Author Topic: Christian/Non-Believer Relationships  (Read 14070 times)

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Offline keri425

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« on: Tue Dec 27, 2005 - 18:12:26 »
I've been dating a guy for about 2 months.  Everything was going great, I think I was beginning to like him, he seemed to be "religious", but one day we started talking about it in more detail.  He believed in God, but not in Jesus, even though he believed that Jesus existed.  He felt that we are here to just make ourselves happy, and we just make up our own rules and live by them.  (wouldn't that be ideal....)

For me, that doesn't seem to be enough.  I'm at a point in my life, where i'm dating to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.  It seems like a no brainer that the relationship has to stop because we are not on the same page with our religious views.  I believe in Jesus, and would think that I need a believer in order to help me through the good and bad times in my life.  It's just hard because in the guys that I've dated, and a lot of friends, it doesn't seem to be a priority to anyone, and they wind up telling  me that I should be more accepting to people?  It's so frustrating because the majority of people, at least that I've met, seem to think it's ok to accept all people's views and agree that it's ok for them to have them, and I should just understand that?

What are your opinions on this?  Did I do the right thing?

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« on: Tue Dec 27, 2005 - 18:12:26 »

Offline Bon Voyage

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« Reply #1 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 07:40:23 »
I am not from a Church of Christ background and my wife was, and there were many times of struggle because of the differences between what I was taught growing up and what she was.  I think you are doing the right thing in ending the relationship.

You would have many difficulties in a relationship like that, and the bible does say that we should not be unequally yoked.

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« Reply #2 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 08:52:35 »
Yes, absolutely.  Even if you are strong enough to not be pulled a way from what's really important, you'll be fighting it all the time.  And then there's the matter of any children.

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« Reply #2 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 08:52:35 »

Offline Jimbob

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« Reply #3 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 11:03:55 »
I agree.  We've got several friends that say they didn't have the foresight (or believed they'd be the true exception and make it work) to make the decision you did.  They'd tell you that you did the right thing.

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« Reply #3 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 11:03:55 »

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« Reply #4 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 14:50:55 »
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... they wind up telling  me that I should be more accepting to people?  It's so frustrating because the majority of people, at least that I've met, seem to think it's ok to accept all people's views and agree that it's ok for them to have them, and I should just understand that...
Being tolerant of others' views is one thing -- a necessity in life, really.  We have to be tolerant otherwise we'd literally be cramming our beliefs down the throats of others, which is totally uncool (think the "holy wars" from your history classes).  Christ gave us the choice whether or not to accept him, and some people don't.  We have to be tolerant of that.

Now having a spouse that isn't in the ring (so to speak) with your faith and your beliefs is really, really dumb, imo.  Unless you're a very strong person (and I mean REALLY strong) you're going to need that "oneness" with a sibling in Christ.  Marriage is a partnership, and most people can't sucessfully be partnered with someone who's not on the same page.  In short, don't go getting yourself unequally yoked to someone who can't pull his/her own weight in the marriage.  That has nothing to do with tolerance but everything to do with choosing a mate that can and will step up to the plate with you in life.

My advice?  Pray for this person to come into your life, and then leave it to God to do the choosing.  It's that simple.  If He's got a spouse for you, He'll give that person to you as His gift when the timing (HIS timing) is right.

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« Reply #4 on: Wed Dec 28, 2005 - 14:50:55 »



Offline keri425

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« Reply #5 on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 - 20:10:03 »
I understand about being tolerant of others views. It's definately a necessity otherwise you will never get along with anyone.  It's just that so many people that I come across are ok with saying "religion is just not that important to me".  I totally don't understand how you could say that and be ok with that.  I mean, how could where you spend eternity not be important to you???? It drives me crazy to think about that!

The more I think about it, the more I know it would be impossible for the relationship to work.  It just really is hard because you get emotionally invovled.  And actually, the more I think about it, the less I think we really had in common because having that same view on religion is really the basis for everything.

I'm interested to see if anyone had or has and unequally yoked relationship or marriage, and how it worked, if it did, and was or is it really satisfying?

I think what I learned from this is that before I let myself get emotionally involved, which is hard to stop sometimes, I should really take the time to get to know the most important things about the other person first.

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« Reply #5 on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 - 20:10:03 »

Offline janine

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« Reply #6 on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 - 21:48:28 »
My husband and I were not on the same page, religiously speaking, when we married.

I committed to Christ and he returned to Christ with a renewed commitment, a couple years into the marriage -- just in time to lose our second little daughter to drowning.

