Marrying a Non-Christian
Are you thinking about dating or marrying someone you are not sure belongs to the Lord Jesus? Then this web page will help.
If, however, you are already married to someone who does not belong to the Jesus Christ, then Marriage in a Minor Key is the webpage for you.
What I am sharing with you is the fruit of my experiences, some of which has been very bitter.
Marriage is the second most important decision anyone ever makes. And what was the most important? A career? No. The most important decision is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Tragically, countless thousands of good-living members of wonderful churches know all about Christian terminology and lifestyle and seem so indistinguishable from born again Christians that they have even convinced themselves, and yet the spiritual miracle of new birth has not yet happened in their own lives. This matter is so vital that I urge you before reading further to bookmark this webpage and go straight to The Ultimate Love Affair. Having decided we are going to spend Eternity with Jesus, we need to be VERY selective about with whom we choose to share our earthly life.
May I suggest a couple of basic questions to consider?
1. WHY do you want to get married?
There are many possible answers of course; being in love, wanting a home of your own, wanting a family of your own, your body clock is ticking, wanting to get away from abusive parents, loneliness.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing! It was God’s idea in the first place!
In Genesis 2:24 God Himself said:
And Christ quoted these very words in Mark 10:7-8, concluding “So they are no longer two, but one.”
2. What kind of a man do you want?
Your own wish list may include factors such as tall, good-looking, own home and car, secure job, similar cultural background, non-drinker/smoker/gambler, kind to animals, sense of humor etc.
Someone like this would be a pretty good catch – right? Wrong, very wrong! Unless he is also born again. Notice I didn’t say “Unless he says he’s born again.” As we have seen, many well-meaning, good-living church members are deluded about their own personal standing with God. Because they were christened or confirmed at a certain age, or walked down the aisle and signed a decision card, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have understood their need to repent of their own sin and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Our Heavenly Father feels very strongly about His children marrying anyone who doesn’t belong to Him. That’s why the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14:
Do you already have someone in mind – and you have been feeling uneasy because you thought that there was a verse like this somewhere – but you hadn’t yet got around to looking it up? Are you ready to fire all your “buts” at me? Well, go ahead – I’ve already been down that road.
“But I love him.” Whom do you love more; him or Christ?
“But he is a very moral man.” So were the Pharisees – those religious leaders of Christ’s day who kept the letter of the law, but it turned out they only knew how to show love their mistaken interpretation of the law. Who would have thought that these clean living, respectable people would end up cruelly treating Christians?
“But I need him.” And you don’t need Christ?
“But he needs me.” And does he understand the full implications of having to share you with Christ?
“But we’re finding it hard to contain our sexual urges. Surely God will be in favor of our marrying?” In favor of your deliberately disobeying Him?
“But he’s close to becoming a Christian. He’ll convert before long.” How many thousand marriages have ended disastrously because women expected they could change their men! Most likely he is also thinking he will change you or that your religious zeal will mellow after marriage. Moreover, prior to marriage a man is more motivated to please than he is ever likely to be after marriage. (This carries great dangers because many men during this time fool their wives to be into thinking they are Christians. Any “conversion” is suspect whenever love for a woman is a factor.) If he does not change prior to marriage, he is most unlikely to do so later.
So why does God feel so strongly about this matter? Let’s have a closer look at that verse.
Well – what is a yoke for? So that two can be joined together to work in harmony.
Many Christian women who think about getting married to someone who doesn’t have a place for Jesus in their lives, can’t see the harm, if the man they love is morally upright. I saw no problem. But I ended up paying a heavy price in personal loneliness, marital discord, and, worst of all, disruption to my own fellowship with God.
TRAPS FOR THE UNWARY Hindsight is a wonderful thing. For nearly forty years I was married to a person who made no place for God in his life, yet was a good-living person, and an upright citizen. And we were most certainly NOT in harmony with each other; nor were we often pulling together!
And, as a mother who has wept when her own children have experienced traumas in their own marriages, I am just beginning to understand how the heart of Father God must weep when His children make wrong choices.
The tally amongst my own four children so far: Divorce – because of domestic violence and gambling, Separation – because of incompatibility; Divorce – because their spouse turned out to be emotionally unstable; Separation – because their spouse had a severe personality disorder, and refused to take the prescribed medicine; Separation – because of money being used as a means of manipulative control, and because of unrealistic expectations; Separation because of apprehended violence, manipulation and gambling.
None of these were Christian marriages. I didn’t want this to happen to my kids! And God didn’t want this to happen to me! But you see, He gave me free will – the same as He has given you.
DECISIONS! DECISIONS! DECISIONS!
When I was 21, two choices lay in front of me:
* To marry while I had the opportunity;
* To stay single until I was sure what the Lord wanted me to do.
It was like being at a fork in the road. One road is rough, corrugated, gravelly, uphill, windy – The other road is tarred, straight, (at least as far as the eye can see), wide, smooth. To me, the rough road represented life with Christ – but without Bob. The “good” road represented life with Bob, (whom I could see and touch), – but without having to put Christ first in my life.
Of course I took the “good” road. It was the wrong road! I guess I was treating marriage like a two-legged stool (just Bob and I) – and expecting it to stand up! But both of us needed that third leg, Christ. And we left Him out. We didn’t have Him in our marriage; I didn’t want Him in our marriage.
I didn’t mean to push Christ aside. It’s just that my need to feel loved by someone I could see and touch was so desperate, that I didn’t take seriously Christ’s words about being “unequally yoked together.” I thought of it more as an option, than a command.
Now that I’ve repented, and got this sorted out with God, I thought, surely things will improve? Surely God will be on my side at last?
