Does the Bible accept this kind of marriage? If it doesn’t, do I have a responsibility to do anything and inform anyone?
Real Family Talk
by Willie and Elaine Oliver
I’ve been praying for a Christian boyfriend, since I want to marry someone who shares my faith and similar values. In the meantime, I’m seeing another guy who is not a Christian, but he’s very nice. Recently, a young man, a member of my church and someone I’ve been interested in, has begun to pay attention to me. But now I’m afraid to hurt the guy I’ve been seeing and say yes to the Christian guy. What If I decide to have a relationship with the guy from my church and it doesn’t work out?
Your question is a thoughtful one. Indeed, your decision one way or another will have significant consequences in your life for years to come. We are pleased to know that you are praying about such an important issue in your life, which indicates an interest in doing God’s will. To be sure, God wants His children to ask Him for guidance when unsure of what to do.
The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). And Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). Both of these promises are powerful and specific, leaving no doubt about God’s willingness to help His children in times of need.
God’s answers to prayers are compatible with His directives.
Since your prayer was so specific, we believe God is in fact answering your request. However, it is important for you to be aware that what you think is happening is actually the reality you are experiencing. To begin with, God’s answers to prayers are compatible with His directives. And about your specific prayer, here is what the Bible has to say about that particular issue: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness wickedness have in common? And what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14).
If you asked God to send you a Christian man who shares similar beliefs and values, it seems plausible that your prayer is being answered in the person of the young man from your church who has recently taken an interest in you.
However, before moving too quickly, it’s a good idea to get to know this person better to ascertain whether he truly shares the beliefs and values you hold dear. Just because two individuals attend the same church does not mean they share the same beliefs and values. In fact, people attending the same church often have different levels of commitment to God and to His Word. So take your time before making this important decision to determine whether your similarities are real.
On the other hand, we also hear you say the guy you are currently friends with is a very nice guy, but not a Christian. To be sure, many nice guys are not Christians, and obviously do not share your beliefs and values. If this is the case, you are at a crossroads on a very important issue that will affect you for the remainder of your life. So, process this matter carefully. While being nice is an admirable trait in a person you want to marry, sharing similar beliefs and values is much more important, since this will determine the quality of marriage you will have for years to come. God’s counsel in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is one you want to follow carefully if you’re looking for God’s blessings in your marriage.
Since we do not know either guy, this isn’t a decision we can make for you. However, we believe it is important for you to be true to your values and stick to them. It is better to hurt someone’s feelings temporarily, than to risk living a life of hurt for the remainder of your life once married to someone with different spiritual beliefs and values than yours. You also don’t want to disregard the counsel found in God’s Word.
Spending more time reading and studying the Bible will help you be more familiar with God’s voice, and make it easier to recognize His answers to your prayers. In the meantime, we’ll pray for you to make choices that are compatible with your spiritual convictions and be willing to live the life God is calling you to live. Remain faithful.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Elaine Oliver, MA, CFLE, an educator and counseling psychologist is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at Family.Adventist.org or HopeTV.org/RealFamilyTalk.