Should a Christian date or marry a Non-Christian?

(music) – Well I was always told
an explicit “no” on that, based in particular on 2 Corinthians 6, and in verse 14 Paul says to not be “unequally yoked with an
unbeliever, for what partnership “does righteousness
have with lawlessness?” So I grew up thinking
that the apostle Paul was talking about dating
when he used this metaphor of the yoke, being joined to someone, so that the direction one goes, the direction the other one goes. And so I only have since learned that Paul actually is not talking about dating and marriage
relationships explicitly there; he is rather talking about
who the Corinthian believers were going to yoke themselves to, were going to join themselves to, between the false
apostles and Paul himself. And so these false apostles,
they came with a message that had a lot of Gospel elements to it, but it wasn’t the full Gospel,
it was some other message that appealed to the
believers in various ways, by flattering them, by
the apostles themselves acting like they were superior because of their more evident gifting. They tried to present that as
evidence to these Corinthians that God was with them, and
then they pointed at Paul and said look how weak he
is, look how nothing he is. Look at all the things he
says that seem so impressive but actually when he shows
up, he’s not that impressive. And so they used that as evidence that God was not with Paul. Now, I think the answer to the question should a Christian date
or marry an unbeliever, the answer’s no. And I think I would actually
use this same verse. A verse that’s not explicitly about dating actually gives us a very
important principle that we then apply to all of our
relationships including dating. And that is, this principle
that we all have this tendency to join ourselves to what
appears to be the most impressive according to standards that may or may not line up with God’s. And so really, Paul’s instruction here is an appeal to the
believers to be impressed with what God’s impressed
with, to value what God values, and then to make your
decisions relationally based upon those. So that has everything to do with dating. What we love, what we join
ourselves to, we will be like. And so when we apply that to
dating and eventual marriage, what that person you’re dating loves will shape what you love. And if that person does not love God, it will absolutely shape and influence your ability to love God as well. So what they do positively love you will be more compelled to love and so it’s a stewardship of your heart to assess the people around you that are options for marriage, to assess them according to
God’s values, what God says is most important, what
God says is most true, what God says is most life-giving, and not to listen to what the world says is most valuable or most life-giving. And Paul knew this. And so Paul was trying to say to them their “love” for you is a
self-serving version of love, where they’re using you in order to create a greater platform of influence
for themselves, whereas, and this is what the entire
book of 2 Corinthians is about, whereas I have suffered for
you, I have taken on loss in order for me to be able
to build you up in Christ; that is the definition of love. So real love has at its purpose the building of that in someone. And so what exists in a dating and moving towards marriage relationship between a believer and an unbeliever is that one of the core purposes of love just simply can’t be. And so, this is why I think Paul, we can construct a very
compelling argument from a lot of what Paul says, and a lot of what the
rest of Scripture says, why a believer should not
be dating an unbeliever. We haven’t made a distinction yet between dating and marriage,
because I’m seeing dating as the purpose of moving towards marriage. The reason I do that,
and I don’t just have dating as its own separate fun thing to do that doesn’t involve marriage, is I don’t think the Bible
gives us a category for romantic connection, increasing
self-disclosure and intimacy merely for the purpose
of enjoyment or pleasure. It’s always for the establishment of this permanent relationship when it’s between a man and a woman. So let’s get practical for a moment. What do you do if you’re currently in a dating relationship with an unbeliever? Well, I have heard many
people justify that reality by calling it “missionary dating,” where they want to have a
strong influence on them. And honestly, I think people
are sincere when they say this, so I’m not doubting the sincerity of that; you want their good in them
coming to Jesus Christ. But I would simply challenge
you with what I said earlier, actually is your stewardship
for your life and what you love and the direction of your soul. And you need to take
seriously what God says about yoking yourself to someone else; they will in some sense be
very influential in steering, that’s what the yoke is,
in steering where you go. And so if you really want
them to come to faith, and you’re really willing to trust the Lord Jesus for their salvation, then I would challenge
you to think long and hard about who you might suggest
being placed in their life, who might invest in them with the Gospel that wouldn’t be in a dating relationship and have alternate elements
of the relationship going on. Because what you think
might put that person in a better place to come to faith might actually be a hindrance
to them coming to faith. And again, I know the
stories of missionary dating “working” in the sense of
people really coming to faith. So I am not doubting that
the Lord can do that, but your responsibility is not to think about what the Lord can do but what He tells you to do. And then also thinking practically maybe for a different set of people who might be watching this video, some people might already
be married to an unbeliever, and they maybe have suffered
in various ways because of it, and it causes them
angst, I just want to say a word of comfort to you,
that there’s a reason that 1 Corinthians 7 and 1
Peter 3 is in your Bible. And both of those passages talk about the powerful effect
that a believing spouse, particularly a wife
actually, in those passages, but the powerful effect a believing spouse living out their faith can
have on an unbelieving spouse. And God doesn’t make any explicit promises for your particular situation; I realize that and I know you
feel the pain of that fact, but don’t let the power of those words in any way be undermined. God is pleased as you serve your spouse and as you are faithful to your spouse, by faith in Jesus according to the strength that He provides, God is pleased with that. And both Paul and Peter are acknowledging that there’s real power behind that. There’s a mysterious power behind that. So be encouraged that
your labor is not in vain, and whatever tears you’ve shed about it, or whatever hardships you’ve
endured because of it, they’re not in vain. So let me just end by
broadening our perspective to put this thing in its proper place. We need to remember that marriage is a picture of a greater reality. And it is not meant for
ultimate life fulfillment. And so that takes the stakes down a bit, because marriage is a gift from the Lord; it’s meant to establish a
covenant union between two people that displays Jesus’s love for His church, that’s what it’s meant for. And so when we keep that purpose in mind, it helps us put this whole
thing in perspective, where we don’t get to
use dating and marriage for our own purposes alone. So the general instruction that a Christian should not date
and marry an unbeliever, it’s not prejudiced, it’s not tribalism. It’s a statement of the
purpose of marriage being for something larger than
our own earthly satisfaction. It’s a larger picture;
it’s helping each other learn to love God and to do what He says through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And so we use it for His
purposes and not for our own. (music) – [Narrator] Thanks for
watching Honest Answers. Don’t forget to subscribe.

