Written by Evi Idoghor
The subject of faith and how it relates to romantic relationships has been hotly debated over the years. Some people wonder why their faith in God should interfere with their love life; after all, it's love, what's God gat to do with it? Others, including myself, believe that it is a deal-breaker if we both don't have the same foundational beliefs as Christians. When it comes to relationships, it is vital for you to know that whoever you are considering joining your life with shares the same foundational beliefs as stated in scriptures.
Now, one person may be further along in their Christian faith than the other, but this isn't what I'm talking about here. Some Christ followers join themselves with those who do not believe in Him simply because they do not want to be alone or do not see it as a big deal. It shouldn't be because it will undoubtedly cause a slew of problems in your marriage or relationship.
When two people meet, it is easy for them to become swept up in romance and the fairy-tale that they hope to emerge afterward. If the other person is attractive, tells you what you want to hear, and lavishes you with attention and compliments, you are in heaven. Or am I the only one who has had this experience? However, you must exercise caution at this stage of the relationship because if you are easily swayed by sweet nothings, you may throw caution to the wind, failing to evaluate the situation to see if it is a good fit for you.
I’ve been guilty of this - I usually wait until I've fallen for someone before evaluating their walk with God. And when I realized that their relationship with Christ was somewhat non-existent, I found it difficult to let go, leaving me entangled in relationships that were not pleasing to God. When one partner in a relationship is not interested in pleasing God, the other partner's spiritual life suffers.
This strains the relationship as well as the Christian's relationship with God. As Christians, our primary goal should be to always please God, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, as much as it depends on us. To make things even easier, when you marry someone who also wants to please God, you can work together to achieve that common goal. However, if you marry an unbeliever, you are on your own. You then begin to juggle the time you have for your Creator with the time you want to give your spouse, who can't make any sense of why you are pursuing this God.
How does one assess a person's relationship with God before deciding to enter a committed relationship with them? You might ask, and I'd say by spending time with or around them. By studying them and asking pertinent questions. Some may argue, "He changed right after we married," or "I assumed she would love children because she is a woman." Did you ask the appropriate questions? Were you able to see her around children? Did you hear her talk about how much she adores children?
The dating process should be an evaluation process, not a time when you're both trying to get each other to bed; there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). The questions listed below can help you figure out where a person's head is when it comes to their relationship with or knowledge of God.
1. Do you believe in God? If the answer is no, inquire as to the reason for their lack of belief in God. If they decide to share it with you, that's fantastic. But, as a Christian, you might want to start leaning toward the platonic side of your budding friendship at this point; there's no point in trying to foster a romantic relationship with someone who doesn't believe in God. However, if they are open to knowing Him, I would suggest that the romantic aspect of things be put on hold for a while, so you don't get emotionally involved in that journey. Instead of being the sole proprietor of this venture, introduce the individual to other Christians who can assist them in growing in their walk with God.
2. Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and He is the only way to God?
3. Are you a Christian?
4. What church community are you are part of?
5. How often do you go to church?
Depending on how they respond to these questions, you can begin to form a narrative of who this person is and what they believe. And as you get to know the person better, you can start asking them questions about the Bible and their perspectives on the various stories contained within it. Do they believe the stories in the Bible are mythological or true? You can also start asking questions about their worldview at this point. You will be astounded by what you discover.
Just because someone claims to be a Christian or believes in God does not mean you should not ask questions about their relationship with God or their interpretation of the Bible. I remember meeting someone who once told me that he didn't believe in hell because he couldn't understand how a loving God could send people to hell.
We had several conversations about it, and it eventually came out that he wasn't even a Christian. He was an atheist who masqueraded himself as a Christian to catch my attention. The Bible warns Christians against being unequally yoked with unbelievers, asking, “What business does light have with darkness?” This is not meant to be mean or to cause strife; rather, God is attempting to protect the believer from being influenced by those who do not believe. A spouse or romantic partner is the person who can get to you quickly.
Before you go ahead and join yourself to someone, you should always stop to think about the big picture. How would you raise your kids? In what ways would your partner be able to encourage you, and vice versa, when hard times come, if not with the word of God? How can you be in a union with someone, who you can’t pray with? I don't think it's worth the hassle. You need a partner who can support you on all fronts – physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually…You need someone who will take this stance as Joshua did - “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
If you are a Christ follower and are tempted to settle just because you feel like time is running out, be patient. Do not succumb to societal, peer or familial pressure – I know, they are awful. Even those who claim to be Christians but do not uphold godly values should be avoided. Do your due diligence – it is better to take your time and make a wise decision than to rush ahead and make a costly mistake.
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