christian parent NOT to teach a child Christian values…Well, think of it this way. Do you believe honesty is important? Can you imagine presenting your child with the notion of honesty and then making it optional? Do you believe generosity is important? Or maybe loyalty? Again, can you imagine just telling your child about them but then leaving it up to him/her to decide if they’re important or not? Chances are you believe it’s important to teach your child to be honest, generous, and loyal, whether they like it at first or not. When they’re grown, they can decide for themselves to follow what you taught them, but while they’re living in your house, I’ll bet you want them to be honest, generous, and loyal. Similarly, there are lots of additional values that are important to a Christian–obedience to God, a Christlike attitude, and love for the brothers and sisters in Christ, to name just a few. It would be impossible for someone who believed in the importance of these things NOT to want to teach them to a child. Do you see what I mean?

      I hope that helps to answer your question. I know it’s not that easy to understand why Christians believe as they do if you don’t share those beliefs. I guess that’s actually why Paul advised Christians and non-Christians not to marry. It makes a marriage much harder when one person’s life revolves around specific values that the other person doesn’t share.

      • ctaya

        “honest, generous, and loyal” is a common set of universal values. What is wrong to teach your children that and let them decide which religion to pick up when they are old enough to do so. I do not mind my children becoming Christians but I would not want them to be indoctrinated with any religious belief system when they are young. I let them choose their way.

        My children had grown up long time ago and their behaviors are not worse than (in fact much better than) many Christians.

        When I look around, on average, my non-Christian friends have better morality than my Christian friends.

  • Kenneth

    Honestly if you read 1 cornithians verse 7 it’ll explain what you need to know… I am also in a relationship with my girlfriend being a non-believer simply because her mother didn’t raise her in the church and that’s not her fault at all… the reason why is because her mother belives everyone who goes to church are not like how they say they are or live how they say they live most of them are hypocrites and in my eyes that could be very very true! And so my girl doesn’t really no much about the bible and since she gone throughout her whole life like this its hard for her to switch cause its foreign to her and in the bible it says a man who finds a wife finds a good thing…. it didn’t say whether she had to be a believer or not… as long as she’s comfortable with me and my faith and understands my goings I don’t have no problem and our relationship is wonderful…. so that’s just some helpful stuff to you as you continue your journey!

    • Steve

      Kenneth,

      I believe that you have a may have a wonderful relationship, but I’m not sure that everything you are pointing out to others here is biblical. If you would keep on reading into 2 Corinthians you would have seen that verse 14 says not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, as previously stated on this forum. There are also many passages in the Bible which state something similar to “The righteous choose their friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26). This would show (although I know this is for friends, it would also apply to a girlfriend or anyone who you surround yourself with) that it is not wise to be in a relationship with an unbeliever. I would also challenge that a true believer, one who is seeking to have God as the center of their life, and seeking him and reading his word daily, would only desire a relationship with a fellow believer. This would allow the relationship to be focused around building your relationships with God, and building a God loving family. I think that the fact that you quoted a verse out of context, and choosing to point out that it didn’t specify that “she had to be a believer” is a weak argument to present. For example, I could say “the commandment says “though shalt not kill” but that doesn’t specify what type of people I shouldn’t kill”. Which would be a terribly weak argument. Having and applying a broader knowledge of the bible is essential.

      • ctaya

        Steve, you quote Proverbs 12:26 to support your opinion. This is your problem because now you imply all non-believers are wicked. Then there is nothing more to be discuss.

        If you interpret the Bible in such a narrow way, then what would you do with Deuteronomy 13:8-9?

        8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

        9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

        Would you go out and kill the “wicked” with no pity?

      • nicky

        How many people in the bible does it list who spoke to god and god replied. The majority of the quotes came from men who had the own values and beliefs. God is about loving all creatures. He never dictated to any person that they can only be with certain people. Love and to be loved. We have the right as individuals to chose who we love. If everyone shared this belief the world would be a much better place

  • pinkwolf

    I can put it in terms of race. What if I’m black and my husband is Mexican? He can imagine what it’s like to be black. He can sympathize with the problems blacks could have. He can definitely love me. But he never fully understand what it’s like to be black. And vice versa.

  • pinkwolf

    I can put it in terms of race. What if I’m black and my husband is Mexican? He can imagine what it’s like to be black. He can sympathize with the problems blacks could have. He can definitely love me. But he never fully understand what it’s like to be black. And vice versa.

  • Jimmy

    I’ve read a lot of these replies and none of them really helped me. im sure since these posts were a few months back, I can only hope for a reply. In my case my girlfriend is up for the idea of me teaching my kids of christ and she has an open idea of belief herself but she has a hard time accepting it because she was dragged to the alter to get saved, i mean that in a literal way. and after that scaring experience it’s hard for her to want to be a christian. im planning on marrying her but im really hoping for a spiritual change not to make marriage life easier but so I know that the one i love doesn’t burn forever but live with me for eternity in heaven. i’m hoping for some kind of reply and i want anyone who reads this to pray for us. Thank You

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      I will certainly pray for you. And I would also encourage you to think about something, that you may just be desperately hoping for something to change and looking for advice that will create that change and fulfill your hope, but what you may be facing is the sadness and fear of her not becoming a Christian. But facing that is ESSENTIAL for your well-being, for hers and most importantly, for the emotional security and peace of your future kids.

