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When Thinking About Marrying a Non-Believer

Following Christ is the most important decision you'll ever make. The next most important decision? Choosing a mate who shares your faith and who will support you in your spiritual growth.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Apostle Paul says that believers should not "be unequally yoked with non-believers." While it's true that this passage does not specifically mention marriage, it does refer to being bound in a relationship with another person—no relationship is more binding than marriage.

The picture of two oxen bound (or yoked) together is often used to explain this Scripture. The oxen must pull in the same direction. Otherwise, they will fight with one another and experience exhaustion.

The same is true of two people who marry but don't share a common faith. Like the oxen pulling in different directions, a couple who doesn't share a Godly foundation will clash and experience conflict.

Perhaps you're not convinced yet, and you wonder, Two people enjoy one another and are mutually attracted, so that's enough to sustain the relationship, right?

Absolutely not.

If you're thinking about marrying a non-believer, here are some questions you may be faced with answering in the future:

  • Who will the come first, Christ or your husband? And how will you explain—and help him understand—this?
  • Will your spouse's indifference to God affect your own spiritual growth?
  • How will you explain to your spouse how God guides your decisions if he/she does not know Him?
  • What if you believe that God wants you to accomplish something together as a couple?
  • What if God leads you to stop practicing a particular habit? Will your mate understand?
  • Will she think you're being unreasonable, especially since "everyone else is doing it"?
  • If you have children, will your mate agree to let you raise them to know Christ? Will he object when you want to take the kids to church and/or Christian functions?
  • Will your spouse's unbelief hinder your children and grandchildren from trusting in Christ and, ultimately, affect their eternal destiny?
  • When you and your spouse have a disagreement, will your mate have the capacity to forgive? (After all, forgiveness is often a choice that many people find difficult even with God in their lives.)

Even well-meaning Christians can fall into the trap of marrying non-believers. The most important piece of advice is that saying he knows Christ doesn't mean he has a relationship with Him.

Marriage based on a common faith is for our benefit, blessing and protection. God wants what is absolutely best for you. Make the decision to follow Him and allow Him to help you find the right mate for you.

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Copyright © 2008, Shana Schutte. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: Story: Marrying Later in Life

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