Is it okay to date non-Christians?

Lately, there has been some discussion on this blog about whether or not it is okay for Christians to date non-Christians. We encountered this same conversation over and over as we did research for Lies Young Women Believe. In fact this is one of the 25 lies addressed directly in the book.

The girls involved in the research phase of this book told us things like:

  • “I really want to marry a Christian, but I’m not looking for marriage right now, so I don’t really care.”
  • “I don’t really think it matters if the guys I date are Christians or not. For one, we’re just in high school. I don’t really think that religion is an issue right now.”
  • “If you plant a seed, it can make a beautiful flower. You’re spreading God’s word, whether it works out or not. If you can compromise, think about it…you can impact a non-Christian.”

Some of you have made similar comments here on the blog. Specifically, it seems that some of you are wondering if it’s okay to date non-Christians. The short answer to your question is no. God’s Word urges us not to link our lives with non-believers and the consequences of choosing to do otherwise can be disastrous.

But I knew that you might not be willing to simply take my word on this one. I understand the temptation to believe that dating non-Christians is okay. In fact, I get why so many young women have been deceived into thinking that it is a potentially wonderful missions opportunity (I actually fell for this one myself as a high school and college-aged woman). But since I now understand how important it is that we understand God’s Truth on this subject, I decided to recruit a friend of mine to be a voice of reason.

Let me introduce you to Brice. He just happens to be a handsome, funny college student who is currently serving as the youth ministry intern at my church. I asked him to read the parts of this blog where young women were talking about dating non-Christians. His response? “I had no idea that girls thought like that! How do we convince them that they should only date Christians?”

I think that Brice’s insights on this topic are wise and thought provoking and they may just be exactly what you need to hear as you search for Truth in this area of your lives. Here’s what he had to say.

I have recently been asked to write a section for this blog on the topic of dating non-Christians. I am very excited to be able to share my thoughts since they will be coming for a young Christian man’s perspective to a female audience. I hope that I can be of some help to you ladies.

To start off with I will tell you about a few of my own personal dating experiences. I am now 22-years-old and I have had five different girlfriends over the years and had crushes on many others. The first two girls I dated were Christians, in the sense that they went to the same church and youth group I was in. We kept things pretty low key. We’d hang out, watch movies, talk on the phone, hold hands, and go to dances. We never did anything sexual, mainly because I personally thought it was wrong. I didn’t think of the negative consequences that would be taken out on her heart or my heart. Looking back I thank the Lord for protecting my purity and the purity of the girls in those relationships.

My next relationship was a bit different. My senior year of high school a junior girl caught my eye. We started talking on the band trip that year on New Years Eve. I told my youth pastor about her because she wasn’t in the youth group. I tried to convince him (and myself) that it would be good for me to date her so that she might come to youth group and become a Christian. I was dead wrong!

A few years before this my youth minister gave our youth group a lesson we called “the triangle talk.” This talk consisted of a triangle drawn out, and the guy on the left base of the triangle and the girl on the right base. The concept was simple—when a person is focused upwards to the pinnacle of the triangle (God) they will eventually meet up with that special someone that God has specifically designed for them. If a guy and girl are in a relationship they should be focused on God, and as they grow closer to God they will inevitably grow closer to one another.

What I was doing with this new girlfriend was taking my eyes off of God and focusing on the really pretty girl. Well, this really pretty girl and I made out a lot…way too much! There were some moments when we got far to close to a line that should not be crossed until marriage. Our relationship ended after she wrote me a letter telling me she thought I was the one for her and I told her I wasn’t. I had been called into ministry a year and a half earlier and I knew that she would not give me the support I would need in ministry. We broke up a week later. The bottom line from that story is DO NOT WASTE your time, emotions, money, and most of all your heart on someone that is not a Christian. If they don’t have a relationship with Christ you shouldn’t be yoked to them.