      You’re in the phase of “What might happen” and all of the hopes that creates instead of what is happening now. And what is happening now is that she is not a Christian. Marrying you – or even just time – won’t change that. You’re not going to convince her to have a relationship with Jesus. Having kids and allowing you to raise them as Christians is not going to change that. Only her *need* for him and her recognition of that need will and that is none of your business. It’s not territory you operate within and you even trying to be in her spiritual walk with Jesus by you *needing it* to be different is going to push her away.

      The other concern is raising your children with the belief that their mother is going to burn in hell. This will be devastating for your kids.

      Bottom line my friend – you need to marry someone who is a Christian if you’re operating within this belief system. You’re going to hurt her, your kids and yourself – rather, your hopes and needs for her to become a Christian are going to hurt all of you if you marry her. I’ve seen it a thousand times. If you’re prepared to be married to someone who is not a Christian but who adores you and loves your kids – if you’re prepared to never try to convince her, to not badger her, or use your kids to convince her – then marry her! If you can’t, then it will be a miserable life for all of you.

      I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear but you asked for replies and this is mine. Much love to you. This is so hard, we love who we love and it’s awful to be in this predicament.

      • Jimmy

        thank you for the reply and yes this does help i never planned on trying to change her myself but pray that God does tug on her heart. I myself grew up with a mother who was atheist but i never intervened with that but God did and she got saved recently. and for my children they will grow up in the church but not heed on the worry of their mother but of their own spiritual path. I wouldn’t ever push her into christianity for thats what pushed her away in the first place. She likes to go to church with me and she recently told me that she would bless dinner with me and read with me at nights. when she worries about she says a prayer for me. apparently she believes but she don’t want to become like the people that made her go to the alter,that believed they was better than anyone else. please post more replies and im truly thankful for your last reply

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          James, you’re welcome. I know you’d never intentionally push her – I do – but her *knowing* that she isn’t the *ideal* woman in your mind would be a devastating thing to have to live with as a woman.

          And I know you’d want to protect your children from that but it’s not something that you as your dad can control if your church teaches that all that are “unsaved” go to hell which it sounds like they do. They will do the math, James, that their mother is “going to hell”. And living with that fear for kids is terrifying and very confusing.

          For me, I think you both should continue to just date for a while and put a time limit on things to see if she moves into the kind of relationship with Jesus you desire your wife to have (and that’s a valid thing for you to want). But if she doesn’t James, find woman who is in the same spiritual place and believes the same way you do (not all Christians believe that someone who is “unsaved” goes to hell but that is another thing all together. The important thing here is that you do and your kids will as well if you teach them that and that often ends in disaster.

          Good luck.

    • nicky

      Teach your children the honest, good values in life. Teach them that you have the right to agree and disagree. Just because the women you love does not share the same faith don’t make her feel like she has done something wrong. Two people fell in love. Love does not just happen. There is a reason, a connection. I am sure she has not tried to convince you to become a non believer.. please respect her. Not everyone is brought up with religion so as we become adults our beliefs are our own. We don’t want to be told what we have to do. Its our choice. Some people can still have a spiritual love(energy). Life is supposed to be enjoyed. Why do so many people dwell on who we should be with. We know what makes us happy. What makes us feel warm( at peace) is giving to the ones we love. Sharing the love. Believe in your self.

  • Jimmy

    I’ve read a lot of these replies and none of them really helped me. im sure since these posts were a few months back, I can only hope for a reply. In my case my girlfriend is up for the idea of me teaching my kids of christ and she has an open idea of belief herself but she has a hard time accepting it because she was dragged to the alter to get saved, i mean that in a literal way. and after that scaring experience it’s hard for her to want to be a christian. im planning on marrying her but im really hoping for a spiritual change not to make marriage life easier but so I know that the one i love doesn’t burn forever but live with me for eternity in heaven. i’m hoping for some kind of reply and i want anyone who reads this to pray for us. Thank You

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      I will certainly pray for you. And I would also encourage you to think about something, that you may just be desperately hoping for something to change and looking for advice that will create that change and fulfill your hope, but what you may be facing is the sadness and fear of her not becoming a Christian. But facing that is ESSENTIAL for your well-being, for hers and most importantly, for the emotional security and peace of your future kids.

      You’re in the phase of “What might happen” and all of the hopes that creates instead of what is happening now. And what is happening now is that she is not a Christian. Marrying you – or even just time – won’t change that. You’re not going to convince her to have a relationship with Jesus. Having kids and allowing you to raise them as Christians is not going to change that. Only her *need* for him and her recognition of that need will and that is none of your business. It’s not territory you operate within and you even trying to be in her spiritual walk with Jesus by you *needing it* to be different is going to push her away.

      The other concern is raising your children with the belief that their mother is going to burn in hell. This will be devastating for your kids.

      Bottom line my friend – you need to marry someone who is a Christian if you’re operating within this belief system. You’re going to hurt her, your kids and yourself – rather, your hopes and needs for her to become a Christian are going to hurt all of you if you marry her. I’ve seen it a thousand times. If you’re prepared to be married to someone who is not a Christian but who adores you and loves your kids – if you’re prepared to never try to convince her, to not badger her, or use your kids to convince her – then marry her! If you can’t, then it will be a miserable life for all of you.

      I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear but you asked for replies and this is mine. Much love to you. This is so hard, we love who we love and it’s awful to be in this predicament.

