Are We 'Unequally Yoked'?

My boyfriend isn't as strong a Christian as I am, and my pastor says he'll hold me back.

Dear Renita,


My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. I am Christian and my faith is important to me, but his is not. We do have the same basic beliefs, but mine are much stronger. He used to come to church with me, but he doesn't anymore. We've had our ups and downs, but we've always managed to work through our differences. We love each other very much. I really can't see myself with anyone else, although in my heart I really want to be with a Christian man. I know that the Bible says that we should not be unequally yoked, but I find it too hard to break off our relationship when his major flaw is that he is not saved. My pastor said that I should break it off, because he will only hold me back. I just don't know what to do.


--Stronger in Faith

Dear "Stronger,"
My response to this question is lengthier than usual because your question strikes at something many women worry about when contemplating romance and marriage. Can a relationship work if the two of you are on different spiritual levels?

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It's not clear from your letter what makes the two of you "unequally" yoked other than the fact that your boyfriend is not the avid churchgoer that you are. Don't confuse differences in your spiritual maturity with differences in your religious beliefs. Being equally or unequally yoked, as Paul talked about (II Corinthians 6:14) had to do with more fundamental, irreducible differences between partners, those having to do with whether one partner was pagan and the other Christian, whether one confessed Jesus as Lord and the other worshipped multiple gods. The problem you've described in your note sounds more to me like differences in your Christian maturity. That the two of you may not be on the same spiritual plane is something to consider. But it's not like the sort of marital and family chaos Paul witnessed in biblical times when Christians and non-Christians married.

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Renita J. Weems
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