What Does “Unequally Yoked” Really Mean?

If I had a dollar for every time I or someone else took a Bible verse out of context or coined a cute phrase commonly mistaken for a Bible verse (“Once saved always saved!”), I would give them all to missions and the nations would be glad. We often approach Scripture casually. We search for particular words or topics that interest us that day and squeeze it to fit an existing belief. The combined powers of church marquees, preaching sound bites and a lazy approach to the study equal a poor understanding of God’s word. This was demonstrated in my own life two days ago.

Even if you didn’t grow up in an evangelical church, you might’ve heard the phrase unequally yoked. When the topic of Christians dating non-Christians surfaces, the faithful immediately run to 2 Corinthians 6:14 – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (ESV) I confess, this is one of my denomination’s favorites (right behind Matthew 18:20). Many dads have squashed many dates in its wake. God wouldn’t put His holy stamp of approval on dating relationships or marriages comprised of a believer and non-believer (as a side note, many wrongly use this text to denounce interracial marriage).

Previously, my understanding of this verse was second-hand. Even though I had read it before, clearly, I had never studied this passage intently; the meaning hinged on what I heard.  As a result, I’ve held a false understanding of this text for years.

One of Paul’s reasons for this letter was to remind the Corinthians of their calling and his. Corinth was still largely pagan and the new Christians were struggling to live like Jesus. Paul reminded the Corinthians that God has called them to the ministry of reconciliation. He then stressed at the beginning of chapter six that nothing would prohibit the gospel’s progress. It’s at this point that Paul gave the command in verse 14; he followed it with a string of rhetorical questions to illustrate the absurdity of such a partnership. As temples of the living God (vs.16), the distinction of His children is imperative to their sanctification and witness.

Curious: nowhere in this section nor in the entire body of the letter will you find a reference to or teaching about marriage. This command was given to prohibit close relationships with nonbelievers where camaraderie was the highest goal. Such a union could lead to sinful pursuits of mutual consent, the downfall of the Christian and the smearing of Christ’s name. The New American Commentary phrases it accurately:

“Paul has in mind an alliance with spiritual opposites and the image of harnessing oneself to someone who is spiritually incompatible….Those who bear Christ’s yoke (Matt 11:30) cannot share it with those who deny Christ. Those who harness themselves together with unbelievers will soon find themselves plowing Satan’s fields. One can only be a true yokefellow (Phil. 4:3) with a fellow Christian.” (pp. 331)

This explanation fits the context and is in agreement with the entire letter. Chapter seven of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is largely devoted to marriage and even includes instructions for Christian-pagan marriages (for those who came to faith after marrying). It seems that if revisiting this topic for the same church, he would use similar language and clear phrases like, “Do not be married to unbelievers.” Further, the imagery of being yoked together does not reflect marriage. Animals of identical make-up, strength and purpose were placed in a yoke to plow a field. When Paul writes to the Ephesians, he compares marriage with Christ’s relationship to the church; two very different but indispensable members of a unique covenant, one to love and lead, one to love and follow. There is no biblical evidence that Paul has the marriage relationship in mind in 2 Corinthians 6.

Having said that, this does not mean a Christian can obediently date or marry a non-Christian; the comprehensive teaching of Scripture is clear. The dangers Paul warns about here are multiplied when Christians consent to marry pagans; God does not command against unequally yoked platonic relationships and then condone marriages of the same nature. Paul gives greater clarity in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” 1 Corinthians 9:5

The word translated “believing” holds the meaning of a fellow sister in the Christian faith. Paul was reminding the Corinthians he and his fellow workers had the freedom to marry but emphasized those women must be Christians.

In Ephesians 5, Paul’s instructions assume that both husband and wife are Christians. If one is not, practicing this teaching is impossible, leaving the individual in rebellion to God and out of His will. These relationships cannot satisfy the chief end of marriage (to display Christ’s relationship to His church) and will not receive blessing, yield fruit or expand God’s kingdom. The principle in 2 Corinthians 6:14 absolutely applies to marriage even though it is not directly referencing it.

