Before Jumping into A Relationship, What Do You Believe?
Over the years, I have met some Christian women in relationships that are detrimental to their faith. I want to help others make better choices, so this is a topic I will also be developing in my hubs.
I also want to encourage men to think about these issues. The Campus Pastor at Pensacola Christian College used to say this: “If you want to find the right one, be the right one.” It is a good principle.
Laying the Foundation
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV)
Every woman seeking a stable, romantic relationship should start by asking herself these questions: what matters to me? and what do I believe?
Just as the world is divided over values and beliefs (think about North Korea and South Korea, Israel and Iran, China and the United States), romantic relationships also enter into conflict because the persons involved do not agree with each other’s values and beliefs (have you seen the movie Not Without My Daughter?).
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, what the Bible says about life and romance should matter to you, for God’s Holy Word is the foundation of our faith. If you are not a believer, the questions about values and beliefs should still be relevant to you, because the man with whom you are seeking a relationship may have values and beliefs that conflict with your own and that would make reconciling difficult.
Here are some examples of issues that often cause conflict in relationships: one person wants to share bank accounts, but the other wants to keep bank accounts separate; the woman wants to stay at home to raise the kids (kids??!), but the man wants her to work so they can make more money; the man wants to spend time with his female friends, but the woman thinks he should spend time with male friends instead. These are just a few issues that can cause conflict in a romantic relationship like marriage.
Of course, we’ll never agree one-hundred percent with the person we date or marry. Your goal shouldn’t be to find someone who believes and values everything exactly the same way you do (where is the fun in that?); your goal should be to find someone whose beliefs and values are compatible with your own, and who agrees with you in those points on which you are not willing to negotiate. So spend time figuring out what your non-negotiables are.
Called to Be Blessed
“And he [Solomon] had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:3-4, KJV)
If you are a single, Christian woman (or man), God’s will for your life is that you marry within the faith, not outside of the faith; so you need to seek a romantic relationship only with other Christian believers.
God has given you life in Jesus Christ so you can enjoy fellowship with Him and with His people in this life and for all eternity. He has called you to serve Him instead of serving sin, and He wants to bless you so you can be a blessing to others by pointing them to the abundant life that is in God the Son (Jesus).
But if you become attached to an unbeliever, you will be undermining everything good that God has in store for you. An unbeliever will not tolerate your spiritual mindset. The unbeliever will seek to undermine your faith in God and will oppose your service to God. He will demand that you compromise on your commitment to God in order to serve him.
Please listen to what I am telling you. The unbeliever will not pray with you; he will not read the Bible with you; he will not go to church with you; he will not like your Christian friends; and he will not praise the Lord with you. Moreover, if you have children, the unbeliever will also interfere with their faith.
The fact is that if you become involved with an unbeliever, if you marry one, you will be missing out on God’s blessings for your life. I know this; I have seen it happen.
Of course, God will forgive you. He forgave Solomon, and He will forgive you also. Nevertheless, you will have to endure the consequences (and the main consequence is a lack of unity in your marriage).
Yes, some have experienced the conversion of their unbelieving spouse, but that is not always so. God allows some of his children that disobey Him in this matter to experience the conversion of their spouse to show the Body of Christ (the church) that He is merciful; but He also allows others to not experience their spouse’s conversion to teach the church that there are consequences to our disobedience.
“Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” (Exodus 34:12, 16, KJV)
God’s people (I am referring to Christians) have a clear instruction from the Lord to seek romantic relationships only with other members of God’s kingdom. But who are God’s people? How can we tell who is a Christian?
Some people think they are Christian, but they are not. It is even easier for us, blinded by love, to think that someone is a Christian when he (or she) is not. How then can we tell Christians apart from others?
First, we need to understand what the person believes. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified approximately on 33 AD in Jerusalem, is the Son of God. We believe He was miraculously born of a virgin named Mary, that He lived a sinless life, that He performed miracles, that He taught about God, that He died on the cross, that He resurrected from the dead, that He ascended to Heaven, and that sometime in the future He will return to this world to reign (and all of this is according to what is written in the Bible). Moreover, as the Son of God, Jesus is one essential and eternal being with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; He is eternal, and He is the Creator of all things.
If I were single and seeking a romantic relationship with a woman, I would (because I am a Christian) expect that woman to sincerely believe the same about Jesus Christ; and if she did not believe the same, I would not consider that person as a potential candidate for a romantic relationship with me because my first commitment is to God.
I would not date a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses because they do not believe Jesus Christ is one essential being with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; nor would I date a Mormon because they believe Jesus Christ is a different God from the Father, the Holy Spirit, and other human beings who have ascended to a state of divinity.
Moreover, even if that person were to pass the test of confession, I would still want to know more about what God is doing in their lives. Do they pray? Do they read the Bible? Are they living for God? Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16, KJV). It really doesn’t matter if they can articulate all the right concepts but keep denying the faith with their actions.
Finally, I would set the bar a little higher. Not only would I want this person to be a Christian, but I would also want this person to believe that salvation is by grace through faith (apart from works), and that the Bible is God’s Word. Why? Because given my personal desire to live for God, I would want to make sure that this person’s commitment to living for God is similar to mine.
Denomination, finances, appearance, career, culture, etc. It all takes second place to my non-negotiables, to the things on which I am not willing to compromise: having a living and personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and conforming to God’s will as revealed in the Bible.
I have written this hub primarily for single, Christian women who are seeking a romantic relationship. Surely there will be other groups of people who can benefit from it (like Christian men, and non-Christians) because my main point has been to encourage the reader to think about our beliefs and values affect our relationships.
My second point was that Christians who enter in relationships with unbelievers will miss out on many of God’s blessings for their lives. Yes, God will forgive and bless in other ways, but there will still be serious and unpleasant circumstances for the wrong choice that was made.
My third point was that Christians need to carefully consider whether the person they are planning to date or marry is truly a Christian, and whether that Christian believes the right things to help him grow in his relationship with God.
Of course, a person may be a committed Christian and still be at a place in life that makes him not suitable for a romantic relationship like marriage. One could also marry a Christian and still hit several rough spots in marriage. The reality is that in this hub I have only discussed a foundational matter: that we should think carefully about our values and beliefs before entering into a romantic relationship.
Reflect and Discuss
Think about some couples you know: a couple with one Christian, a couple with two Christians, and a couple without any Christians. How do the couples’ beliefs and values unite and separate them?
What are the beliefs and values on which you are building your life? How would you feel if your life-partner disagreed with you and tried to undermine your beliefs and values?
What else would you take in consideration before entering into a romantic relationship with someone?
How important do you think one's beliefs and values are in a relationship?
© 2016 Marcelo Carcach