    • nicky

      Teach your children the honest, good values in life. Teach them that you have the right to agree and disagree. Just because the women you love does not share the same faith don’t make her feel like she has done something wrong. Two people fell in love. Love does not just happen. There is a reason, a connection. I am sure she has not tried to convince you to become a non believer.. please respect her. Not everyone is brought up with religion so as we become adults our beliefs are our own. We don’t want to be told what we have to do. Its our choice. Some people can still have a spiritual love(energy). Life is supposed to be enjoyed. Why do so many people dwell on who we should be with. We know what makes us happy. What makes us feel warm( at peace) is giving to the ones we love. Sharing the love. Believe in your self.

  • Talibah Bumpass

    This article was extremely helpful. I’m going through a similar situation. I’ve been involved with a non-Christian off and on for 7.5 yrs. I do love him, but I know now through much prayer and really discovering who I am in Christ and what I truly deserve in an intimate relationship that what I have with this man will never work. Bottom line is I want to continue my walk with the Lord and grow stronger in my faith. I want to marry someone who believes the same as I do and who desires to have an intimate relationship with God and then a significant other. Is there any way you can give me scriptures to support how God sees these types of relationships? Thank you so very much! God bless.

  • CHARITY

    Thebest thing to do is pray and ask God’s guidance.

  • Jeremy C

    Thank you so much for this. I was dating a non-believer for 5 years. She was my best friend for 12 years. We broke up about 6 weeks ago for this exact reason. I knew that I wanted be able to grow spiritually with my wife and to raise my future kids in a Christian home. I want to be able to pray WITH my wife and not just for her. I knew that even though we loved each other, I would always be wanting MORE from her, and our marriage would eventually fail.

    The breakup was amicable, and for the right reason, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I find myself constantly reminiscing about our relationship and inevitably try to make excuses/justify a way to get back together. Whenever I do, I pray and remember Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    • Claire

      I am in the same situation, two weeks ago my bf and I broke up because our values were so different and I wanted a Godly man… I was angry and bitter in the end trying to change him.. when in the end I had to give up and listen to my heart even though its hard.. I begged God to make it work, but if its not right its not right… I hope you are ok..

      God bless

    • lucy

      I feel im about to go through alot of heartach for this very reason. iv been with ny bf for two yrs. i even have a son to him. but i cant go on living this lofe i want to be close to jesus and i want grow. and i cant when im with someone who jusr wants to stay the same

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I married a Christian, one with far more conservative views on faith and society than I, being raised Southern Baptist in a very conservative part of the world. I am highly liberal on my views on both, and let him know early on that I didn’t believe in hell, original sin, a God what wanted to rain down wrath, that only “good Christians go to heaven”, and that I thought all people matter to God regardless of who or what they may be, vote Democrat, and support equal rights for all as a matter of respect and adherence to “The Great Commandment”

      We likely will always sharply disagree on several those views, as faith is purely personal, and we recognize it as thus. I’m not going to try to force him to my side, and he’s not going to do it to me.Our views on faith, God, religion, politics are unique to each of us, and they matter less in the day to day than we often assume. Respecting and loving each other means not letting differences of viewpoints on faith get in the way of the beautiful relationship we have, or the individuals we both are.

      I didn’t want a “Godly man”. I wanted an honest one, a kind one, a respectful one, and one who made me feel delighted to be with.

      And to assume a partner has the power to hold one back in one’s personal development in faith gives them more power then they actually have the right to hold over you, even if it were possible for them to control your relationship with God. It’s yours, alone. Your relationship with God, your beliefs, no one elses.

      • nicky

        I liked what you wrote about wanting an honest, respectful man. I am sure you both give each other happiness. Every one should have the right to their own beliefs, values. I just don’t understand how so many people comment marriage is set up to fail if you don’t share the same faith. Yet most of the people I know which have commented this have had a divorce from someone who both shared the same faith(religion).

    • Hanne

      am going through the exact situation, thank you for sharing this. now i know what i have to do

    • Hanne

      God bless you. thanks for sharing.

  • Jeremy C

    Thank you so much for this. I was dating a non-believer for 5 years. She was my best friend for 12 years. We broke up about 6 weeks ago for this exact reason. I knew that I wanted be able to grow spiritually with my wife and to raise my future kids in a Christian home. I want to be able to pray WITH my wife and not just for her. I knew that even though we loved each other, I would always be wanting MORE from her, and our marriage would eventually fail.

    The breakup was amicable, and for the right reason, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I find myself constantly reminiscing about our relationship and inevitably try to make excuses/justify a way to get back together. Whenever I do, I pray and remember Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    • Claire

      I am in the same situation, two weeks ago my bf and I broke up because our values were so different and I wanted a Godly man… I was angry and bitter in the end trying to change him.. when in the end I had to give up and listen to my heart even though its hard.. I begged God to make it work, but if its not right its not right… I hope you are ok..

      God bless

    • lucy

      I feel im about to go through alot of heartach for this very reason. iv been with ny bf for two yrs. i even have a son to him. but i cant go on living this lofe i want to be close to jesus and i want grow. and i cant when im with someone who jusr wants to stay the same

    • Hanne

      am going through the exact situation, thank you for sharing this. now i know what i have to do

    • Hanne

      God bless you. thanks for sharing.

