Is it Okay to Date an Unbeliever?
ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD LASTING RELATIONSHIPS
BECAUSE THE BEGINNING LEADS TO AN END
While I made a decision to date only with the purpose of seeing if it was meant for marriage, I also knew that not all dates will automatically end in a covenant. Nevertheless, I firmly believed that every date opens a chance to be led to that point. Or at least, to the feeling of being married. Knitting hearts, bonding over food and coffee and conversations, would be where all the soul-tying starts. It is always harder to be rational and truthful when one is already emotionally involved, so the decision to not date an unbeliever was something I did to minimize chances of sliding into a regretful end.
***Note that this does not mean to say that unbelievers are second class citizens for me, but I just happen to have my faith as the highest value of my life. It is important for me that those I will share life with intimately, closely, also believe in the same God. Just like how those who don’t believe God also have their own value system and standards, when making their choices.
BECAUSE IT NEVER MEANT DATE CHRISTIAN “LOSERS”
No one ever said “Don’t date an unbeliever. Date only Christians, even when they are poor in almost every aspect of life.”
It is not enough to date someone who says he believes God, attends church, and all that. It surely took more for me to say that someone is the kind of believer I would marry. Like it was important for me to know the guy has a deep relationship with Jesus, truly loves and fears the Lord and His Word, and knows how to die to himself.
At the same time, I also wanted to end up with someone who was great at something. Regardless of the nature of his profession and even economic status, I knew he needed to be at least remarkable at work, in spirit, character, and personality, so we both have obvious reasons for me to respect and follow him all the days of my life.
So my husband had to meet both requirements: true faith and to be one of remarkable contribution to the world. The Bible never says it has to be one or the other. Maybe people do, people who impose false standards and add or take away from God’s Word, but not God himself. He does not have this false dichotomy. If anything, His principles propose: why can’t it be both? Why settle for less when you can make a stand in this area of life where we say, all or nothing?
BECAUSE I THOUGHT “SETTLING” IN THIS AREA IS NOT GOOD
If you think about it, this is actually the place for “all or nothing” decisions. Some things in life are worry-free when you settle. Just like a pen for 10 bucks over a pen for 100 bucks. (Both write anyway.) A videoke score of 50 over a perfect 100. (Especially when you don’t sing for a living.) Rain boots from the palengke versus Hunters from the mall. (I just need something that will keep my feet dry.)
But not love. I don’t want to be flippant about love. Even a date is a doorway to what could be an entire lifetime. I personally wouldn’t risk it for the reason of satisfying a fleeting desire or relieving a bout of loneliness. If it could mean meeting the man I am to spend the rest of my life with, the one I would be sleeping next to every day of my life, sharing saliva, my bed, my time, my money and children with, then I would guard it with my life. There are only a few major decisions we’d have to make in life that will affect us greatly and one of them is marriage. And like I said earlier, a man and wife’s starting point is found in that first date. Or first kiss. Or first look. Or first anything. The first of many has more weight than we think. So I say we must choose wisely at all times, both men and women. Choose where you go, choose whom you ask, choose whom you allow, choose wise, choose well.
This does not mean that for every wrong date, we are doomed. I am just saying that I wanted to be more careful and less carefree in this area, especially in the light of my own weaknesses and struggles. And while I am a firm believer of redemption (because, after all, that’s my story) wouldn’t it be nice to get it right the first time with just about everything?
The truth is that both single and married people have to practice making Jesus the choice, because these odd turns never stop. Something will always come and present itself to us as though they are better than having Jesus, and practicing my yes’s and no’s in light of His love as a single woman was great training for me as I continue to make godly decisions as a wife and mom.
And while all these are practical to think about, the bottomline is still our relationship with Christ. No one ever said that following him is easy. It will have costs. His will is not always prosperity and blessings but also sanctification. And it might mean choosing Him over some (or many!) of our desires today. And only when we find true value in having Him in our life will we find that losing that which we desire, is no loss at all. That the best way to counter raging hormones and uncontrollable desires, insecurities and loneliness, is seeing all that we gain and don’t ever want to lose in Christ.
How about you, what is your stand on this as a believer?