Unequally Yoked in Dating

One of my clients provoked me to consider the admonition in Scripture for Christians to not be unequally yoked. Most believers would agree that it is clear that it applies in marriage – that a believer should not marry an unbeliever. But what about dating someone who is in a very different spiritual place?
To begin with, what is a yoke? It is something that ties two things together, historically a piece of wood joining two working animals. It lets them pull together and share the load. The animals need to be well matched so that one does not work harder than the other. It also helps them to be going in the same direction.
What happens when we try to pull in different directions?
We will probably get stuck or be in conflict. We will struggle to move forward. Oftentimes what are in conflict are our morals and values. How will we spend our time? What will we watch on television or see at the movies? What do we consider fun? How will we spend our money? What are the physical boundaries on our relationship? What do we believe about cohabitation?   
These same questions can largely be applied to friendships as well. I believe that too much rigidity in this area produces harshness, which is not consistent with our goal of loving people. But friendships can turn into dating relationships, so we must be careful to know where to draw the line. We can have very moral friends that agree with our values, but it breaks down when we get to spiritual matters. We would not want to be married to someone who does not share our faith, our passion for God or our commitment to the church.
So where does that leave us?
We must be very careful not to form romantic bonds with someone who is not aligned with our spiritual journey. That does not mean that they must experience God in the same way that we do – some relate best to God through worship music while others are deeply moved by the study of scripture. Still others are very contemplative in their style – but the focus and the goal is the same. We must be in agreement on the essentials of our faith.
I really feel for those who have difficultly finding dates, who are lonely, and welcome any connection with someone of the opposite sex. And I also feel sad for those who have formed unequal relationships that put them in a lot of conflict with their personal values, especially those who are married.
I would love to hear any comments you might have on this subject. Please use the comment box below. 

4 thoughts on “Unequally Yoked in Dating

  1. A story of encouragement to anyone who reads this:
    I read this blog and felt compelled to share my experience. I had strong morals growing up. In my teens, my biggest weakness was puppy love. My dating experiences began at 12 years old. Time and again I fell for guys that were not walking with God. These guys were not bad people, but their “Christianity” was not backed with the desire to serve God. With each relationship, I was pulled further and further from my walk with God, and my moral values decreased. I fell quickly into drinking and drugs, entering my first of 8 rehabs at age 14. My teen years were very tough and I continued to settle for men who did not follow God. At 20 years old came my un-planned pregnancy. My friends at the time pushed me to get an abortion, saying it would be selfish to keep the baby when I knew I would not be staying with the father. He was not a good guy. He treated me poorly. And he had a 4 year old son with his ex that he hardly saw. I went through with my pregnancy and had a beautiful son. Being a single mother was very tough and I demanded that God would give me the man I would marry before my son turned one so that he would only have a memory of one father for his life. I did not give this up to God however, and continued my search. At the beginning of June 2010, I gave up. I told God I would wait on Him to give me a man that truly followed Him. Through this experience, I learned that while God was at work, he did not appreciate my prior demand for my one year deadline. At 12:04am, on June 10 (4 minuted after my son's first birthday was over), I met Kody. A man who followed God with everything in him. Kody and I dated for 1 year and 9 months and remained abstinent from sex. In March of 2012, we got married. In September of 2013, he legally adopted my son Jack. Surrendering to God's plan rather than settling was the best decision I have ever made. God granted my desire in less than a week from that day of surrender. My husband is a spiritual leader and an amazing father to my son. Surrender, and wait on God. Being unequally yolked is not what He has in store for you.

  2. My father is a pastor and me and my family serve in our church. I am married to a guy who was one of our church members when we started our friendship. Nowadays after 2 years I hear different new things from my husband and all is about our church. He wants to leave our church because he doesn't want to see my family. He thinks that he is right and although his spiritual life is not that long, he has has gotten a very big spiritual pride. I cannot leave my church, I am serving here in different areas and also if he leaves us its not healthy for our family and also for our church and im sure that it will harm our church. On the other hand I dont like the idea of going to 2 different churches. I believe that a couple should go to one church together and in the future with their kids. My husband has problems with me, but he always brings up things about my church and my family. I'm tired of this! My family LOVES him so much and our church is a big church with almost 300 members. I can easily forgive and forget everything that he has done to me, but he never forgets and he always reminds me of every single fight or argues we had sometime in the past. I know i have my weaknesses and Im not complete. He knows that church is so important so now he is treating me by leaving the church. Although he serves in 2 big areas and im sure that he loves it. sometimes i feel that he wants to exactly do whatever that hurts me and he is doing very well. he is an expert in arguing and I cannot argue with him. I dont know what to do! I am tired of this! The only thing I do is praying and crying! Please help me!

  3. Hi Anonymous — Are you local to our area? It sounds like you could use some marriage counseling or marriage work of some sort. If you wish, you can email me at DaveD@cachurch.com and we can discuss what you might be able to do further. I am sorry that it is so hard for you right now.

  4. I met God in 2012. He changed my life at the time, set me on a new path, working towards what I felt was a very strong calling on my life. I have always been so stubborn, to make my own way, falling at the end of a journey and being quick to pick myself back up and start anew with a vigor and then falling yet again only to repeat the cycle again again…

    Here I am 4 years later, I am at rock bottom again, and I felt slightly immobilized this time, and in a moment of prayer, I felt the conviction of God reminding me once again that he has chosen a way for me, that it would be of ease, if I wouldn’t continue trying to go my own way. I have not been as spiritually attached as I used to be. I have been in a relationship for the past 2.5 years with a person that loves God, and has faith and understanding of the Bible. Yet, I realized over time that his relationship with God, is so different from mine. I need God like a breathe of air. I suffer when I am away from Him, and I yearn and have a burning desire to somehow serve him. I wish I could explain to him how being deeply involved with God, would change his life, and probably set his path to a life he could not even dream, but as my new conviction has come and been discussed with my significant other, I feel that although he says he supports my decisions and if I have a calling that of course he would support it, but I do not think he understands when that his lifestyle and spiritual life, I hope would be aligned with mine.

    I have come to a decision that as I have backslidden, that I myself will seek God’s face, to the nearness where I know God wants me to be once again, and instead of worrying that this person may think it odd, or hoping he will too, or the possibility of this relationship ending, I’m now just going to ask that God will deal with it and put it in his hands.

    As evidence by me reaching out to you on a blog post however, you I am sure realize my torment. As I am burdened by my spirit to walk towards God, I feel hindered by anxiety of how this will turn out in our relationship. Marriage is a very foreseeable near event, but I feel like I am suffocating in need of more spiritual connection and strength from my partner not stifling. I am talking to him, in mentions of trying to grow spiritually together, as he is a sunday church goer and a faithful one at that, but praying that God will meet him and grow him. Even as I write this now, and feel a bit abashed at it, I feel I already know what has to be done… I know we are not equally yoked, and I know I could be jeopardizing God’s plans for my life, but I know that too is malleable, and being in a moment of decision, and having this conflict, I am hoping God changes the circumstances as I will walk towards him…

    Do you believe in a unequally yoked relationship, in terms of spirituality, one can hope the other will grow spiritually in Christ to carry a bigger burden to serve together before marriage? Could I, should I hope for that and press on with the weight of both worlds weighing down on me, waiting for God to change it, or do I walk away from a relationship for ease of stride.

    I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thank you so much.

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