Well – I bombed out! Like the children of Israel of old, I ended up spending almost forty years in the wilderness. I don’t recommend it! For more details, see Marriage in a Minor Key.
IT HAPPENED TO ME – PLEASE DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!
As they say, “love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener”. I now realize we actually discussed very little before we married. We were more interested in the physical side of things, although I made sure that we didn’t go “all the way”.
Here are some issues I now know I should have considered or that I would have had to consider if I were to marry in this present era.
* A born again believer cannot share the most important part of her life – the spiritual part – that part of her that has been united with Christ – with her husband.
* If Christ is not the center of your husband’s life, then who or what is? (In Bob’s case it was himself)
* If your husband’s moral values aren’t based on the Bible, then what ARE they based on? What does HE believe about controversial issues such as abortion, divorce, drugs, euthanasia?
* Even closer to home, what does HE believe about how children should be disciplined? (Bob said “You smack them – then they can hate you.”)
* And speaking of the children, will your husband agree with your sending them to Sunday School, taking them to church, taking part in whatever rites your church practices; or will he say that children should not be brain-washed with religion, but should be allowed to wait until they are adult, and can then make up their own minds?
* If your husband is not familiar with the idea of having a “Quiet Time” – a time you spend in reading your Bible and talking to God – is he willing to give you the time and privacy you want for this?
* If you going through a time when you’re not on speaking terms with God, how will you explain to your husband why you are down in the dumps, and don’t feel like talking? Because if you try to tell him, he won’t be able to understand, because in 1 Corinthians 2:14 the Bible tells us:
* And speaking about this verse; how will he react if you tell him “I believe God wants me to join a church in a different suburb.” (Bob said, “You only want to go to that suburb for its snob value.”)
* Come to think of it, how are you going to explain any of God’s guidance?
* How will your husband react if, as you mature in Christ, the Lord convicts you to stop certain practices that you currently have no qualms about?
* Will there be any disagreement about the way you celebrate Christmas and Easter? Not every Christian makes a fuss over Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. (Of course my grandkids preferred their grandfather, because HE knew that Christmas and Easter were meant to be exciting times, with visits to Santa Claus, and gifts from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.)
* Will you agree on, or argue about, things like Christmas cards (The Babe in the Manger or Santa Claus), playing Bingo, buying Lotto tickets, watching R-rated shows on the TV, etc.? (Bob used to put lottery tickets inside Christmas cards that said things like “May The Prince of Peace Be With You At This Holy Time”!)
* What if he wants to go to – or even take you to – erotic floor-shows, etc? Since you are Christ’s, He indwells you. So Christ goes wherever you go.
* What if he buys you sex manuals that suggest that things like “threesomes” are fun?
* If you decline to watch television shows you find offensive, will your husband understand, or will he feel that in rejecting that show, you are rejecting him?
* Has your husband had any involvement with the occult? Does he believe that astrology, fortune telling, ouija boards etc, are just innocent fun? Is he a member of a secret society?
* What if his family’s life style is different from yours? (Bob’s people were lovely, but they always invited visitors to go to the local club and play Bingo, and the pokies. I don’t drink and I don’t gamble.)
* If you believe in giving 10% (often called a “tithe”), of your earnings to the church, how will your husband feel about it?
* What will happen when your husband’s planned activities for Sunday are on at the same time as your church’s services? Who gets to use the car?
* What do YOU see as being the respective roles of husband and wife? Does your husband agree with you? (Bob was VERY aware that God expected me to obey him, since I had promised to.)
* When a major decision has to be made, who will have the final say, and on what principles will that decision be made? (Naturally I yielded to Bob. His criteria – whatever suited him best.)
* One example of this could well be your children’s schooling. If you want to send your children to a Christian school, will your spouse: a) Agree to this? b) Be willing to share the financial burden involved?
* How will your husband’s indifference to the Lord affect your own spiritual growth? (How greatly – and how adversely – this affected me will show up more in Marriage in a Minor Key. The over-riding phrase as far as I was concerned was “bitterness towards God”.)
* Are you quietly saying to yourself: “I really love this person, and I know that he is a good-hearted person. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he comes to know the Lord”? Many people have been mistaken about this.
* Does he say that, although he doesn’t believe in God, he’s happy for you to be as religious as you want to? Do you know what God’s word says about people who don’t believe in Him? Psalm 53 says:
* With so many homes these days not only having personal computers, but also having access to the Internet, will your husband agree with you as to what kind of information to download to your hard-drive? I’m not thinking only of obvious things like pornography. I am also thinking of material that is, by its very nature, anti-Christian., e.g. anything to do with the occult.
As you read Marriage in a Minor Key, you will begin to see and understand what devastation this ungodly situation brought about in my own soul, and my relationship with God.
But are you saying, “It will be different for me – I now know the hazards to avoid”? The problem is that no matter how careful they are, there are always things a couple only discover after marriage. If they are Christians they can each look to God to help sort it out.
And there is one hazard you cannot avoid! What explanation are you going to give your Lord as to why you deliberately flouted His explicit command, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers”?
When I was growing up, the moral standards I was taught at home were the same as the moral standards I was taught at school, which were the same as the moral standards I was taught at church, which were the same as the moral standards upheld by society.
“Look after your parents, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery.”
At no time before I was married was I actually TAUGHT that it was a sin to marry an unbeliever. I had just picked up vibes from comments made about someone else’s forth-coming marriage. But God’s word about the unequal yoke is plain – having once read it, I couldn’t deny it. And now you know it too.
Acts 17:30 says:
God was speaking about idols, but if we ignore God to marry an unbeliever, then we are making an idol of that man, because we are putting him first in our lives.
Marriage in a Minor Key
(Ruth’s personal experience married to a non-Christian)
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