You might ask, so what’s the big deal? Does it matter that someone might interpret this verse wrongly? Will anything really be lost? Our task in reading the Bible is not to prove traditional beliefs. It isn’t to look for verse band-aids to fix problems. It isn’t even to prove someone else wrong. When I open the Bible, it should be a serious endeavor to seek God’s truth in His word. It isn’t my word; I’m not at liberty to play fast and loose with it. However, if you’ve learned anything, you know not to take my word for it.

-Emily

Article on same subject for Christian teens by Emily:

http://www.lilygirlsmagazine.com/2010/09/unequally-yoked-does-it-matter-who-i-date/

28 thoughts on “What Does “Unequally Yoked” Really Mean?

  1. So what, specifically, does this look like in real life? What’s your take on so-called “Relational Evangelism?” (I’m referring to platonic yokes.)

  2. Great question! I don’t think Paul has evangelism in view when he writes this but rather long-term, goal oriented relationships of mutual influence with non-believers. What he writes in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 shows that we are to intentionally associate with the world:

    “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.”

    So yes associate with non-believers to share and show the love of Christ. Having lunch with a Muslim coworker on a consistent basis to get to know them and share Christ is a biblical, gospel-centered goal. However, if you decide to end poverty together by forming a non-profit there might be an issue.

    As always, use wisdom in your relationships lest the “influencer” become the “influencee”

  3. So my question is this, if it has nothing to do with marriage, what guidlines are there to who we marry to be pleasing in gods eye, for instance i am dating someone who is catholic and I am I guess you could say non denominational..(pardon my spelling).. he has many different views of the bible, yet says he is saved, I try every day to walk closer to Christ.. he has been going to church with me, I am just scared as to what might happen if we were to marry and later have kids, i now have a kid not by him and had when i wasnt close with god, but if i were to have a kid with him, wouldnt there be a tear as to what our kids would be raised upon?

    • Rachael,

      Such a good, important questions. I probably did not make this point clear enough in the blog, so let me try here: while this passage is not about marriage, the principle still applies to marriage. Since Paul was referring to intimate, goal-oriented relationships (the yoke imagery), it’s acceptable and logical to consider marriage among those, even though he was not specifically referring to marriage here. If this was the standard for friendships and business partnerships, how much higher is the standard for marriage? No other earthly relationship is more intimate, goal-oriented or purposed to display the gospel than the covenant of marriage. I wrote a piece on this very topic for an online magazine for Christian teens. Many have found this article even more helpful, possibly because of the simplicity and illustrations…please give it a try!

      http://www.lilygirlsmagazine.com/2010/09/unequally-yoked-does-it-matter-who-i-date/

      I wrote this blog to address the careless way I and others have interpreted this passage (among others) and the importance of reading the Bible correctly. People are so quick to run to this text for instructions on marriage rather than what it was intended for: instruction about platonic relationships. It seems very few Christians consider this. Second Corinthians 6 is a valuable place to gain part of your theology of marriage because the principle applies. If a person discovers that this verse does not explicitly refer to marriage and that’s all the confirmation they needed to marry a non-Christian, I would say they are not seeking the whole counsel of the Lord but their own agenda.

      While the Bible does not have a checklist for the traits of a marriage partner, it is explicit about how marriages should look (Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3, etc.). If a Christian desires to glorify and follow God with this union, they should pray for someone who will help them fulfill Scripture’s vision of marriage rather than someone who works against it, which by default they must marry a Christ-follower. In your case, I think you are wise to have concerns about your current situation. If you and the guy you’re dating are on different spiritual planes and you aren’t certain he loves Jesus and believes God’s word, marriage will not fix but only exaggerate these differences. Husbands and wives can differ on the little things theologically, but the fundamental things must be non-negotiable (who Jesus is and what He did, how someone is saved, the Bible and its purpose for Christians, etc.) or there will be significant discord in your marriage and child-rearing.

