Of course it crossed my mind, but I didn’t think of it as that big of an issue, especially because we’d only gone on a few dates, and it wasn’t anything serious. Plus, at that time in my life, a boyfriend being a Christian wasn’t high on the priority list, unfortunately. And I say unfortunately because, as you might imagine, it didn’t end well. Now when people ask me if it matters that their boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t a Christian, I do have an answer.
However, I’ve realized a hard “yes, don’t do it, it’s not right!” doesn’t leave much room for valuable conversation around the issue. And these people make good points like, he’s so much nicer and more intentional – a better person – than the “Christians” I’ve dated, and, it’s not like we’re that serious, so I don’t see why it matters that he’s not a Christian. Like I said, really good points.
Nevertheless, from personal experience, and the advice and experience of others, I’ve found the answer to that question for myself. But the truth is, in order for you to really believe the answer – whatever it may be – you need to find it for yourself too. It order to do that, it comes down to figuring out what you are willing and not willing to do.
In the midst of good times and easy decisions, we may not stop to think about the bigger realities up ahead. So when you ask, does it really matter?, I urge you to consider these things:
Are you willing to go against the Bible’s guidance and instruction?
2 Corinthians 6:14 instructs, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
To be equally yoked does mean both you and the other person are believers, but it goes even further. It also means that you are your partner are equally – at least as much as possible – seeking deep connection with God: going to church, reading the Word, investing in community, and being persistent in prayer. Actions speak louder than words.
Anyone can claim they’re a Christian, but the real question is are they walking with God daily?
When you’re wondering if it really matters that your significant other isn’t a Christian, ask yourself if the relationship is worth going against the Bible. Your answer to this question will inform how you feel about the bigger question at hand.
Even still, you may be wondering why it’s so important to be “equally yoked” rather than because the Bible says so. That takes me to the next few questions I urge you to consider…
Are you willing to compromise on the big decisions?
There will always be some sort of compromise in relationships, and that’s ok. There has to be because both of you are not always going to want the same things at the same time in the same way. You’re individuals and an aspect of being in a relationship is being willing to compromise some of your wants and needs for the benefit of the other person and vice versa.
However, when it comes to the big decisions, are you willing to compromise your Christian morals, beliefs, and values for the other person? One of the most prominent scenarios that comes to mind is if / when you have children together. What will you raise them to believe? Will you go to church as a family or would your significant other not want them going to church at all? Is it going to be a cause of contention in your relationship? Are you willing to raise your children without a firm belief in God? I know it may be way out in the future for you, but these are questions you need to consider before they are right in front of your face. And trust me, they will come faster than you think.
When it comes to making the hard decisions, the ones without an easy answer or quick decision, ask yourself this:
How do you pray about big decisions and hard situations together if one of you doesn’t believe in the power of prayer?
Are you willing to be un-supported and alone in your walk?
I know numerous people who have married an unbeliever. One lady in particular told me, because her husband doesn’t share her belief or invest in that aspect of her life, there is a part of her that always feels separated and distant from her husband, like he doesn’t know or understand her fully. Another woman who comes to mind, who once was on fire for God, but she married an atheist and now she no longer pursues her walk with God at all. Though this isn’t going to be the case in every relationship – there are also stories of the non-believer becoming a Christian throughout the relationship – they say one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch, and these real-life examples show how that can be very true.
Another prominent example is regarding the sexual aspect of your relationship. If you are choosing to follow the way of no sex until marriage, or have re-dedicated yourself to this, is your partner – you doesn’t have the same moral compass rooted in God as you – going to be understanding and supportive of this?
Worldly ways and Godly ways are completely different, and often times, they don’t walk hand-in-hand.
So ask yourself this:
Are you ok with going to church alone, or being encouraged to not go at all?
Are you ok with not having a prayer life with your spouse, not having them to pray with you or for you?
Are you ok being with someone who doesn’t encourage or strengthen your walk with God and, if anything, does the opposite?
Are you ok with being with someone who’s entire life foundation is different from yours?
If not God – the Bible, Jesus’ example, Godly morals and values rather than worldly ones – what / who is their guiding force?
Themselves? Their own personal goals and desires? You? Their friends or family? Money, fame, worldly success? Are you ok with being the partner of someone who doesn’t make their decisions from a Godly foundation with Christ-like principals? When we surrender our life to God, giving him full access to our heart and lives, we experience all the good things he has for us. But this means we have to relinquish control and allow the guiding force in our life to be God’s will. As a wife, we are called to submit to our husband, but how would it feel submitting to someone who isn’t submitted to God?
I have my personal opinion on dating a non-Christian, and I’ve come to my conclusion from personal experiences, and I believe you should come to a conclusion personally as well. Therefore, I encourage you to think about each of these questions with great consideration and then answer for yourself, does it really matter?
If you are really interested in someone who isn’t a believer, I suggest becoming their friend, learning more about them, and investing in conversations where you can openly share your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and beliefs. These are the conversations that often lead to changed lives. And, of course, pray for them. If it is God’s will you two be together, he will make it happen – in line with his will and his ways.