You may have heard preachers and Bible teachers tell young people: “When you grow up, you should marry a Christian!” If you have Christian parents, then most likely they have also told you that (cf. Judges 14:3). This, of course, is great advice! Although marrying a Christian does not mean that you will never have problems in your marriage and family, both of you will have the common goal of helping each other and your future children get to heaven. God has the desire for His people to marry those who share the common love and faith for Him, and He warns that marrying unbelievers has the potential to lead the believer astray (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; cf. Genesis 6:1-7; Numbers 25:1-3; 1 Kings 21:25; Ezra 9; Nehemiah 13:23-27).
Then, how do you end up marrying a Christian? Well, you start by only dating a Christian. You may not be attracted to anyone yet, or may not be ready to start dating (and you should not be in a hurry), but as a young person, now is a great time to start laying out your spiritual goals for you and the person with whom you will share your heart in the future. The truth is that many young Christians become attracted to non-Christians because they do not have clear spiritual direction and goals for their own lives. Answering “What is my goal in life?” will help you choose someone who can help you achieve this goal.
“But, what if…I already feel attracted to, or have started to share my heart with, a non-Christian? What should I do?” Thanks for asking! Here is some good advice:
- First, seriously consider the potential dangers of this mixed relationship. Carefully read and study the passages included at the beginning of this article (and others related to the subject). Think critically about the negative scenarios that can come due to this relationship (example: loose moral standards, lack of spiritual commitment, etc.)
- If you feel attracted to a non-believer, be honest about what attracts you to him/her. Is it only the physical aspect? If so, then you may need a change of perspective (Proverbs 31:30).
- Before sharing your feelings with a non-Christian, share the Gospel that can change his/her life. Do not reveal your feelings; you do not want him/her to obey the Gospel for the wrong reason. If he/she obeys the Gospel, then allow time to discern the fruits of true repentance and Christian growth (Matthew 13; Luke 6:43-45). If someone is not interested in sharing his/her life with God, then, should a Christian be interested in sharing his/her life with that person?
- If you have already started a relationship with a non-believer, analyze the situation and try to influence him/her to come to Christianity. Again, do not force the non-believer to obey the Gospel by (directly or indirectly) “threatening” him/her that you will end the relationship if he/she does not do it. This is most likely to happen if the non-believer persists in his/her unbelief and you have started to consider the seriousness of marriage. However, it is imprudent to use this situation to cause a pseudo-obedience.
- Pray and learn to unselfishly care for the soul of that person. A sentimental relationship should not be the primary aim of any evangelistic efforts. If you learn to love the precious soul of that person (Matthew 16:26), then you will know how to emotionally love that person when the right time comes.
- And last but not least, learn to wait and trust in the Lord (Psalm 27:11-14). You do not have to settle for the wrong relationship just to have someone beside you! Even in our sentimental lives, we should have Jesus’ attitude: “not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
All of us will marry someone we date, so if you want a strong Christian marriage, never take dating lightly. If you choose a faithful Christian to start dating, he/she will help you stay pure until your wedding day, and after that, he/she will help you in your journey to the “wedding of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7).