      As I understand (I could be wrong), your two denominations differ greatly on some key beliefs. I have no clue what your relationship looks like and I would never try to give you advice, but I have seen similar situations play out in the lives of friends. Many times, two people really like or even love each other and push spiritual differences aside, hoping things will even out in marriage. It works for a while, but if they are believing or practicing only for the sake of the other, their false faith will fail and their relationship often follows. I would never wish this heartache on anyone.

      I admire you for desiring to truly follow Christ in this area of life. I would say seeking His counsel for marriage is one of the most important pursuits because this union will shape your life in ways no other relationship can or will. The great news is the Lord does not play games with His children. If you are seeking God in this area He will provide wisdom for moving forward in this relationship, whatever that means. Please know that I will (not because it sounds good, but because I mean it) pray for you as you seek the Lord’s will in this relationship. I hope my response was helpful Rachael.

      Emily

      (sorry for the delayed response…went on vacation last week!)

  4. omg!!!!!!!! THIS WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR…THERE IS MUCH NEEDED THEOLOGY CORRECTION IN THE CHURCH TODAY!!. THE “UNEQUALLY YOKED” TOPIC HAS WAYED SO HEAVY ON MY HEART BECAUSE I FELT AS IF IT WASNT BEING ACCURATELY PREACHED. IT IS SO IRONIC I FOUND THIS SITE, LAST NIGHT I WAS ACTUALLY STUDYING THIS VERY TOPIC/SCRIPTURE AND THOUGHT TO MYSELF “THIS UNEQUALLY YOKE THING REALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MARRIAGE…”. I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A MUCH MUCH NEEDED (WITHOUT QUENCHING THE HOLY SPIRIT) CORRECTION OF THEOLOGY OF THE BIBLE- SO MANY REASONS WHY IT IS NEEDED. PLEASE KEEP UP WHAT YOU’RE DOING-IT’S A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND BRINGS HOPE AND A FRESH INSIGHT IN MY LIFE ONCE AGAIN…IT REALLY BRINGS TOTAL CONFIRMATION IN SO MANY WAYS :D!!! -THANK YOU JOLENE

    • Betty,

      If by “we” you mean Christians, we cannot. Just because this particular text does not exclusively or primarily refer to the marriage relationship does not mean Christians are then free to marry non-Christians. Paul was talking about friends and business partners; if his standards were this high for those relationships, how much higher for the relationship that is to mirror Christ and His church?

      However, for clearer textual support:

      1 Corinthians 9:5
      Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

      The word translated “believing” holds the meaning of a fellow sister in the Christian faith. Paul was reminding the Corinthians he and his fellow workers had the freedom to marry but emphasized those women must be Christians.

      I hope this is helpful Betty! Thank you!

      Emily

      • Wow … I could not be more offended … to casually say that the denominations differ on some key belief’s is patently wrong. As an ardent Catholic, I can appreciate that may Catholic Parishioners cannot properly articulate the sacraments and that “The Saints” are just one aspect of the communion of saints, by contrary to popular belief, the Catholic Church believes that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that he is the way to salvation! I am not sure how that is any different across Christianity?! I can agree that the “practice” is different, but to claim the beliefs are different is a statement made without wisdom. I pray that you understand before judgment when you make another statement about the Catholic Church and those who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior the same as you.
        Yes I know this was not the point of this thread, but I don’t understand how two people who Love each other and Jesus Christ can be unequally yoked. So maybe it was inferred that one did not Love Christ and that can happen regardless of denomination. However, to claim a difference based on denomination is irrelevant. The only meaningful distinction is the relationship of the individuals with Jesus Christ!

  5. I think your blog is a little confusing here. And let me start by saying, “I agree with you.”

    I understand and share your frustration with people taking scriptures out of context. But I think our job here is to actually contextualize this scripture. How does this scripture apply to my context (my life, my culture, my friends, my family, my decision making)?

    So I think there could be a better way to say this.