  • Kale T

    Joshua 23:11-13 “As for you, take great care to love the LORD, your God. For if you ever turn away from him and join with the remnant of these nations that survive among you, by intermarrying and intermingling with them, know for certain that the LORD, your God, will no longer dispossess these nations at your approach. Instead they will be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge for your sides and thorns for your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD, your God, has given you.”

    Don’t intermarry! Date Christians. Or you might end up worshiping money, objects and worldly glory more than Jesus.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Right. Because Christians never worship money or wordly glory.

    • Jill

      Always makes me wonder how money worship, fame, and the like are so easily ascribed to non-Christians. As if religious labels are clear dividing lines that makes it so simple to judge nice people from jerks.

      I don’t know– I find that pretty arrogant, and not a Christ-like attitude.

  • Heather Schwartz Sanders

    I disagree-as long as you are good to each other and have love and respect. I am saddened by those commenting that they were together for over 5 years and broke up over religion. Their relationships must not have had mutual respect and it really had nothing to do with religion.

  • Heather Schwartz Sanders

    I disagree-as long as you are good to each other and have love and respect. I am saddened by those commenting that they were together for over 5 years and broke up over religion. Their relationships must not have had mutual respect and it really had nothing to do with religion.

  • Shelley

    In about 2 months, My husband and I will celebrate our silver anniversary. He’s Jewish, I’m Episcopalian. Our life together has not always been easy, but with a commitment to mutual respect, and recognition that the other person’s tradition played a key role in making them who they are, it has never felt like a problem. I feel that I am a better Episcopalian for having been exposed to what is, in a very real way, my own religious heritage, and my husband believes himself to be a more faithful Jew for having spent most of his adult life with someone who takes her faith seriously and encourages him to do the same. Bottom line is that we really do have much more in common in terms of our understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God and our fellow human beings, what constitutes salvation, and how these ideas inform our day to day lives than we have points of difference. Quite honestly, I have more in common spiritually with my Jewish husband than I have with many right-wing Christians. YMMV.

  • Shelley

    In about 2 months, My husband and I will celebrate our silver anniversary. He’s Jewish, I’m Episcopalian. Our life together has not always been easy, but with a commitment to mutual respect, and recognition that the other person’s tradition played a key role in making them who they are, it has never felt like a problem. I feel that I am a better Episcopalian for having been exposed to what is, in a very real way, my own religious heritage, and my husband believes himself to be a more faithful Jew for having spent most of his adult life with someone who takes her faith seriously and encourages him to do the same. Bottom line is that we really do have much more in common in terms of our understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God and our fellow human beings, what constitutes salvation, and how these ideas inform our day to day lives than we have points of difference. Quite honestly, I have more in common spiritually with my Jewish husband than I have with many right-wing Christians. YMMV.

  • charles

    really great stuff John…. bravo.

  • Marie Bat’el

    Being a 54 year-old, head-over-heels-in-love-with-Jesus woman who has had deep, romantic relationships with those who don’t follow Christ, I concur with John Shore on his response to this young woman’s question. However, if the young man is as wonderful as the young woman professes, I say go for it. A man can NEVER completely understand a woman. A woman can NEVER completely understand a man. I have talked to my most sensitive male friends and they can, in no way, relate to the vulnerability that women have in their sexuality. One human being will never fill that deep place in us that only the Divine can fill. If I found someone who was walking the talk but who had a different understanding of the Divine than I did, I wouldn’t hesitate to engage with them in a deep way.

  • Karen

    The heartbreak of religious belief. One of the reasons I left the church. It separates you from other human beings as if you are another species or something. It feels kind of ridiculous to me.

    • Elizabeth

      I left the church for a while, too. It was more of a drift than a break. I certainly wouldn’t pressure you to come back if it feels ridiculous. I think the trick is to remember, regardless of religion, that a divine spark lives in all of us. That’s where the respect comes from.

  • Brandy

    Interesting blog post and comments! As a Christian who was with an atheist for a year, I can understand either side of this issue. A little background: we fell head over heels for each other, became quite serious, and he was my best friend… or so I thought. We broke up six months ago, and it was devastating for me, but meaningless for him. I don’t identify our religious differences as the main cause of our breakup- there were bigger causes, including mental health issues and the fact that he changed, and decided to stop caring about me virtually overnight. The religious piece was, however, a factor.

    I guess our situation was somewhat unique. When I met this guy, he was a former devout Christian turned atheist at the beginning of college. He was reading Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and I was still a Baptist at the time. We were able to respectfully talk about faith and theology, as it interested both of us, and he knew where I was coming from, having been there himself. Eventually, with dialogue and supporting one another, we both became more moderate in our beliefs, and it helped to grow my faith a lot.

    As John said, interfaith relationships can be very difficult. I felt that I couldn’t always understand where he was coming from as an atheist, though I tried and was respectful. And knowing that he made fun of Christianity on the side and thought it irrational, I never felt that he fully respected my faith. Then, it got worse toward the end, when he tried to be “unspiritual” and got into “Death of God” theology. It’s tough to be with someone who thinks so little of your God, and there came a point where I knew I couldn’t support that harsh of a position. And all of that is without even bringing marriage or kids into it….