What you want to bet we'd never have made it through that and almost to our 25th anniversary, if I'd not come to an understanding with God, and if hubby hadn't grown and learned and renewed his clinging to God?

See, if things had progressed farther, and if you were writing to tell us now about your non-religious fiance or your non-Christian new husband --

We'd be telling you a lot of supportive stuff.  We'd be helping you to make the best of it by reminding you of Scriptures about wives converting husbands, wives respecting husbands --

Because, IMO, it's almost impossible for a woman to love a man she cannot respect --

And it would not be the end of the world if your marriage was not God's perfect ideal one with two redeemed Christian spouses.  Things can work out for mismatched people.  

It's just so blasted hard.  It's not God's ideal best wish for you.  Finding a man you can bear the yoke lightly with, that's God's ideal best wish for you, if and when you marry.

Keep a-lookin', sugar.  Praise God you were able to break it off without major damage to your heart and mind and spirit.

Offline Marzipan

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« Reply #7 on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 - 21:57:35 »
I think the main reason some people are able to say that religion is not important to them is because they are in denial of the consequences. People don't like thinking about hell, and repentance, and 'giving up' things to serve the true God. They don't want it to be true, so they deny truth and avoid facing facts by saying that religion just isn't that important to them.
May I say that I am so glad to hear that you have faced the facts and decided that following Christ is worth every step!
I would agree that you did the right thing. I know emotions make it messy.
I was in a serious relationship with a really great guy who held certain beliefs that I began to question as I studied the Bible more and grew closer to God. He and I both began to realize that we were'nt on the same page, and for a long time I think we both knew that it could never work unless one of us changed what we believed, and neither of us were willing. We broke up after being together for a year, and it was the most painful 'letting go' I have ever had to deal with. But I know now that is was the right thing to do, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
There is something to be said for tolerance, but also for standards... I would never judge anyone who chose to be in a relationship with an unbeliever, but I do think it makes for a much smoother path.
Also, you don't have to be shoving theology down someone's throat to witness to them. By our example we teach more than we know, and friends, family, coworkers, etc. can all be affected by Christ's teachings through us if we are living as we ought. I hardly think you could be accused of being intolerant by simply "being the change you want to see in the world".

Offline keri425

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« Reply #8 on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 - 01:03:20 »
It's just so hard to think about people not wanting to deal with the consequences.  Friends and especially that guy that I just had to break it off with.  I mean, when will they learn, will it be too late.  It's just so frustrating to hear their justification of their choices because they are just taking the easy way out.  The response I get from them is that I am being judgemental why can't you just be ok with others having different views then your own? How can anyone be ok with the fact that someone else you possibly care about is  ruining their existence?

This guy that I dated felt that everyone lives by their own rules and you should do that in order to make yourself happy, basically what he feels that life is all about.  I thought about that and yeah, it's real easy to think that in the moment, but it's like a cop out because everything then just becomes ok.  He doesn't believe in heaven or hell and thinks that we are all just going to wind up in the same place together after we die.  

I told him that I believe that we are here on earth to make a decision that will ultimately choose how we will spend eternity.  He said that he could never live that way.  Well, is that because it's a little harder, a little more restricting, and someone is telling you that you could possibly be wrong with how you are living your life? People don't like to be told that they are wrong.

And the thing is, he grew up in a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school.  I assumed he was Catholic from the beginning, and he even thought he was until I explained it to him that he is not even Christian, which is all I was really wanted.  Was it the Catholic school that turned him away from Christianity, life experience, ??

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« Reply #8 on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 - 01:03:20 »

Offline Barry

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« Reply #9 on: Sat Dec 31, 2005 - 07:44:39 »
When you became a Christian you made a commitment that Jesus would be your first love. If you go into a relationship with someone that does not share that commitment there will be major problems.

As a minister, I deal with this all the time. We have many in our congregation who married non-believers and then regretted it. Some of the spouses (non-Christian ones) become extremely jealous of Christ, the church, etc... because they do not share the same commitment and/or values. And you know what, it is completely undertandable. In some ways, I am more sympathetic to the non-Christian in this situation because they have gotten "surprised" with an additional "spouse" (Christ) when they were only expecting one.

Barry

Offline zoonance

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« Reply #10 on: Sat Dec 31, 2005 - 10:33:02 »
There is no question that one should not form a union based on disunity.  It is sad and difficult when two believers, two disciples, two christians (only used once in scripture?) experience difference of opinions, sometimes sharply.  But imagine putting your faith in opposites, aiming for different goals, etc.

