The Idea of Dating for Christians (Vindication to Date Non-Christians)

This whole topic was prompted by talks I’ve had with my friends about my date this coming weekend. I’ve titled this “The Idea of Dating for Christians”, because of the so-called expectations the Christian society has put on its singles. You see, my date this weekend is with a man I’ve known at work who seems to be fairly nice, but as far as I know (or assume) he isn’t a Christian. And, what is “Christian”? Which, I’m not going to try to answer that in a tangent. That’s just not my point. I would just like to point out some general thoughts I’ve heard in my lifetime (and recently) from the North American Christian community.

  • Why would you date someone who isn’t a Christian?
  • Would you marry this person if they aren’t a Christian?
  • What do you think he’s interested in/expects on this date?
  • Do you think “missionary dating” is a good idea?
  • Isn’t it inconsiderate of you to date him when you don’t think it could ever be anything serious [because of your religious differences]?
  • It’s bad to be unequally yoked.

I will attempt to respond to these, but they will probably be a little out of order. Yet, to those general thoughts, here’s my general response: I take one single date as exactly what it means—a date. Most people, I think Christian or not, would agree that the first date is a test-drive; it doesn’t mean anything serious and it doesn’t have any expectations (at least it shouldn’t). I have a date and think there is nothing sinful or foolish about having a date with someone who possibly doesn’t share my religious beliefs. Perhaps he does! And should he or I be labeled a Christian (or not) if we are more or less so? Christianity is so diverse—even more so, our spiritual journeys are unique. I shouldn’t judge his spirituality or faith before I have had my first date with him. If I were to be as specific as to require that a guy not only has to be good, compatible, etc. (which are rare) but also have my same religion would be asking too much this early, I think. There isn’t any way to even judge with certainty the first two calibers, as these things will be revealed the more we date/get to know each other. How should I ever know about his spiritual life at this point? Is it my right to judge that?

It isn’t my ideal to marry a non-believer, however maybe I’d consider it. One of my good friends jokes, “There aren’t any Christian men. There are just men who meet pretty women and then become Christians when they realize she won’t give in [sexually].” As pessimistic and exaggerated as that is, it’s a little true. (I think this might have been the case with my parents, in fact). Missionary dating is when people see that their spouse needs Jesus and try to convert them. For me, that is wrong. If he comes to the faith, I want to know it was on his own volition, not because he wants me.   Moreover, I may just as well–or better–have as much in common with a non-believer as I would with a believer. In fact, I have never met a Christian man that agrees with me as much on things in life as some of those non-Christian men I have known. I have met more quality and like-minded non-Christian men than Christian men, but maybe I’m just too worldly! This is just the way things go. Christian doesn’t mean quality or compatible.

Along with that, being unequally yoked is not a recipe for a healthy relationship. I do want to have as much in common and as much equality as I can with my spouse—does that come in an instant? And does that always include religious beliefs? So I would say absolutely not! If we disagree on some things, we disagree. I know that the Bible teaches the importance of being equally yoked. Equally yoked means that two are pulling equal weight on the plow. It’s about making effort and it’s about sharing the burden/responsibilities. Religious agreement could be a part of that, but I don’t think it’s mandatory. It would be nice, though, wouldn’t it?

One last thing: I probably would never have to break off a relationship with a man because of our religious differences because the most likely thing that will happen is that he won’t be able to hold out with a sexually abstinent, monogamous relationship until marriage. And that would be his choice.

Thank you for reading. And for the record, I’m looking forward to my date this weekend!

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