    As others said, however, interfaith relationships can work. I think it depends on the people, on how important their faith is to them, and on how mature they are spiritually. Before my ex changed, our relationship was downright beautiful and I felt connected spiritually with him many times. This is because, as some pointed out, beliefs aren’t always the same as values. Even without the same religion, core values can be the same or similar (i.e. helping others, questioning, finding beauty in life, etc.). Also, as always, love and respect are key, and an awareness that we can’t put people (or God) in a box.

    So I guess that was kind of ambiguous, as I can see either side. Interfaith relationships are certainly challenging, no matter how you slice it, and aren’t for the faint of heart. But it depends on the people involved and their willingness to be understanding and put work into their relationship. Ultimately, each person has to know themselves in order to determine whether it’s right for them.

  • Brandy

    Interesting blog post and comments! As a Christian who was with an atheist for a year, I can understand either side of this issue. A little background: we fell head over heels for each other, became quite serious, and he was my best friend… or so I thought. We broke up six months ago, and it was devastating for me, but meaningless for him. I don’t identify our religious differences as the main cause of our breakup- there were bigger causes, including mental health issues and the fact that he changed, and decided to stop caring about me virtually overnight. The religious piece was, however, a factor.

    I guess our situation was somewhat unique. When I met this guy, he was a former devout Christian turned atheist at the beginning of college. He was reading Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and I was still a Baptist at the time. We were able to respectfully talk about faith and theology, as it interested both of us, and he knew where I was coming from, having been there himself. Eventually, with dialogue and supporting one another, we both became more moderate in our beliefs, and it helped to grow my faith a lot.

    As John said, interfaith relationships can be very difficult. I felt that I couldn’t always understand where he was coming from as an atheist, though I tried and was respectful. And knowing that he made fun of Christianity on the side and thought it irrational, I never felt that he fully respected my faith. Then, it got worse toward the end, when he tried to be “unspiritual” and got into “Death of God” theology. It’s tough to be with someone who thinks so little of your God, and there came a point where I knew I couldn’t support that harsh of a position. And all of that is without even bringing marriage or kids into it….

    As others said, however, interfaith relationships can work. I think it depends on the people, on how important their faith is to them, and on how mature they are spiritually. Before my ex changed, our relationship was downright beautiful and I felt connected spiritually with him many times. This is because, as some pointed out, beliefs aren’t always the same as values. Even without the same religion, core values can be the same or similar (i.e. helping others, questioning, finding beauty in life, etc.). Also, as always, love and respect are key, and an awareness that we can’t put people (or God) in a box.

    So I guess that was kind of ambiguous, as I can see either side. Interfaith relationships are certainly challenging, no matter how you slice it, and aren’t for the faint of heart. But it depends on the people involved and their willingness to be understanding and put work into their relationship. Ultimately, each person has to know themselves in order to determine whether it’s right for them.

  • Maria

    I know you said that there are exceptions and some couples are happy. So, why didn’t you focus the letter on things she can look at to see if her relationship is worth continuing? We have all heard that you shouldn’t marry outside your faith. Maybe you could consider writing about some of things to look for in a happy relationship. I know some women who married very badly because their main standard was that he was a Christian. No one, at church, bothered to tell them that isn’t enough.

    I am married to a non Christian and we have had an amazing relationship. He understands me better than any of the Christian men that I previously dated. He has been more accepting and loving than I could have imagined. His values are not different and he is never critical of my beliefs. Yes, there are challenges that come with this, but all marriages have challenges. I find the idea that non Christians lack the same values or morals upsetting. Some of the nastiest, ugliest and most hateful people that I have ever met, were Christians. I don’t know, maybe our relationship would transform into some magical world of full comprehension if he became a Christian. Maybe I just don’t know because I have never been married to a Christian. I just do not accept that you have to be the same faith as the other person, to deeply know and understand them. He is still a man, and I am still a woman and it’s pretty hard to understand the opposite sex too. Maybe I should have married a Christian woman? Or, maybe that isn’t far enough. Should we be the same age? Be from the same city? Have the same job? How can anyone fully know you unless they are you?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Maria: You wrote, “Maybe you could consider writing about some of things to look for in a happy relationship.” Here’s something I once wrote along those lines: Six Ways To Determine If He’s Mr. Right.

    • Katie

      Great points and I agree 100%. I am a Christian and have been dating a Jewish man for nearly 2 years. I did not enter the relationship lightly and wrestled with the “unequally yoked” passage. I have dated christian men unsuccessfully and none of them had the same moral backbone or treated me as a precious daughter of God like my current bf. That’s not what he calls it, of course. I am very thankful to my younger self for accepting his pursuit. He has a greater respect for humanity and sense of responsibility then the Christians I dated. A simple example is that he would never swindle an insurance company. I slowly backed into some Christian friends car once (bad depth perception) and they labeled it a hit and run to the insurance company so they would get more money for it. He would never do that and would opposes it.

      My parents were concerned and warned me against this relationship because they knew “what life is like married to a non christian. And we don’t want you to go through that.” But they had the opportunity to meet him last week. Would you believe it? My mom immediately called me, very excited “What did he think of us? I just want you to know I think he is fantastic. He is a really great guy, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

      So now I want to examine the flip side. Women who see the word Christian as covering a multitude of flaws. I have witnessed women marry men with unstable jobs (yes, it is important if you are going to start a family), mean spirited, porn addicts, disrespectful (especially towards women), lazy, childish and the list goes on. There are more single women in church than men (at least the churches I’ve attended and according to recent research). So I think women lower their standards in order to not be “unequally yoked” or single. Neither of these paths are for me.