About the author


  1. What if you came to Faith whilst in a relationship and have 2 children with a non-believer, but you are not married? What the protocol? Surely God does not want a broken home?

  2. Yoke… I will never get religion. An intangible belief that makes followers feel they are not worthy and always falling short. No thank you!

  3. are christians so lazy as to have no knowledge of their own bibles whereby they need a video like this? the answer to the question is crystal clear and it is in the Bible. such ignorance of the text by those so taken up by the pleasures of the world is more deadly than simply having the wrong position on this matter.

    honestly!! you would think that modern christians in the west were incapable of reading or that the Bible was banned or out of print

  4. As a non Christian who grew up in the south, all you're reinforcing is the absolute rejection I've experienced my entire life. I've avoided Christians my entire life because of all the times I was called a "bad person" and I was broken up with because of not being "equally yoked". The woman I'm with is the first person who actually makes me feel comfortable asking questions about Christianity and trully acts Christ like. It's really sad how many negative articles there are about Christian's dating non Christians, especially when I watched "good southern Christian men" abuse their partners more times than I can count. No matter how you sit here and justify it you're just another hate monger.

  5. Real I am looking for a serious born again woman to marry ….the way I love Jesus I can't afford marring unbeliever

  6. New believer here. I have been with my boyfriend, recently my fiance, for almost seven years. We were equally yoked when we met, fell in love, and had sex. I didnt know it was a sin to have sex outside of marriage. Fast forward to a about a year ago, I was properly introduced to Christianity and God had prepared me to accept the gospel. Fast forward a few months, I got engaged. Fast forward to now, I've learned that scripture commands us to be equally yoked. I'm already engaged, have lost my virginity to this man, have lived with him for many years (recently moved out when I understood it was God's will), and yet I have also recently become a very serious Christian. I think the verse from Paul pretty clearly stated that for recent converts who are in a marriage with an unbeliever, they should not leave. I also know that there are verses which state that men and women who have had consensual sex outside of marriage should get married. What I'm not sure of is whether this verse refers to two unequally yoked people. As a new believer, this is causing me a fair amount of heartache. I pray to God for guidance. I understand the issue with missionary dating, that is entering into a dating or marriage relationship with your partner's hopefully pending conversion in mind. I have already experienced the negative effects of being tied to an unbeliever. He has stated his openness to seeing if this will work for him, but I worry that he is potentially just a hypocrite in the making. I dont want to force him to profess false belief. I just want to understand clearly what God wants from me in this situation. I continue to share the gospel with him and live apart from him, but we are still engaged. It may be that it is God's will for me to break off the engagement. I am unsure of this, however, and it seems possible that God would prefer that I remain loyal to this person I already gave myself to. It's a rollercoaster ride of confusion over here.