Offline Cliftyman

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« Reply #11 on: Tue Jan 03, 2006 - 12:58:24 »
a believer marrying an unbeliever is what the bible refers to as being "unequally yoked", I'm pretty sure.

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« Reply #12 on: Sun Jan 08, 2006 - 00:48:11 »
I do not think it is wise for people who hold different religious beliefs to get married.  It  causes too much room for conflict.

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« Reply #13 on: Sun Jan 08, 2006 - 01:07:43 »
Quote
I do not think it is wise for people of different beliefs about religion to get married.  It just causes too much room for conflict.
I would agree, and suggest some passages to support this view.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

-2 Corinthians 6:14-15


Before getting married, I would seriously consider what you truly have in common; and what your motives are.

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« Reply #14 on: Sun Jan 08, 2006 - 01:35:50 »
Quote
Quote
I do not think it is wise for people of different beliefs about religion to get married.  It just causes too much room for conflict.
I would agree, and suggest some passages to support this view.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

-2 Corinthians 6:14-15


Before getting married, I would seriously consider what you truly have in common; and what your motives are.[/color]
I would also add that politics can be very divisive as well.

Offline seekr

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« Reply #15 on: Sun Jan 08, 2006 - 15:06:37 »
But, as in all things, love is the law. If it is God's will because He knows the end result and love will cover all wrongs as scripture says, then it could be very right. His call.

seekr

Offline janine

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« Reply #16 on: Sun Jan 08, 2006 - 22:37:13 »
What's funny, in a sad way, is when a believer hooks up with an unbeliever -- and the unbeliever is converted and develops a zeal and a fire and a love for God, and puts the lukewarm pasty fish milquetoast believer to shame.

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« Reply #17 on: Mon Jan 09, 2006 - 08:39:26 »
We have an example of that in our congregation...  Not so much that the spouse who was originally the believer is milquetoast, but the one who became a believer six years ago is still one of the most on fire in the congregation.

Offline keri425

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« Reply #18 on: Tue Jan 10, 2006 - 21:22:38 »
yeah, but when talked about, if the other person says, i could never live my life like that, (the Christian way), how can that ever work?  it doesn't make sense that i would put myself out there, knowing that huge road block would always be there.  i mean, your faith should be the foundation of the relationship, and since that's not there from the beginning, it seems destined to fail?  

i guess hoping for that person to find their way and just move on would be the best.  maybe i met this person for a reason, maybe not, let me just say that it is not easy in any way at all.......

i'm just tired of thinking about the what if's, it's so hard to deal with.  moving on seems to be right answer, but at the time, the crappiest feeling.   in the end, i think it's the smartest thing to do?...

Offline seekr

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« Reply #19 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 13:03:28 »
I would say at these crossroads, to pray. Where is the crappy feeling coming from? A question I would ask also is, can the guy live in love? That is what living for God means. It still is your decision, unless you know God is urging you towards him. It can be confusing I know, but it seems you really are looking for what God would have, so wait for the answer.

seekr

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« Reply #20 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 13:35:59 »
Quote
i guess hoping for that person to find their way and just move on would be the best.  maybe i met this person for a reason, maybe not, let me just say that it is not easy in any way at all.......

i'm just tired of thinking about the what if's, it's so hard to deal with.  moving on seems to be right answer, but at the time, the crappiest feeling.   in the end, i think it's the smartest thing to do?...
You have had an opportunity to touch that person's life; that's a positive.  I agree, though, that moving on is the best thing.  Sometimes the best thing feels bad in the short run.  Balance that against a possible lifetime of crappy feelings caused by opposed interests.

Offline seekr

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« Reply #21 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 14:55:44 »
And then there's the scenario of the christian guy who sounds great and seems the epitome of righteousness, but is so moral he is judgmental and doesn't love as much as the person whose faith is weak.

seekr

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« Reply #22 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 15:33:23 »
Certainly there are Christians who are judgemental and unloving, no doubt.

But I believe keri's original concern was specific to how her faith might be affected by being in a relationship with a non-believer -- just by asking that question seems to demonstrate her concern with spiritual compatability in marriage, namely finding a mature Christian who can both love her and be supportive of her Christian walk in life.  If that's something that's important to her (and it obviously is or she wouldn't have brought up the topic for conversation), she shouldn't ignore her needs and settle for anything less than what she requires in a life partner -- God will provide.