      At this point I often hear arguments such as “don’t you trust God to bring you a spouse?” This is a damaging misconception that RUINS women in the church. There are countless blog accounts of women who waited on God for Mr. Right and he never showed up. Now they are surrounded by families, getting old, losing faith and growing bitter. I feel sad that half of my female friends are single and waiting for God to bring them a spouse (I am almost 30) because the statistics say he doesn’t exist for all of them. But still they wait, as their friends around them get married and start families. The Bible has very few examples of God purposely choosing a spouse for someone. Isaac’s love, Rebekkah, Adam and Eve and the prophet who married the prostitute are a few. The rest of the time He doesn’t. So unless we have specifically heard from God that He has a certain person in mind, it is bad theology to believe it. We have many options for potential mates. I wish my friends would realize this. One final note: for all the examples of men marrying outside their faith and it causing them to fall away from God, their are examples of it NOT causing them to fall away. Moses married a desert flower, not a fellow Hebrew. Joseph, Jacob’s son, married an Egyptian. The list goes on.

    • Laurie House

      What uplifting words! I’m dating a non-Christian and could never have been happier. We each have our own beliefs, and while I initialy invited him to church, he said he had no desire to go and I didn’t push it, because that’s not who I am.
      We get along wonderfully and I’m so happy to be with him and love him with all my heart. I thought long and hard about being with him and found that I did.
      He’s made me a better person, and in turn I’ve helped him a great deal with his self worth and such.
      He doesn’t mock my faith or anything like that. And my values and beliefs haven’t changed just because I’m dating a non-Christian.

      thank you for your words!

  • Bdi

    My story goes like this, I was studying architecture in my undergrad and came across a man, who I had no idea I would fall in love and receive his love. I am a Christian woman, I love Jesus and my heart follows Him. I’ve been dating this man for two years now and he prepared me that he’ll be making a proposal soon. I was overwhelmed with joy, laughter, and excitement. A few days have gone by since the excitement and my heart is torn, I feel guilty for even dating a man who doesn’t follow Jesus. The idea of my Christian friends ridiculing me for potentially marrying a no Christian and even worse the idea of disappointing God himself is bumming me out. Something so good, is so bad cause I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and my bf has chosen his own path.

    Any thoughts?

    • Matt

      Bdi: Congrats on possibly becoming engaged soon! Getting married is a big, big step to take with someone. You’re going to be building a whole life with this person.

      Only you and him are going to have to live with this situation. So I would say that you need to talk to him about how you’re feeling. Let him know how torn you feel, what you’re afraid of, and your other thoughts. If he’s the kind of person who you should be marrying, i.e., a spouse you can depend on through every possible situation, then he will listen and talk with you also. Then think on what he says. Talk some more. Pray about it, if you want to.

      No one can tell you one way or the other if this will work out. Only you know you, only he knows himself, and only you two know your own relationship. When you’re about to marry someone, you don’t know what will happen. You take the information you have at hand, think it through, and then…you have to take a leap of faith.

      One last thing, if it will help you as you go through this: Your relationship is not bad. You’re a woman who is a Christian, who is dating a man who is not. That is all. There is no need to feel guilty. You are not hurting anyone.

      Good luck. And congrats again, for finding love.

    • whisperingsage1

      Big one, are you fornicating with this man? I can’t imagine a nonChristian man dating someone for 2 years unless she is putting out. That is why we shouldn’t do that. It weeds out the conflicts. If he isn’t willing to wait and remain chaste and not pressure you, he isn’t worth it.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        …”are you fornicating with this man?”

        Is that remotely any of your business?

        • whisperingsage1

          She asked for our thoughts. When I was fornicating and going to church Many years ago, the best gift I had was an older Christian lady in my church asking ME that question, and making me face what does the Bible say? And if the Bible is the word of God why don’t we care what He wants for us? I got out of that (another abusive, and none religious) relationship and got away from that, and found a dear man willing to wait for me.

          • BarbaraR

            Thoughts are one thing. Nosy none-of-your business questions are another.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Its still none of our business who someone is sleeping with, with a few pointed exceptions.

            As for the Bible being against sex outside of marriage…balderdash….Tamar, is a prime example, as well as a slew of other very sexually active people in scripture.

          • Andy

            You mean this Tamar?

    • whisperingsage1

      When I married an usaved man, he took me out of church, he wouldn’t listen to any of the religious stuff I liked, and I stopped listening to it. He pulled me away from my faith. And lucky me, he gave himelf two strokes from meth use and alcohol and smoking. So God released me from him. And my second marriage, we discussed kissing and chose not to before the wedding as we knew where it would lead. He was a Christian and we have a great marriage still after 10 years. But it’s not just because he’s a Christian, we dicuss things, a lot, and about God a lot, as these are big things for us as John shared in the article. We were in agreement over 90% of our values. That allow for far less fights to even come about.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        And I married a man I met at a church conference, who ended up being an alcaholic and abusive. he ended up not wanting to go to church, yet considering himself super godly…the ass.
        After my divorce i eventaully met a man who fell for me three days after I realized i wanted to see him naked, and pronto. we dated for nine months, were intimate for 8 months, lived together for four. We are religious, he’s southern baptist, I’m a half agnostic Methodist, social opposites and will be cancelling each other’s votes for the rest of our lives and adore one another so much that my grown kids go “ewwwww!” at our public displays of affection.
        Then there is this. If someone can pull you away from your faith, then its not worth much. I lived through 23 years of hell, and my faith evolved during that time, moving from a cult to a conservative denomination to where I am now. I believe firmly in God, and her/his expansive love for all of us as I’ve moved away from a dogmatic faith. NO ONE has the power to steal that from me.

