Should a Christian marry an unbeliever? In a society where people can have hundreds of online friends from all over the world, it can still be difficult to find close, personal relationships in real life. Sometimes it feels like a miracle when we meet someone with whom we really connect—someone who likes us, likes spending time with us, and makes us feel appreciated. When that magic happens, it can be easy to gloss over differences that don't seem to have any immediate bearing on the personal relationship. More and more Christians who want to marry are finding themselves willing to overlook differences in faith.
It is possible to have a loving relationship with an unbeliever. But it is also inevitable that such a close connection will draw the believer away from God (1 Corinthians 15:33). Dating or marrying an unbeliever will seemingly solve a lot of issues, such as loneliness, perceived cultural pressure to marry, and the desire to live life with someone else. But the solution comes with a very high cost.
Some will cite things such as child-rearing decisions, financial decisions, church participation, and holiday traditions as areas of tension between a believing spouse and an unbelieving spouse. Certainly these might be areas of tension, but that could be true in most any marriage regardless of faith. The biblical prohibition against marrying an unbeliever is not intended simply to spare believers an uncomfortable marriage or marital disagreements. Believers in Jesus Christ are spiritually alive. They are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). They know and have a growing relationship with God. They are called to be living sacrifices and to live their lives as unto God (Romans 12:1–2; Colossians 3:1–17). Unbelievers are still slaves to sin (Romans 6:6–11). The whole foundation of life for believers and unbelievers is opposed. Willingly becoming one flesh with someone who is spiritually dead is ill-advised.
Also consider what type of witness marrying an unbeliever gives. How can we profess to love God yet disobey His clearly stated command? How can we profess to love a spouse yet be apparently unconcerned with his or her eternal salvation? How can we relegate our relationship with Jesus Christ to mere religion and act as if it is a cultural barrier that could be overcome?
When the single life gets hard, and marrying a non-Christian looks like the only choice, it's imperative to decide what is most important. If following Christ and serving Him in any circumstance is paramount, the decision is easy—don't be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14); look forward to what God is accomplishing (Romans 8:28); and trust that God's blessings are better than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Rely on Him to meet your needs; He is sufficient for every need we have. Choosing to date or marry a non-Christian is rejecting God as a primary influence. It is clearly declaring "God is not enough." And it may possibly be abandoning God's plan for a godly relationship He has waiting in the wings.
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