What does it mean when a Christian marries someone from a different religion?

We usually know if a person loves God and lives for Him prior to saying “I do.” This is something that people typically will not hide when God is most important in their life.

There are a rising number of Christian Americans embracing interfaith marriages. What exactly is an interfaith marriage? An interfaith marriage is when an individual of a certain religion marries someone from a different religion. For example, a Christian marries a Jew. They have intermingled their faiths in marriage.

I should note the distinction that an interfaith marriage and inter-denominational marriage do not have the same definition. An inter-denominational marriage occurs when a Christian marries someone from a different Christian background. For example, a Baptist marries someone from the Church of God in Christ denomination. This constitutes an inter-denominational marriage because both people are Christians.

With regard to interfaith marriages, they have steadily increased in American society over the past 50 years. The Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that nearly four in ten (39%) of Americans who have married since 2010 have a spouse from a different religion. In other words, Americans are marrying into interfaith unions at a significant rate. The percentage has more than doubled from the 19% rate in 1960. Pew Research notes this 39% rate will steadily climb as America further distances herself from traditionally-held Judeo-Christian views.

Pew Research also notes that interfaith marriages are significantly high when a Christian marries someone who is religiously unaffiliated such as not practicing Christianity, atheist, agnostic, or human secularist.

According to the Holy Bible, God’s will is for Christians to marry fellow Christians. He does not want His Children to marry someone from a different religion. For God to have His Will honored and respected, Christians should start by dating fellow Christians. It is much easier and far less consequential to break off a dating relationship than to walk away from a marriage. If Christians decide to not compromise when dating, they would be far less susceptible of falling in love with someone of a different faith.

When we read 2 Corinthians 6:14, it states, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Here, Paul compares a Christian marriage to being unequally yoked. What is a yoke in this scriptural context? A yoke in Paul’s time was when they joined two animals’ heads or necks to a wooden beam so they could work together. However, notice Paul wrote, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”

Paul uses “unequally yoked” to show what happens in a marriage union when a Christian marries a non-Christian. The two cannot walk in spiritual union. They cannot work together in pursuing God’s will for their marriage, their individual goals, or their views regarding parenting, health, politics, or numerous other life issues.

Paul continues by saying, “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” He asks these questions to make it clear that a Believer lives by a Biblical worldview, one that follows God’s standards as absolute truth. A non-Believer lives by a different set of rules, one whereby God’s standards are not regarded as absolute truth. They are yoked unequally on the basis of their spiritual belief systems and values.

As Christians, we can marry another Christian and still be unequally yoked. What about the marriage where both individuals are Christians, but one spouse does not live by Biblical truths? This type of marriage is problematic as well.

It is important that we choose someone who will strengthen our relationship with God. We usually know if a person loves God and lives for Him prior to saying “I do.” This is something that people typically will not hide when God is most important in their life.

If your marriage is unequally yoked, be on guard to not allow your spouse to influence you to disobey God or become spiritually lazy. Find ways to ensure your spouse will not inhibit you from honoring or praising God. Remain connected to Believers to protect you from further compromising God’s truth for your life.

One of the main reasons Believers marry someone of another religious faith is because they believe that these differences won't hinder the marriage. Many Believers do not take premarital counseling with a Spiritual Leader, pastor, or Christian counselor. So, they might not even know about this sound and wise Biblical doctrine.

Other Believers think God’s grace will bridge the gap for their unequally yoked marriage, which it most definitely can. However, we cannot guarantee unbelieving spouses will submit their lives to Jesus. And because they must choose Jesus as an act of submission, many times we find, they will not make the right decision.

Let’s remember that God sees peoples’ hearts. He knows what we truly believe. He knows if we love Him or not. If you are a Believer and your marriage is unequally yoked, don't waste your time trying to make your spouse do something they do not want to do. Allow them to be themselves.

God does not force anything on us. Continue to pray for your spouse. Live for Jesus and love like Jesus before them. You could be the very person God uses to save them.

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