    This passage in II Corinthians 6 can be applied to dating/marriage (Ezra 9:10-12,14) if that is the issue in your context. There is nothing wrong with seeing the connection. God says in Ezra that non-believers will pollute the nation of Israel if they marry them and Paul uses the word contaminate (in chapter 7:1). There are many scriptures, some that you mention in your comment section, that show this passage could be used for that context.

    One could also mention that this passage is in application of reconciliation and grace (the two preceding passages) and Paul is still continuing on a theme here of “Be reconciled to God.”

    But I would quickly say that being “unequally yoked” does not just apply to marriage – the application is not limited to this issue. It needs to be applied in a much broader sense to say, “Do not partner with people who do not have the same value systems that you do.” If our foundation is the Word of God and what God says to us, then we should not attach ourselves, whether it be in business, love, or pledge to people who are ignorant or intentional in their opposition. In Hawaii we say, “If you swim with the barracuda, one day you’ll get bit!”

    • Chuck,

      Thanks so much for your interest in the blog!

      What specifically was confusing? Other than the issue I address below, it seems you agree with me – your last paragraph is just a summary of my points.

      I would caution against using the Bible as you are suggesting. You said “our job” is to “contextualize” the Scripture by asking how it applies specifically to our culture, life, etc. The Bible is not an instruction manual to be applied as we see fit according to our personal situation, open to interpretation based on the continent, decade or circumstance. It is God’s revelation of Himself to us, true for all people’s in all times in all cultures. A more helpful approach might be: What is the meaning of the text and what does God want all Christians to do in response to this meaning? When we impose ourselves as the authority over the Bible and decide how it applies to us specifically, rather than letting it have authority over us, we get into trouble, hence, bad verse interpretation. The Bible is about God, not us.

      Hope that’s clear!

  6. I am a christian.but i have a christian friend and she have an unbelieveing boyfriend.i spoke to her about it telling her it’s wrong but she dont listen.what should i do?……

    • Hey Shem! I wish there was a simple solution to your problem, but unfortunately these situations tend to be complicated. The best thing you can do is point them to what the Bible teaches and hope the Word of God has an effect. It may be helpful to turn to Ephesians 5:25 where husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. If he doesn’t know Christ he cannot love her sacrificially as the Bible commands and she will miss out on all that Christian marriage is supposed to be.

      There are also practical problems with being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your deepest commitments such as how you spend your money, raise your children, spend your weekends, and fix problems in the relationship. All of these things become huge issues for believer/non-believer relationships. Her and her boyfriend do not share the deepest bond any two people can have – unity in Christ. This will lead to bitter arguments and painful disagreements.

      Of course, she may not listen. In that case, be patient, pray for her, and use any opportunity to speak wisdom into her life without being self-righteous or annoying. Love and support her no matter what she does with this relationship and hopefully God will work in her life. It’s a tough task, but if you love her, continue to seek what is best for her!

      • Hey thank’s for the of encouragement.i have already stat’d what gou told me to do and i’m not going to stop.i do love her alot and i want the best for her……but some time when i talk to her about it she feels to her self the reasn why i am telling that is because she did not make me her boyfriend.she like ‘s me alot honestly and she was the who told mee that she has feling for me.i really need to know what to do about that one…

  7. My question is that my boyfriend believes in God and use to go to church but he has excuse of of why hr doesn’t go now. He sayd he doesn’t like the church or some other reason. He doesn’t believe in praying in the holy spirit and I do. We have lots of disagreements of the topic of church and God. Yet he says he is a Christian. Is this use not being equally yoked? Is this a unhealthy relationship?

    • I can’t diagnose your relationship, but here are some questions to consider: (1) Since the purpose of dating is ultimately marriage, this is the guy who will eventually need to lead and “love you as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). Will he be able to? (2) Can the most important relationship in your life be with someone who doesn’t share your deepest passion (for Christ)? A person cannot love Christ and not love the church (1 John 2:9). Don’t be led by his words or your feelings but be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14) and seek a relationship that glorifies God (1 Cor. 10:31).

