Dear Pastor Lily.
Can a Christian date a non-christian? I’m a 3rd-year university student from Iowa and I’m meeting so many interesting people. Recently I met a young man who is clever, charming and I’ve developed a bit of a crush on him. Here’s the thing, he is an atheist. I discovered this after we had been chatting in the library for a few hours about life, the university, and everything. We share so many of the same values and ideas, except that I firmly believe that God created the Heavens and Earth, and he believes in the big bang theory etc. I’ve invited him to come to church with me and see for himself, I’m hoping that if I can get him there, God will reveal himself and I won’t have to convince him. But he declined the offer.
What should I do? I’m praying that God will change his heart, but I’m not seeing any sign of change yet. I’ll be finished university soon and I know deep in my heart that I want a Godly marriage and family. But it’s not like I’m getting married tomorrow. So there’s still time for God to work in this situation, right?
I really appreciate your advice. You always seem to have a word of wisdom and your insights make me laugh. I especially liked the advice you gave to the virgin on her honeymoon. For all of us out there that are saving ourselves for marriage, that was a helpful piece of encouragement to read.
Thank you for asking this question, it’s an issue that many women struggle with. I cover the question, should a Christian date a non-Christian, as well as other crucial topics in my course Ready For The One, which teaches women how to attract a man worth marrying.
Can a Christian date a non-Christian?
First, let’s begin by reviewing the purpose of dating;
When dating, you are entering into a relationship with the purpose and intention of moving towards marriage.
This is a different view of dating than what you get in the world.
Dating in the world involves collecting phone numbers and trying people out via coffee, ice cream, and steak.
A lot of people go on dates all the time without moving any closer to a committed relationship. And they are often frustrated and confused as to why their prospective partners are not responding.
The Bible tells us;
“Above all else guard your heart!” – Proverbs 4:23
Because “Everything you do flows from it.”
Therefore it’s a really bad idea to go around investing your heart, emotions, time and energy into relationships that are not right for you. Like you said, you’ve been spending time with this guy and now you’ve got a crush on him. You’ve already begun to invest your heart into the relationship, and that’s why you’re looking for all kinds of ways to justify it. But you wisely sought some feedback and I’m so glad you did. One of the first things you have to ask yourself is; are you compatible?
Are You Compatible?
Before you begin dating anyone you should already have a pretty good idea of whether or not the two of you are compatible.
This means you will only be investing time and energy into relationships that at least have some potential to actually lead to marriage.
Therefore you’re going to spend time getting to know the guy beforehand in none romantic situations. Where there is zero expectation of a kiss at the end.
This may include invitations to attend church together and or Bible study.
Or generally seeing each other in the setting in which you natural meet.
For example, if you were taking a cooking class and see a man who might interest you, make a point of learning as much as you can about him within that class.
Or, like in your case, you met and chat with him at the library, and you’re getting to know one another. This is all well and good, but at this point in the relationship, you must guard your heart. If your end goal is a Godly marriage, that you need to determine whether or not you’re compatible in 4 key areas.
4 Keys to Compatibility
- Physically – While looks aren’t everything, we generally know what we are attracted to. I think my husband is hot. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You must find your library friend attractive or you wouldn’t have submitted your question.
- Emotionally – Are they able to control their emotions and share their thoughts and feelings with others in a way that is respectable? In your case, you might need to see him in a situation outside the library to get a better picture of his emotional maturity.
- Communication- Are they someone you can talk to? Do you like some of the same things? Are you intellectually compatible? Do you have a high level of respect for their thoughts and opinions and do you feel that they respect yours as well? Long chats in the library seem to verify that you’re compatible here.
- Spiritually- This one is the MOST IMPORTANT for a Christian and Non Negotiable. As a Christian, you are called to put God first! It is essential that you share the same views and beliefs when it comes to who Jesus Christ is. You must both mutually agree that God is number 1. Library guy is clearly not compatible in this area.
It’s not enough for someone you’re dating to respect your beliefs, they must actually want to share them if you intend to have a Godly marriage.
As a Christian, we have been given a lot of work to do and if we get into marriage with a non-Christian we end up being Unequally Yoked.
The Bible clearly warns against this.
“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
I know that sounds harsh because to you he is a nice guy. But I think in your heart you already know that answer. can a Christian date a non-Christian and that relationship result in a Godly marriage? No, that’s why you’re trying to get him to come to church with you and you’re praying for his heart to change.
But you’re putting yourself into a tight corner. You’ve already started to develop feelings for him and you’re trying to make him get saved for your benefit. While we should always be praying for the lost, I suspect your far more invested in this guys soul that the souls of the other young men in your university classes.
Choosing not to take this into serious consideration creates an excellent opportunity for idolatry to slip in.
Idolatry can easily occur in a relationship when you begin to put your feelings for, and relationship with someone, above your commitment to the Lord.
At this point in time, I’d highly recommend that you back off of the idea of pursuing this relationship. Save yourself the heartache of having to make a difficult choice later down the road. If God is in this relationship, He will begin to move in this young man’s life in ways that are beyond your control. You can be there as a friend to point the way to Jesus. Wait for strong evidence that he has given his life to Christ. Otherwise, you might he might start following you to church in hope of winning your favor, but not God’s. Put this relationship on hold.
Now to my readers,
Have you dated a non-Christian? How did that go?
Leave a comment below and tell me 1 thing you learned from that experience.
Learn more about my course Ready For The One Here
God Bless You,