Whom Should a Christian Marry? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kris Brewer   
Saturday, 27 August 2011 20:57

As an evangelist, I often have discussions with young people about the relationships that they are involved in, whether it be friendships or dating. As I am now the "old guy" in these discussions, I have often run into disagreements with these young folks. The question often comes up: Is it ok for us to date non-Christians? Unfortunately, when that question comes up, it is usually too late—they are already in such a relationship! I have had disagreements with young people, and also with their parents over this important question. The practice is usually being defended under such premises as:

  • They are in love! How can that not be right?
  • They are going to convert the person they are dating…if not now, after they are married!
  • There aren't any Christians close by to date…
  • They aren't getting serious…
  • They'll be a good influence on those around them…

Surely the list could go on and on. But, all of these are excuses for young people allowing themselves to become infatuated with the wrong kind of people! The sad thing is that quite often parents (who claim to be Christians) facilitate their infatuations! This is a serious question that must be faced, and answered, long before young people begin to date. Consider, if you will, a summary of the research compiled by Bobby Key, an evangelist in Miami, Oklahoma, over a 20 year period:


Christians Married to Non Christians

Christians Married to Christians

79 Total

64 Total

57 Left the church

5 Left the church

22 Faithful as Christians

59 Faithful as Christians

25 Divorced

2 Divorced


This research shows the likelihood of young people falling away from the Lord if they marry non Christians. It calculates out to a 72% chance that a Christian who marries a non-Christian will become unfaithful. "But," you say, "We will be among the 28% who remain faithful." Perhaps, but why would you purposefully chose to enter into a relationship that has such a high rate of failure? Notice also that the divorce rate among Christians married to non-Christians is also much higher! This only addresses the statistical issue. That should be enough to convince anyone that marrying a non-Christian is a bad idea. However, we also need to consider the fact that the Bible also speaks to this issue, and should not be ignored. Some will say, "The Bible never says that a Christian cannot marry a non-Christian." That is absolutely true; there is no specific Bible passage that, in those words, condemns the practice. However, the Bible is clear concerning God's intent for His people, including who they choose for a mate. One cannot live up to God's expectation for himself, or his family if he selfishly chooses to marry one who will not be obedient to God. Paul wrote:


14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty."2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Many have made the argument that Paul was not speaking of marriage, and that would be true. However, if we consider that he warned against being "unequally yoked" together in other relationships, why would we exclude the most important of human relationships from our application? When one chooses to marry a non-Christian, he is "yoking" himself to an unbeliever, who will lead him away from what he should be on many different levels. Consider the consequences of this choice, many of which are sinful:


Choosing to marry a non-Christian is always the result of carnal lusts, rather than a spiritual decision. How can one believe they are making a decision in their best spiritual interest when they choose to join themselves for a lifetime to a person who does not share their spiritual devotions? If spiritual well-being was not under consideration, then what is left? Only worldly, carnal, physical lusts. Often, a Christian comes to the decision to marry a non-Christian because of a physical attraction. Such a one is more concerned with physical happiness than with spiritual development.


Marrying a non-Christian means you have no spiritual help-mate. Marriage has a twofold purpose, which can be summed up with the term "help-mate." Marriage is the only physical relationship in which God approves of a sexual relationship. But, marriage is also the relationship that God has developed for His people to have a spiritual helper. Husbands, as spiritual leaders in their homes have a responsibility to direct them in way that God expects. When one chooses to marry a non-Christian, there is either no spiritual leadership (if the husband is not a Christian) or no spiritual helper (if the wife is not a Christian). Either way, the family is almost surely doomed to spiritual destruction.


Marrying a non-Christian will make it nearly impossible to raise godly children. Because there is no consistency between parents on the spiritual level, it is almost impossible to raise godly children in such an environment. How can a faithful parent convey the importance of obedience to God when the other parent is refusing to be obedient? Obviously, the message that will be conveyed to the children, is that obedience is not really all that important, because they know that even the faithful parent has chosen to support the unfaithful parent in their disobedience.


Marrying a non-Christian can cause financial disagreements. Things like finances can become quite a dividing point when Christians marry non-Christians. Will the unfaithful spouse spend money on things that a Christian household should not be participating in? Will the unfaithful refuse to use finances in ways that should be prevalent in Christian homes? Will benevolence, contribution to the church and such be impossible for the faithful spouse? Why would a faithful Christian be willing to "sacrifice" those duties for the sake of marrying a non-Christian?


Marrying a non-Christian can cause moral disagreements. How can there not be moral disagreements when married to someone who does not share your spiritual commitment? Sure, such a one could be, in general, a "good moral person," but one who will not be obedient to Christ will never have the same moral standard as one who is devoted to Christ. Issues such as modesty, entertainment, profanity, and the like could possibly be a point of contention in the relationship.


Far too many young people never think of these issues (and many more that could be added) before starting to date and get serious about one who is not a Christian. Before long, they are "in too deep" and can't emotionally withdraw from a relationship that they may even intellectually acknowledge as being no good for them spiritually. They end up making a decision, not based on biblical teaching, but rather on their youthful lusts. They try to convince themselves that they can overcome all of the obstacles, and that they will remain faithful. And parents support them in their poor decisions. Take another look at the chart above. Parents, do you really want to support your children taking such a chance? Those statistics don't go forward to the next generation. It would be interesting (and I am sure quite frightening) to see the stats for the faithfulness of the offspring of these marriages.


"You just don't want us to be happy!" That is the often the final thought when I am discussing this subject, before the dialog is cut off. But, just the opposite is true. I want Christians to be happy in their marriages, but not just in half (the physical half) of the marriage. God's expectation is that you are fully fulfilled (physically, emotionally and spiritually) in marriage. When one is "unequally yoked" he will be missing the latter two. How is that "happiness" if we have any kind of spiritual consciousness at all?

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 August 2011 21:07


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This is the personal page of Kris Brewer, who currently works with the Gallatin Valley church of Christ in Bozeman, Montana.

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