  8. I must say, I entirely disagree with this statement: “…In Ephesians 5, Paul’s instructions assume that both husband and wife are Christians. If one is not, practicing this teaching is impossible, leaving the individual in rebellion to God and out of His will. These relationships cannot satisfy the chief end of marriage (to display Christ’s relationship to His church) and will not receive blessing, yield fruit or expand God’s kingdom.”

    While my marriage to a husband who does not practice his beliefs in the same way that I do has certainly made some aspects of our lives together much harder than they may have needed to be, after 12 years, a great many tears and more prayers than I can count, I can say with surety: I married the man I needed to marry. I questioned that for a long time, and have come to peace about it. My husband – WHEREVER he is in his faith – is the man I was supposed to marry. I am *not* in rebellion to God and “out of His will.” I walk closely with the Lord and His praise is daily on my lips. I *AM* BLESSED. My life is beautiful and full-to-bursting, though not perfect. I HAVE YIELDED FRUIT. My arrogance has been tempered. My grace for those who need it is enlarged. My compassion for the suffering is deeper than I ever thought possible – born out of my own suffering. And to the best of my knowledge, have brought the good news of God’s great grace and mercy to some who needed it, as the Lord saw fit to have me do so.

    I am thankful for my husband, who works hard to provide for his family, who is unendingly thoughtful, and regularly challenges me – through his thought-provoking conversation – to get down to the nuts and bolts of my faith, who loves our children and I well – to the best of his human ability. I have met many a “Christian,” churchgoing man who would not do the half of what my husband has done for us.

    And so, while I appreciate your in-depth dissection of this Scripture – and understand the reference to Ephesians 5 (I just gave it another thoughtful reading to make certain I was remembering correctly), I firmly believe that this: “If one is not, practicing this teaching is impossible, leaving the individual in rebellion to God and out of His will. These relationships cannot satisfy the chief end of marriage (to display Christ’s relationship to His church) and will not receive blessing, yield fruit or expand God’s kingdom.” is entirely your own bias. And it leaves no room for wonderful men like my husband, who could be won through a believing wife.

    My marriage is not for everyone, I fully understand that. And I went into it knowing it would be hard (although not dreaming it would be what it has been – both the awful-hard and the beautiful-joy of it), but it is not – and was not at the time of our marriage – an act of rebellion against God, as you state, one so far outside of God’s will that He could not see fit to bless us, use us, and grow us to bear fruit. And I, for one, take umbrage to that implication.

    His grace is sufficient. He blesses His children, whom He loves. And I am convinced that my husband is called by our Maker and our marriage is abundantly blessed by Him, too.

  9. First of all i want to thank you for writing this artice it has helped me to be sure about the decision i was about to take.

    I am a christian and i have met an amazing man whom i have truly come to like very much.
    I have been questionIng God about him because he is everything i prayed for in a man but he hasnt accepted Christ as his Savior….at first i thought he was a christian but he is a catholic and does believe in God. The thing i wanted most in a man and i thibk is most important for me in the man i want to marry is that he serves our Lord Jesus Christ. He is not oficially my bf but we do treat eachother as a couple. He supports me and does not hold me back in my belief but i know that it will be difficult in the long run as we do not have the same views.
    I am very afraid that if i choose to be with him that it will draw me away from my Savior. So i have made my decision to stop. Which has me crying for a few days now and all morning today.

    My only question is : would it be better to break off all contact with him? Or can i explain him.the situation and let him kniw we cannot be more than friends anymore?

    • Dear Sister,

      I admire your desire to follow the Lord and taking a very difficult step to do so. Obedience is costly.

      With the few details provided about your relationship, I would say two things: First, gauge yourself. Are you at a place where you can engage in a healthy friendship with this man and not be overcome with temptation to revert to previous relational habits with him?

      Second, gauge him. Can he move forward in the friendship while honoring your decision?