  7. Love thou neighbor but not if they're an atheist is the theist motto….
    Have been married to my catholic wife for several years and yet we don't judge each other, we don't fight, we don't belittle, and we most certainly don't attack each other simply because I know why she believes and she knows why I'm an atheist and we fell in love with each other for who we are not for what other's think they believe we have to be.

  8. When you truly love God, you will not be attracted to someone who doesn't share your love for God. If you are 'in love' with a non believer, ask yourself if it's true love. Love for God or for that person.

  9. I'm just not gonna get married. I know I'm not supposed to marry a non Christian. But I just find Christian women very boring.. I'm just not interested in them. I know that sounds weird but I find Christian women uptight and judgmental.. It's always you can't or you shouldn't.. I've heard it before…They're always too serious about everything..
    So I'll just stay single I guess..

  10. Your future husband and wife is in the world, pray for Your future spouse. Only Jesus 👑 can show you how to catch that big fish 😁🐟

  11. Marrying a non Christian woman is like stepping on the burning charcoal and expecting chillness. (What is not possible) if she don't convert from heart . In the beginning everything will be going smooth letter on you will realise how big mistake you have made . Don't blame the women blame yourself to putting yourself in a situation. Real advice nobody will share all this things because. love is blind in the beginning after one two year 😭😭😭😭😭😭😅

  12. I am an unbeliever married to a Christian for the last 15 years. At first, her belief never really was an issue but she has gotten more into being a Christian and I feel that divorce is just around the corner. She has been subtle in trying to convert me but that will never happen…ever. I do not need religion in my life and feel just fine without it.
    The issue with that is she has gotten into her head that her divorcing me (the unbeliever) would be looked badly upon her in the eyes of those who follow her faith and thus refuses to divorce me. I do want what is best for her so I was looking at this from her point of view and was wondering where in the Christian bible where it would ease her fear so it could 'save her soul'. I feel that it would be best for both of us to go our separate ways so she could find that man who will love Jesus as much as she does. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

  13. I've been a devout Catholic for my whole life and I married a Devout Muslim. The way we view our own religion is different then what the Bible and Quran say. We live life doing good, loving eachother, bringing happiness, and helping those in need. We believe that God would love us no matter what religion we follow. You don't have to be Christian to marry a Christian, a Muslim marrying a Muslim…etc marry whoever you love and whoever makes you feel happy. If you live your whole life "only wanting to marry" you're own kind wouldn't that go against what Jesus said in love thy neighbor who why would we not consider other neighbors just because they don't follow our "religion"

  14. i think its "funny" how the same christians that have rules about who they can marry, and blame these rules on god and the bible, have a more than 50% divorce rate in the same churches, despite the bible so clearly saying god hates divorce….I wonder why the bible doesnt matter in those cases….Maybe if you actually found out what god really thinks about marriage, divorce rate would go wodn, becuase legalism brings death and it seems like this is happening here.

  15. I dated someone for 14 years and as my relationship with Jesus grew, it began to separate us. His music and lifestyle was no longer conducive for the direction I was heading. I don’t consider myself giving up on him but I had to realize I’m not his savior only Jesus Christ is. I chose to leave the relationship but I will still continue to pray for his salvation. A marriage should draw you closer to the lord not pull you away 🙌🙏❤️

  16. Keep pushing your fairytales on people. The religious don’t like the non believers because we’re bad for business. Keep fucking those little kids and taking billions from ignorant people and never paying any taxes and getting away with it. Greatest scam of all time. I’ll challenge your stupid book and god with science and rationalism any day of the week. But you’re right, a atheist should NEVER marry or date a Christian. It’s a bad idea and will never end well.

  17. how does this question even come up…..and what is this dating…..there has to be a better system… courtship…

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