  • Bdi

    My story goes like this, I was studying architecture in my undergrad and came across a man, who I had no idea I would fall in love and receive his love. I am a Christian woman, I love Jesus and my heart follows Him. I’ve been dating this man for two years now and he prepared me that he’ll be making a proposal soon. I was overwhelmed with joy, laughter, and excitement. A few days have gone by since the excitement and my heart is torn, I feel guilty for even dating a man who doesn’t follow Jesus. The idea of my Christian friends ridiculing me for potentially marrying a no Christian and even worse the idea of disappointing God himself is bumming me out. Something so good, is so bad cause I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and my bf has chosen his own path.

    Any thoughts?

    • Matt

      Bdi: Congrats on possibly becoming engaged soon! Getting married is a big, big step to take with someone. You’re going to be building a whole life with this person.

      Only you and him are going to have to live with this situation. So I would say that you need to talk to him about how you’re feeling. Let him know how torn you feel, what you’re afraid of, and your other thoughts. If he’s the kind of person who you should be marrying, i.e., a spouse you can depend on through every possible situation, then he will listen and talk with you also. Then think on what he says. Talk some more. Pray about it, if you want to.

      No one can tell you one way or the other if this will work out. Only you know you, only he knows himself, and only you two know your own relationship. When you’re about to marry someone, you don’t know what will happen. You take the information you have at hand, think it through, and then…you have to take a leap of faith.

      One last thing, if it will help you as you go through this: Your relationship is not bad. You’re a woman who is a Christian, who is dating a man who is not. That is all. There is no need to feel guilty. You are not hurting anyone.

      Good luck. And congrats again, for finding love.

  • Robby

    A house divided against itself cannot exist. What happened to Solomon near the end of his life? Does anyone remember? What happened when Solomon married the woman who worshipped false idols? God should come first no matter what. His needs are more important then ours. Learn from what happened with King Solomon the writer of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, when he began to worship those false idols. Many people are blinded from God’s word. Think about the teachings of Apostle Paul, a man who marries meets the needs of God and of his wife people. If you marry a non believer, wont you have to meet that persons needs eventually? You say to yourself, “I’ll never fall from God” King Solomon was the wisest man in the entire world once. The wisest man fell in his old age before his death. I say, marry who ever you like, but before you do, read the entire story of Solomon. Clear your mind and emotions. Clear your earthly desires. Focus, ask Jesus and listen whole heartedly. Don’t even go by what i’ve written. Just focus on the one who really knows you, God. He knows your needs even before you pray. :) Hope this helps.

    • Elizabeth

      Good point. We definitely should not marry 700 wives and keep 300 concubines. Then we’ll never write Ecclesiastes six centuries after we die.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Ecclesiastes reads a lot like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditation.

  • Robby

    A house divided against itself cannot exist. What happened to Solomon near the end of his life? Does anyone remember? What happened when Solomon married the woman who worshipped false idols? God should come first no matter what. His needs are more important then ours. Learn from what happened with King Solomon the writer of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, when he began to worship those false idols. Many people are blinded from God’s word. Think about the teachings of Apostle Paul, a man who marries meets the needs of God and of his wife people. If you marry a non believer, wont you have to meet that persons needs eventually? You say to yourself, “I’ll never fall from God” King Solomon was the wisest man in the entire world once. The wisest man fell in his old age before his death. I say, marry who ever you like, but before you do, read the entire story of Solomon. Clear your mind and emotions. Clear your earthly desires. Focus, ask Jesus and listen whole heartedly. Don’t even go by what i’ve written. Just focus on the one who really knows you, God. He knows your needs even before you pray. :) Hope this helps.

    • whisperingsage1

      You didn’t tell them what happened to Solomon. I don’t assume Christians know their Bibles anymore. Folks, Solomon’s sin (700 wives and 300 concubines, many of whom brought pagan religions into his kingdom) split the Kingdom into two houses- the House of Judah and the House of Israel, and they warred continually after that.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Solomon died of old age.. The nation of Israel didn’t split until after his death when their was a battle for power with the heirs. Not an uncommon thing with small nation states of that era that really had nothing to do with a former ruler’s household status, but the usual suspects, greed and quests for power.

  • whisperingsage1

    Thank you Mr Shore this is a wonderful and brief analysis of a common problem. You might not want to be compared to Dr. Laura, but when I listened to her show, people would call in constantly bringing this issue up. They didn’t think about the limitations of their relationship, and I think you made it great point, but she did bring up what these folks planned to do once they had children. None of them had thought about that. Some called in already having had the children and realized they didn’t know how to teach them about God. She had seen this problem time and again and was trying the warn young “in loves” to think about their future.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I don’t think John and Dr. Laura are remotely alike in mentality or advice.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Maria: What a great comment. Totally … well, interesting. Thank you so much for writing this, for sharing it with all of us.

  • Kristen I.