      I believe things like this are truly a case by case basis. Without having personal knowledge of you and the relationship, my opinion would be to have a season of strict separation and revisit the friendship if and when you both think you can appropriately handle it. I say this because you’ve switched gears dramatically after wrestling with romantic feelings and arrived at this tough choice. It might be too much emotionally to maintain a new, lower key relationship phase. That’s just my advice.

      I will certainly pray this for you today as you seek the Lord:

      “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5

      Sincerely,

      Emily

    • Because say your boyfriend is ‘Catholic’ and not ‘Christian’, you are likely unaware that Protestant Christians didn’t exist until the 15th-16th century. For most of Christendom, Christians were Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. According to your logic, then, Christians didn’t exist until about 500 years ago.

  10. Hi Emily, while Paul in his letters gave instructions for married Christians in the church,Paul also in his letters gave advice to Christians who are married to pagans, and told them not to divorce their pagan spouses. As you noted, Paul also gave instructions about the leaders having believing spouses, but he gave no such command to lay people. While marrying a non Christian is not, for many reasons, a wise idea (although there are many cases of Christians marrying Christians who act way worse than unbelievers), it’s not accurate to say that Scripture forbids it among lay people.

  11. I don’t know what to do. My husband is stating that we should not interact with non believers because its states in the bible that we should not be unequally yoked with non believers. He states this includes my family, (father, mother and brothers), they are Catholic. He is also talking about my daughter, who because of how he interprets the bible and judges others, has left the church. He does not want for me to see my family. How is that right? I have shown him scriptures where we are suppose to love ALL people of the world because that is what Jesus wants. Jesus interacted with sinners. How is that different?

    • I am sorry to hear of your situation. I believe your husband is misguided in his understanding of the Christian’s role among the lost and also what it means to be unequally yoked. Nowhere in Scripture is it suggested that Christians isolate themselves from non-Christians. Until Jesus returns, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Yoked is not synonymous with friendship or family relation. Not only are we called to fiercely love the lost but to care for our families, regardless of their relationship with Christ. Had the father of the prodigal son cast him off forever, we would miss a picture of grace, love and forgiveness that mirrors what is offered to us in Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can break through hard hearts and reveal the truth of the Bible to enact a permanent life change; this would be my prayer for your husband.

  12. Thank you Brian and Emily. I will pray that prayer. We have been seperated for almost 1 year now for other reasons as well. And have been trying to mend our marriage. Its been a struggle, because he will not see any marriage counselors. I do not believe in divorce, but I will not compromise my relationship with my family for him. I cannot mend this marriage or see myself with him, if he continues to think this way. Thank you again. God Bless you both.

  13. I would like to share my story about “unequally yoked”.

    I grew up in an evangelical church. I was “saved” at the age of 5. And I took everything literally. Why shouldn’t I? If it was what the church said, I believed it. I believed if it came from a pastor or a church teaching, it was true. I continued to take my faith seriously into my teenage years, where I became involved with youth group. It was around that time that I started hearing how I should not date anyone “unsaved”. It was of course, wrong, and what fellowship hath light with darkness, etc. Furthermore, we were told about a future spouse extrordinaire. He or she was a Godly man or woman, pure, chaste, on fire, you name it, that’s who this person was. God already had your perfect spouse picked out for you. Your responsibility then was to pray that God would reveal that special person to you. Of course he would, but it was your faith and obedience that God was looking for. There were no specific Scriptures to back this up, mind you, but it all made sense.

    Fast forward to the age of 21. I met a very nice young man who grew up in a Lutheran church. He did not attend regularly. Of course, since he was not saved, I saw everyone as possibly someone I could lead to Christ. So, I hung out, we talked, etc. We went on a few dates. I shared with him how important my faith was to me. You know what his answer was? “If you would like me to go to church with you, I will go. If it is important to you, it is important to me. Besides, we could all use a little more church in our lives”. He all but asked to go. And you know what? Because at the time he wasn’t “saved”, I rejected him. A few years later, he went onto marry someone who saw him for the sweet, kind, laid back man that he was. They are still together today.