Hands down, a happy marriage is much easier to be a part of when both people are equally yoked -- I bet even two super-judgemental Christians would have a better marriage since they have interests in common.
:D

Offline keri425

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« Reply #23 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 18:14:51 »
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And then there's the scenario of the christian guy who sounds great and seems the epitome of righteousness, but is so moral he is judgmental and doesn't love as much as the person whose faith is weak.

That's all well and good, but I think a lot of my strength and the strenght of other Christians comes from our faith.  I mean, the worst for me would be waking up on Christmas and Easter, and looking over and my soulmate wanting to share that excitement with them, and just not being able to do it!!!! I think I would rather have no relationship that one with someone who I can't be myself with.  It would be hiding a huge part of me that is such a big part of me.  This guy was like the best boyfriend ever, but it created such a roadblock.  I don't think there is a way to justify a totally satisfying relationship if you can't have that foundation together???[/color]

Offline janine

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« Reply #24 on: Wed Jan 11, 2006 - 18:34:55 »
There is no need to amputate a part of yourself and settle for part of a life.

No, finding a believer to marry in and of itself will not guarantee you a bed-of-roses life.  But at least with a believer you can pluck the thorns out of each other's beehinds with the same Christlike attitude. :)

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« Reply #25 on: Thu Jan 12, 2006 - 02:00:17 »
Quote
There is no need to amputate a part of yourself and settle for part of a life.

No, finding a believer to marry in and of itself will not guarantee you a bed-of-roses life.  But at least with a believer you can pluck the thorns out of each other's beehinds with the same Christlike attitude. :)
:givingkiss:

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« Reply #26 on: Thu Jan 12, 2006 - 08:16:03 »
Quote
No, finding a believer to marry in and of itself will not guarantee you a bed-of-roses life.  But at least with a believer you can pluck the thorns out of each other's beehinds with the same Christlike attitude. :)
Escellent way of looking at it -- I love it, janine! :D

Offline seekr

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« Reply #27 on: Thu Jan 12, 2006 - 11:22:22 »
My point wasn't that you should marry someone who all out opposes everything important to you. I just know the heartache of people who marry the elder or the deacon thinking they epitomize christianity, only to live a life full of bitterness. Marrying a christian really does not make life a bed of roses. It still is about hearing from God and waiting on Him. Scripture says So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
It still is God in us.

seekr

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« Reply #28 on: Thu Jan 12, 2006 - 11:54:17 »
Marriage is never a bed of roses (has anyone here said that?), but it's much easier when you're joined to someone who has a common faith base -- not perfect, but easier.  I think that was the point of the majority of comments made here, and keri's orginal concern.

Offline AngloBaptist

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« Reply #29 on: Wed Feb 01, 2006 - 14:49:20 »
This is a great thread.  I am glad that it popped up.  I've been speaking to a friend about it recently.  This is a difficulty for many people I think.  

Does anyone have statistics about this????

In the so-called singles' scene, unless you are only socializing with people from your church, and a big church at that, I find that it is difficult to meet other Christians.  I pastor a small congregation and I often hear phrases like "You are the only Christians I know."  

I live in Chicago.  As hard as it is to believe, it can be hard to find other people of faith...especially young people.

This is a great thread and I hope you all continue this conversation.  I know that my wife and I wrestle with our differences in faith.  I am a pastor.  She is nominally Christian but rejects exclusivist claims for salvation and truth.  I am, well, not on the same page.  Even that difference is difficult to manage.

And, truth be told, one cannot fortell the future.  People fall away from the faith as well, but starting on equal footing can relieve a great many problems down the line.

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« Reply #30 on: Wed Feb 01, 2006 - 16:13:53 »
Marriage is always a risk.  There is no guarantee that what you think you see is what you are actually getting.  I think it is best to marry someone of like mind and faith.  It's just not always easy to ascertain that the other person really IS of like mind and faith, even if they are outwardly exhibiting those characteristics.  The best advice I can give anyone is to maintain your own relationship with God and listen for His guidance.  Then, no matter what happens, you can deal with it.  He'll be right there with you every step of the way.

Offline keri425

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« Reply #31 on: Wed Feb 08, 2006 - 20:58:50 »
Hi Everyone again....update on the reason I started this forum....the relationship with the guy that I had all these  problems with has ended.....(suprise to any?)

Here's what happened:  In the beginning, he was so great to me, called and messaged me all the time, saw me any time he could.  Things got cut back a bit because he started school and had less free time, and I was understanding through it all.

His gradmother passed away.  I put myself out there for him and his family and said let me know if you need me for anything, I'm here.....I can go to the funeral if you want, let me know, he said he would, but never called.  