    Yes, thank you for sharing. I’m going to send this to my significant other to discuss together. We are in an interfaith relationship, I’m Christian and he is Jewish (Reform) and we are trying to discern what potential problems we may have if we decide to get married. I know this is a post from years ago so maybe no one will even know I’m writing this. Either way, thanks!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    Let us know how your talk goes, Kristen. Best to you.

  • Steve

    Kenneth,

    I believe that you have a may have a wonderful relationship, but I’m not sure that everything you are pointing out to others here is biblical. If you would keep on reading into 2 Corinthians you would have seen that verse 14 says not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, as previously stated on this forum. There are also many passages in the Bible which state something similar to “The righteous choose their friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26). This would show (although I know this is for friends, it would also apply to a girlfriend or anyone who you surround yourself with) that it is not wise to be in a relationship with an unbeliever. I would also challenge that a true believer, one who is seeking to have God as the center of their life, and seeking him and reading his word daily, would only desire a relationship with a fellow believer. This would allow the relationship to be focused around building your relationships with God, and building a God loving family. I think that the fact that you quoted a verse out of context, and choosing to point out that it didn’t specify that “she had to be a believer” is a weak argument to present. For example, I could say “the commandment says “though shalt not kill” but that doesn’t specify what type of people I shouldn’t kill”. Which would be a terribly weak argument. Having and applying a broader knowledge of the bible is essential.

  • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

    James, you’re welcome. I know you’d never intentionally push her – I do – but her *knowing* that she isn’t the *ideal* woman in your mind would be a devastating thing to have to live with as a woman.

    And I know you’d want to protect your children from that but it’s not something that you as your dad can control if your church teaches that all that are “unsaved” go to hell which it sounds like they do. They will do the math, James, that their mother is “going to hell”. And living with that fear for kids is terrifying and very confusing.

    For me, I think you both should continue to just date for a while and put a time limit on things to see if she moves into the kind of relationship with Jesus you desire your wife to have (and that’s a valid thing for you to want). But if she doesn’t James, find woman who is in the same spiritual place and believes the same way you do (not all Christians believe that someone who is “unsaved” goes to hell but that is another thing all together. The important thing here is that you do and your kids will as well if you teach them that and that often ends in disaster.

    Good luck.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    Right. Because Christians never worship money or wordly glory.

  • Jill

    Always makes me wonder how money worship, fame, and the like are so easily ascribed to non-Christians. As if religious labels are clear dividing lines that makes it so simple to judge nice people from jerks.

    I don’t know– I find that pretty arrogant, and not a Christ-like attitude.

  • Elizabeth

    I left the church for a while, too. It was more of a drift than a break. I certainly wouldn’t pressure you to come back if it feels ridiculous. I think the trick is to remember, regardless of religion, that a divine spark lives in all of us. That’s where the respect comes from.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    Maria: You wrote, “Maybe you could consider writing about some of things to look for in a happy relationship.” Here’s something I once wrote along those lines: Six Ways To Determine If He’s Mr. Right.

  • Katie

    Great points and I agree 100%. I am a Christian and have been dating a Jewish man for nearly 2 years. I did not enter the relationship lightly and wrestled with the “unequally yoked” passage. I have dated christian men unsuccessfully and none of them had the same moral backbone or treated me as a precious daughter of God like my current bf. That’s not what he calls it, of course. I am very thankful to my younger self for accepting his pursuit. He has a greater respect for humanity and sense of responsibility then the Christians I dated. A simple example is that he would never swindle an insurance company. I slowly backed into some Christian friends car once (bad depth perception) and they labeled it a hit and run to the insurance company so they would get more money for it. He would never do that and would opposes it.

    My parents were concerned and warned me against this relationship because they knew “what life is like married to a non christian. And we don’t want you to go through that.” But they had the opportunity to meet him last week. Would you believe it? My mom immediately called me, very excited “What did he think of us? I just want you to know I think he is fantastic. He is a really great guy, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

    So now I want to examine the flip side. Women who see the word Christian as covering a multitude of flaws. I have witnessed women marry men with unstable jobs (yes, it is important if you are going to start a family), mean spirited, porn addicts, disrespectful (especially towards women), lazy, childish and the list goes on. There are more single women in church than men (at least the churches I’ve attended and according to recent research). So I think women lower their standards in order to not be “unequally yoked” or single. Neither of these paths are for me.

    At this point I often hear arguments such as “don’t you trust God to bring you a spouse?” This is a damaging misconception that RUINS women in the church. There are countless blog accounts of women who waited on God for Mr. Right and he never showed up. Now they are surrounded by families, getting old, losing faith and growing bitter. I feel sad that half of my female friends are single and waiting for God to bring them a spouse (I am almost 30) because the statistics say he doesn’t exist for all of them. But still they wait, as their friends around them get married and start families. The Bible has very few examples of God purposely choosing a spouse for someone. Isaac’s love, Rebekkah, Adam and Eve and the prophet who married the prostitute are a few. The rest of the time He doesn’t. So unless we have specifically heard from God that He has a certain person in mind, it is bad theology to believe it. We have many options for potential mates. I wish my friends would realize this. One final note: for all the examples of men marrying outside their faith and it causing them to fall away from God, their are examples of it NOT causing them to fall away. Moses married a desert flower, not a fellow Hebrew. Joseph, Jacob’s son, married an Egyptian. The list goes on.


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