    Meanwhile, I am now 40. And guess what? This so-called Godly man has yet to make an appearance in my life. I can tell you who I have met in the meantime. I met a sociopath in the church who tried to rob me, who was bona fide abusive, and who should have been in jail when I met him. I have been in relationships with 2 agnostics and an atheist. The atheist was the most compassionate, loving, good humored person I ever shared my life with. We laughed a lot, cried some, we had some tough times, and yet he had no faith whatsoever. We are no longer together, but it was easily the best relationship I’ve ever been in.

    I’ve done some study on this online, and I see people wanting to leave their husbands, leave relationships, etc. Take it from an old middle aged fool–it’s not worth it. If you have a loving boyfriend or girlfriend, and the relationship is fulfilling, by all means, do not end it. I know how important faith is in people’s lives. And I fully understand that when one partner has faith, and the other does not, it can cause problems. Don’t go into it blindly. But if you have the makings of a great relationship–shared love, a commitment to each other, good communication, wanting to share your lives–don’t throw it away for differences in beliefs. There was someone above that said they were dating a Catholic. Do you also know that Catholics believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, they have the same beliefs on most hot button political issues, and that they have a very active faith? Do you have Catholic friends or family that you talk about God and Jesus with? Do you consider them a lesser? You shouldn’t. And please, by all means, don’t take this unequally yoked saying to stop being friends with anyone you perceive not to have your faith. Be friends with an atheist for the sake of friendship. Be friends with gay people. You might be surprised to know they love God as much as you do. And they’ll help you with your wardrobe and give your home a fabulous makeover, too. Gay men will be much more thoughtful than your husband ever will. They’ll send you cards, cry with you, give you great gifts. That’s been my experience, anyway.

    I would also warn against something else. I can’t begin to tell you how wrong the church is on many relationship issues. Have you once saw a pastor (besides a Catholic priest) take his own marriage advice? I sure haven’t. I don’t know any celibate pastors who are waiting for this ideal woman. They’re all married with children. I have yet to meet any that hasn’t had an attractive or pretty wife. Many of them are educated, intelligent, just what every man or gay woman would want. I think it’s easy to give out advice and then never know how it affects personally. Another thing–my father cheated on my mother. They sought counseling from their pastor. Even though my mother had “Biblical” grounds for divorce, she was pretty much told not to leave him. Their marriage is in shambles and I don’t think it will ever recover. They would both be better off divorced. Yet they were guilted into a situation that is clearly not working. I am not sure that God would want this for them if he is a loving God who wants what is best. But then again, I thought that God honored people for their beliefs. I truly believed that what I was taught about finding a spouse was true. I have found that it is not. I thought that if God saw our hearts and saw that we were serious about what we believed he wanted of us, that he would honor that, despite maybe being given wrong teachings. Tell that to the families whose loved ones died in Jamestown. God didn’t spare those people who believed that they were doing “the right thing”. I’d like to think that God would have honored my desire for a Christian husband, but so far, he has not. And there is no indication that it’s going to happen. You know what God said very early on in the Bible? It is not good for man to be alone. You know what Paul said? I wish everyone would remain celibate like myself. And then he encouraged people only to marry if they couldn’t control their lust. So who do you believe? I wouldn’t believe someone who held such contempt for marriage. Someone who believed that they only reason you should do so is for sexual relief. A healthy relationship is so much more than that.

    Tonight, I will put my head down on a cold pillow in a cold home. I ran out of fuel and it is still cool here. I am unemployed and just about ready to lose my home, anyway. I just can’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I didn’t listen to the mumbo jumbo I was told. There are no guarantees. Maybe my spouse would take care of me and I wouldn’t be on the brink of losing my home, having no one to give me a hug and let me know it will be okay. But just be warned, and be very careful about your choices. For those telling you about your own relationships and who to choose, know at the end of the day it is about you. It is your life, and it is their opinions. Sometimes it doesn’t work out too well. It sure didn’t work out for me.

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