I understand the circumstances, and knew it was a hard time, but I felt, that the least respect that I deserved after dating for like 4 months was a 10 second return phone call to say don't come, or thanks, but I'll talk to you in a couple days.  I finally called today and was saying how I was dissapointed and thought that I deserved more respect because I would have done anything to help comfort him.  

He said he didn't give a #### if he upset me or anyone else and didn't care that he was being selfish because that was ok to him.  I told him he had nothing to be upset about, he replied, 'DON'T f!@#$^% TELL ME THERE IS NOTHING TO BE UPSET ABOUT'.  

Conclusion:  I think there really is a difference between a believer vs. non-believer's attitude.  If someone passes in a very poor state, I feel that of course there is a lot of sadness with it, and it may take a long long time to get over it, but ultimately, you have to realize that they are hopefully at peace with Jesus Christ so in a way it should be more of a celebration.  

If i'm upset, the first thing I want to do is talk to my boyfriend, he could not share this feeling with me and didn't want me to comfort him.  I feel really disrespected at this point.  I don't see how someone could say all that and blow up on someone who they shared so much with.  I know I could never to that to someone, but I guess that's why I just don't understand.

What I do know is that God put me in this situation for a reason.  I am so much closer to Him because of it.  I also know even more now that I should never have to ask for respect from a boyfriend, they should want to give it to me more than anything and I should expect nothing less. I also feel that if this boy had a strong faith, he would be able to deal with everything a lot better.  I think to sum it up, he just doesn't get it.  I need a man who does.....

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« Reply #32 on: Thu Feb 09, 2006 - 09:54:41 »
:amen: May God continue to bless you!

Offline spurly

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Re: Christian/Non-Believer Relationships
« Reply #33 on: Sat Jun 10, 2006 - 21:42:05 »
I've been dating a guy for about 2 months.  Everything was going great, I think I was beginning to like him, he seemed to be "religious", but one day we started talking about it in more detail.  He believed in God, but not in Jesus, even though he believed that Jesus existed.  He felt that we are here to just make ourselves happy, and we just make up our own rules and live by them.  (wouldn't that be ideal....)

For me, that doesn't seem to be enough.  I'm at a point in my life, where i'm dating to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.  It seems like a no brainer that the relationship has to stop because we are not on the same page with our religious views.  I believe in Jesus, and would think that I need a believer in order to help me through the good and bad times in my life.  It's just hard because in the guys that I've dated, and a lot of friends, it doesn't seem to be a priority to anyone, and they wind up telling  me that I should be more accepting to people?  It's so frustrating because the majority of people, at least that I've met, seem to think it's ok to accept all people's views and agree that it's ok for them to have them, and I should just understand that?

What are your opinions on this?  Did I do the right thing?


You're right, it's a no brainer.  Find someone who is a Christian, a growing Christian.

Offline advic1

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Re: Christian/Non-Believer Relationships
« Reply #34 on: Mon Jul 03, 2006 - 02:09:03 »
I am in a situation very similar and I would appreciate any response or perspective. I am a believer and was raised in a committed Christian home. Christ and the church is my life. However, I am hopelessly in love with a girl who is not a believer. Strangly, we share many similar beliefs about life, but she really has no reason to believe what she believes -- it's more a kind of pop-religious belief system.

Here is my delima. I know that Scripture teaches that believers and nonbelievers should not be "yoked" together. And I realize that we are simply asking for heartache and difficulty down the road. However, she is not anti-religious. In fact she fully respects what I believe and has told me that what I believe is what makes me who I am and she would never want to me to change that. She is a very caring and people-oriented person. She said she would want our kids to be raised as Christians because she thinks having a belief system is important. In fact, every situation I raise as a reason it might not work out, she responds to with nothing but support and assurances that all relationships have problems, but if people really care about each other, they work through those problems. She's even willing to come to church with me and learn about Christianity because she knows how important it is to me.

I just don't know what to do, because I am so emotionally involved with this girl and we have connected in a way that i have never experienced. I love her and cannot bear to hurt her, which is what would happen if the relationship ended. It would be devastating.

My struggle is this: Am I walking away from my faith if I mary an nonbeliever? My church is very conservative and if I decide to continue a relationship with this girl I will essentially be walking away from my church and all my friends. They believe I am living in sin right now and will perform the evangelical version of excommunication if I continue with this girl. Honestly, I don't care what my friends think. I can make new friends. But I do care what God thinks? Am I forsaking Him if I do this?

 

     
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