When I was in grade 7, I had a very serious crush on a boy. Hormones were raging in our junior high hallway, and it seemed that all of my friends had gotten themselves boyfriends, while I found myself on the sidelines. But this boy. He was different. He seemed interested in me too. I had to tell someone!
So I told my dad.
We were on a date at Chop Steakhouse. I had waited until the end of the meal, and then I subtly brought it up. I was so excited and I was hoping he would share my same enthusiasm! The first thing he asked, was a seemingly simple question.
“Does this boy love Jesus?”
My 13 year old self couldn’t see why on earth this could possibly matter. My grade ten and eleven self wouldn’t understand it either. But now, a year and a half into the most beautiful, Christ-centered relationship with my best friend, I could not have enough respect and appreciation for that question my dad so lovingly asked!
The question of “Should Christians only date other Christians?” has been circulating through youth groups for centuries. It is a great debate. It’s often paired with statements like “but they’re such a great person!” or “their family has good morals!” or “they are willing to come to church with me!”. While all of these statements are really good traits, they are not the most important! Relationships are incredibly impactful on our spiritual lives, and if that is something we value, they are not an area that should be treated lightly!
I crafted together a list of five reasons why you should date another Christian. It’s not limited to these, but they are just a few that really stand out to me.
1. You have the same mission – sharing the gospel with the world!
Think of those times when you were in school and would get put into partners for projects. If you both had the same goal or vision, your project would go quite smoothly! But if you had a partner who couldn’t care less about the task and who’s sole mission was to cause diversions, either you had to do all of the work, or your project would be a complete flop. It’s kind of like that when you’re dating a non-Christian. Your goal is to further the Kingdom, but their goal isn’t. So eventually someone will have to give, and it almost always will end up being you. “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) You cannot be good partners if you are pulling in opposite directions. When it comes to spreading the gospel, two are always better than one! Two will get more work done, two will be able to support each other. When you are able to work towards a common goal together, it is so rewarding and special.
2. You already have a mutual understanding of certain standards.
A few years ago, there was a guy I fell really hard for. But there was a problem – I was raised in church, and he was not. This wasn’t a problem at first, until he mentioned his “expectations” when it came to the physical aspect of our prospective relationship. I explained – in potentially the most awkward conversation of my life – that I was waiting until marriage. This just happened to be the deal breaker for him. If I had made finding a Christian boy my top priority, I wouldn’t have considered a relationship with him in the first place. There would have already been a mutual understanding of purity, and I wouldn’t have had to explain myself or make up excuses.
This isn’t the only belief where Christians and non-Christians may butt heads. When I started dating A, we already had the same mindset when it came to things like partying, drinking, sex before marriage, going to church on Sundays, language, media choices, etc. If you date a fellow Christian, you avoid SO many awkward and uncomfortable conversations! Sure, you still need to work out your personal boundaries, but your foundation is more common.
3. You can talk about the deeeeeep stuff.
The big questions. The “purpose of life” kind of questions, the arguments of faith. You can bounce your ideas off of each other and use these situations for growth! You have someone who can support your walk with the Lord and take you deeper, rather than pulling you away from it. You can pray together and seek spiritual guidance as you build your relationship.
Something neat that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing through dating A is reading the Bible together. On the YouVersion Bible app, we can start the same devotional plans, read them individually, and then discuss them together. It’s honestly beautiful.
4. As Christians, we are called to honour God in ALL that we do.
This includes our relationships! If you truly want to honour God, this is not an area of your life that you can skimp out on. It is literally life or death. That took me a long time to understand, but I am so thankful that I let it sink in, because it saved so much heartache. The person that you choose to be with can make or break your life. Do not forfeit your salvation for your earthly happiness! Society will tell you that these kinds of things do not matter as long as you are happy – but as Christians we are called to live for so much more than our personal happiness!
5. The ultimate end goal of dating should be marriage.
How will this affect your married life, if one of you is a Christian and the other is not?
- Are Sundays set apart as the Lord’s day, and church made a priority?
- Will you tithe on your income?
- Will you pray before meals?
- What about when you have kids? Will the kids go to church, or stay home?
- Will you do devotions as a family?
- What views will you take on important matters? The worldly view, or the godly view?
And if you want to argue that “I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, so it’s just some fun for the meantime.” What is the purpose of even dating? If you’re not planning to get married, aren’t you just passing time until you break up?
This topic is something that is really near to my heart, because I have spent so many years wondering whether it really truly mattered or not. Society will tell you that it doesn’t. Even some Christian circles will tell you that it doesn’t. But the thing is, the Lord says that it matters. He says that it is important. And isn’t that the voice that we NEED to listen to?
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
// 2 Corinthians 6:14
A yoke is a device that would be used to join two animals (such as oxen) so they can pull a load and do work together. If the animals were unequally yoked (i.e, a donkey with an oxen), it would be nearly impossible to get anything done. Similarly, if we are “yoked” together with an unbeliever, there will be a constant spiritual tug of war in our relationship. Eventually one of us will have to cave.
If you are in a relationship with someone who does not believe what you do, don’t go out and end it right away! But take these points to heart. Spend some time praying about them.