I went off to college and told all my buddies “I’m going to find a nice Christian girl and get married to her.” Well, I meet a girl my freshman year that was really sweet, loved the Lord, and liked doing fun stuff. We soon started dating. I prayed about it a few weeks later and God told me I had jumped the gun and that we should break up. I was devastated. I thought all I needed to do was get to know her and once I knew her pretty well that we could date with the idea in both of our heads that the end result would be marriage. Not so. So I listened to God and broke up with her. This devastated me and her. She completely withdrew from me which really hurt.

Before I left for camp that summer I gave her a Bible and she gave me a journal and we said goodbye. I spent the summer at camp. We wrote letters a few times a week. It seemed like the Lord was restoring out relationship. We began dating that summer in early July. I don’t remember consulting the Lord on that decision either. We dated for 15 months. It was a good time, but our focus was wrong. Our focus even as good Christian kids was on each other, and not on God and how we were to be obedient to Him in His service. We were far too physical for a Christian couple.

The girl I dated for 15 months was a great girl and a strong Christian, but we were not equally yoked. She had a completely different way she wanted to live her life than I did when it came to serving the Lord. She had made plans for where she wanted to live what she wanted to do 15 years down the road, and I still have no idea what I’ll be doing after I graduate from college or when I’ll graduate. 🙂 The point I am trying to make here is that even when a guy is a strong Christian at a similar maturity level as you are, there are other factors that must be considered such as your views on spending and saving money. How you will give your time, money, and energy in service to the Lord. Are you both fine with living by faith and not have any real plans except to follow the Lord? Or does one of you want to be a lawyer and the other one wants to be an international missionary? There are many things that go into being equally yoked.

For many of you, you may not be ready to be married. And to you I say, don’t date. Enjoy the friendships with guys around you as brothers. Let them know were you stand, and you will encourage and challenge them to grow as men of the Lord. If they are not down with respecting you for taking this season in your life to grow more as woman, then you need to pray for them that they may understand your heart, and that you are letting yourself be prepared for your future husband.

When you are not equally yoked to a believer of a very close maturity level in your relationship with Christ, and when you don’t have a very similar philosophy on how to live your life, then you should not enter into a relationship with that person. When you do meet that man someday, that you connect really well with…pray for him. Pray that he will be grown and transformed everyday into the likeness of Christ. Ask God now to prepare you and your husband to be prepared for the time when you will be wed.

Each one of you as a young Christian girl should focus on Christ, focus on His call on each one of your lives to follow Him. Seek to understand what that means for each one of you. Who are you in Christ? What is your identity in Christ? You need to be content with serving and obeying Christ. You must not seek to find your fulfillment in a man. It simply is not there. It is only found in Christ. As you seek the Lord and focus on Him, if you are to be married, the Lord will put the perfect man for you in your path. You should be able to see him in several different roles and know that you would be best yoked with that one man while on this earth. Pray for the man God is preparing for you right now, keep him in your prayers, and you will be oh so blessed when you meet him and see how God has been preparing you both.

BOTTOM LINE: Seek first the Kingdom of God and the rest will be provided.

Be blessed ladies.

Bingo!

Brice’s words echo the guidance given by Nancy and Dannah in Lies Young Women Believe. It is so important for you to realize that as Christians we need to only be considering other Christians for dating relationships. It is also important to know that God desires for you to marry (and therefore date) a Christian. But that’s not all. He desires for you to marry a man who can lead you spiritually. If your only dating qualification is to find a guy who goes to church, you may find yourself in the situation Brice did. The consequences of being “unequally yoked” are painful!

In Lies Young Women Believe, Nancy and Dannah wrap up the section of the book dedicated to this topic by issuing the “truth-seekers relationship pledge.” I want to issue the same challenge here on the blog. If you’re willing to commit to only linking your life to other believers in this way, we want to hear about it! Leave us your comments right here on this post.

Truth-seekers relationship pledge

“I purpose never to become involved in a relationship with a guy who is not a true follower of Jesus Christ and whose character and lifestyle are not consistent with the kind of man I believe God wants me to marry someday.”

About Author

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Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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