You have heard from your pastors or other spiritual authorities that you should aspire to marry a Christian person, someone who loves God more than you. But is this a Biblical recommendation?
When you ask your spiritual authorities what God says about choosing a partner, they will tell you to choose a person of the same faith as you. They will quote 2 Corinthians 6:14 (WEB). “Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” In this letter, though, Paul wasn’t speaking of marriage, but of mixing worldly religions with faith in Christ.
However, Paul’s recommendation to the Corinthians could also apply to marriage. In the Old Testament, God did not approve marriages between the sons of his people and foreign daughters (Deuteronomy 7: 3-6, Ezra 10.10). It is reasonable to believe that He has not changed his mind. Thanks to Jesus, his people are a little different, but the principle remains. If you are born again, you are part of His people, God wants you to choose a partner of the same people, therefore, of the same faith.
In chapter 7 of the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives all kinds of recommendations to married couples and singles. He does not say that those who have never married, and who are Christians, should only marry Christians. But read what he says to the widows. “A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whomever she desires, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39 WEB) At the end of the verse, Paul specifies that she have to marry “only in the Lord” as if it were evident that remarriage had to be “in the Lord” as a first marriage. When Paul talks about couples where one partner is Christian and the other is not, he is referring to couples where one partner converted after marrying. He does not advise Christians to marry unbelievers.
There are very few verses that talk about dating and choosing a partner. It is, therefore, necessary to go through all these explanations to discern the will of God. But if these few verses do not convince you, here are some very logical reasons.
- If you are both listening to the Holy Spirit, you will have the perfect referee in your conflicts. Do you disagree on something? Then you will both talk to God, each by themselves. God will give you compassion to consider the position of your partner and He will give you the perfect, satisfying solution for both of you. You will avoid hurting each other if you both rely on the Holy Spirit.
- When God gives you a particular word or when you discover an interesting truth in the Bible, you become so joyful that you want to share it. If your partner can not understand your discoveries, because he is not a Christian (1 Corinthians 1:18), your joy will soon be extinguished. To be able to share with your partner what you discovered, and able to ask for their opinion on more difficult passages is necessary for your growth in God.
- If you want to have children, you will want to share your faith with them. But if your partner does not support you teaching your children, when they will have doubts or face moments of weakness, it will be much harder for them to remain firm in their faith (1 Corinthians 15:33).
- If your partner is not a believer, how will he understand your involvement? Perhaps he will want to spend all weekends in a country house and he will not like your desire to go to church on Sunday. And if your faith is very important to you, you will spend more than one day in church. One evening for choral practices, another for evangelism or Bible studies, in addition to your Sunday morning assembly. If your partner does not share your faith, your involvement will be the subject of great disputes in your couple.
- Keeping sex for marriage is already a difficult requirement for Christian singles. The battle between the flesh and the Spirit is often very intense, even for those who are firm in their faith. So imagine those who have no relationship with God. How could the Holy Spirit convince them on this point? It will certainly be one of the greatest points of contention.
- You have been saved to extend His Kingdom, “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20 WEB). This calling will be very difficult to execute if your partner does not share your faith!
There are probably other logical reasons that come to mind. And if you ask God to speak to you by His word, He will surely point out other verses that will consolidate your beliefs. Do not compromise your faith. Your salvation is more important than your social status.