Ask The Preacher's Wife: My Boyfriend And I Have Different Faiths And I Need Your Help!

Ask The Preacher's Wife: My Boyfriend And I Have Different Faiths And I Need Your Help!

Dear Lady Mel,

I’m dating someone outside of my religion. He wants me to learn about his religion, but he does not want to learn about mine, because “he used to go to church”.

How can I politely decline the invitation to learn about his religion without being rude?
— Anonymous in Chester PA

Dear Anonymous in Chester PA,

Whew…I might need a glass of wine!

As a married woman, I know how love works. I remember being head over heels with my husband, just months after we started dating. He was seriously everything I prayed for. In my response in Ask The Preacher’s Wife: How Can I Stay Saved, Single, & Sanctified, I talked about the way I prayed to be found by my husband. After what felt like decades, God heard my prayer and blessed me with a man after God’s own heart.

But, girl, in my waiting period, I chose a few…um…trying to be PC here…a few…duds! *KANYE SHRUGS*

I remember wanting love and marriage so badly, I dated people I KNEW would not be good potential partners. Why wouldn’t they line up, you ask? Were they bad people, you ask? The answer is simple, we were not equally yoked.

Before you roll your eyes and throw your phone at that term “equally yoked”, give me a few minutes to explain.

The Doctor

I met this one on EHarmony. He was so BORING, but I mean, hey, he had potential. He had just graduated medical school, and I was between years one and seven (another story for another day) of my doctoral program. What a match! It happened during one of those early extended conversations (you know the ones where you talk all the way into the middle of the night, and just kee kee at each other), yeah, it was one of those. As the conversation began to close, he asked “What do you think about a pre-nup, because you’re only getting a Ph.D., and I’m going to make more money than you?”

Wayment! What?

Let me say this, the Holy Spirit is REAL! After I verified in my mind that yes, he had absolutely degraded my Ph.D., and after I pondered cussing, I cleared my throat, and responded to his question. In my opinion, a pre-nup was a way to secure one’s assets if the marriage didn’t work. I was clear that my future husband would acknowledge our union as Plan A, B, & C, and there would be no need for a prenup.

And then, because the Holy Spirit was still working on me, I was very clear that as a new medical doctor in psychiatry, his salary would be around $40k as he completed his multi-year residency, and me without my Ph.D., was already making way more than that. The Lord has since addressed my petty ways!

That was our last conversation!

Our values did not match, and in partnership, we would be at odds with each other because our views around finances did not align. We were unequally yoked.

The Dreamer

Long story short, he was almost like a door-to-door salesman from the mid century era. Every week, he had a plan to “make it big”. When I asked him if he thought about job security or caring for a family, he responded by saying “I’m chasing my dreams, and I’m going to chase them until I’m a R&B singer.” He also made it clear that his potential wife would take care of his needs until he became successful.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for chasing dreams. However, I also know that one must have some type of blueprint to make it happen. He had no plan. He had no desire to make a plan, and sadly, he couldn’t sing.

He let me listen to a song once. After the song faded to silent, he turned and asked “Do you know what that song was about”? Puzzled and confused, I replied “No, I’m sorry. I don’t get it”.

With a shocked expression he retorted:

“It’s about Jesus! When I said that part about the sky, I was talking about Jesus. And when the melody changed in the background, that was symbolic of the shift when you receive the Holy Spirit”.

Me:

*Laughing hysterically as I reminisce*

At any rate, our values did not match, and in partnership, we would be at odds with each other because our views around security and responsibility did not align. We were unequally yoked.

What does being unequally yoked actually mean?

I’m so glad you asked.

In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he provides instruction on life. This was after Jesus had ascended into heaven, and the apostles were charged with growing the church. Paul’s letters were typically written in response to drama.

Corinth was kinda like the New York City of the New Testament. It was a “metropolitan” city, booming with business and trade. Folk were there from various cultures and faiths, and as converts to Christianity, most were uncertain about leading a “Christian” lifestyle.

It was so much going on in Corinth, that Paul had to write to them twice. SMH. (Poor Paul the Apostle having to tell them the same things over and over and over and over). Anyway, the Corinthian Christians were marrying folk from other religions and faith practices, so in the now famous verse, Paul writes this:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
— 2 Corinthians 6:14

Paul draws an illustration from the Old Testament that warns against the yoking or tying together of an ox and a donkey to plow a field. The two animals are mismatched in terms of strength, and if they are tied together, the ox (the stronger animal) would have to bear more of the load than the donkey, making the load-carrying difficult and chaotic. Essentially, the ox would have to do more work by picking up the slack that the donkey could not carry.

Paul goes on to talk about the disunity that occurs when righteousness is mixed with lawlessness, and the analogy to Christ (light) that could not be understood when He entered darkness! (Yes, I had to talk to the Preacher about this). Paul did address women who were already married to non-believers encouraging them to remain in the marriage and hopefully influence their husbands to accept Christ.

But, girl! You’re single.

With the illustration of the ox and the donkey in mind, think about marriage. From a Christian perspective, marriage is the coming together of two people who are charged with “plowing the fields” of life together FOREVER. And it’s HARD hard! Therefore, if each person’s values are different, one partner will always bear the burden of pulling the other because the balance is skewed.

In the case of “The Doctor”, how would we arrive at agreements around finances or longevity? He clearly believed that marriage was a high-risk investment, and he needed to secure his assets if the marriage did not last. We were clearly unequally yoked.

In the case of “The Dreamer”, how would we arrive at agreements around security or provision? He clearly felt as if it was a wife’s responsibility to take care of the family unit. While that might work for some, it could not work for me. We were clearly unequally yoked.

So what’s the answer to your question?

Girl, I know I haven’t answered your question at all! Ha!

Honestly, I first needed to point out, in love, that you are in an unequally yoked relationship. He will probably never want to attend church with you because he is secure in his own faith. In the words of my grandmother, “He ain’t stuttin’ you” or your faith.

So, the question becomes, are you willing to continue in a relationship with a completely different set of values?

Our faith informs our world-view and our world-view informs how we process information on a daily basis. Therefore, issues around how you both understand child-rearing, relationship roles, finances, sex and intimacy, household norms, etc., will absolutely be influenced by your respective faiths.

Paul was intentional in his instruction to single Christians because he needed to be clear about how intertwined our faith is with our daily living. Our faith in Christ should influence EVERYTHING we do, including our relationships.

Whatever you decide to do, understand that your boyfriend has already been clear with his expectations for you. If your hope is that he would change his mind, based on this question, he won’t.

My prayer is that you would seek God and spend some time “getting naked” before Him. God knows our desires, because God gave us God’s intellect and spirit. We are made in God’s image. If your desire is to be married, TRUST that God can send you a future husband that will share your faith and lead you as his wife. Because real talk, a man can’t lead you as a Christian wife, if he is not first led by Christ.

Lady Mel

Have you ever been in a relationship with a person of another faith? What was the outcome? What does being “unequally yoked” mean to you? Like, Share, Comment Below!

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